Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Return of Ginger

My original flock of Alohas was very, very small.  "Oddball" the banty hatched out a handful of chicks for me; but after that, she refused every rooster that I put her with.  I kept four of those chicks by Oddball, two hens, Kona and Ginger, and two roosters, Patch and Vanilla. 

That's the basis of all the Aloha stock around today.  No really.  That's it.  Four chickens.

Two of the original four Alohas - Ginger and Patchwork.

My favorite hen by far was Ginger.  This is Ginger, as a youngster, sitting with a young Patch.

This was Ginger.

She was always kind of gamey in type, and small.  But her color was more and more vibrant as she grew.  Unfortunately, there was one BAD thing Ginger inherited from her mom, "Oddball".  SHE HATED ROOSTERS.  She was hard to find in the yard, because there she would be, off in a corner by herself.  Away from the rooster.

I'd go out and collect the eggs, and there would often be two - one from Ginger, one from Kona.  But as time went on, only half the eggs were fertile.  The lighter eggs were always sterile.  Guess who laid the lighter eggs?  Yep.  Ginger.

I figured someday perhaps Ginger would "fall in love" with the right guy.  In the meantime, she was a total slacker.  I don't know if any of her eggs were ever fertile.  A few I wonder about.  One ended up with Laree and we have our suspicions, she has a resemblence to Ginger.  None of the others grew up to look remotely like her, however.

Sassafrass, a gift to Laree.  Was this Ginger's daughter?

But tragically, Ginger was lost fairly early in the program.  I was dosing the hens as a precaution; one hen had a swollen eye.  It could be simply something got into her eye and irritated it.  However, a swollen eye sometimes is a sign of a certain illness.  She showed no other sypmptoms, but I thought it would be a good idea to treat all the hens in with her.  Three hens, including Ginger, were isolated in a "sick pen".  Even though she had no signs of illness, I thought since they had been exposed, it would be best. 

I did the proper dosing, but it was a very hot day.  Maybe the hens drank too much of the medicated water, and overdosed.  I'd treated just the one with the same batch of medicine only a week before with no ill effects,but the temps had since climbed to 105 degrees.  This is the best theory I could come up with.  By the late afternoon, all three hens in that pen, including Ginger, were dead.  One had only that swollen eye, but otherwise was alert and healthy. The other two appeared perfectly healthy earlier that morning.

Thank goodness I had tons of chicks growing out to replace these hens.  But not a single one looked like Ginger.  Not until this spring, when I had a great surprise.  First one hen, then another, and then another!  Three little carbon-copies of Ginger!  What a wonderful thing to see. 

I am not really sure where they came from, and why I never saw any quite like Ginger until just this year.  There is one little suspicion . . . remember, at the top of this post, I showed you Ginger, with her brother Patch?

This is Ginger's brother Patch, all grown up.

Laree owned Patch.  Patch had a chick.  This chick wasn't much to look at, but because she came from a  slightly different bloodline, and I'd never used any of Patch's offspring in the program before, I put her in a breeding pen over here last spring, anyway:

Patch's daughter - this hen's mom is unknown Aloha stock.

She's the hen on the bottom right corner of this photo.

Small, gamey, plain, she wasn't much to look at.  But are these her chicks?  I wonder if this these hens are Patch's grandkids?  Related to Ginger, though her brother.  It would explain why I never saw something like Ginger until this last year, when I brought in two of Patch's daughters to use for breeding. Until affordable chicken DNA tests come out I'll never know, ha ha.  It's just a theory.

(PS - I have never used that medication again . . . )

No comments:

Post a Comment