Saturday, September 29, 2012

October Breeding Pen - Sons of Cheeto

It's cooling off here in AZ, and finally the hens are starting to pick up on laying.  There is no longer any danger of chicks dying in the extreme heat.  It's perfect chick weather, actually - right around 100 degrees during the day, and about 80 at night.

I just hatched out some chicks, including shipped large fowl eggs that contain the "Dun" gene.  It's a modifier that could add a new color to the Aloha project.  It turns black into a chocolate brown, or in two doses, turns the chocolate into a shade of khaki-tan.  It has no effect on red.

I hatched out a few random Aloha eggs, but since everyone was wandering everywhere and the breeder pens weren't properly set up, who knows what these chicks will grow up to look like?  I don't have high hopes for them, but I hated to raise only a handful of chicks because it's pretty much the same amount of work to raise 5 or 25 chicks.

I ended up with six Dun chicks, and about 10 baby Alohas.

Next, I set up a new breeder pen.  In this pen, I placed two sons of Cheeto in there.  One was a "fading spot" chick you may remember from an earlier post.  He was "Chick #3" in this post:

Today he looks drastically different!

Cheeto's Son, #3

I also had another chick born about one month later, that was also clearly Cheeto's son.  He never had the amount of white shown on this chick.  However, he is a Mottled carrier, and does have a couple of stray white feather-tips here and there to prove it.  He had such amazing presence, I had to give him a shot.  I've named this guy "Dragon" and he's stunning:

Cheeto's Son, "Dragon"
While the ideal setup would have #3 in one pen and Dragon in another, each with their own set of girls, at the moment I'm stuck with just one breeder pen.  Since these boys get along great together, and are half-brothers, I tossed them both in there with the hens.  I have no idea who is dominant because I've never seen them fight.

I have a friend who may be able to toss a kennel my way, and if that works out, I'll put Dragon in with the hens with the most white, and put #3 in with the Sussex-type hens and hens with nice big spots.  (Since #3 DOES have spots all over.  They are just teeny tiny almost invisible spots, ha ha ha!)

There are 14 eggs collected so far from this group.  I can't wait to see what hatches out next month!

Here are more photos of the breeder pen, showing various hens and the two boys:

Dragon and three "Ginger" hens.

Part Sussex hen with gorgeous mottling.

Dragon, two small hens, and Nui - a huge half Aloha, half Sussex 

Beautiful Ginger hen with OK size.  (Not the smallest.)

#3 with a smaller hen for size comparison.

Clearly the boys get along fine!

A group of colorful girls.