Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Beautiful Boys - Cheeto

While I've had wonderful success in reproducing brighter and bolder colors in my Aloha flock, I haven't had much luck in getting the size bigger.  The reason is simple - I have to add some bigger chickens into my flock.  Other breeds of chicken.  But, if you add outside chickens, you will lose the neat colors, at least for one generation.

Above: Cheeto's DAD - 1/2 NHR, 1/2 Aloha

I started with a New Hampshire Red, a purebred rooster who was bred to a large "Confetti" Aloha hen.  The result of this cross was a BIG RED ROOSTER that was half Aloha, half New Hampshire Red.  This is what he looked like.  (See Pic Above.)

The big yellow hen on the left was Cheeto's mom.

Then, I crossed that big red rooster with a Buff Rock Hen.  A Buff Rock is different from a Buff Orpington - a Buff Rock is even bigger.  These are some seriously huge chickens!  The result was several 1/2 Buff Rock, 1/4 NHR, 1/4 Aloha babies. 

Young Cheeto, and his brother.

Now, here's the problem - these chicks were only 25% Aloha, and 75% "big chicken" which means they have only a 25% chance of carrying the coloful, cool spots, and 75% chance of carrying nothing but regular boring solid chicken colors.  Hmmm.  Not good odds, but hey, I have to get the size up somehow.  The result of this cross was several GIANT bright golden-orange roosters with black tails.

Cheeto, all grown up.  Current "top dog" of the main breeding pen.

I held back a couple of these big gold rooster chicks, and one day, looking down at them, I saw a teeny tiny fleck of white on the feather of one gold rooster.  I pounced on him, and tagged his leg with a blue band.  It was one little white fleck, and no more.  Just on one feather.  Did it mean anything?

A longer tail would be nice, but THIS body size and shape is my goal.
Was that one little white feather a sign that he actually does carry the gene for nifty colors?  Even though the odds were against it?

Look at the size difference between Cheeto and his colorful small hens.

Did it work?  Could he pass on color, thanks to his Aloha grandmother?

I think so.  These should be his first chicks!

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