macmexApril 27, 2007

Fancifowl, I whole heartedly agree with your comments in the "Raising poultry is now Hip" thread. I decided Id start a new thread, since I keep gravitating to Kraienkoppes and Velvet_sparrow mentioned sheÂd like to discuss them more.

I'm shooting for at least 100 new chicks each year and am culling more strictly than ever. This year we may actually hatch closer to 200. But we can make some drastic culls right at hatching. It took me a couple of years to really catch on to what you're saying. One in four is too lax. The Kraienkoppe that I have, at any rate, has too many areas which need lots of selection and work, not to breed them in this manner.

Velvet_sparrow, I will post. Just need time to get my thoughts together. To many times in the past I've spoken (or written) to soon and communicated wrongly ; )

I have some Silver Kraienkoppe pullets on order now, and have no previous experience with the silver version. So I can't tell you what the chicks should look like. The Black Breasted Red ideally should be chipmunk striped and have a flat comb. Legs should be yellow, though often white legs (a flaw) will show up after the passing of time. In my hatches I have yellow/orange, white and chipmunk striped chicks appear. All the chipmunks turn out as good black breasted reds. Some of the white chicks will grow up to cinnamons, some may actually turn out white, as we have a recessive white gene in the flock. It appears that the yellow/orange chicks are wheaten, though I'm not sure whether some might not turn out as cinnamons; haven't separated them to observe.

IÂll post more soon; things like breed description and my observations on what needs to be done in selection. IÂd love input from some of you more experienced folk.

In the mean time here are a couple of pictures. I need to get some better ones. But this variety really is tough. You point a camera at them, and they flee. Plus when I look at my pictures from a few years ago I think that most of them would be culls now.


Kraienkoppe Cockerel

Kraienkoppe hens in nest box

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Miss_Kitty(6a KY)

Nice looking birds, I am looking forward to hearing more about the serious side of breeding! I have a great interest in heritage breeds, but not much luck breeding yet!


    Bookmark   April 27, 2007 at 10:02PM
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george, have you been to "The Classroom @ The coop"? Thatr is a poultry forum which has some good genetics info written by advanced poultry keepers and geneticists. There is also the everyday chicken talk stuff.

Just google for classroom at the coop, it should get you there.

Are the silver K'koppes duckwings , pencilled, or??

    Bookmark   April 28, 2007 at 5:26PM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

Wow, do those birds ever look like my birds Cafe and Baby! Thanks, I think I have finally found out what breed they are! :)

I'll post pics later to see if you concur...Cafe especially had that exact shape head, and could open her throat wider and swallow bigger chunks of food than any chicken I've ever seen, it was mind boggling. We used to call her 'The Bug Huntress' because of her prowess in grabbing huge grasshoppers and swallowing them whole.

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   April 28, 2007 at 6:34PM
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Fancifowl, the goldens are golden duckwing.

Thanks for the recommendation. I tried a couple of times a few weeks ago, and was unable to access those sites, for some strange reason. But I'll give it another go.

Velvet, did you get Cafe & Baby from an order from Sandhill Preservation Center? They're probably the only ones I know that would send Kraienkoppes without them being ordered.

Interestingly, the Kraienkoppe is a great hunter of bugs, but won't touch even the tiniest rodent. This seems to be ingrained in them genetically. In the past I had Brown Leghorns and they would avidly hunt mice, even snakes.

Will get back to this thread soon!


    Bookmark   April 28, 2007 at 9:23PM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

George, both Cafe and Baby were feed store birds we got as adults...we bought Cafe around June 1997, Baby was given to us by the feed store because she was blind in one eye and scrawny. Baby is still blind in her left eye but has feathered out beautifully and is very friendly, except when I want to take a #@*& PICTURE of her! So pardon the funky pictures. Cafe passed away a couple of years ago.

Here is Baby, second from the left (she has a Frizzle hen sitting in front of her):

and again...

Baby does not have facial tufting at all, and both birds are very trim with upright tails.

Cafe did a VERY interesting thing in her last two years of life...changed color! Here she is when we got her:

Two years before she died, she had random feathers all over her body molt in, in black iridescent (like a rooster's tail) and a few white ones, too. The new feathers were slightly curly, but not as much as a Frizzle's are:

How's THAT for strange? I did some online research and found that some older birds do that if they have suffered a serious illness at some point in their lives.

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   April 28, 2007 at 11:13PM
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According to the Dutch standard Kraienkoppe cocks should weigh in at about 6.5 lbs (3000 grams); hens at about 5.5 lb (2000 grams). I'm just now starting to think about size. I need to actually weigh my birds (which will be a real trip. But some seem too small.

