Sunday, January 3, 2016

Dun Project Update

Just a short post to show the growth and changes to date on the Dun project pen!

Group pics of the babies, now six weeks old:

Above: Check out the Dun Calico chick on the far left!

The rooster was this BIG guy, who was huge and fast growing, with yellow legs (good) but was the white color with darker neck band, which is totally wrong body color for the Aloha project.

Dad: Wrong color, great type.  Light Sussex breeding.

Below:  Rooster with the "Moms" - big Spotty hens!
Goal of this breeding pen:  Get the "right" color on his kids!

21 chicks were hatched.

6 chicks were white with some black markings. (Wrong color.)

6 chicks were white with some Dun markings.  (Wrong color.)

5 chicks were Buff with some mottling.  Not the "right" color but good for breeding stock.

4 chicks ended up spotted!  (Mottled color.)

Mottled chick showing LOTS of white.
Mottled chick with white chest.
Small Mottled chick with white chest.
That is a LOT of work to get a handful of spotted chicks, but I'm very happy with the few Mottled babies that I did get.  I hatched out several more from this Dun pen and another nice breeder pen, and even more eggs are in the incubator now.  But, these new chicks will be mixed from another breeding pens, so this will be our only "pure test" of just this rooster's chicks exclusively.

Unfortunately, I don't have enough pens to keep test batches separate.  From here on out, I will raise batches of chicks and look for the best chicks in the batch, although I may not know exactly who the dad of each baby chick is.  It's nice that I had a chance to try it on this batch of chicks.  It is a lot of fun to see how different all these chicks can be, even with the same rooster!

Bonus:  Most of the chicks do have Dad's yellow legs.

Colors will change a lot as the chicks grow.  We won't know final size for many months. Generally, the size and colors on baby chicks stabilize around four months old, which would be middle of March.  They continue to "fill out" for two months after.  Most chickens are fully mature between 5-7 months of age.

I kept all of the Mottled chicks, all of the Buff chicks (several carry Dun) and one white chick with Dun pattern - who probably won't be very helpful but was too adorable to re-home.  The rest of the chicks that were white with either Dun or Black patterning have been re-homed with friends of the Aloha project.  (I am keeping track of where they went to.)

The babies should be mature and ready to breed by May 2016.