2013 Has been a very big year for the Iowa Blue. Not only has the breed experienced a surge of interest and support, but 2013 marked a turning point for the breed's legitimacy via the expansive uncovering of the breed's history. For the first time since the breed's creation in the early 1920's, the average poultry enthusiast has access to first hand accounts of the breed's early beginings as well a pictures depicting what the original birds looked like. This thread is designed to explore the type, form, function, and color of the traditional Iowa Blue. (For further information about the breed's history, visit the Iowa Blue Chicken Club and check out the historical archives. Also, you can download and print a book called The History and Characteristics of the Iowa Blue. This download is free, so enjoy!) Our historical accounts document that the Iowa Blue originally came in a stippled form of the silver penciled pattern. This stippling of the pattern produced an effect that would give the hens a blue-grey color when viewed from a distance. The breast would start out with some defined lacing and the more disorganized the pattern became as the pattern progressed toward the tail, the more blue the hen would look overall. This pattern in the hen is quite unique to the chicken kindom and no other breed exhibits such coloration. (One thing to take note, is that black chicks or black adult birds never existed in the original breed population). The second unique coloration pertaining to the breed was the blue sheen which replaced the typical green sheen found in most breeds. The blue sheen definately enhances the overall "blueness" of the breed. The third unique coloration trait, was found in the chick down coloration. Roughly half the chicks were born a solid chestnut color and the other half were born in a brown mottled sort of coloration. Interestingly, the brown mottled chicks were quite varied in their coloration. Some appeared a little more red, others more blue, and still others exhibited more or less of the brown mottling. But one thing was certain, regardless of which color the chicks hatched out (solid chestnut or brown mottled), all would grow up to look the same in coloration. Some a little lighter or darker, but every bird would exhibit the same pattern. And lastly, the fourth unique characteristic was their personality. They were superb hawk fighers and always ready to take on a predator, yet always backing down and never attacking their human handlers. Other facts of the traditional type are as follows; Size - Rooster 10-11 lbs Hens 8+ lbs Leg color - Slate or Willow (It would seem logical that an Iowa "Blue" would have blue legs, so many of the traditional breeders do tend to favor the blue legs even though the current Standard calls for Willow legs). Egg Shape and Color - Medium-large sized, colored in a warm medium brown. Shape - Rectangular with a well developed breast. Tail set is higher than normal, around a 70 degree angle. The sickles were not overly long, but rather short, just covering the tail feathers. Back - Level, some birds showing a very slight sloping toward the tail end. But level was the overall prefered look. So, with this in mind, this thread is geared toward exploring and expanding our understanding of the traditional characteristics of the Iowa Blue. We will be diving into sources of the traditional types, exploring the genetic expressions, and of course, sharing and learning as much of the history and characteristics of the traditional Iowa Blue as we can find. I hope you find this thread helpful and supportive as we learn together about this amazing breed. Please interject your thoughts and experiences with the breed as well as adding any imput you may have about the traditional type. I will kick of this thread by sharing some of the historical pictures that we currently have. These two pics are pictures taken in 1989 from the last known (fertile) flock of Iowa Blues. Half the chicks hatched solid chestnut, the other half hatched out brown mottled (similar in coloration to Silver Penciled Rocks). These would be the oldest pictures that we currently have of the breed.The two chicks to the left in the above picture where hatched out a solid chestnut color. This picture if of birds that Phil Roe use to own in Illinois. These birds were hatched from the birds in the above pictures. This rooster has a pretty heavy white "mane". Most of the old timers who were interviewed for thier historical breed knowledge would comment the the traditional type exhibited a thick white "mane", and it would seem logical that breeders desire to regain one of the Iowa Blue's distinctive "stamps", namely the male's beautiful mane. Hopefully on Monday I can post some pictures of the traditional type chicks for everyone to view as well as a young pullet and cockerel that hatched out solid chestnut as chicks. While the brown mottled chicks have been making a great comeback this year, unfortunately the solid chestnut chicks are very few indeed, with just a handful known to exist at the present. If you or anyone you know has purebred Iowa Blues that have hatched out as solid chestnut, do reach out to me!