Saturday, April 26, 2014

A Peek Into the Future

I've had a few Alohas growing out from this past Fall.  Not a lot, just a handful of random chicks.

Most are really lovely, but typical Alohas.  Fantastic colors, but smaller in size.  Not Banty, but like a small Leghorn.  Here is one girl, who is just so darn adorable.  Perfect in every way.  Except size.

She's not ridiculously tiny, so I'm keeping her to try her with a larger rooster.

Here is another really pretty Ginger hen.  She shows slightly better size than the previous generation, and has yellow overlay on her slate legs.  She does show the lovely "tiger stripe" tail feathers that I love in the older Ginger hens.  Another who is beautiful, and colorful, and totally lacking in good body size.

That's been pretty typical of the past couple of years.  Many gorgeous hens who would be perfect, if just they were bigger!  The size issue has been such an obstacle.  It seems the second I get a hen to full size, the spots disappear.  I was beginning to think maybe it just wasn't possible?

But over the last few months, I've been waiting for this BIG baby girl to suddenly drop her color.  Here she is pictured on April 4th.  She clearly stands out next to her "normal" tiny Aloha siblings:

That monster-sized girl to the left.  Towering over the colorful little girls.  But, is she going to lose that color?

So, now 22 days have passed, and this is what I see today:

There she is now.  That's a full grown, pure Speckled Sussex behind her!  Another shot:

Pure Sussex behind and in front of her.  

Here she is again, with her itty-bitty and really pretty tiny Aloha sisters.

OK, now that we've established size, on with the photo spamming:

We are still not 100% there, but this is REALLY darn close to the final goal.  I'd like to see a little more depth and width to the body.

She has a looooong neck that doesn't show in the above pics but is more apparent in others:

And her tail set is a bit low.  Here is a photo of her SISTER who has other flaws (not quite as big as this girl, has pink legs) but sister is being kept for a breeding hen because she has a great tail and also shows wonderful extreme white coloring.

This is more of the tail set I'd like to see on the Alohas, a perfect boxy upright fan shape:
*NOT the same hen as above - her sister!
Note pink legs, heavier shading towards back, and fan-shaped tail.
Last, here is another wonderful hen growing out.  She is clearly half Speckled Sussex, but you will note, she is Sussex "with a twist"!  Much lighter color, a bit more pronounced spotting:

This hen is a perfect "in transition" hen.  She's not an Aloha yet, but halfway there.  I can see her chicks could possibly be wonderful Alohas.  Her size?  Exactly the same size as a regular Sussex.  Here she is shown with a hatchery New Hampshire Red, which are larger than Sussex:

I would eventually like to see the Alohas at the same size as a New Hampshire, which is why those NHR hens are in there!  I already have two half-Aloha, half NHR hens up at Stephen's house.  They were hatched in January, which means they are about four months old.  Both are large and show a stray white spot that indicates they carry the Mottling gene for spots.  So that big red hen?  Her daughters, are doing great, and her grand-chicks should be showing spots next year if all goes well!

This is a photo of the group of chicks back in January, that I raised and took the best of the group (three roos and about seven hens) up to Stephen's.  They are about four months now, and next month I'll really be able to see final size and pick out who to keep and who to sell.  Looks like only three or four hens will stay, and maybe one rooster?  Out of 30 chicks raised.  Such a lot of work to find those gems!

But it's all worth it when you do find a pretty one!