JAPANESE QUAILS (COTURNIX) – Hatched January 2013
The Japanese quail, also known as coturnix quail, Coturnix japonica, is a species of Old World quail found in East Asia. They are a migratory species, breeding in Manchuria, southeastern Siberia, northern Japan, and the Korean Peninsula, and wintering in the south of Japan and southern China. They dwell in grasslands and cultivated fields. The plumage of the pharaoh Japanese quail breed is a speckled yellow-brown, with a creamy white strip above the eye. Adults are about 20 cm (7.9 in) in length. The species is abundant across most of its range. Currently there are a few true breeding mutations of the Japanese quail, the breeds from the United States are: Texas A&M, English White, Golden Range, Red Range, Italian, Manchurian, Tibetan, Rosetta, Scarlett, Roux Dilute and Golden Tuxedo.
Japanese quail have been reared in India and Southeast Asia for their meat and eggs. The species is seen as a good “dual-purpose bird”. In India, Krishi Vigyan Kendra Kannur under Kerala Agricultural University has produced video album containing songs and visuals on Japanese quail production under Creative Extension series.
Japanese quail eggs have orbited the Earth in several Soviet and Russian spacecraft, including the Bion 5 satellite and the Salyut 6 and Mir space stations. In March 1990 eggs on Mir were successfully incubated and hatched.
JERSEY GIANT CHICKENS – Hatched February 2013 and May 2013
The Jersey Giant is a breed of chicken originating in the United States in the late 19th century by John and Thomas Black. The intent of the breed was the replace the turkey as the primary meat poultry breed. Named for their state of origin (New Jersey) and their large size. Jersey Giants are the largest purebred chicken breed. Cocks average 13 lbs. and hens 11 lbs.
The Black Jersey Giants were pronounced a breed in 1922 by the American Standard of Perfection. Their lineage includes were produced by crossing Black Javas, Black Langshans, and Dark Brahmas. White Jersey Giants arrived many years later during the year 1947. The Black Jersey Giants are averaging a pound heavier than the White Jersey Giants. For a time, they raised as capons and as broilers by the meat industry, they grow much slower than today’s more common meat birds, and are thus not widely used in the industry any longer.
In Europe the breed fell out of favour to such an extent that they nearly became extinct, however in the mid 80’s a breeder in the UK: Sam Hay in Shropshire located the last surviving trio and decided to save them. He built up some stock but was they were suffering the ill effects of inbreeding and so he was very fortunate to find out that Dutch Chicken breeder Jaap Beekman had the last few Jersey Giants in The Netherlands. The two were able to share stock and reintroduce the breed to both countries. Within a few years Jersey Giants were regular winners at rare breed poultry shows.
They lay extra-large brown to dark brown eggs, and lay fairly well for being a large breed. There is also a newer color variation known as the Blue Jersey Giants. Jersey Giants are extremely friendly, as they are good with pets, they like people, and the cocks are rarely aggressive.
ORPINGTON CHICKENS – Hatched March 2013
The Orpington is a breed of chicken named after Orpington, England, which was made famous in part by this breed. Belonging to the English class of chickens, it was bred to be an excellent layer with good meat quality. Their large size and soft appearance together with their rich color and gentle contours make them very attractive, and as such its popularity has grown as a show bird rather than a utility breed. They go broody very often, and make great mothers. Although rather heavy, they are able to fly small distances but rarely do, so they work well as backyard birds. Due to their build they do well in very cold climates. The fluff of their feathers allows rain water to penetrate, so they must be kept out of the rain. Orpingtons lay about 175 to 200 medium to large light brown eggs a year. They do not stop laying in the winter.
WELSH HARLEQUIN DUCKS – Hatched April and July 2013
The Welsh Harlequin is a breed of domestic duck originating in Wales. In 1949, in Criccieth, Group Captain Leslie Bonnet discovered a colour mutation among his flock of Khaki Campbells and began breeding selectively for the trait.
Today, the Welsh Harlequin is a light-weight duck breed known for its vivid plumage and egg laying ability. Welsh Harlequins weigh 5 to 6 pounds (2-3 kilos). Females have a black bill, and their plumage is a creamy white colour bearing brown stippling, with brown wings edged in white. Drakes are similar to a faded Mallard with a yellow bill, although their wings may have green edging.
The birds produce a lean carcass and are active foragers, though they are sometimes more vulnerable to predators such as birds of prey due to their light coloration. The egg laying ability is highly valued as the production exhibited by some hens rivals that of chickens. The breed is prone to broodiness and a pair can easily produce young without human interference. They have become a popular backyard pet in recent years due to the bird’s calm demeanour and egg production.
DORKING CHICKENS – Hatched May 2013
The Dorking is a breed of chicken that is believed to have originated in Italy during the period of the Roman Empire and was introduced in Britain at the time of the Roman conquest making it one of the oldest English breeds. They appeared in the first British poultry show in 1845, together with the Sussex breed, which is believed to be derived from the Dorking. The birds are named after the market town of Dorking in Surrey which in the nineteenth century became one of the main centres of production.