The Europeans recognize two colors, dark and partridge. "Dark" is apparently what we call "silver" and "partridge" is the same as "black breasted red." In the black breasted red variety hens should be stippled like the Brown Leghorn. Comb should be walnut, which in the best examples is very low to the head with a surface almost like that of a strawberry. Legs and skin are yellow. Ears are red. The Kraienkoppe lays white or tinted eggs. The tail is held at about 45 degrees, which is quite different from the Old English Game. Wattles are short and close to the head. Eyes are orange to orange red with jutting eyebrows over them.

Everyone seems to agree that the Kraienkoppes foundation stock was the true pheasant Malay, a light multipurpose, should I say "landrace," from Malaysia and Indonesia. Ive spoken with Craig Russell of the S.P.P.A., who is big fan of this variety, and he tells me that having traveled in that part of the world, hes seen birds there which very much resemble the modern Kraienkoppe. Only in Asia, the cinnamon is the more common color.

In Europe (mainly Holland, but also some in part of Germany), where the breed was developed and standardized, other blood was introduced; mainly local chickens and possibly some variety of leghorn. Ive heard theories about brown leghorn or silver duckwing leghorn being used. The breed was formed in Europe at the beginning of the 1800s but did not become very common until the 1920s.

From what Ive learned there were two fellows who imported them to this country. The only one Im reasonably sure about is Horscht Schmudde who imported his birds from Germany. The other fellow, according to Craig, didnt like the German birds and imported his flock from Holland. According to Craig, almost all the birds available now, in North America are descended from Horscht Schmuddes birds.

Anyway, the stock I started out with has been quite variable in many things. Cinnamons have been pretty common. There are some recessive whites. Last year I was rejoicing to have gone a year without any whites cropping up. This year Im getting about one in ten. Velvet, your hen, Baby, looks to me to be mainly Kraienkoppe. But her tail is not full enough and her body shape is not quite right. I suspect she has something else mixed in. The funky colored feathers could show some of the cinnamon influence. I have some hens which show intermediate characteristics between stippled and cinnamon. Im breeding away from the cinnamon and intermediates.

My birds still produce some white legged birds. Some birds with white ears, instead of red and some pea combs. About once a year I find a straight combed bird, which is really bad. The first year I had them, I did very little selecting. The next two I focused mainly on ears, comb and wattles (we had some wattles which were too large). This is the third year Im really working on leg color. Before that, I did prefer yellow. But Id keep a white legged bird if it had a great head and, perhaps stippling. As of last year no white legs have been allowed. It is so important to raise a quantity of birds in order to have something to select from. We get all our eggs and most of our chicken meat from this flock. So we couldnt afford not to have at least 30 to 40 producing hens.

Ive observed of Kraienkoppes:

- they dont feather pick at all
- they are extremely vigilant regarding predators, especially from above
- they are friendly (from arms length) yet scandalous and flighty
- they are 100% broody. All hens go broody sometimes nearly all at once
- they are good winter layers
- they handle high temperatures extremely well
- they can and do fly.
- roosters are very non aggressive. I presently have 7 in with the flock and almost no fights.

Well, I have to run. Fancifowl, I meant to say SILVER duckwing, not golden. Sorry, thats what happens when Im in a hurry. Hope I didnt do any more bloopers just now!


    Bookmark   April 29, 2007 at 7:55AM
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try this??

    Bookmark   April 29, 2007 at 9:08PM
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Thanks! The link worked just fine! I can't remember what I had tried before, but I had something wrong.

Yesterday was the busiest day of the week for me and I was in an hurry. I can see two mistakes in what I wrote. First of all, their tails are not held at 45 degrees. It's a lower angle. I was mixed up on that.

Secondly Velvet Sparrow, I have to take back what I said about your bird not being pure. She could be. The funky feather condition makes her look a bit different. But I was looking at my flock yesterday, and then some pictures from years gone by. I've had some hens with identical tails. I need to pay more attention to tails. Seems I'm always coming up with more to pay attention too!

Thanks everyone! I'm off to the Coop!

    Bookmark   April 30, 2007 at 6:50AM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

Thanks for the input, George! I always knew that Cafe was 'some kind of chicken' (*L*) but wasn't sure what. She was quite distinctive looking, and for most of her life was a lovely mocha brown color. I figured that had she had more time, with the way she was growing weird feathers she was going to turn into a roo...

She fits the description of the breed you gave (especially the bug hunting part, Lordy!) except for the fact that she never went broody. While she could fly, she never showed any interest in going AWOL on us (same with Baby).

Thanks again! :) Your birds are beautiful, you should sumbit your breed pics to, they need more pictures of the breed on their site (especially hens).

