The chicks I hatched from my own stock, I was very impressed with. I have only blue and black birds from my own stock, and the blues have some nice lacing on their feathers. The blacks are very nice also, and there is an overall similarity in body type amongst all the chicks I hatched, that I attribute to our new black rooster, Baby Huey. I am thrilled to have some wonderful hens out of these guys to include in next year's breeding group.
Another line I brought in, I sourced out the same line from two different people and hatched around 3+ dozen eggs from them. These eggs yielded all three color of orps, and I will likely be including 2 or 3 splash hens in the breeding pen for next year. There are also a few very nice blue hens that will be included. Unfortunately, I had a high percentage of roosters from these hatches, so I have lots headed to freezer camp!
The final line I brought in may be the nicest on the farm. I was only able to get 5 chicks, but they are incredibly impressive. There are 4 roosters (3 black and 1 blue) and 1 blue hen. They are honestly incredible little chicks. They have had by far the fastest growth rate I have seen in Orpingtons, and they have been growing evenly - they aren't bone racks! They are easily 2x the weight of their hatch mates, and a fair bit taller, too. We called them all "Gigantor" as chicks, but are now thinking of names for the boys. If all goes well we will be keeping all of the roosters from this hatch here at Briarwood to use in our breeding pens and also to enter the chicken showing world next fall. These guys are just TOO nice to eat!
So, with the combination of everyone we have worked so hard to find, hatch, raise and select for breeding, I am confident that we will have a very nice flock of blue orpingtons for 2012. I will be sure to update photos as they mature, so that it's clear to see the type of quality we are so blessed to have. These guys will definitely be capable of producing show quality offspring and I anticipate them doing well in the next show season, when we make our debut into the showing world.
That's about all for today, I need to construct a few more breeding pens in my "spare time" in the upcoming months, so that come January I can move the chooks around into their breeding groups and begin the breeding season again.
Thanks for reading! Next time will be focused on one of the Sussex or perhaps the Wheaten Ameraucanas, who are too nice not to get their own blog post!