As of Spring 2010, I still do not have enough laying hens or enough progress made to ship eggs or chicks to lots of folks across the country. However, I have been giving extra culled chicks and stock that I'm done working with to new "Aloha Project Members" in the state of Arizona.
As of this writing, (April 2010) there are 4 other breeders in the state of AZ working with me, and two out of state that have just joined up! By trading eggs back and forth, and with different hens and roosters being used, together we will make much faster progress working together than I will have ever make working all by myself.
If progress continues as planned, in the future, both fertile hatching eggs and LIVE CHICKS will be offered starting Spring 2011. Due to space limitations, there will probably not be enough Aloha eggs and chicks to meet demand, because I only have enough room for 25-40 adult chickens. Aloha Chickens are a breed "in-progress", which means they still need a lot of improvement.
Currently I am getting a lot of neat colors, but all of the hens and their eggs are too small. There will need to be outcrossing with other chicken breeds to improve size and laying ability. If you want to move to the head of the line for future Aloha chicken eggs or live chicks, here is a "how to" guide!
What is the goal of the Aloha project?
*Large, "Dual-Purpose" chickens, that are both good layers and big enough for the extra roosters to make good table birds if desired. Currently, Aloha Chickens and their eggs are both on the small size.
*Deep bodied in type, with a single upright comb that will make sexing the chicks at a younger age easier, so that surplus roosters can be culled earlier. (Currently, Alohas are popping up with a variety of unusual combs, including Pea Combs, Dual Combs, and King's Combs.)
*Available in a variety of "new" colors, like Gold Mottled, bright Red Mottled, Blue Mottled, and all kinds of colors in-between.
*Available in a variety of mottling patterns, from mostly dark with only a few white spots to almost solid white with only a few dark areas. This way even the same basic colors can look very different with each chicken carrying a pattern unique as a fingerprint.
*Available with a variety of colors within the same flock, so someone raising Aloha chickens will get a rainbow of colors in their backyard, with no two exactly alike.
Currently, the only "large" breed chicken with mottling is the Speckled Sussex. They are usually mostly solid, with only a few white speckles. They are all dark mahogany brown as a base color. However, I have noticed an occasional unique Speckled Sussex that falls outside of their breed standard, by having too much white spotting or by being unusually light in color. Those unusual Speckled Sussex are the perfect candidates for starting your own Aloha flock!
I have seen these unique ones pop up in chicks from Ideal Hatchery, (a very good hatchery based in Texas, where you can order chicks from through the mail) and also by a few private breeders who sell hatching eggs on Ebay or on backyardchickens.com
However, Sussex only come in one base color - dark mahogany brown. When you take a chicken with mottling, like a Speckled Sussex, and cross it to a "solid" colored chicken, the offspring will not show spots, but they will carry the mottling genes, hidden in their background.
These half-Sussex crosses are the perfect "base stock" to create your Aloha flock. If you work on creating these half-breeds and you were sent Aloha eggs later, all you would need to do is put your Aloha rooster in with these half-Sussex hens, and then hatch out the eggs. 50% of these chicks would show mottling - these are the ones you'd keep.
Note that most of the unique colors and loud mottling in my flock DID NOT come directly from Speckled Sussex, but from other sources, primarily unknown Banty lines. Some Banty breeds also carry the mottling color, but since Alohas are currently too small, and because I have the bright colors in mine and now need to improve egg production and size, if you work with larger breeds I'd be happy to send you hatching eggs later on to help you improve color!
Remember that the Mottled gene adds flecks of white on top of whatever color you see.
To add new colors, I recommend the following breeds:
Gold and Red Colors:
Buff Plymouth Rock
New Hampshire Red
Rhode Island Red x Buff Orpington (A terrific cross if you can find them. Less fluffy and better layers than pure Buff Orpingtons, but bigger and brighter in color than purebred Rhode Island Reds.)
Wellsummers (These also lay a very dark brown egg, which is very fun.)
"Easter Eggers" (EE'ers come in variety of colors, but often are a "wild" type brown color. Note that they do have pea combs that will need to be bred out later. Many of these will lay a light blue or olive green colored egg.
Blue and Black Mottled:
VERY IMPORTANT NOTE - Black is an extremely dominant color! If you were to add a black rooster to your Aloha flock, you will get all black or very dark brown chicks. Blue is just a diluted black, and for this reason, I recommend someone interested in blue and black mottled work ONLY in those colors for the best results.
However, if you keep only one or two dark hens, but the rooster is a lighter color, you can have blue or black in your flock. Just cull the black or blue roosters, always, and only keep the blue or black hens.
Australorp - Fabulous solid black chickens that are amazing layers.
Blue Birchen Marans - hard to find, but they carry both blue and some patterning. Some may have feathered legs, these feather-legged ones will need to be culled for the Aloha program. Marans lay extremely dark eggs.
