July 31, 2009

Austra White -- 7/09

(Chicken posts are sorted by breed name and date in subject.)
I have spent the past 20 years with a 'closed flock' (not adding any new blood or new breeds) trying to regain the desired traits of what my mother had in the 60's. She began with Austra White chickens at that time, and combined with the greys from my grandmother, these were the chickens I inherited 25 years ago. In the years since, my sisterinlaw and I have been selecting and culling with the hope that maybe we would regain/retain flocks with some of the good traits of the Austra White breed/hybrid.
Overall, we each had a flock of chickens we were extremely pleased with... the hens layed very well, they set, and they were good mothers. They were hardy in our winters, and foraged well. We felt they were lighter in frame than they should be, and needed a little meat on their body. Other than that one trait, we were happy.
But they were not the Austra White my mother remembered!
But we thought they were no longer available as chicks.
WE FOUND THEM this spring!!!
I ordered two shipments of chicks. The first arrived the first of April and have exceeded all expectations!!! The young chickens show all the proper signs of health and breed traits: the pullets have some black feathers and have black legs, while the cockerels are all white with yellow legs. The second shipment are not so true to the breed/cross specifications in appearance: the pullets do not have many or any black feathers and have yellow legs.
Mom remembers that in the years after she first purchased her Austra White chicks, the resulting chickens from sucessive matings also lost the black feathers and black leg.
SO, we have to do some research into this 'breed' to see if/how soon offspring will revert to a parent... **We have lots of questions about this situation, as I will explain in a later post.**
Here is a photo of the Austra White chickens (from the first shipment) at approx. 14 weeks of age:
Here is a photo of an Austra White pullet from the first shipment:
NOTES: The chickens from the first shipment are great!!! The pullets are very smart, active, yet gentle and aware.. not easily spooked. They are growing very fast and while not a heavy weight, are very nicely 'rounded'! The only fault I have so far is that the cockerels are very active sexually. They began mounting the hens at an early age, and 'attacked' my mature hens at about 8 weeks of age. At that time, they weren't even of a size to physically mate, and were about 1/3 to 1/2 the size of my older hens. They do not seem to fight with each other or my older 'boss' rooster.
Postive rating so far!!!!

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