How’s that for a title?
In a decision that took months, we finally decided to abandon two of our breeding projects. We have re-homed our Isbar and Cream Legbar roosters and most of the pullets to a friend. We kept a few girls for our layer flock, because we love the breeds and the beautiful green and blue eggs. We will no longer be offering Isbar or Cream Legbar hatching eggs or chicks.
On my breed pages I have outlined the reasons for this decision. We enjoy breeding and helping preserve rare and endangered chicken breeds but it is a hobby, not a source of income. We got caught up in a situation where more money would have to be spent to correct the problems from the first substantial expenditures. I decided that at my age, and on a fixed income, it did not make good sense to continue expending time and money breeding Cream Legbars and Isbars.
So yesterday I said goodbye to chickens I had been working with for three years. They will have good homes but I can tell you that seeing them go was heartbreaking.
Just before the chickens were due to be picked up, we had a septic tank blockage that caused a flood in our downstairs bathroom and my adjacent photography studio. We were frantically trying to get the problem resolved and the mess cleaned up so I had little time to fret over the chickens before my friend arrived. In an odd twist of fate he was late because the water heater in his home burst at the same time our septic backed up. His misfortune gave us more time to clean up ours.
Eventually my friend came and picked up the chickens and a real sense of sadness and regret settled over me as he drove off. It didn’t last long because when I turned around, I saw the mess in my garage from the chicken’s overnight partying. From the mess of shavings and who-knows-what-else, one would never guess that they had been housed in crates and cages. It looked as if they had spent the night free ranging! I got busy cleaning up the mess, sweeping, and putting cages away. While I worked I was mentally rearranging the remaining flocks in my head. It helped me take my mind off the ones I was losing.
Freeing up coop space will allow us to move ahead with a new project and go back to raising Icelandic chickens, our first love. We have never been without Icelandic chickens since our first acquisition. We just kept a small flock and didn’t sell many hatching eggs or chicks. A few months ago I bought hatching eggs from a couple of new lines of Icelandics in the US. From that purchase I hatched a nice flock of Icelandic’s not related to my first flock. Yesterday I received more hatching eggs from all six known importations of Icelandic chickens into the US. They will go into the incubator today. Hopefully in three weeks we’ll have some new Icelandic chickens to add to our flock. We are really excited about this hatch and getting back to our roots.
Another fun project on the horizon will be the addition of Croad Langshans to our rare and endangered breeding program. I have been interested and fascinated by this breed for some time but never had space for them or knew of a source for hatching eggs or chicks. We have space now and a source for chicks came up, so I ordered a few. They will arrive in about three weeks. There are three varieties of Langshans that have been accepted to the US standard – Black, White, and Blue. I ordered blue, so I will end up with blue, black or splash chicks. Because this breed is recognized by the American Poultry Association they can be shown in poultry competitions. A close friend is considering showing her birds so maybe I will have a little fun and show my Langshans if they mature well. That is a long way off though. For now I will be raising the chicks and looking forward to exciting day when I get my first plum-colored egg! Yes, Croad Langshans are known for laying an egg that has a light plum-colored bloom on the shell. Here is the picture the seller sent to me. The Langshan egg is in the one in the middle.
To sum up yesterday, the Isbars and Cream Legbars left, the septic flood and chicken party messes were cleaned up, and I began the big chicken coop re-organization in my head. As usual, miracles and mayhem in the same day!