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   April 30, 2007 at 9:55AM
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Here's a picture of a white Kraienkoppe cockerel born in January. I was teaching the little guy holding him, how to butcher....

What I don't understand is that most of the whites, born into my flock are superior in conformation and vigor. This fellow was the best of his hatch,... other than for his color. I don't keep whites, even though I was counseled once to select first and foremost for type and then for color. At one point nearly a third of the chicks hatched from our flock were white. Now, this was the first white in two years. The Kraienkoppe is so rare I have a hard time thinking about branching out into variations until the standard colors are stabilized. I don't know how it is with the silver duckwings. But the black breasted reds, across the board, on this side of the ocean, seem to be pretty unstable.

I did give 7 whites to Craig Russell, in PA, who says that developing a white strain would be very easy. But here's the issue for me: space and resources. I can't branch out more without a major stretch in resources.

What do you folks think about non-standard colors? What do you do? I've chosen to focus on the black breasted red, though it hurts to eliminate other color variations, especially in such a rare breed. I'm hoping that others will keep them going. But for my part, I'm moving increasingly to a narrower focus. At one point, a couple of years ago, I looked at my flock and thought: "this is turning into a hodge podge." Now, most of the time, when I survey any portion of the flock, out in the field, I see the same basic color and conformation. There is still much to do. But I believe I'm seeing progress.

Anyone should be free to weigh in on this one. I'm especially interested in what Patrick and Fancifowl have to say.


    Bookmark   May 4, 2007 at 11:34AM
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Does anyone have reliable characters by which to separate the males/females at one week of age? I have 7 kraienkoppe chicks from Sand Hill.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2007 at 9:02PM
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patrick_nh(z4/5 NH)

I wish that I had an easy answer. My first thought is, if you're getting superior whites, then go with the hand you're being dealt, count your blessings and be that much further ahead in your improvement program. Color, IMO is immaterial really, if you're working with the breed in the US, as they're not even recognized here in any variety. I do understand your desire to work with only the original varieties too, before moving on to new varieties. I'm also thinking, if you're starting with a new variety (silvers), why not forget about them, work with the one standard variety, BBR, and still keep the whites, forgetting for now about the silvers? The benefit to that is having the better type whites around to use in upgrading your BBR. The question that you'll have to answer is, how does the leg color in whites match the reds? I would dthink in general, that white would be more compatible with silvers, but of course you'd have to start from scratch with the silvers. Either way, it's obvious that someone did some cross breeding somewhere along the way. In this country I would guess. It's probably not a bad thing, other than worrying about the compatibility as to leg, eye color, etc. It's probably introduced some hybrid vigor, and you're seeing it in your whites. It's happened with the buff Africans, and mine have superior fertility and type to the browns. It's almost easy to get a real nice quality buff, in my experience, compared to the browns.

Space and resources is the issue with everyone, especially LF. If the state of poultry breeding in this country were not as it is, you'd probably have an easier time finding someone to take on your project. Craig Russell has his hands full with other more pressing issues at this time. As much as I disagree with ALBC and some of their policies, you could try them. They might be able to put you in touch with someone who could take on the new variety, or at least warehouse them until someone is found. Glenn Drowns is another possibility, although I worry that the desire for preservation takes a back seat eventually when you begin a commercial enterprise. Dare to contact him this time of year. He's very busy you know. Try putting an ad in the SPPA newsletter, to see if anyone else in interested in working with them. As a last resort, some of the big commercial hatcheries have begun branching out into rare breeds. The quality will plummet, but at least they'll keep the line going, and more importantly, introduce numerous other people to the breed. Someone along the way may decide to take them up and improve them, and they'll at least have a place to go for seed stock. I forget which have been going with rare breeds, but I've been extremely surprised to see some of the truly rare breeds in commercial catalogs in recent years.

Do you have the Dutch Standard book, or just a copy of the standard? I just returned from a trip to Holland, and I visited the Poultry Museum in Barneveld. They have every breed of Dutch origin on display. I took photos, but I don't remember seeing the Krainkoppe. The Nederlandsche Hoenderclub, which is the specialty club that looks after all of the breeds of Dutch origin, does not have them listed in their book. I'm thinking that maybe the Dutch consider the breed to be strictly German in origin? The Dutch claim the Polish as their own, and it's not Polish there, it's Hollandse Kuifhoenders (Dutch Crested Chickens)They do have a Kraaikop, which looks very different from the Krainkoppes, and is found in different varieties. On looking over the Dutch breeds, their Twentse Hoenders look much more like your Krainkoppes, and seem to come in varieties which are more in line, as opposed to the Kraaikoppen, which come in black, white, barred and maybe others.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2007 at 12:15PM
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patrick_nh(z4/5 NH)

I see now in my Dutch poultry books, that there is some explanation about the differences or relationships between Krainkoppes, Kraaikoppen and Twentse Hoenders. I'll translate later when I have time.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2007 at 12:28PM
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Smuggs11 I wish I could help you with the sexing issue. But I don't know how to sex them at a week old. When they start to feather out in the breast the males have black breasts and the pullets don't (except perhaps one in a hundred).

