I’d like to go over a part of the chicken that I feel is the most important line on any bird. Everyone including a lot of judges get carried away with top lines of birds, they never see the bottom line of the bird. The bottom line of your bird is by far, in my opinion, the most important line on the bird.
How can a Plymouth rock have a gravy bowl shape if it doesn’t have any heart girth. If the breast does not wrap down and meet the abdomen you can’t have a gravy bowl shape. Let’s take a Rhode Island red, if it doesn’t have the proper front end how can it have the Brick shape that the standard calls for?
What I look for on my birds, and this is any breed that I raise, is I want legs on the outside of the body. This will give your birds room for their internal organs, they will be more productive for you. Look at your birds for the front and the back to check out the width of them.
Next I want to feel a keel bone that has good length carried back between the legs. This will give the support needed to carry the organs. I believe that if you have a short keel bone your back length with suffer. Heart girth is very important especially in Plymouth rock large or bantam. But it’s important in every breed of poultry. Breast need to tie into the abdomen of every breed or your bottom line will lack you lose the shape of your breed. Don’t forget that the wrong feather can cause the underline to be off as well as the whole type of the bird.
Remember that shape defines the breed. I see lots of birds make it to the top of their class as champions and they lack bottom line. I’m not claiming to have perfect birds by any means, but I do have a clear picture of what they’re suppose to look like and continue to work towards it everyday. I’ve talked with judges and breeders alike about birds making it to BB or better and get a lot of “look at that top line” my reply is look at that bottom line; there isn’t one.
Not pointing any fingers or trying to start an argument, just wanting for you to look at the whole bird. Just giving you a little peek into how I look at birds, I don’t just settle for anything. Best advice that I can give you is to read your standard and breed by it. Remember just because the judge picked best it may have been all they had to use. Be honest with yourself. I see so many that just want to win and couldn’t care less if the bird is correct. These are just some of my thoughts that I thought I would share with y’all. If it helps one person then that’s a good thing. Have a blessed day, hope you look at your birds in a different way today and always.
by Danny Feathers