Pros: Great broodiness, amiable personalities, great feed conversion
Cons: Poor vision, general goofiness makes them susceptible to predators, especially when young
That's the most politically correct response that we receive when people first meet our Showgirls.
Many use LOTS of colorful expletives.
These are elaborately arranged to communicate that our visiting humans don't quite believe that these chicken-ish creatures are, in fact, the same species as their Chicken McNuggets.
"What's wrong with them?"
"They're so ugly they're cute! I want some!"
"Are they half rabbit?"
Or, my all time favorite:
"IT'S A REAL, LIVE MUPPET!"
Showgirls are some of the most unique and entertaining chickens you can keep. They are quiet, small, and convert feed very economically.
They are fantastic mothers; even roosters do a good job helping to raise chicks, and broodies often team up to help each other raise bigger families. Our girls go broody every couple months, regardless of day length or weather conditions.
Showgirls are a work in progress.
The goal is to create a bantam bird with 5, evenly spaced toes, compact Silkie body type and Silkie soft feathering, dark beaks, even purplish-black skin, a walnut comb, dark eyes, large Silkie crests, naked necks (with bowties, beards, both, or neither), and good mothering abilities.
Breeders begin by crossing bantam Transylvanian Naked Necks with high quality Silkies in order to secure the dominant, expressed Naked Neck gene. The first generation from this cross doesn't look much like a Showgirl at all, but does have a naked neck. From there, breeders cross these hybrids back to high quality Silkies in order to improve type conformation. They begin to look like presentable Showgirls by about F7 or F8, if the breeder is lucky.
Showgirls can be had in every color that one could find in Silkies. We specifically breed for Paint Showgirls currently. Paint pairings can produce white, black, and Paint offspring. We are currently awaiting the maturation of a quality, bowtied Paint Showgirl cockerel to take over roostering duties. His girls will be White, Paint, and Black Showgirls.
Hatching eggs and chicks should be available beginning Summer 2013.
The Paint color pattern is a very new program, and there are very few serious breeders of Paints. Like Showgirls themselves, Paints are a work in progress. The goal is to create a conforming white Showgirl with black spots. Paint birds are NOT the same as Splash birds. Paint feathering is complete - that is, black feathers are entirely black, and white feathers are entirely white. There are "holes" in the genetic pattern of technically White birds that allow Black feathers to come through the predominantly white feathering, resulting in polka-dotted chickens. A particular problem with creating quality Paint Showgirls is that not only do these genetic "holes" affect feather pigment, but skin and eye pigment as well. It is common for Paint offspring to hatch with pink spots on their purple skin, and/or colorless spots in their eyes. This is a trait that must be aggressively culled out of any serious flock, though the pink-and-purple spotted babies are super cute and make great, unique pets.
It is very difficult to sex Showgirls before sexual maturity. You really don't fully know what you have until it either crows or lays an egg. Feather patterns also change as birds mature, so it is difficult to judge the quality of an individual bird until they are fully grown.
Showgirls are a hobby for us. We typically hatch very small numbers of eggs at a time in order to be able to adequately care for everyone and not end up overrun with little Showgirls. We have several other chicken breeds that provide us with colorful egg baskets, but only breed Showgirls.