I have a flock of 6 Cream Legbars that I ordered from Greenfire Farms. I am taking photos of the birds on a weekly basis and will post some of them here so folks can get an idea of what Cream Legbars look like at each stage of development.
Day of Delivery
Most of the group. Pullets have distinct chipmunk stripes. Cockerels are blurred/washed out.
One Week Old
My two cockerels. The one on the left is quite a bit lighter than the one on the right. I am looking forward to seeing how they grow out.
The whole group.
Two Weeks Old
Cockerel. Note his comb has enlarged significantly from last week.
This pullet is starting to grow her crest.
Three Weeks Old
All six of the chicks show marked crest development this week.
Four Weeks Old
I'm starting to notice differences in the hackle colors of my pullets. Two of them definitely have cream hackles as they should; the other two are more gold in color. They are still quite young yet, so I'm not getting too concerned at this point. It is just something to keep an eye on.
Compare Arwen on the left to Galadriel on the right.
Rosie Cotton's crest
This photo of Arwen shows the salmon breast that pullets have. Arwen has goldish hackles and also the most deeply salmon colored breast.
Aragorn, a cockerel
Galadriel is the cream of the flock with her very cream hackles.
Eowyn's hackles are much more gold in color. Unfortunately, it is looking like Galadriel may be only pullet that I will be breeding from - pretty disappointing since I bought the latest line from Greenfire Farms. Cream Legbars need to be cream!
The obligatory shot of Rosie Cotton's crest. It gets more outrageous every week.
Faramir - he was the cockerel whose down was darker at arrival. Now he is starting to get some chestnut patches on his chest.
Aragorn also has some chestnut, but it remains litghter. Hopefully their combs will remain straight as they grow in.
It is getting to be quite the challenge to catch all of the Legbars and keep them from flying away during their weekly photo shoot. They are getting quite large and upgraded to a size 10 legband after I took the following photos.
Galadriel looks most like the quality Cream Legbars you see in the UK.
Arwen? Not so much. She will likely find a home in our mixed layer flock.
There continues to be a marked difference in the hackle colors of the pullets.
And Rosie Cotton's crest hasn't calmed down at all!
I think I am starting to see a bit of a twist forming in both Faramir and Aragorn's combs. The crest on the Cream Legbar tends to lead to floppy combs, but you really want the rooster to have a straight comb.
The brooder light is now completely off and these guys are ready to fly the coop....literally. I have mostly raised dual purpose chickens prior to this point and it is amazing just how much better at flying light fowl are! We are renovating an old chicken coop for these guys and hope to move them into it this weekend so they will have more room.
One thing I am concerned about is the fact that many of my Cream Legbars have crooked toes. They were not crooked when they arrived in the mail, but if you scroll through the photos below, you will note several crooked toes. My best (and only actual cream) pullet, Galadriel, has two quite crooked toes. I will have to do some test-breeding and get the opinions of more experienced breeders before I sell hatching eggs and/or chicks from this group. I do not want to pass crooked toes on to the next generation of birds. Maybe something environmental caused it? Unfortunately my Legbar chicks were raised in more crowded conditions than I have ever brooded birds in before (or will ever do again - learned my lesson).
The Legbars have been outside for nearly 2 weeks now. They are enjoying the extra room. I, however, do not enjoy having to catch all of the birds and lock them up at night, but they will hopefully learn the ropes soon. We will greatly expand their run area and cover it all with gamebird netting in the near future. The netting will be a must because these little guys can fly.
Faramir is in the center. Interestingly, he is the cockerel that had the darker down, but right now he has less color appearing on his feathers. His crest is also slightly smaller, which means his comb will probably be straighter.
Aragorn in the middle. Note the fluffier crest and more chestnut on his wings. Galadriel is right in front of him. I wish all my pullets had such cream hackles!
If you click to enlarge this photo, you can see the range of hackle colors present in my current flock.
(Almost) 11 Weeks
It is not so easy to get quality photos of the Legbars these days. For one thing, they really don't like me very much.
"Run away from the human!!"
I have had a hard time convincing my husband that our Legbars are not grossly underweight. We have mainly raised dual-purpose breeds of chickens up until this point and our Legbars are comparatively tiny.
The main difference I am noticing these days is that the boys are growing in their saddle hackles and they definitely have too much color.
A shot of Aragorn's saddle hackles - too much chestnut
This is somewhat depressing since I paid top dollar for Greenfire's new line, but I have to keep everything in perspective. Several members of the Cream Legbar Club have made huge improvements in their flocks over relatively little time and I will have the benefit of having one true cream pullet.
