It's now mid April, and the Dun Project chicks hatched 11/17/15 are now right at 5 months old.
To refresh: Dad was a gorgeous Light Sussex cross (carrying Dun) with beautiful body shape, early to mature, but totally wrong color. Hens were big and spotted. Most chicks were wrong color (white with dun or black markings) but a small number were Mottled.
Here is a photo of Dad - who is a Light Sussex cross. Hens were spotty Alohas:
|Beautiful white boy and my best girls.|
This pen was done for one main goal:
Get a rooster as nice as Dad, in quality, but without the white color.
While the rest of the world is hatching in hopes of a big batch of hens, I was hoping for roosters.
Hopefully, a rooster with spots. Though honestly even just a nice, big, solid color carrying the gene for spots would have been a step in the right direction!
Luckily, it actually worked out, and we have this guy now:
|Not done growing - one month to full maturity.|
Needs work: More spots, bigger comb, longer tail, brighter yellow legs
He's not super spotted - fairly minimal - but more white than the Big Orange Roo.
|Big Orange Roo - beautiful but terrible breeder.|
Here is another shot of the new guy from the front so you can see that he has more white spangles:
|Slightly more white on the new guy.|
He is maturing early like his Dad - who was trying to mount hens at 4 months. American breeds are often early to mature. I had a hatchery New Hampshire Red rooster who was breeding at 5 months old. By contrast, my pure Swedish Flower rooster was clueless at 6 months, and it was about 9 months before he really figured things out. Swedish boys are gorgeous but continue to grow for up to one year so need patience.
Here are some more photos of this new rooster:
|New boy at 5 months. Not 100% mature.|
|Five months old.|
|Four months - not a good age for him|
|Two to Three months old.|
|One to Two months.|
Here are his siblings, the other four that I kept:
|Brother - Carries Dun but smaller in size.|
|Gorgeous big girl.|
|Smaller hen, carries Dun.|
|Wrong color, but note yellow legs and width.|
The above boys are very tall and gangly. Big roosters both of them, but not as wide or deep bodied as the Sussex bloodlines. They have terrific white spotting, yellow leg gene, and nice big combs that make it easier to pick out boy at a young age. (Important if you are hatching your own chicks so you can determine gender at earlier age.)
Interesting note on the Dun chicks from this Nov. 17 hatch. With the dad carrying Dun, statistically half the babies will carry dun and half will not. Strangely both the Dun rooster and hen both turned out smaller, though that is purely random chance. Because of smaller size this boy may be re-homed in favor of the larger brother:
|May be re-homed.|
|Younger hen also carrying Dun + Mottling.|
|Another young boy carrying Dun. Nice legs!|
|Yellow legs and incredible white on chest.|
|Note bigger comb from Turken parentage.|
So weirdly, the best looking Aloha rooster with the Dun gene so far, is part Turken, and from a less related blood line. Meaning I can breed this Dun NN to the above hens by the white rooster because this boy got the color through his Mom, not his Dad.
Dad to the Dun Naked Neck is this handsome half Sussex half Naked Neck Aloha rooter:
|Dad to Dun Naked Neck baby rooster.|
|Mom is half Buff Sussex half Aloha.|
There are many more hens not shown here who carry Dun plus a few more roosters with Dun, so we will see how those grow out. I simply haven't taken photos yet.
At this point from the Dun experiment, with the white rooster over nice large spotted hens, it looks like a whopping 2 chickens (out of the original 27 chicks) will make the final cut to the permanent breeding flock. The impressive rooster and his big beautiful sister. The others I may hatch a few chicks from and re home as backyard layers to make room, as sadly I don't have room to keep them all.