Patrick, thanks! That's great input. I need to mull over it. The Kraienkoppe is the same as the Twentse Hoender. I don't have a copy of the Dutch standard. I had contact with a fellow from Holland who translated the standard for me. It's rough, but intelligible.

I have to run for now. A friend of ours passed away this morning. But I will get back again soon as possible.


    Bookmark   May 5, 2007 at 3:36PM
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sullicorbitt(z5 MA)

Hi George,

I am very interested in why you have chosen Kraienkoppes? what is it about this particular breed that has made you so passionate and committed to it? Do you only have this breed of chicken?

Velvet, George's picture is on the feathersite :)


    Bookmark   May 5, 2007 at 6:27PM
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patrick_nh(z4/5 NH)

And what was their original purpose, layers or fighters?

    Bookmark   May 5, 2007 at 8:43PM
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Patrick, I only ordered 4 silver pullets, from Ideal Poultry. The idea was to grow them out and look at them. I wonder if perhaps they might be a bit larger. If they have good form, especially if their size is a bit larger, I was thinking of breeding one silver hen into my flock. My understanding is that when a Black Breasted Red rooster is breed to a Silver Duckwing hen, all the resulting hens will be Black Breasted Red and breed true. The roosters will be golden duckwing. My wife has been after me for three years, since two golden duckwing roosters cropped up in our flock and I culled them. She LOVED the golden duckwing. So, I suspect we'll end up with a golden duckwing rooster. Another reason I have considered crossing in a silver hen, is to broaden the gene pool a bit. However, thinking about it, I have to conclude that the gene pool is still pretty broad. Fertility and vitality in these birds is extremely good. I think I will take your advise and not sweat it over having a couple of whites though. They truly are striking birds.

I suspect that someone crossed the Kraienkoppe (BBR at least) with Old English Game. Like you mentioned, it probably wasn't a bad thing; just requires more selection.

There is probably some difference of opinion out there, among fanciers, as to when this variety got started. Craig Russell is strong in stating that it is little changed from the original Pheasant Malay stock in the Orient, and that, last time he was in that part of the world he observed birds which fit the basic breed description. In Indonesian and Malaysia, these birds are (or were) kept for everything, kind of like game fowl are often kept in certain sectors. They are entertainment, egg and meat birds, even if they are not so very specialized as any one of those categories in our modern setting. Craig believes that they were originally fought in Holland and Germany and that there were a good number of color variations in those early years. But eventually they were selected more for egg laying and, I suppose for the small homestead or back yard fancier. The only rooster I ever had which was aggressive was hand raised by my daughters. I believe this accounted for his aggression. Apart from that one, I haven't seen an aggressive rooster. They are quite good when run together. So, last fall, I made the decision to hang onto more roosters (7 of them), just to hold off inbreeding problems.

I could probably come up with some more reasons why I really love about this variety. We got into it, through a process, as a family. We all had different preferences. My wife insisted that she wanted red roosters and preferred a larger bird. My son was partial to games. I was very much interested in heritage breeds and actually wanted Dominiques. At one point, while living in Mexico, I was involved with helping rural pastors and workers improve their lives through small animal husbandry projects. We saw plenty of folk raising a couple chickens, right on the side (literally stuck to the side) of their little one room shacks. Often, at high altitude (where it was cold and damp), or in hot country, where they endured tremendous downpours, their birds faced great odds for survival. The best available bird, for those conditions was the Old English Game. Modern hybrids did pretty well, at times. But they would regularly lose all their birds to disease or predators.

I spoke with Glenn Drowns, who has been a friend for over 20 years. He and his wife Linda donated some chicks for our Ag program. At one point he commented that the Kraienkoppe would probably be wonderful, being "the ultimate homesteader's variety," on account of its vigor, ability to forage and resist disease, etc. That comment stuck with me. They couldn't send any since their hens were all broody at the appointed time. But when we got back in the U.S. the name "Kraienkoppe" stuck in my mind.

Here are just a couple things I really like about these birds:

1) I love collecting a couple broodies out of the hay barn, every night before bed time. I know their hide outs and enjoy collecting them, all the while listening to their chirring complaints about being removed from their hidden nests.

