OK, Kev, I have a question triggered by your mention of blue-laced wyandottes. I will be getting some chicks in the spring. Specifically, the entire purpose for the order is to get high quality German New Hampshires to breed, pure and to cross with NNs. But there is a minimum order of 20 chicks, so I have some other options to fill out the order rather than getting 20 NHs if I want, and if I plan ahead, I could push that up to 30 in a pinch (though that's a stretch) - understanding that more of any breed gives me more options for both straight-run mitigation, as well as selection of the better ones. All very high quality birds - this is a highly reputable breeder. I will definitely be getting some blue or black copper marans (sucker for the dark egg - but which would be more interesting color wise for crossing? I confess to being a sucker for anything blue, but know that blue genetics is complicated). I am considering a few of some other of the following and would be interested in your opinions as far as possibilities for interesting color from NN crosses:
Wheaten ameraucanas (or lavender ones)
Blue laced red wyandotte (SOOOOOOO GORGEOUS!!!!!)
(There are also good quality barred rocks, but I'm not so interested in those).
(I have Cream Legbars - pets, including hatchery pullets but a high quality/breeder cockerel - but they have a small body so I'm not as interested in that cross - thought the Ameraucanas would be bigger and still give me green eggs, just not the straight combs of the CLs.)
Caveat being that I do NOT intend to ever sell birds, eggs, or meat, so the need to keep any line pure or marketable is not an issue - just not interested in that, and I also think I've got a CL pullet with isolated ocular Mareks, so I'm assuming all my (vaccinated) birds are carriers. (Though eggs are technically safe, I suppose.) The source for this order does not vaccinate, but breeds for resistance, so there's also the possibility I may have some of my own "breeding for resistance" I may need to do if any fall ill. I'm aware of that risk, and am just going to suck it up and keep an eye out. Eventually, any birds on my property are going to need to be resistant.
(I AM really going to start reading up on the color genetics, but it'll take some time to get up to speed, and also reading is no substitute for experience.)
- Ant Farm
I like the idea of breeding to resistance. that's why I will try to hatch and raise chicks with broodies only.