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Catskill Homesteader Breeding Project

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by myfivegirls, Apr 30, 2015.

  1. myfivegirls

    myfivegirls Chillin' With My Peeps

    774
    83
    206
    Jan 12, 2009
    Delhi, NY

    The Catskill Homesteader Breeding Project Goal is to Produce
    Locally Adapted Winter-hardy, Colorful "Eye-Candy" Chickens
    Laying Various Shades of Green & Brown Eggs;
    Dual Purpose, Active Foragers & Frequently Broody


    The purpose of this thread is to share photos of the Catskill Homesteaders,
    ask questions, discuss and share ideas. Please, no debates or arguing!

    Or, just to enjoy the "journey" as we hopefully progress.

    I have invited those who have purchased chicks, started pullets or adults
    from me to join this thread and post pictures of their CH chickens as well.
    As far as I know, there is no one else breeding the Catskill Homesteaders,
    but I am currently working with a few individuals who may be willing to
    start helping with this project.
    If you or anyone you know of would like to join me in this fun project,
    whether with breeding, raising out chicks or suggestions. I'm also open
    to other breeds being added to the gene pool, as long as, they meet
    the goals of the project.





    Catskill Homesteader Chickens History



    [​IMG]

    I think the very beginning of this journey was when I ended up keeping
    "Rocky" the Freedom Ranger Rooster (meat hybrid) from the 2011 batch.
    I'd never had a rooster before, as I'd heard & read about all the "mean roosters" people end up with.
    But, "Rocky" was such a sweet, gentle giant that I knew I wanted to always have a rooster.
    The photo above is of Rock and his hens. But knowing that he was supposed to be for meat,
    I started a search for another rooster to replace him.

    It just "happened" that the family who originally gave me my first five hens ended up with
    an extra chick in their all hen order who was a rooster. So, "Michael" the Blue Andalusian came home
    with me, and "Rocky" went into the freezer. Here's "Michael" chasing a white leghorn, soon after
    he arrived, and later on in the winter (2011-2012).

    [​IMG][​IMG]


    "Michael", though, was the exact opposite of "Rocky" - tall, skinny, high-energy & aggressive
    towards humans. He was quite handsome, which was one redeeming feature,
    but his very large single comb wasn't ideal for our NY winters. Therefore, when I placed my chick order
    for April 2012, I ordered several breeds of roosters, as I was hoping to breed my own "sex-links"
    using small combed roosters. Then, a surprise Easter Egger rooster became one of my favorites,
    and my "plans" started changing.

    [​IMG]

    One of the roosters I'd actually ordered was Golden-Laced Wyandotte, but the main mistake I made
    with him is that I kept the runt, because he was so friendly.
    I later learned that his genetics weren't the best, but there were a few chicks that turned out okay.
    [​IMG]


    When Daisy, a white EE hen, went broody for the first time in 2012, I though I'd give a few eggs
    to her to hatch out. Two of the three resulting chicks ended up being roosters, so I gave them
    to a friend. One of them started out as this cute little blue chick.

    [​IMG]

    These Catskill Homesteader chickens wouldn't be where it is today, if that friend hadn't returned
    those roosters to me in the fall. I was intending on just processing them, as I already had
    too many roosters. But one of the young cockerels caught my eye. He was blue like his father,
    "Michael", but had gold and red feathers on his neck & wings. He won a place in my heart,
    so he stayed, along with his "half-sisters", the all back one and white one behind him.

    [​IMG]
    I named him "Michael Jessie", and he soon became my favorite rooster,
    above the other pure bred roosters I'd ordered.


    Before "Michael" went to a new home, he fathered more chicks, three pullets of which I kept.
    "Michael" was showed by his new owners at the local Delaware County fair two years in a row,
    and won a price the 2nd year. He was still mean & had signs on his cage to not touch him,
    but at least he got a "third chance".


    Those "unplanned" hatches of 2012 changed my plans for what I wanted to breed in 2013,
    and my original plans for "sex-links" was no longer a priority. I spent hours on BYC, looking at photos
    and reading about breeding, eventually finding out about several inspiring breeds and crosses
    that inspired me to experiment with my own flock. Then, I bought a Genesis 1588 incubator,
    joined the 2013 Easter Hatch-A-Long, and it's been "history" ever since.

