There were six young hens that I couldn't bear to re-home, however, even though my new plan is to start "fresh" every year with an all-in, all-out management policy. These hens just started laying in the last month or so. These are the closest I've come to the project goals. A couple were featured on the last Blog post.
Here are a bunch of the most recent photos with evaluation of their good/bad traits. I'm happy to say on some of these hens, they are almost totally to project goals.
Above: This hen is a Sussex X Aloha cross. I'd like to see a little lighter base color, and golden yellow legs, not pink, but she has great size and gorgeous tail shape.
She will probably grow into her long neck and perhaps widen a bit over the coming months. However, I still prefer the overall body shape and type of the half-Sussex hen. This hen has better color and is taller, though, so for right now I'd grade the two as being equal. Both need improvements, but are nice colorful, large hens.
I do believe she has the potential to create the "perfect" Aloha babies! I can't wait to hatch out her chicks!
Next is that cute little baby hen that I took a photo of perched on the water dish last time. She's still adorable!
Her body is OK. It's compact and fairly wide, but could be deeper and more square in the keel. The tail set is all right but not as "neat" as the half-Sussex hen's. Feathers look a bit messy. I'm trying for a neat, tidy fan shape in Alohas. She is more balanced than the previous hen with all the white, without the "downhill" effect, but she is not nearly as large. She still is a wonderful and really flashy hen, however.
And speaking of flashy, there is also this girl:
You can see she still has many hints of her Game heritage, but is not nearly as slight or leggy in build.
And then we have this white-tailed hen, who also shows a lot of Sussex influence, but mostly has Aloha showing through:
For now, I have two Sussex-Swedish bloodline roosters running with them. These boys could use more white and a lighter base color, but they are big with excellent body type and bright yellow legs. They will help improve the size and type on their chicks. My favorite in terms of color is this guy with the reddish neck:
My neighbor also has an enormous and very-spotty rooster, who right now is exactly the same size as her pure Rhode Island rooster. (And here I thought the Rhode Island of hers was large!) I may borrow him later this summer to try with the hens, but for now, this little group has a lot of potential. I want to hatch out chicks from these while my Aloha babies mature.
I've hatched out and am raising about 100 baby Aloha chicks, but those will not be laying until November or December of 2014. Here is a photo showing just a few of the new babies that will not be mature for months:
This little group of adults shown will be the only source of "new" chicks here at home. But what a nice tiny flock it is! I'm very excited to see what hatches from these. Here's a few group shots of the Summer 2014 Aloha flock.
|What a future Aloha flock will look like. Yay, progress!!!|
|Two hens shown in this pic, the all white and all brown hens, will be re-homed soon.|
The spotty hens are the "keepers".