He was handpicked to rule this kingdom. Specially ordered as a hatching egg, he was shipped from a breeder in Georgia, hatched out on our farm and raised to infuse our Barred Holland flock with the genes he carries. Toward that end, he has done a fantastic job. This year we hatched out 99 babies, all healthy and vigorous chicks.
Over time and cross-breeding, this once popular breed has lost some of the qualities that made it so wonderful: namely, size and egg color. As a dual purpose bird, size is very important if you are raising a meat bird (as we are). Today's Barred Holland is 1-2 pounds smaller than its predecessors.
The eggs, which were traditionally medium/large white, in modern times have been diluted to buff and even light brown. Rebuilding the breed will bring back these original traits, and preserve the heritage of a fantastic bird that is a homesteader's dream.
With roughly 50 cockerels to choose from, we had to select one that would carry the gene pool forward, while still keeping our core flock happy and healthy. The rest of the the birds were either sold or processed into our freezer. That's quite a lottery in the chicken world!
So here's the new boy!
Be sure to join us each day at our regular hangout fb.com/thepocketfarmer for chat about all things farm and garden, or you can find me on Twitter @thepocketfarmer. Hope to see you there! :)