    [​IMG]


    I've also been inspired along with way, thanks to BYC. For example, the Swedish Flower Hens and
    Icelandics, which are "a box of chocolates", meaning you never know what the chicks will look like
    when they have grown up. I've also been inspired by another breeding project, Aloha chickens

    that's using the mottled gene for "splashy, colorful" chickens.

    Like the Swedish Flower Hens, Icelandics & Aloha Chickens,
    the Catskill Homesteader chickens are not a recognized pure breed.
    Some may be consider them as "mutts" or a "barnyard mix", but many of the crosses
    were intentional and planned, with lots of culling and carefully selecting the best along the way.
    And they are now several generations from their original hatchery relatives,
    with some of the F1 crosses still being in the breeding flock. In 2013, I also experiment with
    adding Freedom Ranger to the bloodline, via "Pumpkin" and his sister T3 (short for Two-Ton Tonita),
    who'd been raised by Daisy the broody hen and lived for about 8 months.
    Here's "Pumpkin", who was obviously a big boy, but sadly only fathered two chicks -
    "David" and "Butternut", both of whom added their genetics in 2014.
    [​IMG]


    I originally started calling them "Wildflower Easter Eggers", but after some confusion with the
    "Easter Eggers" commonly sold by hatcheries, I decided it would be best to have an original,
    "different" name. Hence, the idea of "Catskill Homesteader" chickens was hatched, named after
    the beautiful, rugged Catskill Mountains, and "Homesteader" after the pioneers who withstood
    many hardships on the frontier, many of whom had chickens that were much better at being
    "self-sufficient" than today's grain-fed poultry.

    Breeds Used in Creating

    Catskill Homesteader Chickens:




    Blue Andalusian (BA) - white egg; blue feathers; single comb
    Easter Egger (EE) - green egg; multi-colored feathers; pea comb
    Dominique (DOM) - medium brown egg; black/white barred feathers; rose comb
    Partridge Chantecler (PC) - med br egg; partridge feathers; cushion comb; broody
    Partridge Rock (PR) - light br egg; partridge feathers; single comb
    Golden-Laced Wyandotte (GLW) - med br egg; golden-laced feathers; rose comb
    Freedom Ranger (FR) - meat hybrid; lt-med br egg; brown/orange feathers; single comb
    “Joseph” (unknown cross) - br egg; orange/red/black w/ slight barring; single comb;
    - came from TSC as “Barred Rock”, but obviously was a mix.
    Black Sex Link (BSL) - med br egg; black with red neck; single comb
    - (only 1 hen offspring, not sure if still have any left from that line)
    Rhode Island White (RIW) - br egg; white; single comb
    - (sold most of their offspring, as mostly made "Red Sex Links" and white chicks)
    Red Star (RS) - dk br egg; red/brown/white feathers; single comb
    (Note: I have now decided to eliminate the Red Sex Link hybrid from the breeding program
    due to the high frequency of reproductive issues when crossing with other breeds.
    One FR/DOM x RS was used briefly for breeding in 2015, but now has been sold.)

    In 2015, Crossing CH with:
    Swedish Flower Hen (SFH) - light br egg; multicolored feathers; single comb;
    Bielefelder (BIEL) - dark terricotta, speckled egg; multi-colored barred; single comb

    Blue Copper Maran MIX (BCMx) - unrelated rooster from Blue Copper Marans(R) x (? hen) parantage;
    blue, black, gold; single comb
    (not yet with hens)

    Recently acquired another unrelated rooster from another local chicken lover, who was sired by
    Buckeye/Buff Orp rooster and unknown hen, possibly an Easter Egger.
    As of this post I have yet to pair him with any hens, as he's still in quarantine.





    Catskill Homesteader Chickens - Breeding Goals:

    1. Active Forager
    • CURRENT:: Actively seeks out fresh grass, loves to dig in compost piles, eats food scraps, bugs, etc

    • GOAL: Little or no supplemental grain needed during summer months
    (diet based mostly on foraging - if supplied with enough compost, bugs, red wigglers, pasture, etc)


    2. Predator Savvy
    • A. CURRENT:: Roosters alert flock & hens sometimes take cover; roosters more of
    a flight vs fight type. Will alert, but not protect. Hens alert to danger & will often spot
    aerial predators. For their protection, fencing & aviary netting is used to deter predators.

    • B. GOAL: Hens run for cover at rooster's "predator alert" call, and roosters stand guard,
    willing to protect or "distract" if necessary. Roosters remain non-aggressive with humans,
    as they are now.


