BYC Member Interview - 3riverschick

Discussion in 'Family Life - Stories, Pictures & Updates' started by sumi, Oct 22, 2014.

  1. sumi

    sumi Égalité

    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
    Karen, known to BYC members as 3riverschick joined our community in May 2009. She is one of BYC's breed experts and will often be found sharing her knowledge on and experience with her beautiful Sussex chickens in the General breed discussions & FAQ and Exhibition, Genetics, & Breeding to the Standard of Perfection forum sections.

    1. Tell us a bit more about yourself.

    Well Hubby Bob and I have been married 31 years. Two sons, one ( newly married) in the Navy posted to Hawaii. One son in the Coast Guard learning Electronics ( he's my gamer). We live in the shadow of the Laurel Ridge of the Allegheny Mountains in western PA. Our little valley is called Pennsylvania'a Mountain Playground with many attractions like the French and Indian War era Fort Ligonier and Idlewild Amusment Park ( voted the top children's amusement park in the world). Seasonal events keep it interesting all year long. We bred collies here for 15 years ( 1995-2009). Show quality with lithe bodies and flexible intellects, worthy for many different jobs. Currently collies out of our girls ( and owned by other people) competed successfully in 13 different performance venues. We also bred the 1st and only collie in the breed to attain Championships in both Heel To Music and Canine Freestyle Dance. The dog world is where I honed my skills in lit research and breeding systems study. Got trained as a bookscout and did research for a noted canine author, being rewarded with an Acknowledgment in her award-winning book. In 2009 we retired the kennel.

    I turned my attention more seriously to the fun of poultry lit and breeding. Decided I wanted to work with a historically practical fowl and breed it for historic traits and values. Sussex became my final choice. I love the rich literary history. So much to discover. I picked the Lights because of the quality of the strain. Plus they are eWh allele based. Which means there is no color balancing of the underfluff needed in order to attain proper top color on the birds. That made things much simpler for breeding. As long as I simply controlled the proper amount of black in the hackle, I could spend my time breeding for type, instead of wrestling with color balancing. A big plus for me! When I have extra time on my hands I like to build online bibliographies which connect searchers with free online editions of the lit they are seeking. Here's a canine one I did. I am working to refine the poultry one before I open it up. Making research projects and writing articles about them is also a lot of fun! Love mining the Net for rare and obscure poultry lit. Back in the day they had some very clever ideas about breeding and raising poultry. Most we have improved on, some are simply obselete. Others are clever treasures to be discovered. I do try to garden but not much success. Bought a small green house and started hundreds of seeds. None came up. Sigh The sole product of our veggie growing this year was a pumpkin which grew out of the compost bin. Oh least the chives did well!

    2. Why and when did you start keeping chickens?

    I decided a flock of egg layers would be fun in 2005. We got a mixed flock. The next year, I found the purebred poultry fancy and fell in love with Marans. We picked up a flock of Black and Cuckoo Marans from Kelly Cratty who lived 1 1/2 hours from us at the time. Great birds! The next year a windstorm blew down the coop between paydays and, tho no birds were hurt, I had no shelter for the birds so rehomed them the next day. I decided I loved the Golden Salmon Marans ( Black Breasted Red). Tried 5 times over the years to get started in the color but could not get past melanized birds and autosomal red tainted birds to get my birds to breed true to color. I started studying the Sussex breed and fell in love with them. Such a practical historic breed wth a rich literary history in the English language. After I failed the final time with the Marans and left the breed in 2012, Walt Boese (whom I had met in the Marans breed) contacted me and asked if I would like to start in Sussex with some of his prize-winning flock. I was stunned and excited & happily agreed to purchase a foundation trio.

    3. Which aspect(s) of chicken keeping do you enjoy the most?

    The philosphy of breeding plus the study and utilization of breeding systems. I find them endlessly fascinating. Different systems work best depending on one's overall quality of foundation birds, their genetic relationship, needs of the flock, availability of access to foundation or other strains in the breed. Usually several systems get used to meet the flocks needs. In our case we are inbreeding, strain-crossing and linebreeding.

