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Blue Wyandotte crosses

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Note to MOD: please place this thread in the correct forum (maybe Pictures & Stories of My Chickens, im not sure)

This thread is more for my own records and so the people who are raising my crosses can compare notes. However, if someone else accidentally learns something from this thread, then all the better.

So here's the story. I had a beautiful blue Wyandotte rooster who mated almost every hen in my mixed flock of 12, so I decided to make some chicks.

I went down to my friendly local feed store and they just happened to be having a sale on incubators, so I snagged a Hova-Bator 2362E and an egg turner. This is not meant to be a 'bator review thread, but I will say that I am quite pleased with it. In retrospect, I wish I had opted for the 12v DC genesis model instead of the AC 120v model, because power outages are common where I live. In any case, I ended up with a 90% hatch rate on my first go.

I had expected a very low hatch rate, since it was my first try, so I stacked the bator full of eggs. I put 40 eggs in, expecting to get maybe 8 or 10 chicks, if I was lucky. It was the usual first go 'round, checking the temperature every few hours and candling the eggs almost every night. After the first week, everything seemed on track and I was looking forward to raising my new chicks. About this time, I found out that due to circumstances beyond my control, I needed to move soon. As one might expect, I panicked and started to downsize my flock immediately. I quickly sold my rooster and three of my hens. The hatch was 2 days earlier than expected, and as more and more chicks kept popping out of shells I became worried about what I would do with them all. Thankfully I was able to find good homes for the chicks thru craigslist, thanks Craig.

I ended up with 33 healthy chicks that hatched, 4 chicks that were full term but did not hatch, 2 eggs that were infertile and 1 egg that was full term and probably would have hatched but I dropped it while I was candling it. So out of 37 eggs, I got 33 chicks; for all you math wizards that is actually 89.189% hatch rate, but I'm calling it 90% because if I hadn't accidentally dropped that full term egg the hatch rate would be almost 92%. I must say that I am impressed with these results for my first go, therefore I can give the HovaBator my coveted stamp of approval.

There is only one requirement to earn my stamp of approval, and it is this: "It just has to work". Sounds simple, right? It JUST has to work. Not hard, no frills needed. But, it just HAS to work. All the time, Every time, no exceptions. And, It just has to WORK. I mean, like put in WORK; real work, it has to keep up with me. If it meets these qualifications, I give it my stamp of approval, which means that I would be willing to purchase another one without hesitation. Few products on this earth have earned my stamp of approval, and this is one of them. Good job HovaBator.
Now, I know that I have only used it once successfully; and once is an accident, twice is a fluke, but thrice is a pattern. I hope to use this 'bator for quite some time. If at any point it stops performing to my expectations, I will modify my review to reflect that.

Edited by mattlock1983 - 3/13/16 at 7:41pm
post #2 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thankfully I was able to find a good home for the chicks. This was my first time selectively breeding chickens and incubating and hatching eggs and as one might imagine, I am not only scientifically interested in these chicks but also a bit emotionally invested as well. I set up this thread so that their new owners can share pictures and compare notes.

These chicks are an F1 hybrid, or the first generation of a cross between two distinctly different breeds. This outcrossing will imbue these chicks with what is known as "hybrid vigor" or heterosis. This should result in chickens that have increased growth rate and egg production, as compared to inbred or purebred chickens.

The father of all the chicks was a Blue Wyandotte, so all of the chicks are 50% Blue Wyandotte. This rooster was a good protector of his flock but not overly aggressive.
The Wyandotte is a good dual purpose homestead breed that is known for its docility, broodiness and ability to put on meat quickly. They lay 200 or more brown eggs per year and are good cold weather layers. While they do go broody, this makes the Wyandotte excellent mothers around the farm. This breed is also recognized for its ability to quickly put meat on, which make them a wonderful dual purpose bird. The rose comb and blue color is quite striking and will set any flock apart from the rest. I am hoping that he will pass on his blue coloring to his offspring.

