What's new for 2021?
(MF = Mille Fleur, BMF = Blue Mille Fleur, GN = Golden Neck)
The breeding season has started! Heidi is still working on the finishing touches for new breeder runs, but the birds are all in the first groupings of the year. Breeding pens will shift once every 5-6 weeks for a couple of months, in order to obtain the next generation of breeders. Chicks will be available as they hatch. Limited sexed pullets and cockerels will be available as we go through the season. Breeding pairs will be available as we start to pull out some of the stars of the brooders. Roosters are put in with laying hens, and I will hatch eggs starting 3-4 weeks after that (it can take 3-4 weeks between roosters to be sure the new rooster is the daddy). Hatching eggs are available in between the times when I collect eggs for my own hatchings, so I cannot always guarantee the daddy of those eggs - but I can always tell you who the possible dads are.
Breeding pens right now:
1. Golden neck breeder pen: This pen has the magnificent Thorin (MF) over Set (GN), Babycakes (GN), and Clementine (GN). This pen is specifically for continuing to improve the GN spangling, size, and color retention. Clementine is from a secondary line of GN and I am using her to work on a more golden color. Easy to do, since her egg is darker than those of Set and Babycakes! This pen will produce half GN babies and half MF babies. I breed MF to GN to keep the GN color vibrant - too many GN x GN crosses and the color begins to fade. GN is made by adding a dominant white gene to the MF background. Since it's dominant, only one copy is needed to produce GN. Babies without the white gene will be pure MF.
2. Frizzle pen: This pen has my favorite boy, Attila, a splendid frizzle MF boy. He is over my friendliest crew, Taffy (GN), Moonflower (GN), Bluebelle (BMF), and Briquette (BMF). This is by far my snuggliest group at the moment - as soon as I sit down, the entire flock hops up in my lap! The frizzle gene means that approximately half of the babies from this flock will be frizzles. The other half will, of course, be smooth. Down the line, and perhaps this year, my frizzle, GN, and BMF goal is to produce prize winning MF, GN, and BMF from frizzle breedings. With a MF daddy, each mom will produce chicks that are MF and chicks that are the color of the mom - GN or BMF. (Note - you always breed frizzle to smooth. Frizzle to frizzle can produce something called a frazzle, which can have brittle feathers and organ disfunction - not something anyone wants to deal with. Frizzles, on the other hand, are healthy and so so cute!)
3. MF pen: This pen has the glorious Emeth (MF) over Cheeto (MF), Chess (MF), Lady (MF), Twinkie (MF), and Birdie (MF). The purpose of this pen is to produce more even spangling and hopefully a dark, well patterned, well built boy.
4. Lemon MF project pen: This pen is strictly for adding in the lemon MF gene. I've already hatched out some MF who carry the lemon gene, so now this pen has my lemon sablepoot Peace (lemon MF booted bantam) over Bonnie, a BMF d'Uccle. I'm going to get some BMF split to lemon babies. These babies will look like BMF duccles, but may be a tad bigger, have longer tails, maybe bigger wattles. Next generation they will be bred to each other for the lemon MF d'Uccle project and back to Peace for lemon sablepoots. Then I will continue to breed for better quality over time. Unfortunately, my lemon sablepoot hen is not laying, and appears to have a heart problem, so she is now a very expensive pet.
Ready to see the crew? Let's start with the boys....
First, the magnificent Thorin, a darling gentleman, favorite of the ladies. Thorin came directly from the Vaughns. Thorin is gentle enough to be with pullets, as he understands when a gal is not ready yet. He is a fabulous fellow, and cares for chicks and young girls like a father. He also leaves the girls alone when they are molting, so you can see why he's such a popular fellow with the gals. His conformation is incredible, with a tiny perfect size and a beautiful tail. His patterning did not really come in until after his first adult molt, so I'd like to see babies with an earlier maturation of spangling. But overall, he's perfection.
Now on to Attila, my darling. He's full of sass, jumping up to dance in my lap. He is so proud to be in with girls, and dances madly when we come in, even throwing a new dance move (whipping his head around in circles), to show how excited he is. He is sassy and full of himself, and yet he's my most friendly guy, always wanting to hop up in my lap and pose. He's my first frizzle who is actually the right size (the frizzle boys tend towards giant). And he's my first boy with actual wingbars (nice spangling on those wing feathers). His wattles are a bit too big, but not bad for a frizzle. He has superb slate coloring in his undercoat. His tail is very nice, although the feather width could be a bit wider. All in all, he's the best frizzle boy that I've ever seen. And even if he produces better boys, chances are good that he will stay here as a pet when he retires. He's just my good boy.
Here is the beautiful Emeth, my shy gorgeously patterned boy. His spangling is just absolutely amazing. He's another boy that I got from the Vaughns. Emeth has slightly larger wattles, but he's an absolutely stunning rooster. Never aggressive, Emeth cares for his flock and adores his hens.
And here is Peace, my lemon sablepoot fellow. Lemon sablepoots were first imported to American in 2019, so I was thrilled to get a pair. Unfortunately the girl appears to have some genetic issues with her heart, so she is just a pet, but Peace has already produced some marvelous babies with my d'Uccles. It is believed that d'Uccles may have come from booted bantams (sablepoots) and d'Anvers, so it's relatively easy to interbreed to move the color over to d'Uccles, and then breed back to the standard. This spring I will be growing up the splits (lemon is recessive, so the first generation carries the gene but you don't see it in their feathers). Hopefully in the late summer/fall 2021 I can use those babies to get my first lemon MF generation.
This is the lovely Bluebelle, my favorite BMF lady. She has a gorgeous beard, and just a bit of the neck striping that is in this first generation of improvements. This year I'm hoping for some babies without much hackle striping at all. Now we will be working on even-ing out the spangles! Belle is my snuggle bug, always looking for a backrub.
Here we have my sweet Briquette, baby of the bunch. She loves to jump up for a snuggle and a nap, always wanting to be on my right leg! She gets very peeved if the right leg is not available!
And my darling Bonnie, full of sweet hearts.
I love the heart spangling that I see on the BMF d'Uccles!
And here are my sweet MF girls!
Cheeto, my lovely girl who came from a frizzle GN girl! She has a magnificent beard and the best spangling that I've seen from this line. Plus she's full of sass and love to snuggle!
Sweet Twinkle and Lady, two lovely show line girls with terrific beards.
These two love to hang out and chat!
My darling Chess, sweet as chess pie. This little girl has been a lap girl since she popped out of the egg, always ready to come snuggle! Her pal Birdie is in the back with some BMF girls, waiting for treats!
I really do love Twinkie's beard!
Such beautiful girls...
And now my darling troublemaking clowns, the GN girls!
I'm realizing I don't have single photos of many except Set, so here's a group photo! Set and Babycakes are my girls that align most closely with the SOP (standard of perfection). But Clementine, Taffy, and Moonflower aren't too far behind! This group is bossy, loud, pushy, friendly, and I adore them immensely.
And now multiple photos of the gorgeous Set, named after a game where you need a perfect group of three cards, a perfect set. Set is not only lovely, she's a doll of a girl, and loves snuggles!
That's it for this year's breeders! Here's one last photo, where you can see Belle, Briquette, Taffy, Moon, and Attila all piled up for snuggles!