The birds have changed a lot since I last updated this page.
Aragorn has started to crow and is experiencing the normal teenage roo behaviors.
Aragorn: "Who am I? How do I talk to girls? How to I show everyone that I am boss?"
Faramir acts subservient to Aragorn and tries to stay out of his way.
Faramir: "Is he looking at me? Will he attack me if I try to eat some food, too?"
One of these two guys is destined to become the new roo for my layer flock and one will stay in the Legbar pen and help me begin my line of Legbars. It is hard to select one at this point because they both have obvious flaws. I am leaning towards Mr. Obnoxious (Aragorn) because, while he is too dark, he does not seem to have any of that darker red. If I change my mind in the future, all I will have to do is switch the roos from pen to pen.
Arwen - still gold hackled. I also do not favor her solid black crest. I think they look too much like bad toupees! She should still lay pretty blue eggs, though, so I'll transition her into my layer flock with the roo.
Galadriel is so pretty! I would love all my Legbars to look like her.
Rosie Cotton's crest is still pretty crazy! I think she aspires to be a Polish when she grows up!
Rosie Cotton is definitely the most petite of my pullets. I prefer the relative solidity of the rest of the girls.
Eowyn is colored like Rosie Cotton, but her body type is much more sturdy like Galadriel.
From left to right: Eowyn, Galadriel, Rosie Cotton, and Aragorn
Cream Legbars typically start laying at around 24 weeks of age. My girls will reach that age in late October, so it is possible that they will not begin laying until the spring. It is going to be a long wait!
I found my first egg! It was laid by Rosie Cotton and weighed 36 grams. I have gotten five eggs from her in the past eight days (and a neighbor collected and kept eggs while I was gone for a couple of days), so she is off to a great start. Now I am impatiently waiting for the other three girls to get in gear.
This photo gives you an idea of the range of hackle colors. From left to right: Rosie Cotton, Galadriel, Eowyn.
I have decided to cull Faramir, Rosie Cotton, and Arwen from my breeding stock. Faramir and Aragorn both have squirrel tails, a bit of flop to the comb, and too much color. Faramir does have a slight bit of red to him, however, so Aragorn slightly edges him out. Arwen is gold hackled, so that is an easy cull. Rosie Cotton is being culled mainly because of her type. She has a very slight build and, although I love it, her crazy crest is not something I want to carry on. These three will be joining my mixed breed layer flock in the next week.
That leaves Aragorn, Eowyn, and Galadriel as a breeding trio. I also plan on obtaining some of the Jill Rees line of Cream Legbars as soon as Greenfire Farms makes them available. I will probably keep my 2013 GFF birds as a separate line from the Jill Rees birds.
Another of the pullets has started laying. This egg weighed 46 grams. It is slightly more green in color than Rosie Cotton's eggs.
Someone's first egg
One of Rosie Cotton's eggs is on the left and the "mystery layer" 's egg is on the right.
March 2014 Update:
My Cream Legbar flock is 11 months old now. All the ladies are laying well and everyone managed to survive the bitterly cold winter. Unfortunately both of the cockerels got frostbite on their combs and wattles during the extreme cold; I hope these are the first and last cases of frostbit Legbars as my Legbars will move into much more substantial housing this spring.
I did have one unexpected loss this spring. I found Aragorn, the cockerel I had planned to use for breeding my F1 generation, dead in a corner of the chicken coop one afternoon. We have no idea what caused his sudden death; he had been acting his normal active self earlier that day, had no signs of parasites or trauma, etc.
We hadn't planned on incubating any eggs quite yet, but decided to make the best of a bad situation and began collecting eggs from his hens. The eggs entered the incubator on March 16.
April 2014 Update:
Shockingly only one of the 15 eggs I put in the incubator was fertile. I was really surprised at that because the eggs had always been fertile when I had previously checked. That was very much a disappointment, but I was pleased when the one egg that was fertile hatched out into a perfect little boy.
I was very pleased to get a male chick and this one (who we have christened Frodo) looks pretty promising. His down color is lighter than that of either of his potential daddies.
He is being brooded with a batch of layer pullet chicks that arrived at about the same time he hatched and hopefully he will continue to thrive. I can't wait to see what he looks like when he grows out.
We are in the middle of building a barn for our expanded chicken operation and I plan on hatching lots of Cream Legbars this summer and fall.