Monday, July 2, 2012

The First Swedish Flower x Aloha Chicks

Shown here at almost one month old, are the very first Swedish Flower x Aloha chicks!

About 35 were hatched.  Aren't they just fabulous?

A small number may need to be culled.  I see one that is way too dark, and a few gray legs.  (I'll let the pink legged ones stay as breeding stock, until I can hatch enough with yellow legs.)  But I see way more keepers than culls!

There were three Swedish roosters running with my Aloha flock, and the dominant one featured a blue tail.  He's now moved on to Laree's house to cover her Aloha flock this fall.  I've kept the black-tailed rooster for myself.

My purebred Swedish rooster, who will be crossed with little full Aloha hens.
If these cuties can make it though the summer, they would be mature by December.  That means I could possibly have a breeder pen of 1/2 Aloha, 1/2 Swedish hens to use for Spring hatching!  These could be incredibly valuable paired with other half-Aloha crosses.

Here is a rooster that is NOT a Swedish Flower, but Aloha.  He has some Buff Rock in his pedigree, to improve size and type.  If he was paired with half Aloha, half Swedish, his kids would be 1/2 Aloha, 1/4 Swedish, and the remainder mostly Buff Rock.  This Buff Rock blood Aloha rooster can help fix the pink legs on the half Swedish, half Aloha babies:

Aloha Rooster with added Buff Rock bloodlines.
Another possible use for the half-Swedish chicks, especially those that showed lighter color, would be to use them on very colorful Aloha roosters.  This rooster in particular needs to be given a flock of hens:
Older bloodline, FULL Aloha rooster.  Hatched 2009, I think?
Would also be great crossed with yellow-legged 1/2 Swedish Flowers.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

This is an Aloha Chicken.

This spring, I gave my new neighbor a batch of young Alohas.  I included what looked to be a few "Confetti" colored roosters.  Not because they failed to look promising!  It's just that with the Confetti color, you should not cross two Confetti's together, or the Barring will become dominant.  So you can have a Confetti rooster, OR Confetti hens.  Otherwise the gene will "take over" and soon your flock will be ONLY this color and nothing else!  Since I love all the colors, including my orange mottled Ginger girls and all the other fun Aloha shades, this is not acceptable.  I certainly wasn't giving up my adorable Confetti colored hens!  So, I gave my neighbor the baby Confetti roos.  (I did not get any Confetti hens from this batch.)

Well, look what grew up out of this batch.  I suspect, judging from size and type, that Cheeto was the dad.  I guess not ALL of his sons will lose their color?  Look at this guy now:

NOT a Swedish Flower Rooster - It's an Aloha!
He has good size. A deep body.  Bright yellow legs.  Sizable single comb.  Unique color not seen in any other standard size, dual-purpose breed.  His tail does need improvement, it could be much longer.  But that is his only fault.  I can officially say that this is an actual Aloha chicken!  YAY!

Aloha rooster - contains Buff Rock and NHR + Origianal Aloha Stock.

Now this fellow has to survive the AZ summer temps, and my neighbor's stock has started to wander into his front yard!  While he takes wonderful care of his chickens, he can't protect them if they leave his fenced yard.  This guy is literally one roaming dog attack away from being history.  If he can make it just a few more months, I have a pure-bred Swedish Flower Hen that I'd love to hook him up with:

Pure Swedish Flower hen

Speaking of long or short tails, check out this young rooster, who is obviously of strong Sussex lines.  Both Sussex and the original Aloha stock (which carries a bit of Exchequer Leghorn) have extremely long tails, and this little fellow got a double-dose of flamboyant tail genes!  Wonderful!  Check it out:

What a tail on this youngster!  Wow!
He also has copious amounts of big, bright spots on his chest.  And, while his color is brown, it's not nearly as dark as a pure Sussex.  His faults:  Too small.  Pink legs.  So he needs to be bred to very large hens with yellow legs.  Luckily, I have two new pure Buff Rock pullets the same age as him.  These new Buff Rock gals are sweet and friendly.  Buff Rocks have HUGE size, but short stubby tails.  I'm hoping he will give those hens the genes for bright mottling, and help improve the tail length.  The babies would not show any spots, but would carry them.

Cheeto Chicks, All Grown Up.

The Cheeto Chicks:  Final Results!

A very puzzling thing happened with these three colorful Cheeto chicks.  As they matured, they all began to lose their spots almost entirely.  I have heard a few references to this phenomenon, but since so few folks have been trying to create new mottled birds until recently, there is still a lot to figure out.

At any rate, the three rooster chicks do have some small amounts of white here and there, so I'm giving at least one of them a shot to see if he will produce chicks that show more color  (and keep it to adulthood.)  This is also going to change the way that I evaluate chicks.  The babies that previously, I'd say carried "too much white" may need to be kept around for a while to see how they end up.  Also, I have heard from Mottled Cochin breeders, that the roosters tend to lose a lot of white as they mature, while the hens will often keep their white or gain even more white as they age.

The only colored chicks in this batch were all male, (the single colored hen chick had to be put down) so I'll be eager to try another test batch of Cheeto-chicks in the fall.  I can't wait to get some baby pullets with this much white that are sired by Cheeto.  Will I have better luck keeping the white color on Cheeto's daughters?  Time will tell!

Now - pictures!  Remember these are the same three chicks shown previously, and they are all the same age.

The first photo shows the rooster chick that showed the MOST white as a chick.  Kind of discouraging, isn't it?  Where did the spots go?  Ha ha!

Weedy, lanky, not of good body type.  Nice yellow legs, though.
The tallest rooster, but seems slow to mature and not as plump.
Third rooster.  Great stout body type, big comb. closest to Aloha body type. 
I'd like to see a long, flowing tail on rooster #3, but overall this is a nice Aloha body type that I'm working towards.  Practical, too, as this bird is the most meaty and "ready to butcher" of the three, I think?  The goal is to have Alohas be a practical, dual-purpose farm breed, good egg layers, but when you hatch chicks and end up with too many roosters, the extra roosters should be large enough to eat.

Not that I've ever been able to eat one of my chickens in all these years of raising them.  If anything, having my pet project flock makes me lean towards eating beef, ha ha.

I'm leaning towards rooster #3 for being the most practical.  Another note, the three roosters caught some kind of bug early on.  I medicated them once, and it went away, only to come back in roosters #1 and #2 while Chunk #3 seems to have overcome it all on his own.  Bonus points for strong immune system!