Speaking of backyard breeding projects, these are some of my mixed breed chicks from last season. These were ones I incubated.
This one, above, is Lemon. Everyone who visits likes him the best, but he doesn't do much for me. I believe my RIR rooster and one of my Cinnamon Queens are responsible for him. I had put some random eggs in the incubator for this batch as I didn't have quite enough "special" eggs from the breeding pens when I started. He's kind of a packing peanut, you could say.
This one is my favorite, the kids dubbed him Bronze Wing. He is an Easter Egger roo over a cuckoo Marans hen. I like the smokey color and the pop of orange on his saddle area. I really think I'm going to keep him, but not breed him. His male siblings do not have the smokey color, but they are barred and have the beards and muffs from the EE gene. I need to take a photography class or something. He's awfully pretty.
This is the EE roo I lost to the stock tank earlier this winter, and the sire for my Olive Eggers. I feel like he knew what a phone camera was. He would turn and let me see all his glossy feathers whenever I would try and take a picture. Other chickens may run away, but not Chocolate. He would slow down and pose for you. See his leg? He is showing you how nice his willow-colored chicken legs are. I would often hear "I'm too sexy for my pants" or "You're so vain" in my head when watching him show off his beautiful self. Will I ever have another rooster this beautiful?? The hens I got with him are great layers. I'm getting almost an egg a day from them right now. They are three years old!!! So you all can see my need for an EE roo to keep these good genes alive.
And Ralphie - here's a game for you - Find the Keet! Thought I had lost a guinea to the coyotes last summer. One day, I go out to open the coop and guess who is standing there with thirteen little keets?? I had heard about and seen guineas being mean to new birds, so I watched them carefully as I let out the main flock (hens, half-growns, and guineas at this point in the year). The guineas had apparently been talking before I let them out and all of them got into formation around the keets and took them foraging all through the fields and woods together. It was actually pretty amazing, because we know how stupid guineas are, right?? Any cat, dog, or bird who got too close to the keets would be charged by a few members of this elite squadron. I would check about an hour before dusk but could never find the mama and keets to try to bring them into the coop. But there they'd be every morning when I came out and the other guineas would come outside and get into formation and amuse me the rest of the day. Sadly, one morning about three weeks later, no mama and only five keets showed up. Well, we have a guinea named Gimpy that flies around a lot because she tore off her toes on one foot in a very guinea-like accident. She took up the mantle of mama guinea and the rest of the guineas would form around them. She had them in the coop the first night, and I still have all of them. However, one by one, my other guinea fowl went missing. I know the coyotes were running around in broad daylight some days. I still have the Gimpy mama and five almost fully grown keets, but I think the rest of them tried to chase off coyotes and became supper here and there. I am hoping one of them is a male, it is a rare thing to have a guinea brood and successfully raise a clutch of keets and I'd like to keep that instinct alive in my subflock. Too soon to tell, they are just now starting to look like fully grown adults. Just last week I had to check all their feet to see which one was the foster mom.
Here they were in the early fall.
Well, have a good day, folks!