Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Chicken Whisperer Brahmas

I talked with Andy Schneider and Pat Foreman this morning on the Chicken Whisperer's radio program, http://www.blogtalkradio.com/backyardpoultry. All programs are archived there, so you can listen at your convenience.

As always, we got involved in an interesting discussion about chicken genetic mapping. I'm not aware of whether mapping of the various breeds is being done, but other resources are available. The Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research http://www.cgiar.org/, has created a database of local African and some Asian breeds, http://dagris.ilri.cgiar.org/. They’ve got 124 kinds of chickens, http://dagris.ilri.cgiar.org/browse.asp?SC=4&BN=&dlPageSize=4, but the ducks, geese and turkeys are not posted yet. The Food and Agriculture Organization surveyed geese some years back, http://www.fao.org/docrep/v6200t/v6200T0n.htm.

I'm encouraged that the United Nations is taking an interest in supporting local traditional breeds, rather than imposing industrial birds that will surely fail in the developing world.
These are the illustrations I mentioned from the Reliable Poultry Journal, dated 1902. They are by Franklane Sewell,
distinguished poultry artist. He's the one Robert Frost mentioned in his poem, "A Blue Ribbon at Amesbury," about his favorite chicken: "In her we make ourselves acquainted/With one a Sewell might have painted."
The caption reads: "The above chart is prepared to assist in a correct understanding of the ideal shape and color of individual feathers in all sections of Dark Brahma males (females). It is, so far as it goes, an illustrated standard of these requirements; the outline, too is that of an ideal standard-bred well matured Brahma cockerel. By studying this chart section by section the breeder may become familiar with standard requirements to the extent that he can better select from his own flock the birds most desirasble for breeding and exhibition and so be aided in his efforts to produce the correct type in Dark Brahma males."
Check this blog's archives for a series on Asiatics, including Brahmas, in January 2009.

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