2) They are wonderful, fierce mothers. Roosters are not aggressive. But the hens, when caring for young, are AWESOME. I once observed a cockerel get wupped by a hen who had newborns. The two actually sparred as if both were roosters. She beat him roundly, and then finished by doing a little two step and crowing!

3) Though they can be a bit sporadic in egg production, due to broodiness, they are pretty productive. They do cut costs a bit because of their propensity to forage. This is one variety which is extremely determined to free range and forage. The down side of this, is that it is a challenge to keep them out of gardens and, if you live near one, the road.

4) Though rather small, they are good eating; and a breeding program like this, provides a good reason to produce a lot of birds for the pot.

5) I tend to prefer going the other way than the crowd. I have vegetable varieties which are almost unheard of, yet very good. So, I kinda gravitate to a variety like this. Not being a recognized breed in the USA, doesn't bother me in the least. But it is a challenge for preservation, since some will not take such a variety up, if they cannot show it. I'm learning this breed's quirks and learning to work with them. There are plenty of rare varieties out there, and I do not doubt that they are very good. But after a couple of years working with this one, I kind of want to carry on with it.

Sheila, this has been the only breed we've raised since 2002. However, just this spring, I have taken on some Buckeyes. The wife misses larger, more friendly hens. She'd like to be able to touch them without pursuing them so hard.

Gotta run for now!


    Bookmark   May 6, 2007 at 7:59AM
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I only keep a few chickens and ornamental pheasants now mostltb just to have them around, I do still breed for correctnes. But, if I were to stay in the bisiness of improving a breed with a longer range goal, I would keep the several varieties; in your casr the bb reds, whites and any other variety which mught segregate out. With each color variety there is a bit of a different gene pool. breeding each color variety individually and strict culling would allow for segregation of the best genes in each variety. 1 advantage could be using any of the colors to reinvigorate any other line. I would keep the most of the variety I liked the best and maybe 2 pairs or trios of the others.

On the other hand, keeping 3-5 pens of the variety you most like to work with and keeping 3-5 seperate but related families might be best? If you keep 5 pens, always put the female young in the pen with their dams, rotating the males down the line each year. That gives 5 female families and never a sib nor a parent breeding yet line bred enuff to allow for improvement.

In my opinion, people lose sight of their goals and begin to become collectors more than breeders, its sort of hard to do a good job with too many breeds and not enuff brood stock in any of the breeds. Preservation isnt just putting a roo with a hen and making babies, its planning and thinking several years down the road, adjusting for needed changes and rearing a whole lot of young and strict culling.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2007 at 7:48PM
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patrick_nh(z4/5 NH)

FF, you make a good point about keeping several varieties, but they must be those that compliment each other when used as outcrosses. Some breeds contain varieties which do not mix well with different varieties of the same breed, due to differences in leg color, for example. For some traits there is not a simple dominant/recessive relationship, and by crossing them you sometimes get something undesireable. Sure, often these different varieties have been developed from differing breeds, and the result is a similarity in body shape and comb, but not in geneotype. I know, these "convergent evolution" breeds, so to speak, kind of defy the definition of what we tend to think of as a breed, but still, that's the way it is.

I agree about goals, collectors, preservation, etc, but you're kind of preaching to the choir here. Remember, George already gets it.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2007 at 1:12AM
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Thanks guys. Your input is greatly appreciated. I sometimes have to hear something a number of times and from different angles, before it really sinks in. There aren't nearly enough people out there breeding for preservation of old varieties. I have no "comrades" nearby. So it's nice to bat things around in this forum.

All the "varieties" of Kraienkoppe, which I know of should have yellow legs, red ears and red/orange eyes. At this point, I draw the line on comb type, not accepting anything except the walnut comb. I don't even accept rose combs in any of my birds. Craig Russell once mentioned to me that he thought there might come a day when we might have a recognized pea comb variety. But if we do, someone else can do it. To me, the change of comb greatly changes the appearance of the bird. Plus, I'd like to see more fanciers raising them before we spread out that much. (These are just my thoughts.)

I believe that the true Black Breasted Red pattern, for whatever the reason, is more tightly bound to white ears, than either clay wheaten or white. White ears are also manifested more readily in hens than in roosters. I have A LOT more white ears in my flock than I'd like. This seems to have become more of a problem when I started steering more for black breasted reds. To me, ear color is another distinctive mark of the breed. So, I hope to get it right eventually. I have one rooster which is really great in all respects, except I can see that he carries some genes for white ears. Still at this point, I'm keeping him on account of his other good points.

For having 10 acres, we are fairly limited on pens. The family has horses, goats, a calf, turkeys and now, some Indian Runner ducks. Also we're limited financially on the construction end of things. I must get up a new pen for the ducks, but can't do more pens for a while after that.

