Just when I was at my lowest, having hatched and raised so many chicks, just to lose them at four months old, an Aloha project friend, Brittany, notified me of a Craigslist ad that showed a couple of unique mottled hens! These new hens were also found in my area, much like the oddball Banty hen was found near here, with a Hispanic family. He was not able to give me more info on where these hens came from or what their bloodlines are. They were given to him, and the chicks were pets for his children until they got too big.
Because these came to me at a very low point just when I needed help the most, I've named them "Karma" and "Mystic". Karma is the lighter one, and Mystic is a shade darker with just slightly less mottling. They are not quite as small as the original odd Banty that I found, but they are not much bigger. Definately not Speckled Sussex - the color is similar but there are other distinct differences, being as these are much smaller, and they have a lot more mottling than the average Sussex.
Now there are a ton of fertile eggs in the incubator by these girls crossed with Vanilla. I can't wait to see what hatches out in the weeks to come!
Cloudy and Rainy were my two blue-mottled girls. Sadly, Rainy fell ill, and at the time of this writing she is still alive, but things do not look good. However, Cloudy is doing fine, she is laying now and several of her eggs are in the incubator! Her eggs are small and pale blue.
Below is a close up of her feathers:
My favorite Aloha hen, "Ginger" seen on previous pages - here she is today!
Another shot of her beautiful plumage:
I have set up a new smaller "dog kennel" run, and I have a New Hampshire Red rooster that will be bred to two of my Aloha hens. The resulting chicks are going to lose the mottling in this coming generation, but it will be huge boost for size, and they will carry the recessive mottling even if they don't show it.
After a small number of chicks are hatched out from this cross, the NHR roo will be culled. Because I bought some NHR female chicks, I can duplicate a similar cross working the other way -solid New Hampshire Red hen X Aloha mottled rooster - with them later this fall. But this rooster is from hatched eggs from a private seller, so he is not related to my new NHR hen chicks that I bought from Ideal Hatchery. So the crosses between these two lines will be very diverse, genetically.
Note that the hens shown here are not fully grown and not laying. But they are getting very close, I bet it will be a month or less. Check out the difference in sizes - the one mostly-white hen is the largest, but look at how much smaller the other hens are! This hefty roo will give his future chicks a lot of size!
I love how this hen looks so much like the original Banty hen in color:
Excuse the tail-less ness - no "serious" pecking in the coop, nothing to damage their skin, but a bit of tail-pulling by siblings has left most of the youngsters looking a bit ragged in the rump areas! Shown below is this still un-named hen with her larger sized but much lighter in color sister:
According to my calendar, these hens should begin laying sometime in May. TI'm letting them get used to their new boyfriend in the meantime. The NHR rooster is extremely gentle and docile, so everyone is getting along great!
Other hens and roos that have been held back for the program! These include Frankenroo, who shows little mottling and is very small, but will be used briefly in the program because of his excellent single upright comb, nice body shape, and bright reddish colors. There is also a small rooster being held back for a bit - he is smaller than Vanilla, but his patches of color are more bold and distinct. He has very little black, and is almost entirely red and white spotted. He has a ton of white and will be crossed with darker hens like Cleo.
Frank has very little white, and will be crossed with hens with lots of white feathers. Due to his smaller size, Frank will probably be used for just a month or two when the younger hens start to lay in the next month or so.
Neither of these roosters will improve size or egg laying ability, which is why they will be used towards producing more small but colorful hens, but will be replaced soon as here are better candidates.
Above and below: Frankenroo!
Two adorable new hens! Cleopatra, or "Cleo" for short, was just a solid orange hen that I was going to keep for breeding stock. However, as she has matured, she has developed tiny flecks of white. How pretty!
Rosarita is a very unusual color, I'm not even sure what to call it?
Both have really started to fill out and get the look of adult hens over the last few weeks. Because they have very little white, they will be crossed with roosters showing heavier mottling. I expect them to start laying any day now!
Above: The shy Rosarita. Below: Bold and sassy Cleo!
Here's a photo of their cute faces:
This photo is of Cleo, with "Bling" the small rooster who will be replacing Vanilla for a while. He has more distinct patches of red than Vanilla. He will be crossed with hens with less white to add color, while Frank will be crossed with the mostly-white hens, and I'll be hoping for more hens that are about half white, half dark in color. (Like Ginger.)
Neither of these crosses is going to add size or laying ability, it will only increase the number of small but pretty hens I'll have to work with.the
Since I suffered such heavy losses on my "teenage" hens, I immediately set eggs to try and replace them. There was a dip in fertility during this time, and very few have hatched, although hatch rates have been steadily climbing since then.
I managed to hatch out nine new Alohas, and of those four look especially promising. (The rest might be culled.) In addition to the eggs laid by Karma and Mystic, there are a good number of eggs by the other three hens in the incubator now. I have lost about five hens to illness, so with nine chicks hatched and three dozen new eggs in the incubator, here's hoping I'll be able to replace them.
I also hatched out five new Aloha chicks that were given as a gift to a project member. A few of those look really neat, too! Hopefully this fall we will be rolling right along on our progress.
Above: It's easy to pick out the two Aloha chicks in with my Ideal Hatchery Buff Rock, New Hampshire Red, and Production Red pullet chicks!
You can see here how much bigger the NHR and Buff Rocks are compared to the Aloha chick that is only a few days younger. These "outside" breeds will be used to increase size, egg laying ability, and to brighten colors and remove black from future Aloha stock.
The little Banty hen went broody on me, so I gave her some eggs from Kona. Technically, these chicks are her grandkids, but she loves them like her own, LOL.
One chick shows too much white, the other is a bit too dark, but this one has a good balance - lots of white, but still some darker patches which are showing a lovely reddish-gold color.
The following photos are from my first official "Aloha Partner", Larissa. She has a web site, and will be offering hatching eggs. Contact her if interested:
Note that like me, she has a very limited supply of base stock, because we are just starting out. Her beautiful Aloha hen, "Sassafrass" is almost at the point of egg-laying, and the rest of these gorgeous ones are still youngsters. See Vanilla's daughter, "Sassafrass" below:
However, by the fall, her young hens will be laying and more hatching eggs (and maybe, chicks for AZ residents) may be available. She is also introducing other "large" breeds to help improve size and egg laying ability.
So, while I'm working with NHR, Buff Rock, and Production Red, (plus two very large and fabulous "mutt hens" from Easter Egger lines that another friend has loaned to me) she has chosen some different large breeds for outcrossing, so even though we are starting with the same stock, our programs will soon see a good amount of diversity, which is exactly what we need at this point to prevent inbreeding and to get new colors. These breeds she is working with include pure Speckled Sussex, half Speckled Sussex, Blue Wheaten Ameraucana, red "Easter Egger" Ameraucana, Buff Orpington and a few others.
Her current "head roo" is a full brother to my rooster, Vanilla. That's a picture of "Patch" below, he is a good sized rooster and very colorful, as you can see! The best of Patch's offspring will be kept for her program:
I have given her some extra chicks by my rooster "Vanilla" and she will be crossing them with "Patch" or other roosters. She is also holding back the best of Patch's chicks hatched by other chickens in her flock. Here are photos of some of her youngsters so far:
Here is a rooster of hers that will be going to live with another new member in Northern Arizona:
Here he is with another roo of hers:
There are other new members joining, but it will still take some time before they raise enough breeding stock to have hatching eggs or chicks available for sale. However, contact info or links to their web sites will be added on this site as it becomes available.