Things have been going great out here in AZ with the Aloha project! The girls have stayed healthy, and have been laying like crazy. I have hatched out and sold (locally) over 200 baby Aloha chicks on Craigslist. I definately could have sold more chicks, but I was limited by only having two home incubators. If I had a big cabinet incubator that could hold 300 eggs at a time, I do believe I could have sold 400-600 Aloha chicks so far, no problem. Most batches of 40-60 chicks sold instantly, and I had waiting lists for the next ones. So I will be keeping my eyes open for a nice used cabinet incubator on Craigslist, in case one turns up there.
Getting ready to try my first MAILED shipment of Baby Chicks soon! Soon it will be too hot to ship chicks, but if it goes well, next fall I may be able to begin shipping chicks to folks in October when it cools off here.
I'm getting ready to hatch out my own replacement flock. While I adore the ones I have already and am very happy with them, the goal is to keep improving the breed as fast as possible. So, I will be culling down to my favorite 10 hens (from about 20 total) for the summer, and keeping a huge number of their baby chicks to grow out for next fall. Many of these new chicks will be crosses with larger breeds, like Buff Rock, Speckled Sussex, and New Hampshire Red.
The new chicks you will see growing out soon, will not be as colorful. That is because when you cross a Mottled chicken with a solid color chicken, all the babies will be solid color. However, they will CARRY the neat colors, so we should see the fun colors return yet again, about this time next year, in the babies of this spring's babies! (Or, the "grandchicks" of my current flock, if that makes more sense to you!)
I have achieved the neat colors that I was looking for. Sure, they could be "perfected" a bit more, but we're on track. Now it's time to get the flock larger, so they will be practical layers of nice big eggs - someday! (Right now, they are practical layers of huge amounts of small, tinted eggs.)
Aloha Project Member Larissa put a Speckled Sussex hen in with her roo, Patch, shown on this site. This is the result, a large hen with great size! She still looks pretty much like a Speckled Sussex, but not quite? We are hoping that as she is crossed with other stock, that future generations will keep her size and start showing new color. I am posting these photos mostly because her size is "normal large chicken" size, and if I can get my Alohas to this size, while keeping the fun new colors I've achieved so far, at that point I will consider them pretty much "done".
Please note: Most of the chickens shown on these pages have NOT used much Speckled Sussex bloodlines at all. The primary bloodline was a colorful Banty hen of unknown origin, that I traded for with a neighbor of mine. I have no information on the Banty hen's background, because the neighbors were Hispanic, and did not speak much English. I do have bilingual friends who may have been able to help me find out more, but unfortunately, those neighbors moved and I have no idea where they went. So the bloodlines of this breed will pretty much remain a mystery!
The half Sussex hen is being crossed right now with a huge, red rooster that is half Aloha, and half New Hampshire Red. He should carry the recessive Mottling gene from his Confetti colored Aloha mother. If this works, we should have half the chicks end up mottled, HUGE in size, and hopefully with less black. The bloodlines of these chicks would be half Aloha, one quarter New Hampshire Red, and one quarter Speckled Sussex. A mottled rooster chick from this cross could be a tremendous help for improving size in the Aloha program. I can't wait to see how the chicks turn out!
Below: Photo of smaller "Confetti" hen next to half-Sussex, half-Aloha hen, showing ideal size for future Alohas.
Check out my next Rooster! I hatched out 25 chicks in November, and culled culled culled down to my four favorites. One of them ended up a very unusal bright red, with chocolate brown where the black should have been? After searching online, I believe this is the "Pumpkin" color, which is found in some game bird lines. This makes sense, because the unknown mottled Banty that founded the Aloha line was from a Hispanic family, and game chickens are found all over these neigborhoods in South Phoenix. Mottling and Pumpkin are both found in Game chickens.
Note that this rooster has NOT been unusally agressive, however, and has more of an Ameraucana body type than Game type. (Right down to his cute puffy chipmunk cheeks!) His size is great, and he will be one of my "main boys". He will be ready to breed in late May or early June, and I will cross him with my Buff Orp and a couple of other Aloaha X Buff Orp hens, to try and get large size, light colored, mottled carriers to use late fall 2011.
We have a new Aloha breeder in AZ! Leslie will be working on a Blue Mottled and a Red, White and Blue mottled project! I gave her my lovely Blue Mottled hen "Cloudy" to work with. She will cross Cloudy with a Blue Orpington roo, and cross those babies together to make a Blue Mottled flock.
She will also be crossing Cloudy with a Blue Laced Wyandotte and also Speckled Sussex with Blue Laced Wyandotte to create a red, white and blue mottled flock. Look for future updates here! In the meantime, these are photos of Cloudy, the Aloha hen who will be her foundation for this program.