I have a fairly large coop for the chickens which I divided into two sections. The main flock roosts in one section and we use the other for either fattening, selective breeding or incubation & brooding with a hen. I have never found a way to successfully place two broody hens in the same pen without problems. So it isn't the most efficient set up. Eventually I might divide that one side into two.

I have all my roosters and hens together and free range them. At the end of the summer I select at least one rooster to keep for the following year and replace the others with better sons, if the sons appear to be better. This year, Ill be slower to replace a cock, since one problem Ive had is a mottling gene, which doesnt surface until the cock is over a year old. For now any of my true BBR roosters which turns 1 year old and which doesnt manifest white tail or wing feathers, is going to make the cut for another year.

I do much the same with hens, except I will keep most hens for two seasons and occasionally, an outstanding hen might hang around for up to four seasons. I had one hen, from the original hatchery shipment, who was my only hen with everything right in regards to comb, wattles and ears. The rest of her wasn't very good. But her head was. So I kept her four years. When I finally butchered her I found that her ovaries had basically shrunken to nothing. She wasn't producing anymore.

When we moved to Oklahoma in 2005, we brought 13 birds with us and a friend received some eggs from us and presented us with about 4 pullets (and some cockerels). Within a month of arriving in OK our production dropped dramatically. In fact, we had super low production right through 2006. Last summer I scraped together every egg I could for hatching and pretty much replaced all our hens. Starting in January of this year, production shot way up. Now, with seasonal broodiness setting in, production is down a bit. Yet it is still quite good. I suspect that the drastic change in climate, and possibly feed, coupled with age for some of those hens, contributed to our terrible production. Birds hatched and raised here now produce like we remembered when we raised them in NJ.

Well, I have to go. Thanks again for the input.


    Bookmark   May 8, 2007 at 1:00PM
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If you would like, I would be happy to translate the German standard for you. I posted a Spitzhauben standard on The Coop -- would be happy to help out with one for the Kraienkoppe.


    Bookmark   July 5, 2007 at 12:08AM
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Richard that would be WONDERFUL! Thank you so much for the offer!

Our hatching season has been terrible this year. Looks like our selection isn't going to be that great. We've had problems with electrical storms, predators and accidents. Just last night a couple cockerels decided to "camp out," and we lost one to a coon.

Reading back over this thread I truly do want to thank a number of folks for their valuable input. It's great to have.


    Bookmark   July 5, 2007 at 11:58AM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

Well, just to prove me wrong, our hen Baby has gone broody BIG time! We aren't letting her hatch any eggs, so she and the other broodies all brood EACH OTHER. *sigh* She's quite the terror to the other chickens when she comes off the nest, too--we've started calling her a Krankycopy. :)

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   July 5, 2007 at 2:48PM
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Dear George,

Here is a brief breed history and the Standard, with colour standards for Silberhalsig and Goldhalsig. Hope it helps!

Best wishes,



From the website of the breed club "The Association of Breeders of Kraienkoeppe and Bantam Kraienkoeppe" (

History of the Association

The Association of Breeders of Kraienkoeppe and Bantam Kraienkoeppe is an association with a very long tradition. It was founded in Essen on 24 January 1932. The mission of our association is the breeding, preservation, and promotion of the breed of chicken known as the Kraienkoeppe large fowl and bantam.

Today, one finds Kraienkoeppe and bantam Kaienkoeppe at many large and smaller poultry shows, some of wonderful quality.

The cradle of Kraienkoeppe is in the German/Dutch border region, in the East Dutch province of Twente in Enschede, Ahaus, and county of Bentheim where even today one finds the most breeds.

The foundation breeds that went to create the Kraienkoppe were probably Maylay, Belgian Game, Dutch landraces, and Leghorns. The brothers Lazonder were also the first to show the Kraienkoppe at a poultry show in Holland in 1885. In Germany, the first time they were shown was a bigger show, the German Poultry Youth Show in Hanover in 1925. The new breed achieved the general recognition from the poultry breeders, and the animals were now shown at all leading poultry shows in Germany.

In the year 1926 the breed was accepted into the German Poultry Breed Standard. After that, the Association of the Kraienkoeppe was founded in 1932. The Association made it mission the breeding and promotion of Kraienkoeppe. The first special show for the breed in Germany took place on the 12-13th of November, 1932 in Hamm/Westfalia.
The first recognized colour was the Silverhalsig. But soon a Goldhasig variety was attempted. This colour was recognized in 1929/1930.

Following the trend of the time, at the turn of the 20th century the bantamization of all breeds was attempted. At the beginnings of the 40s breeders began to create the Silverhalsig Kraienkoeppe bantams in the Dutch border area. But because of the War, the Associations activities and therefore also the Kraienkoeppe was almost completely set aside.

