Well, I'll have to compliment you if you acquired decent stock to work with. My own experiences haven't been so fortunate. I think this year will be my best outcome ever after salvaging what good breeders I could to work with. These birds are extremely slow growers but distribute the fleshy meat evenly throughout their body. A very good sized carcass to feed on. Stay focused on inbreeding and consider outcrossing with a parent breed. Or find another blood line.
First I would like that thank everyone who has contributed to this thread for all the wonderful information! I just purchased 12 Maline chicks from GFF, which are to arrive within the next 2 weeks. I also have Barbezieux, Faverolles, Bielefelders and Sulmtalers, all as dual purpose birds. The remainder of birds are Easter Eggers, Icelandics, and Marans, for egg color variety. I am on the high plains in Colorado at 6300 ft, and bringing in fertile eggs is generally a losing proposition due to the disruption of the air cells and the air pressure & oxygen differences. I very much look forward to raising these birds, and breeding as close to standard as possible!
My chicks arrived from GFF and I love them! I was wondering if the light vs dark is an indication of gender? If so, which way? Oh - the slightly larger blue chick is a blue copper marans, not a maline. LOL
Gender color at birth can be a big plus but is not completely accurate with the malines. As they start to mature, the pullets are darker and the young roo's are and will be lighter eventually. You are dealing with a very rare breed and the bloodline outside of Europe is critical to say the least. Acquiring a second bloodline to cease inbreeding will be slow and the few owners need to share offspring stock and breed cautiously while trying to boost this breed in numbers worthy of its recovery without destroying its benefits. GFF is making a valiant effort and they handle rare breeds very well. Its a bit of a bumpy road but well worth the efforts being made. This breed is a slow grower but seems to distribute succulent meat qualities to all the right spots! Good luck in your efforts.
I have one large hen and she followes me around talking the whole time.
I need to find her a rooster friend and maybe she can talk to him.
If anyone has babies or a rooster please let me know