Texas Monthly June 2011
Jones, who lives in Gatesville, Texas has been raising game chickens for almost fifty years. He sells his birds to clients around the world,
Bobby Jones on breeding technique:
“The reason my birds were an overnight success is that in 1970 I secured two bloodlines from a famous breeder in Killeen, Joe Goode. He was a mentor of mine. He was breeding his fowl the way everyone does today, except he was thirty or forty years ahead of his time. Back then, breeders focused on pure bloodlines—the chicken business has as many as the cattle industry does, with its Holsteins and Herefords and Brahmans—but what Goode did was find a quality rooster, then breed the rooster’s sisters to another quality, tested rooster. If he found a bird with particularly desirable characteristics, he’d take him out of fighting and focus on breeding him.
Breeding game chickens is like breeding racehorses. I mean, think of how many foals Secretariat sired. You can’t tell if a bird is promising the moment it hatches; you have to watch it over time. Ultimately what makes a good bird great is the way you care for it. It’s a 365-day-a-year job: overseeing what kind of feed your birds get, their water, their nutrients and vitamins. This animal husbandry is where it’s all at; the harvesting is just a small part of a bird’s life. I now own five bloodlines: a straight-comb red, a straight-comb dark-legged, a pea-comb, a black, and what we call a gray—it’s actually more or less yellow. Most of these breeds are referred to by their colors.”
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