    3. Winter Hardy
    • A. CURRENT:: Mix of single & smaller combs, but hardly any frostbite in hens.
    Single comb roosters sometimes get minor frostbite on combs. Young pullets & most hens
    continue to lay well through winter with supplemental light. A few of the hens don’t want to
    stay outside, but most of them don’t mind the cold, snow, rain, etc. I've noticed an improvement
    in this area with each generation, especially if they were still young & growing during winter.

    • B. GOAL: Mostly/all small combs, or at least small combed roosters. Single combs ok in hens,
    if meet other qualities, but large floppy single combs not acceptable. Hens & pullets continue
    to lay through winter without supplemental light, reduced # of eggs, but still continue to lay.
    Thick down & feathers to keep warm; active and foraging, even when cold and snow on the ground.


    4. Healthy
    • A. CURRENT: Mostly healthy - no known diseases or illnesses; though a % of chicks and adolescents
    failed to thrive in 2014; wormed & treated for lice/mites, increased food - health & survival rates
    improved afterwards; I believe it was more due to some animal husbandry mistakes I made rather
    than anything having to do with the chickens themselves or their health. Everyone who's bought
    chicks or adults from me have had good success. 2015 hatch rates & survival rates of the chicks
    have been excellent, very strong and vigorous. Parent stock seems healthy since moving Nov 2014.


    • B. GOAL: Strong immune system, better survival rate in chicks and young stock;
    disease & stress tolerant; hardy, strong & vigorous.


    5. Colorful feathers
    • A. CURRENT: Variety of Solid Colors, Patterned, etc -
      • Adult Hens: mostly browns, black, black & white barred, blue, white; some multicolored patterns
      • Adult Roosters: red, red/white, black, brown, black & white barred, white, blue;
    generally more colorful than hens w/ two or more contrasting colors

    • 2015 Chicks - Much wider variety than previous year's hatches, with lots of chipmunks, blues,
    blacks, and then some unique multi-colored chicks with or without headspots.

    • B. Goal: Even wider variety of colors, patterns, possibly even some "mottled" or "spotted";
    Prefer more than two contrasting colors on both hens & roosters; multi-colored barred,
    each feather has at least two colors; only an occasional solid-colored hen, except for the
    "blue" and "black" varieties, but even still would prefer a little "splash" of color besides an
    all-black hen.


    [​IMG]

    Egg Basket in Summer 2014

    6. "Easter Eggs" - wide range of colors
    • A. CURRENT: (Spring 2015) - Shades of green, light blue, sage/ khaki, dark green, light brown,
    medium brown, dark brown, pink

    • B. GOAL: Various shades of blue, green, tan, light brown, dark brown, pink, terracotta;
    generally the same, perhaps just a wider range of shades in each color group.


    7. Productive Layers
    • A. CURRENT: (With supplemental winter light) - Lay pretty much year-round, except for when molting and broody; Each hen varies, but I’d estimate young pullets & hens lay every 1-2 days, until they’re 18 months old, then it’s every
    2-3 days, with occasional several days in a row, with a day or two break in between.
    Don’t know yet how they’ll do once they’re 2 - 2 ½ year old & older. Size wise, they vary from
    Medium to Jumbo, but majority are large to extra large. Pullets from 2014 laid laying pretty large,
    often Jumbo double-yolkers, for awhile, but by spring they were mostly large to extra large eggs.
    Shell quality - both genetic and feed-based; mostly nice, thick shells; older hens tend to have
    “bumps” or thinner shells. There’s some who have laid shell-less or thin eggs, but those obviously
    can't be hatched, so there's no chance of getting chicks from them. I have yet to identify which
    hen(s) are laying them.

    • B. GOAL: Lay year round (except for molting and brooding) with or without lighting. I’d say they’re
    pretty good overall in egg laying frequency & size, so right now not an area selecting heavily
    or culling for. Not trying to reach a production level of Red Sex Links or White Leghorns,
    as I'd prefer a hen that lays consistently over a longer period of time.


    8. Dual-purpose for Meat
    • A. CURRENT: Hens and roosters from hatchery egg production background are generally skinny
    and don’t have a lot of meat on their bones. Okay for soup, but not good conversion ratio for
    amount of feed to amount of meat. Hens & foosters from Freedom Ranger meat hybrid line
    show promise of improving size and weight, even muscling more than non-FR siblings the same
    age. Most of the 2015 chicks / young stock are growing very well, especially when feeding them
    fermented 20% chick starter. Though, they're too young still to tell how the roosters will turn out
    for meat.

