The Evolution of Atlas: A Breeding (and Chat) Thread

Discussion in 'Pictures & Stories of My Chickens' started by speckledhen, May 8, 2014.

  1. MistyMountain

    MistyMountain Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Cyn, I am amazed by the friendly nature of all of your roosters. It seems like all of mine have been skittish from the start, and I was under the impression that I should not baby them or they would not know to keep their space and could become aggressive. I will put more effort into befriending any youngsters we may hatch this spring. I can see how you fall in love with them.

    I have a mean rooster… well… I have hard time calling him mean. He's protective and needs to be in our free range situation. He's just doing what a rooster does, and is super good at it. My boys have learned to respect his space. It does get old sometimes when I am in a hurry to get down to the coop and he is bent on getting my boots, but I have watched him time and time again get the girls to safety and stand in the open to take on hawks. I know one of these times he will lose to the predator, but at a year and a half old, he sure is good at what he does. Not only that, he tolerates the two beta roo's in the flock. 3 roosters, 20 hens living together… maybe overkill, but I keep a closed flock and can't be without a rooster [​IMG] I will admit, one roo and two hens sleep in the mini brooder coop. I don't want to press my luck with 3 roosters waking up excited surrounded by ladies in one coop.
     
  2. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    The trick is to start with a line of birds bred for temperament. Isaac's line of Delawares was bred for temperament. He passes that on to his sons. Suede was my Blue Orpington, no idea if he was actually bred for it, but he was a pussycat with people. Same with his sons, super sweet and easygoing. Isaac wasn't babied as a chick and neither was Suede, though they were handled to make sure they got used to it. That's my only secret. Breed the best, keep the best, cull the rest.
     
  3. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

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    I have had some very nice Speckled Sussex from Sandhill Preservation, they are hardy and very good natured. Last summer a friend gave me some Jubilee Orp eggs and I hatched out one. She looks just like a giant version of my SS hen Freckles - except her tail never grew in, so she has a little bit of a cochin look.
     
  4. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Sounds like Gloria Jean should try to get some of those. Just not the SS from Ideal. Bad stock. My only Speckled Sussex that I raised to adulthood, Nelda, was from a breeder in Tennessee, though I think the origin was hatchery stock, just improved upon.
     
  5. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

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    [​IMG]
    Freckles - She was on alert in this picture, thought someone else was getting all the bird seed under the feeder!
     
  6. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    She sure was at attention! Here was Nelda at around 3 years old. Something happened later during a very hard molt, her crop quit functioning and no amount of massage or anything we did could get it working again so we lost her. She was a small hen, laid very small eggs, too, but a character.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. MistyMountain

    MistyMountain Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Definitely taking notes on this. My flock is a colorful mix of different hatchery chickens and couple home grown mutts. I am leaning toward dipping into the world of the german NH's though. I like the breed, and the story behind them interests me. I have the space, time, and means to work and grow with them. It seems like true heritage chickens are few and far between here. I'm not looking to sell to the masses, but to be able to share a quality chicken with those interested in just that. Be a steward for the breed, I guess. People around here like chickens well enough, but it seems like the majority like them cheap and to swap them around a lot. Not here, no way. I know there are people around here who are interested, though.

    Will definitely be doing my research beforehand!
    Thank you!
     
  8. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    I hatched some of the GNHs when I hatched the Stukel Rocks, but I had only a couple of males. One was missing an eye and had a crossbeak, but I mistook it for a pullet and wasn't sure what I was going to do with "her". A long time customer was coming to pick up some birds from me and asked me what I planned to do with the NH "pullet". I told her I wasn't sure, that "she" could not be reproduced, of course, with her deformities. She asked to take it. Of course, I gave her the bird, turned out to be a cockerel, a huge, gorgeous cockerel. She said he was extremely mild mannered, never got into any trouble. She kept his beak in check and one day just found him dead. He was in good weight so, considering what we knew was wrong with him, there was probably something wrong internally as well.

    I've heard others say the GNH lines seem to produce easygoing males so maybe you'll have good luck with them in that regard.
     
  9. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

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    Freckles is not huge, but solid - like picking up a bowling ball. And she likes to be picked up and carried around. Very curious and social.
     
  10. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    My Nelda was friendly, but not really much for being carried around. She was just a good girl. Hated to lose her. Gina Rinks from the old BYC b4 this one and her brother bred them and she sent me the eggs. I hatched 2 pullets and 6 cockerels and only kept Nelda.

    None of the SS from Ideal lived to adulthood, some never grew after 2 weeks of age, etc., so I quit trying to get any more.



    ETA: I was looking at my chicken list today. At the top number, I believe I used to have about 55 chickens, all large fowl. Most of them, maybe 45, were in the main coop, which, with both sections, is 8x20 minus a 10 sf jog around an oak in the back. Now, between Isaac's group and the hens Rex had, there are only 14 birds in that same coop, Isaac and his 5 hens and on the other side, Rex's 8 hens. I'll be adding in Atlas and his three hens, bringing the total up to 17 birds. So, that's 150 sf (remember the 10 sf jog) for just 17 birds. That's close to 9 sf per bird in that coop. They are so darn spoiled, aren't they? None of my coops are at all crowded right now and I hope that over the next year or so, for those numbers to lessen even further as some leave me. Hopefully, those leaving will have lived a full, long life unlike poor Rex.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2015

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