Cool dark orange hen with a blue tail - she's shy and I didn't get good photos of her for my last update!
A rainbow of colors in one flock - exactly my goal! Would like to see bigger size, and more pronounced white spots on the mottled colors on some of these, but overall progress is going great. Looking for dedicated people to help with this project! Ideal candidates will have a safe home for their chickens, protected from dogs and coyotes, and preferably the ability to keep a rooster and own an incubator, and have the desire to hatch out chicks.
Because these are so rare right now, it's really critical to not just get more of them out there, but to get them in homes where they will reproduce by having owners who will incubate eggs and sell the chicks to new homes in their area. As it stands today, one catastrophe at my little mini-farm and the entire project would oractically be over. The only way to combat this is to get others involved in breeding these colorful cuties.
Shown here are a few of the handful of solid-color chickens that are part Aloha or outcrosses. The big red rooster, he was created by taking a New Hampshire Red rooster (which is like a very robust Rhode Island Red with slightly lighter color) and crossing that rooster with a few Aloha hens. So even though he is solid red, he should carry the Aloha genes, which means some of his kids should have the bright Aloha mottled colors in the next generation. Plus, they should be larger, as he is full size.
In another photo you can see a solid yellow Buff Rock hen. (Top right corner of the "group" photo below.) The Buff Rock is one of the most massive of chicken breeds, which is why I chose it for an outcross for this program. However, so far the Buff Rock eggs have been coming out sterile when I try and incubate them - frustrating!
She should lend fabulous improved size to the flock . . . if I can ever get her eggs to hatch, sigh.
So far, things have been going great in Alohaland! The chickens are happy and healthy, and getting into trouble with their constant nosy behavior, always following me around the yard. I have eggs coming out my ears as all hens are now laying like crazy, even while other chicken owners have been reporting decreased lay with the shorter winter days. Eggs and the chickens are smaller than what I want to get eventually, but they are hardy and good productive layers that are in-between Banty and Standard size.
The only dissapointment that I can report, is despite trying over and over to get my Buff Rock eggs to hatch, they are still coming out sterile. Perhaps this is because for a long time, I had only one mature rooster with about 15 mature hens. The ideal ratio is one rooster to every eight to ten hens.
Now three other young roosters are finally of breeding age, and next month I plan on sectioning off one of these younger boys with a few of the gals, which will hopefully help increase fertility in the remaining hens as the "main roo" won't be spread so thin.
The Buff Rock bloodlines were to be critical in increasing the size of my chickens. I'm getting all sorts of fabulous colors right now, but still need to improve size. This is a big setback as I was hoping to hatch out a Buff Rock x Aloha mix roo to use next spring, and at this point, even if I hatched one out tomorrow, he wouldn't be ready to use until June - and it's much too hot in the summers here to hatch and raise chicks. So, looks like I'll be cruising along with my small but colorful babies until next fall, before I can realistically improve size in the next generation.
Mostly, I wanted to share lots of new photos of the girls, and to announce that LIVE CHICKS will now be for sale in the Phoenix area! I'll be hatching out lots of extra eggs, and I even invested in a brand new top of the line incubator, so that I can have two batches incubating at once. Hopefully, later this spring as temps increase across the country, I'll be able to figure out how to ship live chicks to other states. Right now, we're running in the 60's to 70's for our temps here in the desert - but it's too chilly to ship to those cold climates.
Enjoy the photos in the meantime, and be sure to contact me if you live in Phoenix and would like to buy some Aloha chicks in January or February!