seney homesteader chicken project
As you can see in my other poultry website pages, I previously was into creating the "Seney" breed of chicken and suddenly stopped in 2012. I did that to pursue my writing career and I have no regrets. Five books have been written as of 2016 and I decided it was time to get back to chickens, albeit, not as heavily as I once did. My writing will always be a priority. With that being said, I may someday decide to write a book on poultry genetics and how to create new colors or breeds. Don't hold your breath because I also have an interest in writing a book on home gardening, with an emphasis on creating new hardy plants. Yes, I have carried my genetic knowledge over to plants.
My newest chicken project, called the "Seney Homesteader" will be to create a super hardy chicken in a plethora of colors. No, not a lot of fixed individual color varieties like I did in the past, but a smorgasbord of colors with no one set color type. I simply like colors. However, I do not wish to spend countless years perfecting just a few. My chicken yard will look like a calico quilt.
The Seney Homesteaders will have pea combs, beard/muffs, yellow legs, and no leg feathering. Why no leg feathers? While leg feathers look grand, the chickens that have them cannot run as fast. I want the chickens to be free range birds that may need speed to evade being eaten by a varmint. While no chicken can outrun a fox, the really fast chickens will stand a better chance of surviving raccoons, possums, and other varmints. Another requirement is that the chicks will have chipmunk striped down when hatched. Wild chickens have that attribute to protect the chicks from being easily seen. That requirement will eliminate the colors black, wheaten, white, barred, and several others. There will also be no genes that interfere with feather growth, like lavender. The chicks will also be fast feathering so they will need less brooding, whether artificially or by the mothers. Egg color is just about any color other than white. Again, if a hen steals a nest, the eggs need to be difficult to see. Brown, green, and blue will all be acceptable.
As with the Seney breed of chicken, I will keep strict bio-security to keep diseases at bay. Also like the Seney breed, the Homesteaders will be bred for human friendliness so children will not need to fear the roosters. However, the temperament will be a bit more wild than the Seney breed was. I will want the birds to be easily spooked by predators.
So, how will I start? I already have three different breeds of chicken to begin the project. One breed is a hybrid, one is a pure bred, and the third is a mutt-type bird. The first hatches will be in the spring of 2017. My estimate is that it will take at least three years to fix many of the traits. By five years they will be well established.
I have already culled out some of the birds for the project. As I said previously, the nice thing about a chicken hobby is that you can eat your mistakes. And seeing how this will be their first winter, I expect some winter-kill. The Seney breed could take -40F without any artificial heat and with the windows open in the coops. It remains to bee seen if these three breeds that I will start with are hardy. Presently, they are the picture of health going into the fall.
I will post updated photos of the project on this page as it progresses.