Wilbur’s Kids

A while back, someone had asked if different breeds of chickens will “do what boys and girls do” and create weird offspring. Yes . . any hen in the chicken yard is fair game, according to how the roosters think.

We have big old Wilbur and he was our only full size rooster til recently.



Wilbur, a Dominique rooster, has been molting so he’s been a bit “fluffy” with all his loose feathers. The hens love to stand around and pull out all his loose feathers and he seems to love the attention. There are four hens with him, two Dominique hens and two red hens. All five of these chickens are about the same age – 2-1/2 years old.

From what I’ve read, heritage type roosters can live 10 – 15 years, though they will get slower and less “frisky” as they get older. Heritage type hens will continue to lay for about 5 years though their egg production will tape off as they get older. Hybrid chickens vary . . these red hens we have are supposed to lay an egg just about every day for 2 – 3 years and then stop laying completely. Our two remaining older red hens are still laying an egg just about every day. Of course, none of that is written in stone. I think the general feeling is that roosters live to be about 5 – 8 years old and I’ve heard of some, on rare occasions that lived to be 20+ years old.

But, Wilbur has his way with all four hens in his area.  Every time we’ve had eggs in the incubator, I’ve added a couple of eggs from Wilbur’s girls  as “test” eggs because I know how old the eggs are and I know how they’ve been kept/handled.

At first, I would just use eggs from the Dominique hens so I had full bred Dominique babies but the last time, I decided to put in eggs from Wilbur and the red hens too. Our red sex links, which is what the red laying hens are, supposedly came from a New Hampshire Red rooster and a Delaware hen.

The Dominiques have rose combs (kinda scrunched up and flattish) and barred feathering (the black and white almost stripes). The red hens have single combs and the chickens are red.

We call all the offspring from this coop “Wilbur’s Kids”.

Wilbur's Kids

Wilbur’s Kids

See the two black/white barred (striped – not the spotted one) chicken above? Notice how one of them is obviously black and white and the one closer to the front is more black and tan? She’s from the red hen.

Wilbur's Kids

Wilbur’s Kids

See the almost solid black one above? He’s also one of Wilbur’s kids with the red hen. He’s almost all black with some tinges of red. He totally lost the barring.

Now you see what happens behind closed doors in the chicken coop . . we’re going to be getting all kinds of weird babies from all the different breeds. When we want purebred babies, we’ll separate those hens and roosters and keep them separate from the other breeds til we get all the eggs we want to hatch.

In one coop, I have a few Black Copper Marans, a couple of full bred Dominiques and two Speckled Sussex. Eventually, when I’m feeling brave, I’m going to put the two Dominiques in with Wilbur. One of the youngers ones is a rooster so we may have to decide if it’s time for Wilbur to go or if we want to keep the younger rooster. I can’t have 5 hens and 2 roosters in the same coop.

I’ll pull out the 2 Speckled Sussex and put them in a separate pen in order to get full bred Speckled Sussex eggs, and that will leave only the Black Copper Marans in their coop so I’ll be able to get purebred eggs from them. Then the fun will begin when it’s time to combine them all again, and then put the babies back in with them. We’re not going to hatch any more eggs any time soon so I’m not even thinking about that right now.

Did you know  . .  hens have a “sperm sack” so when they mate with a rooster, the sperm go into the sack and can survive in there maybe longer than 30 days!  They say that the breeds should be isolated for at least 30 days if you want to be 100% sure you’re getting purebred offspring. They also say (whoever “they” is) that the newest sperm are the most active so after about two weeks, chances are, you’re going to get the most recent sperm that are fertilizing the eggs. Since we’re not selling fertile eggs and only hatching them for our own use, we’ll probably just wait the two weeks. The longer the chickens are away from the others, the hard it’s going to be to put them back together again.

There . . more than you ever wanted to know about breeding chickens!  :)

Design Wall – July 21, 2014

Crazy internet this morning. Almost never got online and it’s slow as heck. I was tempted to give up since this is the same design wall photo as last week.

Design Wall

Design Wall

Inspire me! I love seeing what you’re all working on and almost every week, after looking at the design wall photos, I open EQ and doodle a bit but that’s about as far as I get.

Thanks to each of you who post your pictures!

Chad and the Turtle

Chad, Nicole and Addie left Louisiana this morning, heading back to Missouri. They have, what would be for anyone else, about an 11 hour trip, but it will, no doubt, take them at least 15 hours. I will never forget the first trip from MO to LA with Chad. He had me stop every 10 miles to take a picture of something. I thought we would never get there.

When they went to Louisiana last week, I expected them to get there about 7 p.m. but no . . they got there about 11 p.m.  Chad said “Mom! You can’t believe how pretty some of the areas are in OK” and that told me that they took lots of little side road adventures. He said “Nicole will send you the pictures!” Yes, they enjoyed the trip and that’s good. I’m glad they aren’t always in a rush to get where they’re going and they miss seeing the pretty stuff.

Nicole sent me  this and said “Look where GPS took us” but she was just joking. They say an interesting path and decided to take it.  I can see why it took them so long if they’re traveling these kinds of roads from Missouri to Louisiana.

Chad's Trip

Chad’s Trip

I’m thankful that Chad seems to have acquired my love for the back roads and he can see the glory in nature and especially, that he takes the time to recognize the beauty that surrounds him in his every day life. The boy does love being outside, the country, and the unbeaten paths.

So, today they left Louisiana and I was calculating in my head what time they should get home. I got a phone call from Chad and he said “Mom, our old house in Jasper is for sale!” I said “You went by there?” Yes, and he told me all the things that had changed since we lived in there . . the kids’ swings from the treehouse were gone and there was a bench type swing; the woods along the back of the house were grown up. Chad was 4 when we moved from there but he still has good memories of that house, the yard, the things we did there. 

Then I see this on Nicole’s Facebook page!

Chad Helping Turtle

Chad Helping Turtle

A turtle . . in the middle of the road . . on its back!  Chad decided to stop and help it. He’s such a tender hearted young man! 

The FB comments are funny and reminded me of an incident I would like to forget!



When Chad was in college, he decided the desks/chairs were just too hard and uncomfortable for him so he pulled a sofa from a sitting area down the hall, across a freshly waxed wood floor, into the classroom so he could stretch out comfortably during class. This was the instructor who left the comment about him pulling the sofa down the hall.  Vince was teaching at the school and he said he heard a big commotion, and realized the teacher was not real happy, nor was the custodian who had to figure out how to fixed the wood floor that Chad had just scraped up dragging the sofa to the classroom. Vince came home that night and he said “You’re not going to believe what Chad did . . ” Oh, dear Vince . . by the time Chad was in college I was so far past not believing what Chad did . . not much surprised me at that point.

I hope Chad, Nicole and Addie have a safe trip home. I hope the turtle goes off into the woods and lives happily ever after. I hope Chad washes his hands with lots of soap. I hope some day he realizes what parents go through when their kids are a bit too “spunky”.