When I started thinking about creating a breed similar to "Swedish Flower Hens" I realized that (obviously) a purely American breed can't exactly be called Swedish anything! So what would be a good name for the world's wackiest and most colorful chicken breed?
I've been to Hawaii a couple of times visiting friends, and just loved it. I thought of those bright Hawiian shirts. No color or pattern is too bold. Hot pink? Why not? How about yellow with blue flowers? Great! The connection between "flower hens" and Hawiian shirts, often boldly pattened with Hibiscus flowers kind of made sense.
The more I thought about it, the more connections were made. For example, there is no "minority" in the state of Hawaii. It's a big melting pot of all kinds of different ethnic groups. Just like Aloha Chickens would need to be a blend of many different breeds to truly come in a speckled version of all the different solid chicken colors - red, black, beige, blue, etc.
Also, if there is ever going to be a speckled chicken breed like this, it would require a lot of people to get involved, with their own ideas, plans, and input welcomed. No one left out, no one shunned, everybody welcomed with open arms - which pretty much describes what Hawaiians term the "Aloha Spirit".
So even though I'm not from Hawaii myself, the state represents an uniquely American place. The fact that chickens run wild throughout the jungle there, well, I guess that means even the chickens would approve!
While I'd like this to be a very democratic collaboration between lots of people who like fun chickens, there does need to be some kind of common goal in mind.
Here's what I've come up with, and why:
Right now, there ARE other colorful chickens on the market. The Speckled Sussex is a goregous bird in its own right, and is the closest thing to Swedish Flower Chickens in the U.S. It is an "all purpose" breed good for laying eggs, and for eating. (If you so wish.) A dual purpose utility bird, standard (larger) size, it's hard to fault it. However, it only comes in one color - mahogany brown, with flecks of black and white.
The Exchequer Leghorn is another good breed with fabulous color, but is slightly smaller than the Sussex. While its eggs are also small, it is a very consistent and productive layer. It also comes in only one color, black and white.
Mille Fleurs are very attractive "bantam" sized chickens. They come in many gorgeous colors, including lemon/blue, buff/black/white speckled, and a soft pastel speckled color, to name just a few. However, they are too small to make a good dinner, and the eggs too small to satisfy the needs of most people who buy chickens primarily for egg production. They are a fabulous "decorative" breed but not of great use to the person who buys a chicken for the eggs - those folks will buy a Rhode Island Red or Barred Rock instead.
Above: Seramas, the world's smallest chicken breed, come in all mottled colors but are tricky to hatch and raise, have a more "upright" body type, and are too small for practical farm production.
There are also Mottled Bantam Chocins. I have only seen them in black and white, but they may come in other colors. Seramas, the smallest chicken breed in the world, also come in all mottled patterns and colors, but they have the same "utility" issues as the Milles do, being so small.
Other mottled or spangled variations exist of "standard" breeds, primarily in the UK, but I've heard a few US breeders are working on them as well.
However, if there was a more colorful and also nicely productive chicken available, regular folks may really enjoy a nice layer in a rainbow of colors that would look pretty wandering around their property as well.
For right now, there is no "breed standard" because there is no "Aloha Chicken" breed yet, LOL.
Aloha Chickens are more of a concept than a reality at this point . . . .
The goal is not to get a recognized "breed" that can be shown in the APA (American Poultry Association) at this point, and perhaps not ever. That's a tall order, to create an officially recognized breed of ANY animal, and it takes a lot of time and effort. Many breeders work tirelessly for years just to perfect a new color within an existing breed and have it approved by a formal association. It would be nice, however, to have an "Aloha Chicken" type.
This would be a larger size, utility bird, with a single comb and clean legs. The idea would be to create a body type that many small farmers or people new to owning a flock would picture if you asked them "what does a chicken look like?" Size and type similar to Sussex or Plymoth Rocks.
Fanciers who breed to standards, and actually show chickens, know chickens can be upright and sporty, huge with fluffy legs, frizzled and floofy, or even have a big poofball of feathers on their heads! However, many people new to chickens automatically picture a nice, plump, large bird, with a bright red comb and yellow legs when they think of "chickens". Aloha Chickens would have a familiar and appealing body type, just in much wilder colors.
Comb size would be average and upright (i.e. not a "pea comb" or a large floppy comb as seen on many Medditeranian breeds.) It would be deep bodied and large, (bigger the better, but preferably not as slow-growing as Jersey Giants or Giant Cochins, who because of this factor are less useful for food production.) Heavy emphasis on loud and unique colors, and eventually, good egg production as well.
It would need to exhibit some sort of mottling or spangling, although certain solid-color individuals would probably need to be kept for breeding purposes at first. No combination of color would be excluded, but naturally certain colors will appear more colorful due to contrast against the white. Hopefully color would be roughly 50/50 color versus white, with some individual variation allowed if not encouraged among individuals! However, the goal would be to eventually have all individuals exhibit "loud" color 100% of the time, if gentically possible.
The model for this sort of "breed type" already exists. For example, there are purebred Ameraucanas that can be shown in the APA. They have certain colors that are allowed, strict rules of skin and leg color, and of body type. All other non-approved colors are exempt from the show ring, and deviations from type are considered faults.
However, commercial hatcheries sell so-called "Ameraucanas" that are more commonly and correctly referred to as "Easter Egg Chickens". These chickens are a mix of Ameraucanas, which lay blue eggs, and other assorted egg laying breeds.
The result is a chicken available in many colors, easily orderable and many commercial hatcheries, that may leg blue, green, brown, or tinted ("pink") eggs. While they will never be shown, backyard chicken owners around the U.S. simply love this "breed" even if it's more of a type and does not breed true. They enjoy the surprise of seeing what color their chicken will grow up to be, and what surprise they'll find when it starts laying. Will they get sky blue eggs? Olive green? Pink? Who knows! It's all part of the fun.
What would make the Aloha Chicken type unique is (hopefully) it would eventually come in new and unique colors like red and white checkered, golden buff and white, blue and white, and whatever other mottled colors fans want to try and experiment on. However, it would still be an all-purpose, clean legged, single combed chicken (preferably without beards or muffs) that would be a good layer for backyard owners.
Creativity would be encouraged among breeders, and the "winner" would be the one that creates the wildest, most colorful, biggest and brightest chicken in the yard!