I'm still not entirely sure how active I will be on this site. I primarily come here to read up on anything I'm uncertain on chicken-wise, and I'm a bit shy so I'm less likely to jump into discussions. I signed up for an account yesterday because I wanted to contact someone for my interest in a Blue Orpington rooster, and I am excited to be in contact with an owner now.
A little about myself specifically: I am a legal adult and college student (yes, I live with my parents, for now), I have a passion for animals, I live out in the country side of Augusta, Kansas, and I recently got into chicken breeding as a hobby.
My family had chickens when I was a kid, so I have had some past experience with raising them, but I feel like I still have so much more to learn.
Anyway, we purchased some pullets from Orschelns in Eldorado, Kansas last year for egg-laying, because my mom wanted to try again after all these years (wild animals kept killing them off before...hopefully our efforts toward more reinforced enclosures will prevent that from happening again...).
My mom bought a small mix and ended up with two red productions (one turned out to be a roo, which we gave away), a black sex-link, and three barred rocks (one died early on, another escaped while no one was looking and never came back...and she was the friendly one of the bunch too). I, however, went straight for the Americaunas (or Easter Eggers, EEs, the internet has informed me), and bought the first three little ones to walk onto my waiting hand.
I was not entirely disappointed when one of mine turned out to be a rooster, since that meant I could breed some pretty babies later on, which I did this year...before I sold him off, because he got too big, too crazy, and too aggressive both for us and for our hens.
In any case, I now have two broods I've hatched out. The first brood is 6 2-month old purebreds...two of which have already crowed, another two with suspiciously large and red combs, and the last two I am struggling to convince myself are SURELY pullets, lol. Time will have the final verdict, I suppose. Regardless of gender, I handled them all a lot and about half of them are somewhat friendly (and it's really fun to watch them run around the yard).
The second brood is much larger, 14 successfully hatched (though I lost one a week ago after I put them all in the small coop outside, and a crazy storm hit right after...), and is a mix of purebreds and halfbreeds (from my mom's three hens) that are now a few weeks old...at least three of them are starting to develop redder combs, so at this point I'm just hoping at least my favorite, a pretty silver baby, turns out to be a hen. I'm a little worried that the larger numbers has caused them to be more skittish, though a few seem friendly enough, so I will be sure to research more before I raise another brood.
My dad also bought six pullets soon after I hatched the first brood, and at least THEY appear to all be hens: two EEs, two silver-laced Wyandottes, and two more black sex-links. I also handled them quite a bit, and they're less skittish than my mom's hens for the most part. (The EEs and one of the Sex-Links tend to run around with my first Brood, from what I've observed.)
Once my second brood has properly grown, we plan to sell/give away all the cockerels (hopefully their temperament will be better than their father's was, so they don't have to be soup -_-), and my mom agreed to give her grumpy hens to a cousin, since I'm attempting to create a backyard of friendlier and gentler chickens, and depending on just how many pullets we have in the end we might find new homes for some of them as well.
Then next year I plan to hatch out a selection of the hens' eggs with a Blue Orpington Rooster (my dad wanted that breed specifically, and I wanted that color, so here we are). And as long as the rooster doesn't turn on us or tear up the hens, I'll keep him around even after he gives me pretty babies. (I'd make sure to separate him from his offspring though, because even if it might not be too genetically dangerous, it seems wrong to me and I really don't want to risk any defects.)
After that, depending on the results of the offspring, I'm thinking of focusing on a mix of EE and Blue Orpington and maybe some Black Sex-link to get a pretty variety of silvery-blue egg layers with possibly green feet and green eggs, and of course the adorable chipmunk cheeks.
Might seem like an odd mix, but I've always been a fan of blue in animals, and the possibilities of genetics has always excited me. ^_^ Hopefully this mix will also yield sweet enough temperaments, since my EE hens are very docile, and I've heard very good things about Orpingtons! :)
Alright, I'm guessing that's more than enough of an introduction. Please treat me well, and I'm always happy to receive advice if you think I could use it, lol! ^_^
Also, if anyone wants to see pictures of my developing flock, just let me know! ^_^