    Another aspect of breeding I really enjoy is balancing excellence in the abstact. Evaluating the genetic seen and unseen *potential* in each bird and balancing it on paper ( in the abstract) against the potential in their chosen mate so the most postive traits surface in the breeding. Using excellence in the abstract to overcome the drag of the breed and stabilize/enhance proper symmetry and breed type.It does take a lot of study but I love the research. Studying the history and origins of the breed to understand the nuances of the breed. Knowing the strains and their histories. Plotting the strengths and needs of each strain. Comparing them and then moving to the individual birds to do the same analysis. Determing which breeding system will best bring out that excellence in the abstract.

    4. Which members of your flock, past and present, stand out for you and why?

    They would be foundation cock "Junior", plus his sons "Tux" and his brother "Knight and Day". And the hens "May" and "Sweetie". I'm a historical purist.Loving to breed strains from the country of origin. Failing that I love to breed the stock I have to the traits historically valued in their country of origin. To that end, all my birds are pure English strain Light Sussex. Junior and May are 2 of my foundation trio. They were sired by 3x APA Grand Champion cock "Senior" who was owned by Walt Boese of Montana. Walt carefully and specially bred my foundation trio and raised them for me for almost a year before I was able to get them down from MT to PA. We conversed and planned for the birds until they got here. Walt got with the State of Montana and together the State started an NPIP program. Walt trained as its first NPIP trainer so he could NPIP my birds and send them to me.

    Junior was a stunning cock with correct color, long level back, proper station and size/weight. His tail was very correct and his temperment was also. We bred him the first season to his 1/2 sister "May" resulting in a lovely hatch which included the 2 cocks "Tux" and "Knight and Day". Tux is only the slightly better of the two, since Junior was *very* prepotent for his sire's type in his male get. 2 year old May is my best breeding hen. She is very fertile and can hatch and raise her own chicks, if needed. The picture of her at 10 months old is my avatar at BYC. She is a good layer who has held her beauty/breed type and docile nature.

    Sweetie is our outcross hen. She is descended from Sandra Ross's flock in Ontario. Sandra has a lovely show winning flock. Sweetie has lovely breed type without extremes. We were planning to send Tux back to Walt this fall however Walt is no longer breeding poultry. Tux will stay here and Sweetie will be his mate next season.

    What I like about these birds is their overall breed type. There is nothing extreme which needs fixed with them. Their "station" is very good. Toplines are good. No problems with the minor hallmarks. I will be working to add a bit more Dorking-type shape to the females. The flock is prepotent for superior male type. Will be working to address better egg production. It's ok, could be better. Both stains come from northern climes. I think it may be an acclimitization issue which should resolve itself maybe next generation. Right now, these girls lay best in cooler weather.

    5. What was the funniest (chicken related) thing(s) that happened to you in your years as chicken owner?

    This Fall we were rehoming some of the extra birds. Three of them were 3 weeks old. They had been hatched by the hen "May" and raised in the coop/run. Opened the coop to pick them up and of course one got out. The customer and his wife were an experienced farm couple and we figured no problem to recapture it. That it would crotch down or run to the coop to get in. Not this chick!! For the next 2 hours (which included several rest periods and laughter), the 4 of us gently herded that chick thru pine trees, underbrush, ivy, across a lawn... even the farmer and his wife couldn't believe it... it was like herding a pheasant, not a 3 week old chick! What a comedy of confusion! Man, that chick could run. Even as we tried to gently herd it! Finally it ran into underbrush it couldn't get thru and we were able to pick it up,
    no worse for wear.

    6. Beside chickens, what other pets do you keep?

    Our other pets are the senior sable colored smooth collies named Josie and Punkin. Punkin is 10 years old. Her grandmother Josie is 13 1/2.

    7. Anything you'd like to add?

    I find BYC a fascinating forum. There is so much knowledge here. The warm, sharing, caring atomsphere makes it so easy to ask anything. From the knowledgeable amateur to the seasoned elite breeders. We can find them all here. Just name the subject, someone here has a solid, correct answer. The other thing I would like to note is how the folk who run this forum keep it organized and on track. It must be very complicated, yet all we members see is a well run place where we can have a fun time conversing and learning.

    [​IMG] This is Sweetie. Our strain-cross hen. She is descended from the Sandra Ross flock in Canada.