    • B. GOAL: Not trying to compete with the Cornish Rock “big boys”, but at least enough meat
    on the roosters and old hens that it’s worth the work to processes them.
    No established weight goal yet, as ratio of meat to bone is more important than overall size.




    Note: with many breeds or proposed SOP for a "new breed", they specify eye & leg color.
    This is not an important trait with the Catskill Homesteader. Eye color varies widely from orange,
    yellow, two-toned, and a deep mahogany (This one is often found in ones with the Blue Andalusian
    genetics, as "Michael Jessie" has dark eyes, where you can't tell the iris from the pupil.)
    Leg colors include yellow, white, "green", gray, slate, dark-washed yellow, and
    some with dark shanks & yellow toes! It's more important that they use their legs for scratching and
    turning the compost than what color they are!

    Also, just to clarify, the goal at this time is not to form a "new breed" that will would be eventually
    recognized as a "standard" breed. That would take a long, long time, and since there's such
    a wide variety, I doubt it would ever happen and still retain all the wonderful traits.


    Status as of 4/30/15:



    The Catskill Homesteader 2015 Breeding Groups Were First Separated on 2/12/15.



    "Dad's Coop" Group - All Single Combed

    2 Multi-Colored Barred (VERY HANDSOME) CH Roosters - "Caleb" & "Joshua"


    "Joshua" is the current rooster; "Caleb" put back in the bachelor pen in April

    9 CH Hens & Pullets - includes ones with Freedom Ranger lineage;

    Laying various shades of light brown, medium brown, and "pink".

    Hen's feather colors/patterns include 2 black/white barred, 2 "bluish lavender",

    1 solid black, 1 orange/brown/black patterned, 2 blue/gray/gold patterened,

    1 brown/gold/charcoal gray patterened



    "PA Coop" Group - Mostly Small Combs

    1 EE-based "Gold Duckwing*" CH Roo - pea comb - current rooster

    1 "Blue Wheaten*" CH - rose comb - fathered some of the earlier hatches



    12 CH Hens & Pullets with rose, pea, cushion or mixed small combs

    Feather Colors & Patterns include black, blue, multi-colored

    Egg Colors - Green, khaki, blue/green, "pink", light brown, medium brown



    1 Partridge Chantecler - cushion comb (breeder, when not broody)

    2 CH Pullets from Oct 2014





    SFH Rooster over 3 CH hens - green egg layers + 1 Bantam Cochin



    Bielefelder Rooster over 1 CH green layer "Susan"
    + 2 CH brown layers (blk/white barred; gold/brown/black patterned - carries barring gene)




    *color names such as Blue Wheaten are just for reference, they are not the same as the pure

    breeds that come in this color.



    "Lavender" - a BA/EExFR pullet as a young chick in 2013
    She turned into a beautiful large hen who lays light, creamy brown eggs.
    [​IMG]


    This is one of the 2014 Pullets "Rainbow", who is very stunning and is currently raising a brood of
    25 chicks (some hatched under her & the rest she adopted from the incubator.)
    I believe her father was "Joseph", as she carries his white earlobe gene, but lays a brown egg.
    I'm not sure who her mother is, as she was hatched under a broody hen. But, she is a beauty,
    and a great example of how unique and different the Catskill Homesteaders are in their looks.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]







     
    Last edited: May 15, 2015
  2. myfivegirls

    myfivegirls Chillin' With My Peeps

    774
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    Jan 12, 2009
    Delhi, NY
    Here's a collection of photos of the Catskill Homesteader adults and 2014 pullets:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

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    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  3. myfivegirls

    myfivegirls Chillin' With My Peeps

    774
    83
    206
    Jan 12, 2009
    Delhi, NY
    Photos of March 2015 chicks - the offspring of the adults in the previous post:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    4-15-15 Photos:

    "Joshua" - Dad's Coop Rooster - FR/DOM - "Daivd" x BA/EE/FR - "Lilac" or "Lavender"?
    He's a big, handsome boy - the photo doesn't really do him justice.
    He obviously is barred, but it's blue, gold & rusty orange, rather than black and white.
    [​IMG]

    "Pansy" - 2013 CH hen (BA/EEx EE) who just finished molting - beautiful hen & lays light bluish green eggs.
    [​IMG]

