I ordered 25 day-old chicks from one of the major hatcheries and they came in the mail in late spring of 2009. My order was for:
14 Andalusian hens and 1 Andalusian rooster,
4 straight-run Blue laced Wyandottes and
4 Mille-fleur bantams
(my father ordered 2 game bantams for his flock in VT too).
The shipment arrived with one Mille-fleur fatality, but the hatchery had included 2 extra (Andalusians ?) anyway. They all grew pretty quickly, but it seemed like forever before they started laying. Some of the Andalusians finally started laying sporadically in the fall, but then winter came and they stopped laying completely. Oh, lets talk about roosters; so I understand "straight-run" is a roll of the dice, but I ended up with
2 Wyandotte roosters (and 2 hens),
1 Mille-fleur rooster (and 2 hens) and
4 (!!!) Andalusian roosters - one white, one black and two blue! (and 12 hens).
I lost both Wyandotte roosters and 6 Andalusian hens in the fall (unsure what got them) and found the black Andalusian rooster dead in the coop during the winter.
In the spring of 2010 the hens started laying again and I penned up the white Andalusian rooster with my one black Andalusian hen in an effort to maximize blue offspring. None of my hens were setting on eggs, so I bought an incubator and egg turner. I collected the eggs from all the hens; including those from the Wyandotte and Mille-fleur hens. My first batch hatched on April 17, 2010 and of the 40 eggs, 27 hatched. I ended up with 5 Mille-fleur bantam chicks and 22 Andalusian and Andalusian-Wyandotte hybrids. I was so excited I neglected to keep track of how many white Andalusian eggs and brown Wyandotte eggs hatched. Of the 5 bantams, three died within 48 hours of hatching. Now that they are feathered out and growing, it is easier to identify which are the hybrids - they have stouter bodies and some have brown splashes in their feathers. One all blue bird even has the Wyandotte rose-comb.
Gen 2.2 and 2.3
I wanted more Mille-fleur bantams, so I started collecting eggs and started them in the incubator. Days after I started them, one of my Wyandotte hens decided she was going to set on a clutch of eggs. We had massive wind storms that knocked out power twice for more than 8 hours, so I had very low expectations that any of the eggs in the incubator would hatch but left it plugged in anyway. I kind of forgot about it and then one day sat down to calculate when they should hatch. It was the next day. I was mad at myself for forgetting about it and figured that it was another nail in the coffin for these poor eggs. I figured I'd remove the egg turner anyway and let them go a few more days. When I approached the incubator, I was surprised to hear peeping from one of the eggs which also had a pip in the shell! The miracle Mille-fleur was the only one to hatch from that batch, and I think he/she is an Andalusian-Mille-fleur hybrid as it is currently all blue. If it ends up with the black and white speckles, it will be one beautiful bird. 5 of the 17 eggs under the Wyandotte hen hatched and are Andalusian and Andalusian-Wyandotte hybrids.
I currently have 15 Mille-fleur eggs and a Wyandotte and an Andalusian egg in the incubator. Candling has revealed only 4 of the Mille-fleur eggs are fertile. Hatch date calculated to be June 10, 2010.
The last straw
Because of fighting, I gave away the white and one of the blue Andalusian roosters. The remaining blue Andalusian rooster made it until the second time he attacked my 2 year old son and then he had to go. I had a hard time killing this magnificent bird; dove grey with darker slate-blue hackles, cape and sickels. The carcass was pitifully small once I finished plucking, and curious to see if he tasted as good as he (once) looked, I cleaned him and cooked him up in the oven. The meat was incredibly chewy and there wasn't much of it. I was very disappointed. So, until I find out how many roosters are in the second-generation, the Mille-fleur rooster is ruling the coop. He is aggressive and attacks anyone who gets near him, but my boy is learning to stay away from him. At least he won't sprint across the entire yard every time he sees my son like the Andalusian did. He gets a reprieve...for now...
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