On November 28, 1948 the Kraienkoeppe breeders met in West Germany at the Country Poultry Show in Duesseldorf and revived the Association. Also in the former East Germany, the breeders began to organize themselves again. On December 11, 1949 the Special Association of Kraienkoeppe and Batam Kraienkoeppe was founded in Erfurt, and the breeding of our beloved breed could be continued. After the import of breeding stock and hatching eggs from the Netherlands, the breeders Peil, Ahlbrand, and Berger were successful in achieving recognition of the Silberhalsig bantam Kraienkoppe in Germany. It was accepted into the German Standard on Oct. 19, 1956.

In Holland, the following colours are also recognized for the large Kraienkoppe: beside the main colours of Silver- and Goldhasig, the Blue-goldhasig, the Blue-silverhasig, and the Red Pyle. For the batams, in 2003, beside the main colours of Silver-and Goldhalsig, the Red Pyle was also recognized in Holland. In the works are many more colours (especially thw Dutch breeders): crele, white, Orangehalsig, barred, silver wheaten.

The Breed Standard (from:

Origin: In the Bentheim area, both sides of the German/Dutch border. 1925 was the first time it was shown in Germany.

Breeding Goal: An early maturing laying hen with 180-200 eggs in the first year of lay, 150-160 in the second year; non-broody; very rich in tender white meat; minimum weight for hatching eggs is 58-60 grams; shell colour: white to tinted.

General Impression: A sleek, powerful type of country chicken, giving the impression of a game bird; especially in the head, and then carriage, and thighs; the tail that is set wide and carried attached; tight feathering, which gives them protection from moisture; feathers on both sides of the quill are narrow; a trusting but very lively temperament.

Standard weights: Rooster (2.5-3.0 kg), Hen (2.0-2.5 kg).

Breed Characteristic: Rooster

Trunk: powerfully built, sleekly elongated, with broad shoulders, upright, elongated carriage; hold themselves like a game bird.

Back: good, medium-long, straight, barely narrows from the powerful, wide shoulders to the back; lightly slopes, with a wide, rich (but not too long) saddle.

Tail: A bit more than medium-long, with a pronounced tail angle; it carries the feathers lightly spread, with a lot of rounded, hard-shafted sickle feathers which lean toward the body in a beautiful semi-circle; set wide.

Breast: wide, full, carried somewhat high and bulging slightly towards the front.

Stomach: pretty wide, fully developed.

Wings: pretty long, slightly open, but not carried lose/floppy; they lay close to the body; the wing tips are under the saddle feathers.

Head: short, wide, rounded, with small brow ridges, and a mares neck (Translators note: where the hackle feathers curve out from the head, like a mane like a good Orloff rooster)

Face: red, fine skinned, free of feathers, short.

Eye: vivacious, fiery, yellow-red to red, deep set.

Beak: short, strong, yellow; horn-striped

Comb: not too narrow, laying well on the head, a knot of flesh on the front part of the skull; in the shape of a half, rather long strawberry; shouldnt go on past middle of eye; in a well-bred specimen it has tiny points.

Ear lobes: small, red.

Wattles: very short, do not obscure the red throat.

Throat: A little more than medium-long, powerful; feathers are not too long in the hackle; the hackle really highlights the mares neck, and does not cover the shoulders due to the short feathers.

Thighs: muscular, pronounced forward placement with smooth feathers.

Legs: good; medium-long, slim; unfeathered, yellow without red stripes.

Feathers: tight, no fluffy or loose plumage.

Breed Characteristics: The Hen

The powerful, slender trunk is carried almost horizontal; she shows a well-developed laying stomach that reaches far toward the back; a tail that is carried slightly open (spread), easily visible thighs, hard plumage, the comb is pretty small; wattles almost invisible; ear lobes small and red -- if pale like a game bird, this is not a fault.

(For good pictures of specimens of the colour names, see

Silberhalsig Rooster: Head: white; hackle is silver-white with pronounced black shaft line; back, shoulders and saddle are pure silver white, but with pronounced shaft lines; the wing covers are silver-white; cover feathers (Binden) are black with green sheen. The secondaries are white on the outside, but black on the inside and tip; the primaries are black with narrow white outer edges; the breast, stomach, and thighs are black; the tail is deep black with green sheen on the sickles.

Hen: head is silver-grey; hackle is silver-white with black or grey shaft lines; back, shoulders, and wings are grey with a fine silver-grey sprinkles and white feather shaft; and so every feather shows a narrow light silver-grey edge. No "Flitter" (light, shiny, unmarked edge of a speckled feather). Breast, powerful, salmon-colured; stomach moving toward tail a light ash-grey; tail is black-grey, looking as if sprinkled with flour.