    "Lydia" - with her first 2015 batch of chicks - dark chipmunk striped one with head in feeder is a Bielefelder female;
    the rest are CH chicks, I believe from both Dad's Coop & the PA Coop.
    [​IMG]

    "Lilac" - sister to "Lavender" - BA/EExFR; lays light, creamy brown eggs; large hen w/ single comb
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2015
  4. myfivegirls

    myfivegirls Chillin' With My Peeps

    774
    83
    206
    Jan 12, 2009
    Delhi, NY
    Recently, I was asked how I incubate my eggs, and here's some excerpts from the e-mail I sent to them:

    This year I have not added any water to my Genesis 1588 incubator the first 18 days.
    The average humidity level that the sensor that comes with the incubator reads usually in the 30-40% range, although I've seen it dip to 26%.
    Day 18 I remove the eggs from the turner, line the incubator with paper towels and/or that "textured" drawer liner stuff and set them in fiber egg cartons with holes cut in the bottom.
    This year, I've also separated the eggs in "hatching baskets", because I often have several different breeds and/or eggs from different breeding groups that I want to keep separate.
    I've had to modify them a few times, as they were too short & the chicks were too "squished" in there while waiting for the others to hatch.
    [​IMG]

    Usually on day 18 or 19, I'll then add water, I'd say at least enough to increase in to 60% - 70% humidity. I used a secondary hygrometer the first few times, but then found the
    amount of water than made for a successful hatch, so that last few hatches I haven't used additional thermometers/hygrometer - but still had good hatch rates.

    Note: this year I haven't hatched in the Genesis 1588 at all, since I built two separate Cooler Bater "hatchers", so keep the incubator running "dry" with staggered set dates, at all times.
    So, I'm not exactly sure how much water to add in the plastic trays below, but I think you're supposed to fill both "troughs".

    Overall, I'd say this year's hatches have had a high % hatch rate, averaging 75% - 80%, except for when compared to the broody hens which almost always do a much better job! I've still had some incubation issues, such as ones that fully develop & die right around lock-down, several that get "stuck" when zipping & have to be "assisted". But the majority of those issues have been the hatches that were transported in a vehicle while incubating or "having" to open the incubator because of a 4-day hatch window, so that's kind of understandable!

    Here's the latest hatch from 4-30 through 5-1-15, which was 3 Bielefelders, 7 SFH, 1 bantam Cochin x Catskill Homesteader, and
    6 Catskill Homesteader from "Dad's Coop" - whose rooster was "Joseph" x all single-combed hens, many of whom have Freedom Ranger in their heritage.


    [​IMG]
     
  5. myfivegirls

    myfivegirls Chillin' With My Peeps

    774
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    Jan 12, 2009
    Delhi, NY
    Here's more of this year's chicks from the first two hatches:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    These went to their new home last Sunday:
    [​IMG]
     
  6. myfivegirls

    myfivegirls Chillin' With My Peeps

    774
    83
    206
    Jan 12, 2009
    Delhi, NY
    The lady who I sold one of the groups of day-old chicks to in March, sent me updated photos and said I could share them here.

    This is what she wrote: "The chicks are doing great. They are very active and the fastest chicks we ever have had.
    They are enjoying the nice weather outside."



    Here's the definition of my abbreviations:

    CH = Catskill Homesteader
    SFH x CH = Swedish Flower Hen Rooster x Catskill Homesteader Hen - all green egg layers in this group
    Biel x CH = Bielefelder Rooster x Catskill Homesteader Hen - 3 brown egg layers, 1 green egg layer in this group
    "PA Coop" = Catskill Homesteader Roosters - "Daniel" & "Andrew" x all small-combed CH Hens - mostly green egg layers, plus a few brown egg layers
    "Dad's Coop" = CH Roosters - "Joshua" & "Caleb" x all single-combed CH Hens - all brown egg layers in this group


    Wingband # 4968 -
    Hatched 3-15 evening; "Dad's Coop" medium brown egg; gray with yellow headspot, muff, single comb
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    "Luke" does look quite "chunky" - probably due to the Freedom Ranger genetics in is parent's background.

    [​IMG]


    4953 - "Dorothy" - - hatched 3/15; "PA Coop" green egg; silvery gray, almost white chick with rose comb & muff;
    [​IMG]
    Looks to be a blue "splash". Honestly, I'm not sure if it's a female, unless I looked at the feathers up close.
    Although that pink comb isn't as bright as the other roosters I kept that are the same age.

