Thursday, April 16, 2015

Surprising Chicks of 2015

 This week I had some chicks hatch that are different then the others I have hatched over the years. The first chick is a cream with 4 spots of silvery blue, one on each wing, a spot on the tail and a spot on the chest. This chick also has more bristle like down instead of the typical fluff, I experienced this last year with a few chicks, but have yet to figure out the cause, my guess is its a feather quality issue?
 Here is a top view showing the spots and bristle like down.
 Here is the second chick which is completely cream also with the bristle like down. The parents of both these chicks are a half Mille half Porcelain rooster and 3/4 or Porcelain hen. My guess is that since the Porcelain hen is only 3/4 Porcelain the lavender gene is barely there, and throws a color in between the Mille Fleur and Porcelain.
Both of these chicks were a real surprise to find, but with a little thinking I have come to a good conclusion on why they came out this color, and I think if their bred to a pure Porcelain their chicks would be normal Porcelains.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Marans Cross Chicks~ And What's in A Name ?

 Dark chocolate colored eggs amidst light brown and mint green chicken eggs. Love my Marans !

This little chick is the result of a breeding between my Black Copper Marans rooster and an Americana hen. 
 Both of these chicks are my Marans & Americana cross eggs hatched out in an incubator by my grandchildren. These chicks are definitely hardy, thrifty, and survivors .
 The  granddaughter in charge of incubator monitoring and follow-up care of the chicks named them Albert Cheepers McNugget featherweight Esquire the First & Prudence
 With names like that I dare not slack on caring for them !
 Albert & Prudence. ( Hope one really is a rooster and the other a hen. )

What's in a name ? Well, when your grandchildren hatch out eggs from your own chickens, then name the successfully hatched chicks, the pressure is on to make sure the chicks survive and thrive. So, Albert and Prudence , let's do well !

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

New d'Uccle Chicks ! ( With a couple of Silkies thrown in. )

 This week we had some more chicks hatch out from the Porcelain hen and Self Blue rooster. Here she is in the food bowl with the chicks under her.
 Here is the chicks father who is a Self Blue Mottled d'Uccle.
 Above is the nest box that the hen hatched the chicks in, which was made using a board and a milk crate. I have found the d'Uccles tend to spend most of  their time off the ground if given the chance, and it seems also that they prefer to nest off the ground. Most of my d'Uccles won't lay eggs or go broody if the nest box is on the ground, so keeping the nest box about two feet off the ground has worked well.
 Here are the seven new chicks, two of which are silkies . The other five are purebred d'Uccles, one of which is a Self Blue Mottled. The fact that this pairing produced both Porcelains and Self Blue Mottleds is still puzzling to me but is probably because of the mix of Porcelain, Mille Fleur and Black Mottled genetics involved. ( To read about the parents' breeding click here * )

 This is the Self Blue Mottled chick from this batch, and the second one out of this pairing.
 Above is the Porcelain hen with all the chicks.
 And here is the rooster and hen guarding the chicks. By Bugs.

Friday, March 6, 2015

New Chicks! of 2015

 Two weeks ago we went to Oregon for a poultry swap to sell the extra doves and chickens we had, on the way back we picked up four Silver Quail d'Anvers that were about 4 weeks old. D'Anvers are one of the breeds used to create the d'Uccle. These chicks will be used to breed a Silver Mille Fleur d'Uccle, which is a rare color in the U.S and since d'Anvers are closely related to the d'Uccles I won't lose a lot of type when I cross the two colors. Above is a Silver Quail rooster. 
 This is one of my Silver Quail d'Anver hens.
 This is the Silver Mille Fleur color I will be trying to breed using the Silver Quail d'Anvers . Photo from
 This is one of the new chicks hatched this week from the Self Blue Mottled rooster and Porcelain hen, this chick is a Self Blue Mottled.
This is a Porcelain chick hatched from my Porcelain rooster and 3/4 Mille Fleur 1/4 Porcelain hen.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Exciting Blues ! (Self-Blue Mottled Rooster & Porcelain Hen )

Last year I hatched two d'uccles that I don't typically get out of my breeding pens.  The first color is a Self Blue Mottled d'uccle who has some gold leakage in his neck hackles.  Some of the other blue colors are, Blue, Self Blue and Blue mottled.  The Blue color is a mixture of blue and black, the Self Blue color is a solid gray blue. This color is also referred  to as Lavender. Then there are the Mottled versions of the Blue and Self Blue colors, which are the same as the colors above but have white spots throughout their body.
In this photo you can see the cream-gold leakage in his neck hackles. This most likely comes from the Mille Fleur in his background. Typically Self Blue Mottleds don't have this leakage. His parents are a Mille fleur and Black Mottled & both of the parents are half porcelain which is where he gets the lavender color gene. The lavender gene is a simple recessive gene that turns red or buff to cream, and black to light blue or lavender. His brother didn't get as much of the lavender gene and is therefore black with red leakage.
     A view of his wing.

And this is the Porcelain hen, one who stood out from the rest of my Porcelain chicks that I hatched last year. She has more blue and brighter, more defined color than my other porcelains. She is 1/4 Mille Fleur and 3/4 Porcelain. By crossing my Mille Fleurs with the Porcelains I was able to get better feather quality and color with my porcelains, this is where the hen got the brighter color.
So far these birds have been shaping up well and I'm very pleased with how they've turned out. We plan on breeding them soon. My guess is the chicks will look like the father. I have done a Porcelain Self Blue cross before and got Self Blue chicks from the pairing, however the lavender color carries a lethal gene and when I did this cross only one chick lived. Since both of these birds carry Mille genetics there is probably less of a chance of the lethal gene happening.