The Dorking has a rectangular body with very short, five-toed legs. As with all single comb poultry, the comb points may require protection in extremely cold weather. Dorkings are also well known for their versatility as a breed for both egg and meat production. It is one of the few breeds with red earlobes that produces a white-shelled egg. The skin colour beneath the feathers is white. The standard weight is 9 pounds for a cock, 8 pounds for a cockerel, 7 pounds for a hen, and 6 pounds for a pullet. Furthermore, the breed is very docile. The bird has five recognized varieties: White, Silver-grey, Red, Dark and Cuckoo.
GIANT EXHIBITION DEWLAP TOULOUSE GEESE – Hatched June 2013
The Toulouse is a breed of domesticated goose originating near Toulouse, France. It is a large bird, with a weight of up to 9 kg, and is known for its ponderous appearance and large dewlaps. The original grey coloured breed is a very old one and the name has been recorded back as far as 1555. The breed was first brought to the United Kingdom by Lord Derby in 1840, who imported some of them to England, and from then onwards the French Toulouse were used as breeding stock with the consequence that by 1894, English breeders had produced a massive bird. The [utility] ‘Toulouse’ in France, although kept in greater numbers, have never quite equalled such weights.
The bird generally has a placid disposition, with the consequence that it doesn’t thrive in flocks of mixed breeds. More aggressive geese will greatly distress the Toulouse, putting it off mating and sometimes resulting in its losing out at the feeding trough. These are very domesticated birds, easily bewildered by more active breeds. They do not need a pond. However, being waterfowl, they love bathing and playing in water and will also mate in water. They are not great wanderers, preferring to stay close to home, making them ideal for a large garden or orchard, where they will thrive.
The breed is a moderately good layer of eggs, producing as well as most other goose breeds. They rarely have problems producing fertile eggs, although problems can occur during severe weather in the winter and spring, as is the case with most breeds. An average Toulouse lays 20-40 eggs per year. These birds are generally not good sitters.
SERAMA CHICKENS– Hatched July 2013
The Serama (Malay Ayam Serama), also called the Malaysian Serama is a bantam breed of chicken originating in Malaysia within the last 50 years. They are the smallest breed of chicken in the world. Typically under 500g, but with even smaller birds that are under 250g being bred in its native Malaysia.
The modern breed is attributed to the efforts of Wee Yean Een from Kelantan, who named the breed “Serama” after Rama, the title of the Kings of Thailand. The breed was first exhibited in 1990. Seramas were initially imported into the UK in 2004. The “Serama Club of Great Britain” was officially recognised in 2008.
The Serama are characterized by their upright posture, full breast, vertical tail feathers held upright and tight up to the body and vertical wings held down nearly touching the ground. In Malaysia they are described as brave warriors and archangel chickens, because of their very human like appearance.
The following describes the overall characteristics of “Malaysian type.”
Assertive with confident bold stance yet calm and manageable. Should be easily handled and show no aggression. The bird should pose readily and when viewed from the side should create a vase like or wide ‘V’ shape outline. They shake their wings and pose, walk with pride, pull their head back to reveal a large chest, lift the legs, and in some styles have neck/head vibrations similar to that of a pigeon. The body is well muscled with breast carried high, full and well forward. From above the shape is somewhat elliptical, tapering towards the tail. The body should be short. Fairly large wings in proportion to the body they should be held in a vertical position just clearing the ground and leaving the feet partially visible. Shoulders should be set high on the bird. Primaries are long of medium width with secondaries moderately long and broad. Tail is full and carried high, pointing upwards and held close to the body of the bird with no space between the body and tail. The sickle feathers are relatively straight and spear like. A minimum of one inch longer than the other tail feathers, but ideally no more than a couple of inches above the head is desirable. The remaining tail feathers should ideally be no higher than the top of the comb when the bird is standing to attention. The Main tail feathers should be broad and should over lap neatly. The tail should be open and when viewed from behind should be open to an angle of 45 degrees creating an open ‘V’ shape. Head should be small and carried well back. Head is required beyond the level of the feet and held in position of more than 90 degrees from the feet. The single comb is small to medium in size with a minimum of five serrations preferred. The comb should be straight smooth, free of folds or any deformities and tending towards flyaway type. Wattles are to compliment the comb, smaller being preferred and free from folds and wrinkles. The legs are of medium to long length, straight and set wide apart to allow for full and muscular body. They should be strong and stable. Thighs should be of medium length and well muscled with shanks of good thickness. They should not appear soft and weak. Like some other Asiatic breeds, they are not colour bred in their native country. Only normal feathered birds are accepted in Malaysia. Feathers held tight against the body and should not be long or flowing. Silkied feathered birds are accepted in America and much of Europe. The silkied gene was believed to be carried by some birds imported from Malaysia. Other mutations (e.g. frizzled, rumpless and booted) have been introduced in America and some parts of Europe by crossing to other breeds.
Seramas are much like other Bantam breeds. After laying an egg it takes around 21 days for the chicks to develop and hatch. Chicks are more susceptible to cold temperatures compared to other breeds because of their relative small size. After hatching, it takes about 16–18 weeks for the chicks to mature and reach the point at which they themselves can begin laying eggs.