Edited by mattlock1983 - 3/13/16 at 7:52pm
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Two of The mothers are a pair of Americuanas/easter eggers who are tufted and passed that trait onto the offspring, so you can tell the easter Egger chicks from the others by their tufted cheeks or "chipmunk" appearance.
These mothers prolifically lay blue tinted eggs; the eggs are turquoise colored because they carry two copies of the blue egg gene. The tufted chicks will carry one copy of the blue egg gene from the mother and one copy of the brown egg gene from their father. Because they don't have two copies of the blue egg gene they will not lay blue eggs. Because they have one copy one the blue egg gene that is "diluted" by one copy of the brown egg gene, It is likely that the tufted chicks will lay green or olive tinted eggs.
From what I understand, the blue egg gene is dominant. Of the tufted chicks, if any turn out to be male they will still carry the blue egg gene. so even though it would carry both a blue egg gene and a brown egg gene , if He is crossed with a chicken that lays blue eggs, the offspring should lay blue eggs also. (Internet, Feel free to chime in here)

This kind of cross is colloquially called an "Easter Egger", which is not a recognized breed; but the eggs are beautiful and will quickly become your favorite to collect daily. With any luck one chick might end up being an extra beautiful Easter Egger that got the blue feathering from the father; a blue hen who lays blueish eggs.

post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
Two other mothers are a Barred Plymouth Rock and a Dominique, both of which possesses the barred gene. The chicks of this cross should be sex linked: 25% will be blue barred and male, 25% will be black barred and male, 25% will be all blue and female, 25% will be all black and female. So In theory, if a chick ends up being barred, it will be a rooster (Internet, feel free to chime in here).
While the two breeds look alike, they can be identified by their comb. The Dominique has a rose comb, while the barred Rock has a standard single comb.
The Dominique is known as a calm breed that can be somewhat chatty at times. It is hardy and a good forager, traits which are attributed to the harsh conditions in which the breed first developed.
The Plymouth Rock is a descendant of the Dominique breed and was bred as a dual-purpose fowl, meaning that it was valued both for its meat and the egg-laying ability of the hens. It is a cold-hardy bird. The hens lay brown eggs, and continue laying all through the winter with decreased production.

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
The other mothers are a pair of beautiful Welsummers. Well, at least one is a Welsummer... I am pretty sure that the darker one might be a Partridge Plymouth Rock.
Both of these chickens are good layers and have a good temperament. They have a wonderful disposition and generally do not give me any problems.

The Partridge is just one of the varieties of the Plymouth Rock family and noted for a good dual purpose chicken. Partridge Plymouth Rocks or "Partridge Rocks", as they're called, are a rare and beautiful dual-purpose bird. Plymouth Rocks lay an average of 200 to 280 eggs each year. Their eggs are usually of above-average size and range from tinted to medium brown. They seldom brood or set on their eggs until hatching, but when they do, they make good mothers. They do well either confined or free-range and do not slow down laying eggs quite as much as other breeds during the winter months.

Welsummers are named after the village of Welsum in Holland where they originated. They are famous for their large, dark, terracotta-brown, sometimes spotted eggs. They are a friendly and intelligent breed, with rustic-red and orange colour. Representations of cockerels in the media are often based upon the "classic" Welsummer look. The most common example of this would be the Kelloggs Cornflakes rooster.

Edited by mattlock1983 - 3/14/16 at 7:19pm
post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
Of course, being hybrids, these chicks will not inherit all traits evenly from both parents. Some will look like a cross of the parents while some will look more like one parent than the other and some might not look much like either parent. My predictions are that the barred rock and Dominique crosses will be fairly uniform, while the easter eggers and Welsummers will be a mixed bag where any combination of beauty is possible.

post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Beautiful chicks

post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
All of the chicks found good homes.

post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
I took a job as a farmer on an organic farm, and was able to take my chickens with me. This is good news as now I have space and incentive to continue my selective breeding. I also put another batch of eggs in the incubator and they hatched on Easter. I filled it to capacity with 42 eggs and had 38 strong healthy chicks hatch. The 4 eggs that did not hatch were full term, but never pipped. This is another 90% success on incubation, the HovaBator is starting to establish a pattern...

Edited by mattlock1983 - 4/6/16 at 1:02pm
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