Looks like I have hit the three year crash-and-burn point with my Urch line of Black Javas. After last year's dog attack I was left with only three birds that were vaguely reasonable for breeding. I picked up a trio of Black Javas from another line as backup. This spring I did a series of test crosses trying to figure out if I could salvage anything from the remaining Urch birds. I wound up with some wry-tailed birds.
Turns out all three of those Urch line birds are carrying a wry-tail gene, because I got wry-tailed chicks out of both Urch hens when crossed with the Urch line cock. Which means most of the chicks I hatched this year are also likely to be carrying a wry-tail gene. Which means I don't really want to breed any of them. None of them is promising enough to bother working through the wry-tail issue. So this is the likely end of my breeding that line.
At this point I'm planning to stick with Black Javas, but I'm planning to change lines. I've asked my friend for another trio. Some of his birds have done well at local shows. They are solid birds. But they are annoyingly flighty. The Urch birds are much calmer, and are much more fun to be around. Maybe I can reduce the flightiness of the other line over time. We shall see.
In the meantime I am eating lots of tasty chicken. Life is good