Friday, February 29, 2008

A New Mystery

When Chick-Chuck was born, she seemed to be a pure Cuckoo Marans hen. Quite possible in my little flock.

However, now that she is 5.5 months old and nearly mature, it has become obvious that she is half Ameraucana, and since my only rooster, Egglebert, is a Marans, she must get the other from her Mama.

How do I know? Look at the combs on these Marans hens. They have full red combs and wattles, and smooth cheeks.

Now observe this Ameraucana hen. She has a pea comb -- very short and tight to the head, and she has earmuffs and a beard instead of any observable wattles. These are characteristic of Ameraucanas -- not to be confused with Araucanas, but somewhere in their background they come from the same stock.

Now take a look at Chick-Chuck:

Her comb remains tight to her head, and she definitely has earmuffs and a beard, almost no red to be seen around her head.

So what does all of this imply?

The Marans lay dark brown eggs. The Ameraucanas lay green/blue eggs. What color will Chick-Chuck lay? More on eggshell genetics to come....

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

How Grown Up is She?

Chick-Chuck hatched on or about September 17, which would make her just over five month sold. Recently I have noticed that, while feathered like a Cuckoo Marans, she has the head of an Araucana -- ear muffs, and a tight little comb.

In the past week or so I have noticed a couple of smaller green eggs layed. Could they be from her? I have not yet seen her in one of the nests, but her boldness with the others grows daily. In fact, this morning she hopped right up next to Egglebert on a roost. (Admittedly, once she arrived she took one look at him and scurried way over to the far end, but for a moment she stood right next to her dad as pretty as can be!)

I hoped that, if she is in fact a mix of Marans and Araucana, that her eggs would have a distinct color resulting from a green shell with a brown overlay, and I expect that is still possible. But on the other hand, she may have already demonstrated exactly what she'll produce!

Monday, February 18, 2008


Just when the weather takes a distinct turn for the worse, winds whipping 40 miles per hour across the fields, pummeling the house, barn, and everyone in them with a threat of permanent winter, something very quiet happens.

A bit of green peeks up through the dead brown ground. Not the dessicated green of leaves lingering since the autumn, but robust green, bold and strong, literally pushing the dirt away in order to stretch up towards the sun.

It lends a promise of spring to pull me through the last weeks of winter, as if saying "come on, you can make it, I'll be with you!"

Soon we will celebrate together.