We took some large and wide bodied green layers from some private stock and combined them with others of our favorite birds. From hen to hen this flock will vary, with almost any egg coloration hidden within a diverse flock. We started with a single rooster name Cluck Norris, who has left his stamp of all around good purpose.
Not only is there is a variety in potential egg color, there is also variety to be found within the feathers. It's not often that a hatch results in similar birds, though that will change over time with further refinement as we select the core traits we'll begin to expect them to have from one generation to the next. The foundation of egg color is green and blue, with some browns and olives added in for good measure. Health of the bird and chick vigor has been the main focus, aesthetics are secondary.
A Cluck Norris daughter, currently housed with a Niederrheiner rooster to add another dose of size and feather barring, while maintaining the docile temperament.
Dual purpose starts with this fella here on the left. Cluck Norris himself, wide bodied and with good density and shape of body. He leaves his stamp on the birds he has produced and they carry on the traits we found appealing in him. He has the stellar rooster temperament of being a gentleman with good sense, excellent fertility, as well as a learned respect for people while protecting his flock.
A son of Cluck Norris, carrying his expression and type with a totally different coloration. We'll continue to watch how he matures. If he finishes as hoped, he'll be with the daughters of the below parent birds to add another dose of the Cluck line of our specially blended Easter Eggers, along with those green egg genes.
These birds are unpredictable right now, with enough careful selection over the generations we'll be able to shape them into our perfect chicken based on our needs and intended purpose.
For 2018 I'm taking other hybrids into this mix, just to see. There will also be some purebreds, birds who don't accurately reflect their breed standard will also be lumped into this group. All chickens taste like chicken, all hens will likely lay eggs. The goal here is to create a genetic pool of diversity to pull from. I've seen some really neat birds come as the result of interbreeding, birds that just couldn't be made again unless by accident. It all depends on the roll of the dice! Starting with good, healthy dual purpose birds, creating lord only knows what colors down the line. A little of this, a little of that!
These are some of the Olive Eggers I've been working on, they're growing well and the first ones are starting to lay! They're getting some good size and growth behind them as well. Can't wait to see the results from the F2's and F3's and beyond! The smaller/leaner size of the Silverrudds in the original cross will soon be a thing of the past, with their excellent laying ability carried on.
This young cockerel at only 5 months old is MASSIVE! He's going to rule the roost next year (2019) with the Olive Egger ladies. He's part Easter Egger and part "secret". He'll add bulk and size to the line and may surprise us on feather colors. He carries a barred gene and some other colors under the black/blue he's showing. I'm excited to see how these birds develop!
At 5 months
At 8 months
Another fun little group I'm working with pictured below that should have the end result of Blue eggs. We'll see what happens! This is the first phase of a plan I "hatched" that's going to take several years to get anywhere with if all goes well. The hatches have been consistent enough to have a good sampling to pull from for next year's phase.
Patiently waiting for egg color to show itself! I'm debating on an outcross to the Bresse to improve body type and table presentation. Egg color and feathers can be changed quickly. Body type and structure takes several generations.
The pullets are all laying blue! Out of the 2018 group we picked one lucky rooster to move forward with.
2019 "Motley Crew"
Ruled over by the largest rooster we have, this crew I've put together has a little of everything. Legbars, Olive Eggers, Blue Marans, large type EE's and a couple of the blue laying Hybrid girls. He may get a couple more after I go through the last of the pullets from 2018. We'll see what hatches! This flock will be in a continual state of refinement/experiment.
2020 Project Crew
As I dabble and play with traits for auto-sexing, egg color, body structure and winter hardiness... the flock is morphing to suit our needs. This group doesn't tie us to a breed standard, so we can basically select what we like and run with it. The pictures below are what have caught my eye that we'll move forward with.
A lot of variety has been coming through from the 2019 hatches. I've found several keepers that I'd like to move forward with!