|Dubbing Modern Games
by Jennifer Floyd
| Moderns Game cockerels and cocks must be
dubbed - by November 1st of the year they're hatched - or it's a show
disqualification. I've been dubbing birds for over 25 years, so here is my take on how to do it.
| I dub anywhere from 5-8 months of age,
depending on development of the bird. Most recommend waiting until the two
main tail feathers are grown in before dubbing. The tail thing is partially age reckoning, partially you can get stress marks if you dub while it's growing.
I use standard dubbing shears, and buy mine from Randall Burkey. I know some just wrap the bird up, but I don't have a table or anything to set them on, so I get somebody to hold them for me. They cradle the bird, gripping legs in right hand, other hand over wings, bird facing their right shoulder. I grasp the front of the bird's comb tightly between thumb
and forefinger of my left hand, turn the head slightly to my right, and stretch the bird's head up, then snip off
the wattle from back to front, generally in 2 snips (have to angle the lower blade under the flap of wattle tissue that flattens to the face, rather than hangs straight down, in the 2nd snip). Then I gather most of the earlobe tissue (smooth
and sort of shiny, rather than the more granular face tissue) with the shears
and snip it off - may do a small snip or two after to make sure the lobe has neat edges.
| Then I straighten the head back towards the left, still stretched up, take off the other wattle, then lobe. I have 2 narrow strips where the wattles were removed, possibly a little wider towards the face if he was a little more mature
and had a bigger wattle attachment. I know some say take all the throat skin off,
it will make them have slimmer heads, but I don't think that's healthy or
necessary, if you have a correct head, it will be slender and snakey anyhow.
| Lastly, I snip the comb off, back to front, close to the head as I can get, 2 snips. They
may wiggle a little here, but I hold them by the beak to steady the head. I do dubbing at night, under an outdoor light,
and I just set them back on the roost afterwards. If healthy (good food
and genetics) they won't bleed but a drop or two. If they do, I snip a hackle feather
and put it on the comb. You could probably get by on less snips if you're dubbing
bantams; mine are all large, and the shears only reach so far.
| The next morning,
your cockerel should be bouncing around like nothing happened, and within
a week or so, almost all the scabs will have dropped off.