    This is Knight and Day my 2nd best cock. Son of Junior ex May. He lost the points on his comb in the polar vortexes of Jan. 2014.

    [​IMG] This
    is Tux, my best stud cock. He is 2 yrs. old now and full brother and hatch mate to Knight and Day. This season he was mated to Sweetie and the chicks look like an exciting nick. Like his brother, he is pure Walt Boese strain. Next season he will be mated to Sweetie,; his daughters by Sweetie; and his 1/2 sister March.


    The pullet on the left is "March" at 1 yr. old. She is a hen of the foundation trio. Very broody. Loves to sit eggs!
    Sired by Walt Boese's 3x APA Grand Ch. "Senior "ex a Boese hen. The other pullet is her 1/2 sister.

    [​IMG] This is "May" at 10 months old. She is the 2nd hen in our foundation trio. Yes, she does hold her beauty. She is my best breeding hen. Sired by 3x AA Grand Ch. "Senior" out of a different Boese hen than "March" .


    This is "Junior", our foundation trio cock at about 16 months. Sired by Walt's 3x APA Grand Ch. "Senior" out of a different Boese hen than either "March " or " May". He did a wonderful job siring here, Very prepotent for male type. He is siring elsewhere now and we are using his 2 sons. What a gallant male, I miss him a lot. All our birds are docile with each other and humans. Any tint you see on his snow white parts are caused by the light in the coop. His coloring is very correct.

    [​IMG]Just one more pic of "Junior" His hackle is very correct. See how it actually meets in the center of his chest? This is much to be striven for and admired. I was thrilled when he arrived and I saw his hackle.


    From left: Son Owen the USCG "Coastie", Hubby Bob, my 95 yr. old Mom, Gayle, and m sis, Linda.

    [​IMG] Older son, Brian USN with his wife Kelsey. They just moved to Hawaii.


    I love tabletop gardening! In the other one I raised green peppers. Practically no weeding! 3 bags of Miracle of self-feeding soil fills this 8 inch deep "bed" which is 4' by 8 ' and counter height. I get the bags with holes in them 1/2 price at Wally World. There are spaces between the floor slats. Weed blocker material laid in the bottom lets water thru but keeps soil in. White barn paint from Lowe's seals the right cut lumber we got cheap at the local lumber mill up on the mountain. Put together with coated deck screws. Next time I will use carriage bolts.

    See here for more about the interview feature and a complete list of member interviews:
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2014
    1 person likes this.
  2. N F C

    N F C booooo!

    Dec 12, 2013
    Your birds are beautiful, thank you for sharing with us!
  3. theoldchick

    theoldchick The Chicken Whisperer

    May 11, 2010
  4. Judy

    Judy Crowing

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Thank you so much! A very interesting interview.
  5. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

    May 19, 2009
    Oopsie. I am not good at sending pics. I accidently send BYC 2 pics of Tux and none of Knight and Day.
    I just sent BYC a Knight and Day pic and it should be up today by the caption about him losing the
    points on his comb in the Jan. 2014 polar vortexes. Sorry about that. Thank you for the nice, warm words
    about my birds.
    Best Regards,
    Yup, got the word last night they fixed the pics. Took out one of the 2 Tux pics and added in the one of Knight and Day. So now one of each.
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2014
  6. Wynette

    Wynette Moderator

    Sep 25, 2007
    Thanks, Karen! [​IMG] It's nice to get to know a bit more about you.
  7. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

    May 19, 2009
    Thanks Wynette !
  8. KentuckyMom

    KentuckyMom Songster

    Jul 15, 2013
    Foster, Kentucky
    Absolutely beautiful birds! And a family to be proud of as well! Are you planning on visiting your son in Hawaii? What a trip that would be! I have a friend who was stationed there with her husband and family for quite a few years. It was the experience of a lifetime. Of course, the military by itself is that. My husband and I never made it to Hawaii, but the Army stationed him in Germany and that was a once in a lifetime experience for us as well.
  9. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

    May 19, 2009
    Hi KentuckyMom,
    Maybe in several years. When the grandkids show up, hee, hee! A special reason to visit.
    Right now they are just having fun being newlyweds.
  10. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Free Ranging

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    Thanks for sharing a bit of yourself with us. [​IMG]

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