We're ( Granny Baa & myself )pretty excited to see chicks from this pair and expecting some exciting blues !  ~By Bugs.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Cochins, Spotted Silkie-Cochins, and Doves

 Bantam White Cochins. These two roosters are both purebred cochins , one is frizzled.  They both came in an order I received last June of Frizzled Bantam Cochins, White. Although one of the roosters does not have frizzled feathers, he is capable of siring frizzled chicks.
 I use kitty litter buckets as nest boxes for my bantams. The roosters seem to love them. I have observed the little hens waiting patiently for the roosters to get out of the nest boxes so they ( hens ) could get in and get busy.
 A sweet fluffy frizzled hen. I love these little fluffy balls of feathers !
 I obtained a pair of Paint Silkie Roosters last year. I placed them in a pen with my one Silkie hen and a few frizzled bantam white cochins. I did not get any successfully hatched chicks from the Silkie , but plenty of Silkie-Cochin crosses. Quite a few had spots, which I LOVE ! Spots like these are not common in chickens,
 I know these little chickens are not able to be shown because they are not purebred, and don't fit the standard for Sizzles (is there a standard for them ? ) but have decided I am going to aim for a particular standard of my own for these little chickens. I want small white chickens with very curly feathers, good sized black spots randomly placed all over the chicken, with blue under-color . I like the dark blue around the eyes and beak instead of the bright red.
 My preference here is the body shape & coloring of the chicken on the right, but the spotting of the chicken on the left. This is so much fun. My chickens make me smile, a lot !
 And then there are my doves. My sweet, easy-to-keep doves that coo and coo throughout all weather conditions. They faithfully tend their young and are so graceful , almost angelic appearing as they fly around their pen from perch to perch.
 My doves are prolific breeders and the numbers are requiring me to have to offer a few for sale again. I hate choosing doves to sell. Each one I choose is so perfect ! But I need to reduce the number of doves for the doves' sake. When there are too many of them they begin to compete for nesting spaces and perch space and get so busy chasing each other around they all suffer for the chaos.
A dove setting on eggs, more baby doves to come !

This is a glimpse of a few of my chickens and my doves this month. Every keeper of livestock & poultry needs to spend some time simply observing their animals. This gives the keeper an idea of the state of the flocks & herds, an idea of changes to be made. Sometimes simply taking time to observe them also allows the keeper to see things that alert him/her to health problems. Health problems caught early are often easily treatable and prevent serious infection or contagion. Feeding and caring for your animals should be a given, but knowing your animals and how they should behave is right up there with the most important things you should do. Besides, it's fun , after all, we're keeping animals we love and enjoy, right ?

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Porcelain D'Uccle Breeding program 2011 to 2014


 I started about 4 years ago with the d'uccle breed to start my own project of showing, raising, and breeding bantams, and its been a fun experience so far. I originally started with 2 Mille Fleurs , which then expanded to 2 adults and 3 chicks ,  but about a month later a neighbor dog got into my pen and killed all my birds. In December 2011 my Grandma got me 25 cute little D'uccle chicks as a Christmas present, 10 Mille Fleurs, 5 Porcelains and 10 assorted d'uccles, and that's how my porcelain breeding program got started.
 The two photos above are of 2 of my original birds, Snowflake and Platinum.
 So far my Porcelains have had great temperaments, are great moms, and are good egg layers.
 One of some of my first Porcelain chicks that hatched out in 2012.
 Above is Colonel Blue who was out of the batch above and champion bantam at our community fair, he also won many other awards before the age of  1 .
 This is Copper a half porcelain  half Mille Fleur. His dad was Colonel Blues Brother Glacier , he is a 3rd generation bird and has put a lot of great traits into my birds.
 Above is a photo taken to compare feather quality. Generally porcelains have poor feather quality due to the lavender gene,but it can be improved by crossing them with mille fleurs which is where Copper came in, although he looks like a mille fleur, if bred to a porcelain the chicks come out with porcelain color. On the left is a 3rd generation pure porcelain , on the right is a 4th generation 3/4 porcelain which has a lot of feather quality improvement.
 This is Tundra a 2nd generation porcelain hatched this year out of my best 2 original birds, and is probably one of the best birds Ive bred so far. In this photo she is 6 months old and in moult, currently she is fully feathered and looks even better.
 Another angle of her.
 A close up of her pattern. As far as pattern goes, you want the wing spots to form wide u shaped lines in the middle of the wing ,  good spaced pattern throughout the body with nice blue barring and white spangles,  a light blue tail with a white spot on each tail feather.
A close-up of her foot feathering. Tundra has some of the longest and thickest foot feathers of my d'uccles, a trait desired in the breed , and hopefully she passes this on.
This is Polar, Tundra's brother. So far he's a great looking rooster, although he doesn't have much pattern yet. He has a good base color and better feather quality than most of my pure porcelains..
And finally one of my latest porcelain chicks , a  4th generation 3/4 porcelain. Platinum's great granddaughter, and hopefully her and my other 4th generation porcelains add the great traits they have onto the next generation with many more. ~ By C.T. ( Bugs )