    [​IMG]



    4969 - started to hatch 3-15 evening; "Dad's Coop" light brown egg; all black;
    3/17 "assisted", as got stuck in shell due to the membrane drying out.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    4974 - hatched 3/17 ~ 5:30 am; "Dad's Coop" light brown egg; yellow with black stripe on head, single comb
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]


    4956 - "Roadrunner" - hatched 3-15; small light brown egg from "PA Coop"; black with less white, rose comb
    (Close-up of wing-band # - whenever I take photos of the chicks, I first take a photo of the wing band, so it's easy to
    find the photo of that particular chick later on, like now!)
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Who's laying those small light brown eggs in the PA Coop is still a mystery to me! I thought for sure
    it was a young pullet who's a SFHxCH from last year. But, she's single-combed and a light golden brown with blue undertones.
    So, when these eggs hatched totally different, mostly blacks and blues - I knew they hadn't come from that hen, even though
    she was in the same nesting box as those eggs! Most of the hens in the PA Coop group lay green eggs, only two or three lay
    brown eggs that I know of - the SFHxCH, "Opal" (2013 Golden-Laced Wyandotte x Dominque = rose-combed all black sex-link) and
    "Primrose" (2013 Golden-Laced Wyandotte x Partridge Chantecler = black with reddish brown "lacing", rose comb) .

    ----------


    4954 - hatched 3/15 ~ 9:30am; "PA Coop" brown egg from; black with white headspot chick, single comb

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    Based upon (her?) coloring, comb, etc - she's mostly likely from the hen who laid the egg she hatched from is a black/white barred hen
    who's from the "Dad's Coop" group. But, she found a way to fly up over a fence that divides the two groups, walks on top
    of the nesting box roof, and lays her egg in the "PA Coop" nesting box. Then, the finds her way back over to the "Dad's Coop" group, so that
    I never realized she was "hopping fences" until I saw her daily routine two days in a row. I tried to stop her and block her "escape route", but
    she was all flustered and eventually found a way through. So, I've just let her "do what she wants". The funny thing about it, is that she doesn't stay in
    the PA Coop area long enough to have her eggs fertilized by that rooster, as she just prefers the PA Coop's wooden nesting boxes!
    I always find her back roosting in "Dad's Coop" at night, like "nothing ever happened".
    But, I think this particular chick's father might have been the Bielefelder rooster, as I've hatched several crosses from them, and they
    have those gorgeous multi-colored neck feathers that look very similar to the Bielefelder female's neck feathers.
    Even though the Bielefelder rooster was not in that group, he was for a short time before I separated the breeding groups.
    And since a hen can store sperm for several weeks to a month, it's highly likely that's just what happened.

    ---

    4977 - hatched 3/17 - "PA Coop" green egg - gray with rose comb; "assisted", as I found chicks alive in shells when removed others from the "hatcher".

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Looks to also be a rooster, as those bright red patches on his wings are very uncommon to see on any hen.
    Now, when I look at that photo of him as a chick, I see how his comb was quite pronounced to begin with.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2015
  7. myfivegirls

    myfivegirls Chillin' With My Peeps

    774
    83
    206
    Jan 12, 2009
    Delhi, NY
    I took a bunch of photos yesterday, and wanted to quickly share them here.


    1st up is one of "Rainbow's" chicks she's raising -
    There's several 1/2 SFH 1/2 CH in the hatch and two of the them
    carry the mottled / "flower" gene, as they're getting flecks of white on them!
    That's so exciting, even though I know they'll loose it all once they mature.
    But, I know they're a carrier and if bred back to another carrier or the SFH,
    I might get some "flowered" Catskill Homesteaders.
    What I'd love is to acquire some "Alohas", but since they're in Arizona &
    I'm in NY - it might be difficult.
    [​IMG]

    Anyways, we are making progress here getting things ready for summer,
    and the grass is looking nice and lush after a long, cold winter.
    We finally worked on the grass paddocks, and the chickens and ducks
    have been enjoying the abundance of fresh greens. It took them a few days
    and rotating through a few paddocks to get the idea that they now had more
    "live foods" to eat, if they'd just walk further from the coop.

    Yesterday, I did an "experiment" and switched feeding time to evening.
    So, when I let them out in the morning, they now will just get food scraps
    and will have to forage the rest of the day for their food.
    Before "bed time", then I'll give them their fermented feed to eat inside the coop.

