Final Report on Blue Andalusian -- January 2010:
The Blue Andalusian chicks were lively and very brave: they would wander away from the hen with the attitude that they were safe from the World. I lost three chicks at two months of age, and I think they just wandered far enough away from the hen and the coop, they could not find their way back. They were not friendly, but were calm and alert. In September, when I moved them to the big coop, they became very, very spooky. For nearly two months, they would hit the walls and fly around every time I entered the coop and/or poured grain in the pans! None of the other chickens were concerned a bit, but the Blue Andalusians were very easily spooked.
I intended to keep a good blue rooster, and several blue pullets, as well as one of each of the other colors: splash and black, so that I could compare their growth, body shape, and attitude to 'my old' heritage speckled, greys, and black hens. I chose two other roosters, one black and one blue, as well as two splash pullets, and two blue pullets... and offered them free to any 4-H member who would use them for a 'blue color heridity' project. After two months, with noone interested, I butchered all but 9 pullets and the best blue rooster.
These were not good chickens for butchering! I am used to butchering egg-laying breeds of chickens, but these Blue Andalusians were VERY, very lean... I mean long legged, and very thinly muscled. They butchered out to look much like a wild pheasant. Their meat was soft and dark when raw, and seemed lacking in flavor when cooked. At three to four months of age, they were still very small and slight.
In December, the Blue Andalusians calmed down and became very nice. They were happy to see me and began to gain weight. About half of the pullets nearly doubled in size since October! They were still not a 'broad, meat-type', but they got some wider and taller. I am not sure if it may have been mostly feathers... as the Black Australorp look much larger than they actually butcher, because of having so many feathers. Maybe the Blue Andalusians gained more weight as well as more feathers. They did take our minus 30 temps well.
They began laying later than the other chickens. They were nearly 6 months old before they began to lay. The last Blue Andalusian pullet to lay was 7 months of age.
When I began my planning for 2010, I decided to give the Blue Andalusians away. I can always buy more chicks. But, I am sure my mom's old greys were not Blue Andalusian, comparing bone shapes, and body stance and head shape. I was disappointed in the Blue Andalusians, and must give them a Negative Rating.
They were beauties though! Here are photos taken in November... they were very clean, smooth, and seemed to 'pose' for the camera!