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Utility breed ?
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Mrs R



Joined: 15 Aug 2008
Posts: 7202

PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 09 9:55 am    Post subject: Re: Utility breed ?  Reply with quote    

bodger wrote:


Modern hybrid chickens are designed to produce hundreds of eggs, are they utility chickens ?


Just to address this because I didn't think about it first time round: yes, they are utility birds, but they are not a utility breed, because they don't breed true. They're crosses, which I'm sure you knew bodge but maybe others don't? You do see a lot of people asking for black rock and cotswold legbar cockerels for sale....

Tavascarow



Joined: 06 Aug 2006
Posts: 8407
Location: South Cornwall
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 09 12:13 pm    Post subject: Re: Utility breed ? Reply with quote    

Ixy wrote:
bodger wrote:


Modern hybrid chickens are designed to produce hundreds of eggs, are they utility chickens ?


Just to address this because I didn't think about it first time round: yes, they are utility birds, but they are not a utility breed, because they don't breed true. They're crosses, which I'm sure you knew bodge but maybe others don't? You do see a lot of people asking for black rock and cotswold legbar cockerels for sale....

& also quite a few home bred black rock pullets for sale which I am always dubious about as even if the breeder has got the right breeds to hybridise I very much doubt they have the right strains.
I would say birds like black rock are utility as they will lay well into old age as aposed to commercial hybrids which as I said earlier burn out.

Bodger



Joined: 23 May 2006
Posts: 13500

PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 09 1:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Not withstanding that black rocks are as the result of two seperate strains crossed to bring about the end product and as such they wont breed on, I would imagine that every black rock mail is gassed at birth and fed to pythons and birds of prey etc.

The stock birds are the crown jewels and as such kept under lock and key. They are almost a licence to print mony, the mother lode if you like. The same goes for all the good modern day hybrids.

Castle Farm



Joined: 17 Sep 2008
Posts: 457
Location: Powys/Hereford Border.Near Hay-on-Wye
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 09 3:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

The term 'utility'used in poultry goes back to the end of the last war 1939-45.
There was a serious shortage of food, being as we were hardly getting any imports due to the UBoats stopping ships getting in from abroad...mainly the USA.
Everybody was expected to produce as much food as possible and with the boys coming home from abroad and getting de-mobbed there was huge amounts of rebuilding to do, not only the fabric of the towns and cities that got hit, but social structure of where they had lived.
Food was still in very short supply and hundreds and hundreds of small scale poultry farms producing eggs..not so many poultry meat farms..were set up,(some grant funded to help men to earn a living and support a family).

The wheat and other grain that was grown was suppose to all go through WARAG (fish and food dept ) and be weighed and payed.

You needed a ration card and if you didn't have one you couldn't get your grain qota..except on the black market..

To get wheat or any poultry feed was difficult to say the least and poultry farmers needed to get the most eggs out for the least amount of corn put in...(no pellets in those days) so they would usually buy chicks or growers in and grow them on or buy in at POL.

As is life some poultry suppliers sold birds that were not utilizing the feed to give the best results and a lot of new keeper hit the wall,mainly down to bad husbandry as most dived in at the deep end and failed.
It was chaos, so trial stations were set up to test groups of birds from different suppliers and the laying results over a set period of time were published in the poultry press and with the results came the orders.If you had a strain of birds that gave the best laying results on a set amount of feed over a certain time you had orders coming out of your ears.
Anyone that didn't lost out to the breeders that had entered and proved thier birds.

They could put on the advert UTILITY.
Bit like a michelin star system.

As for the meat trade.
When I got to 13 years old I could work in the 'Packing station' where the eggs from miles around were collected by lorry..a scania in those days..and brought in for gradeing.The other side to this station was poultry meat...spent hens and stags.

Late 50's very early 60's the incoming birds were nearly all leghorns,mainly White with Brown next and black next.A few kept Sussex and Rhode Island.
I was on the Killing line....It was different in thoses days you had to earn and a school holiday job at least got me away from the slog of the farm...
Feed was seen to be wasted rearing cockerels, as the cost of the feed was more often than not more than the dressed weight of the bird..
Payment was made on the total weight of the birds after dressing..

The Stags were cockerels, always a cross bred,usually RIR X LS and the were big and took a lot of handleing.Some of these birds would dress out at 10lbs thats oven ready so around 13-14 lbs live weight.

