Well autumn is upon us, and maybe, just maybe, the weather will dip below the 90s next week! It's been a hot month here! Looking at my growouts, I'm very happy with what I will be starting with next year.
My goal with these sweeties was simple - breed a better frizzle! Most d'Uccle frizzles have serious faults when you compare them with the d'Uccle Standard of Perfection. Long necks, wattles, scarce beards, shallow chests, long legs, narrow heads, incorrect combs, lack of slate color in the undercoat... you name it, they had it! Plus there are genes that modify the frizzle gene (those curly feathers), and result in more of a muppet look instead of the tight curl that I want. I've worked hard hatching this year, and at the end, after maybe 100 or more chicks, I have two girls that I am super satisfied with. Yep. Two. I also have several other girls in the maybe pile. How can I possibly be happy with only two that fit what I was looking for exactly? Well, look at that list of faults - the fact that I have two girls with tight frizzles, slate in the undercoats, nice beards, wide chests and heads, decent color, nice stature, bullnecks, and more is a miracle, really! My "maybe" girls are all missing one thing - one is gorgeous in all respects, but has no slate in the undercoat. She will definitely stay, because color is the LAST thing on my "fix it" list. And a couple of others are too young to judge. One doesn't have a tight curl to her frizzle, but her personality is OUTSTANDING. She may or may not make it to breeder status, but she will be my pet forever either way. In fact, her name is Pet! Two others seem to have necks that are just a tad too long, and frizzle that is just a bit loose. But we will see as they grow out. All in all, I'm pretty darn thrilled
Also, I have ended up with five little white d'Uccles. Not quite sure what I'm going to do with them yet. My oldest one has sprouted two feathers that have a bit of orange on them. I'm thinking this is a recessive white gene, so as time goes by, I may make some mille fleur/white splits to widen the gene pool and play around with them a bit. My last hatch finally gave me a rooster (I think). They are cute, endearing little creatures!
And of course, the boys. I have several boys growing up right now, the clowns of the d'Uccle world. I've kept three mille fleur frizzle boys, one golden neck frizzle boy, two smooth mille fleur boys, and two smooth golden neck boys. All have strengths and weaknesses, so time will tell whether or not they will be used.
And in October, I will be attending the Ohio national. I'm bringing two of my lavender bantam Ameraucana cockerels. Not to win, but for two other reasons. One, at that show there will be a decision made as to whether self blue (lavender) will become an accepted standard color for large fowl Ameraucana. There is a whole long process to that, but the end point comes in November. They have asked that anyone with bantams in that color comes as a show of support, and to show how widespread the color is becoming in the Ameraucana world. Secondly, I do not need three roosters of that color. Cabbage Jack is the best, so he's staying. I will really really miss Fred and George, but after the show, they are going to a new home where they have ladies waiting for them! They will be absolutely thrilled, I'm sure! BUT, the REAL reason I decided to go to the Ohio national is to get some really gorgeous mille fleur d'Uccles from the Vaughn family. They have worked hard over the years and really have some spectacular birds. They line breed, which produces very consistent birds, and they are consistently gorgeous. After years of hard work, their line really shows beautiful patterning - something my frizzles lack. So I'm hoping that their line will not only add to the physical aspects of my birds' conformation, but will also enable me to produce frizzles with proper patterning. It will take a few generations, but that's what I'm hoping for in the end. So I will be returning from the Ohio national with four roosters and four hens from the Vaughns!
Bantam Lavender Ameraucana
These little darlings are growing so fast! Two have started laying little blue eggs, and the whole group is so interactive. I've NEVER had a group of chickens who wanted to be with humans so very very much!
Cabbage Jack loves his girls, chuckling to them constantly and making nests fro them every day. He and his gals will be moving to bigger digs soon!
Every time I open the cage, the whole crew attempts to jump into my lap. They love snuggles, chatting, and just being around people!
Jack is really maturing nicely. I have seven eggs in the incubator to check his fertility. I have two other roosters, but they will be going to a new home in November - so I just need to make sure that Jack is doing his job before I let them go.
I have five girls - Bunnybee, Patches, Lavender, Lemons, and McDade. Lemons is a bit shy, but the others are constantly looking for laptime. Bunnybee is my special favorite. She always looks surprised, and pushes her way onto my lap at all times. Her beard is always messy - she really dives into that fermented food! Can't wait to see what these beauties produce in the spring!
Silkies and Showgirls
Ah yes, my Seussian characters! I still do not know what Thestral is, other than a stripper (a naked neck silkie without a bowtie - a grouping of feathers on the neck above the crop). But Thestral is a sweetheart and a half! This baby will stay whether it's a girl or a boy. Penny, my dark partridge showgirl baby, is a lapgirl. And hopefully a girl! Crystal and Chewbawka, my white showgirls, are busy raising d'Uccle babies right now, and harassing poor Truffula, my buff partridge showgirl. My white silkie roo looks over the older girls, while Thestral watches over Penny and my two white frizzle girls, a white frizzle silkie and a white sizzle. Everyone is at least half recessive white, so babies in the spring will be pure white or a fun mix of partridges or blacks.
As for regular farm fun, the last of the broodies are enjoying their d'Uccle babies. I've had a few go broody, but most have visited the broody "spa" until their hormones have cooled off.
Polly loves her frizzle porcelain!
Lenore and her smooth mille fleur
Ping and her frizzle mille fleur
Ping is an interesting case. Most moms quit fluffing out and doing broody clucks by the time the chicks are 3 weeks or so. But not Ping! She still feeds her over two month old baby, and tucks it in the nest box with her at night. She clucks around, puffing up at other hens, and seems to live for nothing else but her special baby! And it is a special baby - I've been blessed with healthy chicks this year, and this is the only one that I've hatched with a defect. It has a crooked beak! Not a scissorbeak, just the whole beak curves over to one side. That hatch had some issues with humidity, which can cause all kinds of hatching problems. Incubation in an incubator is never as good as under a hen, but it can get hard to let a hen sit on eggs when they are in a big group - everyone wants to lay their egg in that nest, so eggs get crushed and dirty if the hen just stays in the main coop.
Oh and my d'Uccles are producing again, so eggs are available! They are $70 for a dozen plus extras, free shipping. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to get eggs! All profits from eggs until December will go towards a program with Compassion International to provide chickens for needy families, who can then eat the eggs, sell the eggs, produce more chickens, and eat the meat. I love the idea of providing chickens for others with my chickens!