Selective breeding in backyard flocks

reading time: 5 minutes

Tracy Dellore- If you have ever kept a number of chickens, you are bound to say, “I wish the chicken had a smaller comb” or “I wish I had more chickens that laid blue eggs.”

Here’s the good news! If you do any hatching at home, whether in an incubator or with a broody hen, you can do some selective breeding to get the traits you want in your flock. It takes a little searching for the herd.

Selective traits of selective breeding

I love green eggs. I just think they are beautiful, so I am trying to breed more of this trait in my flock.

Much of this comes down to personal preference. I selectively breed for two traits – smaller combs/pendants and more green eggs. Why? First, winters in central New York are very cold, and chickens with small combs and wattles are less susceptible to frostbite. Secondly, I think green eggs are beautiful.

Becky here is a sweet Australopithecus cross that has a cute little comb. It is also generally smaller than a typical Australorp.

It has been somewhat successful in achieving this goal. I have several Australorp crosses that either have very small combs or even rose comb. And you add several new layers of green eggs to the flock.

Your traits may be different. It doesn’t really matter what the traits are. The general method is the same.


The little ones here look like a chipped rock, but they lay green eggs.

This is the first rule of selective breeding in your backyard flock. You should have a good general idea of ​​which chicken lays eggs. This is not a problem if you have blue or green eggs and want to hatch those who know which hens from those eggs also have a chance of laying blue or green eggs.

It’s more difficult when you have a group of breeds that lay similar colored eggs. It took me about two years to really learn the differences between my eggs. The lighter tan to almost pinkish eggs likely came from one of the Buff Orpingtons or their offspring. The slightly darker brown eggs are likely from one of my banned rocks. The rich brown eggs with dark spots were likely an inhabitant of Astralur.

You need to spend some time with your flock around egg laying time and start to find out which eggs are best for your chickens. You will then know which eggs to hatch and which eggs to have for breakfast instead.


Buddy is a cockerel, which means he gets the first pick of the chickens. However, with his huge comb and wattles, I don’t want to use him for breeding.

Well, if you are hatching at home, the rooster is an important part of the process. So make sure you choose your rooster wisely for selective breeding in your backyard flock. Do not bring in or keep roosters that have undesirable traits.

Now I have four cocks. One Cochin Bantam named Oreo he is four years old and my daughter’s pet. He is also shorter than everyone else and not a successful breeder because of that. We can exclude it from the education equation.

Of the other three roosters, only one has all the traits I want.

Before the sweltering spring-summer season, I’ll need to assess all three and decide who stays and who needs to go before I do any hatching, and that’s a big part of selective breeding in backyard flocks.

Chunk is a dick to my surprise it came out of the trash. He is an amazing fellow and I have been keeping him for some breeding to bring in more of the green egg gene.

The olive oil rooster is beautiful and I tend to keep him to bring more green egg genes to the flock. However, he does have a huge comb and wattles, which are traits I try to steer clear of. Same goes for one of the boys who were hatched here. He is very handsome, but he has a very large comb and pendants.

My third rooster is a handsome cross with a small pea comb and almost non-existent dahlias. Perfect for what I’m looking for! This spring I will watch the ladies he seems to like and make sure I collect the eggs from them to hatch.

Let’s hatch some eggs!

It will take a little detective work on your part, but you can also do some selective breeding within your backyard flock.

The dove is one of my most beautiful chickens. She also has the little comb and pendants which I like best with the bonus of laying green eggs. I will definitely be using some of her eggs to hatch this year.

Tracy Dellore She grew up around chickens on her family’s farm, but didn’t start raising her own chickens until she was in her forties. Her desire to raise chickens came from her desire to get her fresh eggs from the chickens she knew were well cared for and happy. Tracy started with six chickens — then the chicken math took over. These days, she has about 60 chickens — and three “rotten” ducks. (I say this because having ducks is like living with small children.) Tracy also raises and occasionally handles her own broiler chickens. follow her Instagram.

Originally posted on Community Chickens and has been regularly checked for accuracy.

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