Originally Posted by cree57i
I am a crazy person for Swedish Flower Hens. They are my all time favorite breed. These guys look a lot like them, but are different too. What do you see as the differences that make them unique? They are drop dead gorgeous BTW! Congratulations on your hatch and your breeding project! Also, what do they look like as chicks and what is their temperament? So many chickens and so little time...
Thanks for the compliments! I tried the "pure" Swedish - brought one rooster and one hen into the Aloha program so there is a "dash" of Swedish in these now.
I liked the Swedish size, when mature, but they were very slow growing compared to Alohas. It took them a very long time to reach maturity. They grew tall very quickly, but took a very long time to fill out. Swedish Flower Hen didn't lay until 7 months. Rooster was clueless as to how to breed hens until about 8 months? He was about 10 months old before he really figured things out.
I also noticed is the Swedish were not as predator savvy. That was a surprise!
The Alohas are very "watchful" and while curious, they really don't like to be handled or petted. If you stare at them directly, they will try to hide behind something. They instinctively know that a predator focusing on them is what happens right before an attack. If you ignore Alohas, they will come close. They are curious, but they are also super smart and know when something is up. You really can't fool them. I have a big net in the coop, because you can NOT catch an Aloha by hand. Unless it's roosting at night. Ha ha ha!!!
Aloha's color originally came from "Game" bloodlines, it turns out. Took me a while to figure that out. I found a line of Game chickens called "Spangled Butcher" and I think that is where the Aloha color came from?
The original Aloha stock were Hispanic "mutt" chickens that I found in downtown Phoenix.
I think the Games just mixed with the feed store stock in the backyards of Hispanic families, and the cool spotty chickens I found back in 2007-2008 were the result? Because they weren't pure fighting chickens. They were never super aggressive to begin with. Not to me, not to other chickens. Then I bred them with "friendly" chicken breeds, like Sussex and Leghorns, and culled anything that was mean or bullied the other chicks.
I mixed those little spotty Game-ish type chickens with Speckled Sussex, Exchequer Leghorn, New Hampshire Red, and Buff Rock. Then I added a dash of Swedish, around 2011. More recently, in 2013, I started to add Buff Sussex and Light Sussex for size. The Light Sussex color has been a bear to try and breed out, but I'm hoping the size improvement will be worth it.
Alohas are smaller than Swedish. About Leghorn size? Maybe 3 pounds on average for hens? Often with more spots. Mature in 5-6 months. Good fliers! I have seen the smaller lighter-bodied ones fly to the top of 6 foot fences with ease. As I mix in some "heavy" stock that will keep them more grounded. I will probably never be able to get Alohas as big as Swedish, but I hope to at least get them to "medium" size. Like the same size as an average hatchery Production Red? 4-5 pounds? Any heavier, and the hens tend to drop like flies in the summer heat.
Alohas handle the heat much better than pure Sussex. Very tough little chickens. That dash of Game blood makes them durable. However, they don't fight like Games. I house roosters together. I have 6 roosters living together in one pen at the moment! They chase each other a bit, but it's mostly show. Alohas roos are not aggressive in general.
I had more human aggression issues with the pure Swedish boy than I ever had with an Aloha. Though to be fair, the Swedish rooster was an "extra" raised as a pet by a family.
Sussex roosters are super sweet, I've got a big Buff Sussex boy with some little Aloha hens in a breeder pen right now. This will make some pretty babies with nice personalities, too. As big as this boy is, he has never made one aggressive move towards me. He's a big softie.
Wish the pure Sussex took the heat better, but they really don't do well in AZ. This BIG boy was hatched in March 2015, so he survived the heat, and has proved himself already! (We had a very rough summer and I was worried about him, but he did it! Good job, rooster.)
Swedish chicks have lots of white as babies, all over, and they "drop" the color at four months old. This chick is probably Swedish color:
Speckled Sussex hens - they have a white "bib" as chicks, and then right at four months, the "bib" suddenly blooms into spots all over! It's amazing!
This little chick shows the Speckled Sussex type of mottling:
This Aloha chick will probably see that white chest spread out to the whole body. Sussex chicks have hardly any white other than the chest. It's weird how differently Swedish and Sussex color up as babies. Since I have both types in my flock, mine can go either way.
I predict the baby above will look something like this Aloha hen, when fully grown:
This is more the Aloha goal. Spotted, but lighter in color than Sussex. (Not that dark "Mahogany" brown.) Yellow legs.
I actually prefer a bit more white, more like this hen:
Finally starting to reach my goal! These hens are a bit small. Not tiny, but not big. Maybe 3 or 4 pounds? Want them to be 4-5 pounds when done. So they still need a bit of work on size.
But, with the constant infusions of "big" chickens - they are finally starting to lose that "gamey" look.
My next infusion will likely be German New Hampshire bloodlines? I really loved the early maturity of the New Hampshires when I added them early in the Aloha program. But it's a lot of work to get the spots back! Takes about 2 years to re-establish the color. So I have to choose each new introduction very carefully.
Edited by alohachickens - 12/30/15 at 8:45am