So I think the word utility is mainly used for laying birds that utilised the feed.

There are very few utility breeders of tradional poultry left I'm afraid.
In the mid 60' the new Hybrids started showing up..birds designed to produce eggs..the ultimate Utilty breeds and the vast majority of farmers turned over to them and a major loss to the British poultry industry started, as the strains of top layers were lost to factory type producers of the new hybrids filled the market place.

A few hung on..mainly older keepers who had put so much work into keeping their lines going, but as they grew old and died the breeds went with them.

I am proud to say I have kept at least 1 of those lines going for all these years and have bred other breeds towards the standards that they had in those days.

I hope this post will be taken in the spirit it was written in..purely an informational post as seen from ground level at the time.

alison
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 29 Oct 2004
Posts: 12908
Location: North Devon
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 09 4:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Nice post CF

Thank you

SandraR



Joined: 22 Oct 2006
Posts: 2346
Location: Devon
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 09 4:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Informed well written post, much like your blog fascinating to read. Thanks.

Bodger



Joined: 23 May 2006
Posts: 13500

PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 09 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Top notch .

Tavascarow



Joined: 06 Aug 2006
Posts: 8407
Location: South Cornwall
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 09 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

bodger wrote:
Top notch .

Couldn't agree more.

Chez



Joined: 13 Aug 2006
Posts: 35904
Location: The Hive of the Uberbee, Quantock Hills, Somerset
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 09 7:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Yes, thank you - really interesting. And also really interesting to compare it to my Dad's stories about his first job in a chicken farm in the early thirties. He always talked about the light sussex as his favourite bird because of that - they had six thousand in various barns. He reckoned that he could pluck a bird in six minutes and was paid by piecework

Bodger



Joined: 23 May 2006
Posts: 13500

PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 09 7:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

You aren't supposed to pull em to pieces.

Chez



Joined: 13 Aug 2006
Posts: 35904
Location: The Hive of the Uberbee, Quantock Hills, Somerset
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 09 7:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Doh .

Serious question, CF - 'killing line' - how did you kill? Someone I used to work with worked in the packing station on Deeside one summer and told me some horror stories about birds going in to the plucker alive. It threw me a bit. Was it that mechanised then?

Castle Farm



Joined: 17 Sep 2008
Posts: 457
Location: Powys/Hereford Border.Near Hay-on-Wye
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 09 9:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

It was a hellova lot kinder on the birds thats a fact.
It's a discrace to man kind the way we handle animals and I recon the chicken has seen some at the sharp end.

I'll open a new post, as it will be how it is and was then.

Nicky Colour it green



Joined: 25 Jun 2007
Posts: 8693
Location: Devon, uk
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 09 10:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

GSHP wrote:
Informed well written post, much like your blog fascinating to read. Thanks.

yup, agree here!

Castle Farm



Joined: 17 Sep 2008
Posts: 457
Location: Powys/Hereford Border.Near Hay-on-Wye
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 09 10:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Posted Killing lines in other thred.

Mrs R



Joined: 15 Aug 2008
Posts: 7202

PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 09 8:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Thinking about it there could be a new category - what about feathers? You get eider ducks (sp?) giving the down for duvets I'm wondering if, perhaps not in this country, chickens are bred for their feathers, perhaps for ornamental purposes? We have the game feathers for the fishing hooks here don't we?

The definition of the term is:

- The state or quality of being useful; usefulness:
- Economics. the capacity of a commodity or a service to satisfy some human want.
- (of domestic animals) raised or kept as a potentially profitable product rather than for show or as pets: utility breeds; utility livestock.


I guess if you bred your birds specifically for their feathers because you got some gain out of it that they could also be described as utility, it's still a 'use'. Interesting one.

I've found the term going back as far as at least 1909 in 'Poultry for Profit - Egg and Poultry Raising at Home' by James Long. It makes sense to me that it first came about when showing became popular enough that they needed a term to differentiate between foodbirds and showbirds. This seems to be bourne out by the chapter 'Selection of a Utility Breed':

"Happily, utility breeders of the present day have realised the utter foolishness of relying on fanciers' cast-offs....and they are now adopting the more practical policy of breeding for themselves, selecting birds...without regard to show points."

It then goes on to mention the Utility Poultry Club and their laying trials from 1899!

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