The story of Bruce Barnett ′′ Mr. Sweater ".
Although the Sweater breed has been worked on by several US breeders, Mr. Bruce Barnett has been recognized for his fine line of Sweater roosters; and his clients in the Philippines especially Sonny Lagon gave him this nickname for having the most winning roosters in this stretch competing year-to-year in the Slasher World Cup.
The Bruce Barnett farm is located in the north-center of Alabama State, to be exact in the town of Nauvoo. It's a modest galley but very clean and in the best condition.
Mr. Barnett tells us that his taste in roosters began when he was in school and was very young, if anything he was 10, this was in 1957, he joined his colleagues on Saturdays to meet his ′′ Bantam ", the one who ran lost and was the mockery in class the following week. There was a friend who had a rooster ½ Bantam ½ rooster combat, he was the champion, his rooster always kept; time later he changed his house, and in my new residence I found a young man who raised true roosters of roosters Combat, these roosters was Law / Clipper, they caught me a lot of attention. At the time we moved to California, I think it would be like in 1965; back in that state I met a Lord who was from Alabama, he was the father of my best friend, he liked many roosters, I don't know where he got eggs from of combat roosters, the incubus, the raised and it was the day to go to play them, he invited his son, his nephew and no one wanted to accompany him, so I told him I accompany him, the serious trip to Arizona, there we were a couple of days, there I found out that this sport was my passion. Finished high school in 1966 and returned to Alabama.
Time later I enlisted in the army because I didn't get a good job I had to be in Chicago and occasionally return to Alabama. With my savings I bought some roosters, it was 5 or 6 and I played them, I was in the army for two more years, on my way out I started working for the railroad, this was like 1970. in 1972 I met and married my wife Cynthia, I remember we married on a Saturday and Sunday I went to buy a trio of twists and started raising, I also had round heads and hatch besides the twists which crossed each other. I gained experience and became a referee, judge of cockfighting, like for 12 or 14 years. I was also an entrepreneur in two palenques, one was the Clear Creek for 4 years and Panken Valley for another 4 years.
Mr. Barnett started you with twists, with round heads, but your Sweater's where do they come from?
All over Alabama there are Sweaters, most of us got from Carol NeSmith, I think he was the one who gave these roosters the fame. Apart from Carol's lines, I acquired some from a friend named Newton Wait, who in turn got them from Sony Ware; Sony in turn acquired them from Roy Brady. Both Brady's and Mr. Jumper were darker Sweater, I don't know who, if Roy or Sony crossed them with Radio, or maybe both, but through that cross they started to come out more yellow. This is how I acquired them in 1989.
Many now call them orange or alimonates (Lemons) and basically their features are very similar shaped body, pea comb crest (peak pea comb) yellow legs, red eyes, and very fast legs.
Mr. Barnett, why do you think the roosters in this area are so winning?
I believe that the states Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky and Tennessee have a rich ground in minerals and nutrients, that's why the birds develop better but I think the weather is also a very important factor, here the 4 seasons, are very much marked, that is when it's summer, it's hot, and when it's winter it's very cold, very temperate in autumn, and in spring it's ideal for chickens breeding. I think in an area of 400 miles around, we have one of the world's best weather sites to raise combat roosters. Because if you think, it's in this area, where the most important kennels of these birds are.
Mr. Barnett, could you tell us how to choose good parents to get out great chickens
Of course you have to choose a good father and a good mother, but I'm going to tell you something fundamental, they have to be healthy; I do is choose my studs in November, I put them in the volleyballs and feed them as if they are going to fight, once a week I put them vitamin B12, deworm and supply them with first-ever foods, add vegetables, boiled egg, spinach, vitamins; it's like I'm preparing them for the show. In the chicken laying a single egg is a strong wear, as it steals a lot of calcium, vitamins and nutrients from your body. So so much to parents but ultimately more to the mother, you have to have her in the best condition.
If we don't do it like this, the mother of our champions will quickly weaken, and this is definitely not in our best interests.
Mr. Barnett, what families are you currently raising?
Sweater I've purchased since 1989, I also have the Gilmore Hatch, Kelso 20 grands, Radio and few Round Heads, Lacy Round Head.
Sweater cross with the Round Heads line, is it good?
The reality is my Sweaters crossed them with all my lines with good results.
And which cross do you consider best?
In particular my sweaters I like to cross them with my Hatch family, also with Kelso and then with the Round Heads, in that order I consider the best crosses come out. Although, he also crosses it with Radio league very well, although for me the best is with Hatch.
Mr. Barnett when fights were allowed in USA, what was his basic method of preparation?
My method starts since I put my chicken coop to raise. Because all you do is prepare the rooster from birth, until the day he plays. But of course there's a conditioning, a lot of people do it in two weeks, I think it's not enough, I don't think all the potentials of the rooster will be discovered in two weeks. Start with a few weeks in advance, preparing and selecting your roosters that are in physical, mental and ideal weight, etc. I consider that at least two months before the fight. You're noticing this because you grab them, drive them, and notice their changes and adaptation, so 4 weeks before the fight you start a food program, but when you reach this point and your roosters have developed an excellent body and attitude that tells you they're almost ready.
Now when you top a rooster, you're looking for a reason to eliminate it, maybe it's because it did not give the performance you expected or because its stumbling was lower than others, you have to eliminate favoritism, if a rooster does not satisfy you, take it out of the preparation though be your spoiled rooster. But before the last month you've already spent a lot of hours with your roosters to get to that point.
Mr. Barnett, in Mexico who buys him roosters?
Mr. Arnoldo del Rio is a very important customer, his party is called Jiquilpan, you more than I must know him, I also sell two other important customers, although nowadays, many breeding feet are going for the whole Mexican Republic.
What's your recommendation for Mexico's rookie breeders?
They do everything they can to provide your birds with the best of the best, and this is what I suggest to everyone: if you have 100 roosters and can not have them in optimal conditions, lower your production to 50 and if not you can with 50 go to 25, but they are well cared for and treated. Now that if you can have 100 roosters first, go ahead. I mean, you have the time to dedicate to them, because this means a lot, the dedication you give to your roosters. You guys should select the weather, I've traveled to Guadalajara and Michoacán, the weather is warm to tropical, I know the earth is very fertile, but I think it's too hot, they must look for a place where it's not so hot throughout the whole year.
Mr. Barnett is grateful for his time for this interview.