Goldhalsig: Rooster: head, orange-red; hackle, with black or grey shaft lines; wing bows and back are gold-red; saddle feathers are gold-yellow with weak shaft lines; wing covers are gold-red with black cover feathers with green sheen; secondaries are brown on the outside, black on the inside and the tip; primaries are black with narrow brown outer edges; breast is black; rest of feathers are black; sickles have green sheen.
Hen: gold-yellow head; hackle is gold-yellow with black or grey shaft lines; the body feathers are of a light brown main colour colour tone even throughout, with fine black stripes or peppering; every feather has a yellow shaft and fine, equally wide narrow gold-yellow edges, with no Flitter; breast is salmon coloured; stomach and toward tail are brownish to ash-grey; tail is black with brown marks.

Major faults: short or narrow trunk; thin or short neck; too high or too low position; Maylay back; wings that hand down, are floppy; a steep tail or one that has few feathers or is flat; white or grey speckles in dark feathers; either a plump or narrow pointy narrow head; an abnormal comb; wattles that are large; fish eyes; plumage that is soft and fluffy; narrow sickles; duck-footedness; cowlicks in the neck feathers; twisted feathers;


For Silverhalsig: a rich, strong grey shaft line; a too long shaft line; black dots in the hackle; any impurities in the white brown, red, yellow tones; faded colour, or rust colour in the body feathers; neck without marks; mistakes in the salmon breast.

For Goldhasig: if it has one coloured, dark, or straw coloured hackle; impure marking; brown breast; if instead of a salmon breast, visible white fluff at the bottom of the feather shaft is visible; black dots in the hackle; back dots in any feather; noticeable rust colour.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2007 at 11:40PM
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Richard thank so much! It is truly wonderful to get this information! Your translation is nice and smooth too. I know no German at all. But I've done some translation between Spanish and English and I know what a challenge it can be, especially with specialty terms.

Wow! A breeding goal of "non-broody!" The ones we have here are the farthest from non-broody that I can imagine, except perhaps for Silkies or bantam Cochins. It will take me a while to digest this new info. But thank you so very much!


    Bookmark   July 6, 2007 at 11:54AM
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Velvet Sparrow, that's funny to hear you would call your hen a "Krankykopy!" Pronunciation or this name is a challenge for English speakers anyway. I once asked a young German visitor how to pronounce the name. But after the passing of time, I'm not sure that Spanish pronunciation isn't creeping in there! I pronounce it Cry-en-cope-ay ("ay" as we pronounce the letter A). Most I've heard say Crane-ee-cope-ee." "Twentse Hoen" would probably cause more headaches than "Kraienkoppe."

    Bookmark   July 6, 2007 at 12:11PM
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More like 'CRY-en-kohp-uh', pl 'CRY-en-kurp-uh'.

George, I am glad to have helped. You are king to compliment my warty translation. I am a Classical scholar and have practice with translations of Greek and Latin. German poultry terms are more numerous than in English, and my English is still a bit wobbly.

The Kaienkoeppe seem to be egg producers, so I imagine that is why non-sitting would be a good trait for them. But broodyness is a dominant trait, so if you get it once, it can spread quickly without selection.

Consider joining the German Association -- I bet an e-mail in English would get a response, and if it is in German, send it along and I'll translate for you. English is more common in Germany than you think.

Best wishes,


    Bookmark   July 6, 2007 at 8:51PM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

I told her we'd pronounce her breed name properly again when she quit being so cranky. :)

Thanks for the info!

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   July 7, 2007 at 3:14PM
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How much progress have you made in the past 2 years?

    Bookmark   June 14, 2009 at 5:48PM
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Thanks for asking! I haven't been dropping in here for quite some time and completely forgot about this thread.

Well, we still have our Kraienkoppes, and they are looking better than two years ago. We have fewer white legs cropping up and fewer off type combs. Still, last week, I was gazing at a couple of hens on one of our wood piles and suddenly realized: "Hey! One of you is going to be a cull!" I spotted a rose comb!

It has been a challenge, for the last two years, to hatch 100. This year has been, by far the worst. I sent off 173 eggs, to a friend, who claimed to have a really good incubator. I suspect he didn't watch hygiene. We only got back 30 chicks.

Also, with time, I'm recognizing the HUGE task it is, to really work with a breed. We still don't have the means to build extra pens. So, much of our selection is basically "hatch a bunch and cull the worst" until we have the size flock we need for production.

We haven't seen another white, since the one pictured above. Now I'm wishing that perhaps, another like him would show up.


    Bookmark   June 15, 2009 at 4:37PM
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