Mixed breed chickens are welcome in this program. Any large, attractive laying hens will work.
Please note, however, that you want to AVOID the "dominant white" gene, and the Barred gene.
For this reason, sex-linked chicks are not recommended! Sex linked chicks are mixed breeds sold by many hatcheries. However, the Dominant White and Barred Gene are usually used in their parentage.
If you do not know the background of the mutt chicks or hens, you are better off waiting or ordering from a commercial hatcher or private breeder. However, if you know what breeds they came from, or can look at the entire flock and do not see barred or solid white chickens, they are probably fine.
Any of the above breeds can be crossed with Speckled Sussex to introduce the Mottled gene. By mixing Speckled Sussex with any of the above breeds, you will get large chickens that will carry mottling - just keep the best and most colorful hens, and toss in an Aloha rooster down the road, and you will have colorful mottled chicks half of the time! Keep those best mottled babies, and cross back again to a new Aloha roo until you get the desired results.
A great idea is to team up with a friend nearby or a neighbor. Together, you can go in together on an order of chicks from Ideal Hatchery, (or another hatchery) or buy fertile eggs of several of the above breeds to hatch out. When Aloha hatching eggs or chicks are available, if each friend keeps a couple of the best roosters, you will be able to swap roosters or the next generation of chicks back and forth to get faster results.
Aloha Chickens are perfect for sharing!
Becoming an Aloha Chicken "partner" is easy! You just need to have the dedication and desire to create colorful Aloha Chickens.
There are very few "rules" but here they are:
!. You must be willing and able to keep roosters. One is all right, being able to keep two or three roosters is ideal. Some suburban areas will not allow roosters, and only allow hens. Because there are so few Aloha hens, each one is too valuable for the breeding program to go to a home where she will not be used to grow the breed. Someday we hope to have Aloha chickens available to everyone, but right now it is still in progress.
2. You must be willing and able to hatch out and raise chicks, and keep the best of them, and to improve and grow the breed. This is a breed in progress!
Remember, half of the chicks you hatch will be roosters. Some hens will have faults or be less attractive than others. Only the best should be kept for the program. If you hatch out 25 chicks, be prepared to have only 5 of them turn out really outstanding. You may need to hatch out 50-100 new chicks every spring to make good progress in your own program, depending on how many adult laying hens you want to raise.
However, the extra hens that are lesser quality can still be sold or given to friends, and the extra roosters can be sold or made into meals. Just be prepared to hatch out a LOT of baby chicks. I truly enjoy hatching out baby chicks. I love seeing the new colors, and watching them grow. It's a lot of fun for me, and a great hobby I love. Other people might just call this "work".
Make sure this is something you'll like to do before you commit.
3. You must be willing to adhere to the Aloha standards - which means, large good egg layers in a variety of neat mottled colors. It's pretty open in general! What we want to avoid, however, is getting sidetracked into making "offshoots" - like Frizzle Alohas, "Top Hat" Alohas, feather-legged Alohas, etc.
Why is this? Because there are already TONS of really neat pure breeds in existence that are purely for show. The goal of Alohas is different - it's to have a practical backyard or farm UTILITY breed, that is also very attractive.
So, if you like the mottled colors and feathery legs, breed Mille D'Uccles. If you like frizzles and mottling, breed Frizzle Mottled Cochins. If you like mottled Top Hats, breed Polish and their related breeds. There are many fabulous APA recognized "show" breeds to choose from.
Aloha Chickens are for people who want practical egg-laying chickens, do not plan to show poultry, but would prefer something more colorful than a regular Rhode Island Red or black Australorp.
If you live in the state of Arizona, and have a flock of any of the above breeds, I will be happy to give you an extra Aloha Chicken rooster for FREE - I always have too many extras! I can even help you with hatching out the eggs, if you live nearby and are either not familiar with incubating eggs or do not yet have an incubator. I live in Phoenix, and you must be willing to pick up your rooster, deliver future eggs, and return to pick up your new chicks when they have hatched out.
When fertile shipping eggs become available, priority has been given to members of the website:
Please join and you'll find me there, member name "Alohachickens". Send me a private message!
Joining backyardchickens.com is easy and free! It is an incredible resource of information. The other Aloha breeders who have joined with me on this project are also members. Please check out their Forum for messages and info on how to raise chicks, incubate eggs, care for your flock, and more.
My extra Aloha fertile hatching eggs are FREE at this time, but because of demand, people who are the most dedicated or the most experienced will get priority. The web site backyardchickens.com seems to attract the most enthusiastic and experienced poultry fanciers, which is why I now use it to choose new breeders.
When I get enough adult hens of high enough quality, I do plan on mailing live chicks to new Aloha members. This is because shipping eggs is so risky, often after they make it though the Post Office, very few live chicks hatch at their new homes. It will be a while before I am able to ship chicks - the earliest estimated date is late spring of 2011.