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    "Joshua" is looking more handsome every day - I just LOVE his unique coloration!
    Plus, he's got some nice "heft" to him, especially compared to many of the cockerels
    I've raised out before.

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    "Bluebonnet" - the "mystery" hen from a late summer 2013 hatch.

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    "Pansy" - 2013 hen after finishing her molt

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    March 2015 pullets enjoying the spring greens!
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    "Lavender" and "Lilac" - the "twin" sisters;
    I've hatched quite a few eggs from them, and they've got some
    nice "dual-purpose" size to them, plus pretty colors.

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    2014 hen digging in the big "compost" pile, that's mostly the
    garden soil from the previous house. Good dust bath material!
     
  8. myfivegirls

    myfivegirls Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 12, 2009
    Delhi, NY
    I was looking through photos, and found this one. Back in March, one of the hens or pullets laid this
    crazy blue egg - not the best photo, but captured the color contrast between the green and the blue egg.
    [​IMG]

    Then some photos from 5-12-15 of the young Catskill Homesteaders
    enjoying the spring weather and their first day out of the new grass paddocks.
    You'll notice the most adventuresome ones are all cockerels!

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    This little roo is 1/2 SFH , 1/2 CH - I get a kick out of it's crest and beard/muff!

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    Last edited: May 21, 2015
  9. myfivegirls

    myfivegirls Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 12, 2009
    Delhi, NY
    Since the Catskill Homesteaders are still in the "breeding project" stage, there's lots of these chicks that will be "culls", cockerels raised for meat and extra pullets sold.
    They're perfectly fine and still pretty, but I'm trying to only keep the most unique ones, unless they carry a gene that I want to make sure gets pass on to future generations.
    I don't have the final # of "keepers" or ones I'll keep longer to grow out, but it seems like the "prettiest" ones are all roosters! [​IMG]
    So far, the 1st couple hatches of pullets are pretty "plain", except for the 1/2 Bielefelder 1/2 CH ones. They look almost identical to the pure Biel hens,
    but have a pea/single comb. Isn't she pretty? She's a "keeper".
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    I'm debating about this pullet, whether to keep or sell her.
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    Even though she hatched from a green egg laid in the SFH coop, I think her mom, "Blueberry" still had sperm left over from one of the other roosters she had been with.
    Plus, the little pullet has a rose comb, which would only have appeared if her dad was one of the CH rooster, like "Daniel, as that egg was collected was soon after moving the CH hens into the SFH coop.
    What makes me hesitate is that I already have quite a few "dark blue" hens, and while I've grown to like this color, I'd prefer one that's not as "solid-colored". Plus, she seems to be slightly smaller than the other chicks her age - but they're mostly roosters from other breeding groups. So, that may not be a "good" comparison. On the other hand, I wouldn't want to get rid of her, and later regret it. Sometimes when I've sold young chicks and later they sent me photos - I'd think "I never got any that looked like that!" Or, the one year I kept the single-combed blue hen and sold the small-combed pullet, which would have been better for the cold weather. Oh well, and I guess it's ok, as now I'm getting a good mixture of small-combed roosters and hens.
    One thing is for sure, though, the single-combed chicks are MUCH easier to tell who's male/female at a younger age. But, I'm learning what to look for in the small-combed chicks, as often their feathers tell all, once they're 5 - 6 weeks old.
     
  10. myfivegirls

    myfivegirls Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 12, 2009
    Delhi, NY
    This little gal went to another home yesterday, along with a young cockerel. She's such a little cutie, but if I kept every one that I liked,
    I'd have way too many chickens!

    Just posted a few new photos on my blog , but thought I'd also share some of them here:

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    "Rainbow" and her chicks - pictured here are (L-R) - SFH, Biel (R) & 3 CH

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    One of the older pullets that's waiting to be picked up within the next 2 weeks.
    She's a beauty - I hope I get more like her, as she's very unique!

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    The two on the left are "Susan's" daughters x Bob the Bielefelder - can't wait to see what color eggs they lay,
    as their mother laid green and the Biel lay dark "terricotta" eggs.
    The 3rd pullet on the right - I'd have to check her wingband #, but I think she's a pure Biel that's younger than the other two.

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    SFH x CH pullet

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    "Daniel" - father of some of the Catskill Homesteader chicks,
    so far has sired lots of blue and black chicks.
    (Bielefelder cockerel on the left)
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2015

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