(No questions hidden in here, just thoughts out loud!) Husband said that if I write it and post it I have to hold to it. Hahaha... I went to him and told him I "needed" some $145 hatching eggs and he told me to stay focused and stick to my plan with the chickens I have. I have 7 roosters with the breeding space for 4, so we went through the merits of each one and came up with a plan for who will go where. Stall 3 - Mr Black Copper Marans will be culled, after we do we one more hatch from that pen. He lacks the type for the SOP, and he has a giant glaring white feather on top of his tail after he molted into adult feathers. So we'll see if a son comes up better. He has 3 Black Copper hens and 1 Black Marans hen with him. If I do pure BCM next year it will be because a son came through with merit. Takes stall 3 - Mr Silver Blue Olive Egger (Marans/Silverrud) will step into the BCM's stall and will gain his hens. The egg color through them will be richer green (got a first egg from OE backbred to Marans and we LOVE the color!) It also raises the option for Lemon Blue (Blue Copper) for their feathers. This cockerel will bring with him 3 OE pullets, 1 BCM pullet and 1 Blue Marans pullet, giving him a total of 9 hens. Stall 1 - We have 2 Bresse roosters, father and son. Once the son has some more age to him we'll need to decide which of them is the better bird. Then a fertility test on the son before committing to one or the other, his dad is proven. The son would bring an additional pullet with him, along with 5 Hybrid blue laying hens for a side project, giving him a total of 11 hens. Stall 2 - Mr. Blue Birchen Marans stays, it's his first season. We're hoping for a son with an improved tail for next year. He's solid otherwise, good type, great size and depth, we like him a lot! He has 10 hens. Purple Coop - Mr Olive Egger (EE/Marans) who currently rules the roost in the purple coop with his 11 ladies will contribute to a large hatch before Mr. Blue Laying Hybrid tags in to take over for him. This coop has an assortment of hens that has given a nice range of chicks, each with colorful eggs and large body type. I have many, many generations to go before they turn into anything even remotely predictable, through selective picks from one generation to the next. Mr. OE is a great rooster so I'm going to offer him and a couple of ladies to a new home instead of a dinner invite. I have at least 2 sons from him in the brooder with his look/type, we'll see who makes it through for 2020. Takes Purple Coop - Mr Blue Layer is Legbar/Twentse, best of that group from last year with a solid body and great temperament, like his dad. The blue eggs from his sister's have been stellar! He'll be breeding the hen assortment of pure Legbars, Blue Marans, Legbar Hybrids and green laying EE's. We maintain a dual purpose flock, the boys have a purpose if they're not headed to a breeder pen, though the goal is to improve each generation for their variety/type. I hatch a lot to get a bigger group of birds to pick from in that pursuit. I was really disappointed in the Black Copper Marans, it is what it is though. The only reason I'm doing a last hatch from the BCM stall is because of the 1 pullet I held back from last season. She turned out pretty nice, so they're not totally hopeless. We'll make a big group and go from there, throwing our hopes into a son. So it looks like for 2019 I'll have pure Bresse, pure B/B/S Marans (everyone in the pen is blue, but the hatch won't be 100% blue), Olive Eggers in F1 and F2 with consistent feathering, OE/EE with wildly inconsistent feathers and egg color. With the hybrids I look for body width/size and growth rate, along with carrying neat egg genetics. Time will tell what direction those head in! Once everyone is settled where they're going we'll have freed up 1 brooder stall and one stall/run, to make way for the 31 babies growing out now. The boys will be pulled to go the bachelor coop (currently empty), the girls will go to stall #6. The incubator will get fired up here soon. Black Copper Marans from stall #3 and a big batch from the purple coop. There are 8 brooders/grow out pens and 2 pasture tractors to work on filling! After that group the Turkeys will get hatch priority, followed by the Blue Marans and Bresse, finishing the hatch season with additional hyrids/crosses. Stall 4, 5 and 7 are Turkeys, no changes there. Big Red the Bourbon tom gets another season, his sons were mostly just as nice but not one exceeded him. Experience wins! First season for the Narragansett. In the current batch of babies it's looking mighty boy heavy. Roughly half are Bresse, leaving about 8 assorted OE/EE from the current Purple Coop and 7 Marans. The current OE threw some wild feathers on some of them! Some very pretty roosters are going to come from that and some of them have some serious size behind them. Looks like there are at least 2 BCM boys. It was a successful test hatch though! Won't be buying any birds this year! Finally! This is year 3 for us with the bigger scale and changed flock purpose. It's so much easier to go through the girls. They're either laying quality or breeding quality. They fit their script or they'll make breakfast. Whether it's 1 or 5 of them, they can easily be added to existing groups. The boys though, you can only have 1 rooster per pen unless they were raised together. Currently I have Mr. Bresse 2.0 and Mr. OE 2.0 together with 10 pullets, they're sharing well even since the girls started laying a couple of weeks ago. I wish I could add Mr Bresse son into his dad's pen! Might see how he feels about ruling the bachelor pen. I like the cycle and the evolution going on, this is fun! A little more expensive than I originally thought it was going to be... but fun enough to be worth it! It's taught me though that it's true you have to have a LOT of birds within a variety to get anywhere near reaching breeding goals. It's slow going too! Even slower if you have set-backs in how acquired stock turned out, if they are less than ideal for your intentions. This grow out process is the best part. That and spending social time with established breeding groups, the experienced birds who know you and the routine. The best though, is sitting down with the juveniles, seeing who's friendly and who's not, checking the growth, watching the feathers come in, anxiously awaiting the results of months worth of planning and growing the parents out. Morphing into years, watching the changes in the flock. Just for these! When the weather improves I'll need current egg basket pics, it's changed a lot! The prettiest F2 Olive Egger from today was cracked after freezing.