We thought we might take advantage of the sunshine to snap a few more photos of our flock. We will post more photos with analysis soon.
The pullet in the center has the nicest coloring of any of our current females. Note the uniform golden color of the hackle feathers on the neck. Many hens possess spangles in the neck feathers, or a brownish tinge like the hen to the right, and these traits are less desirable.
However, a good breeding program must balance various traits to approach perfection. The hen to the right may have a less desirable hackle, but her spangling in the body is more clear and defined, and she has a larger tail and spectacular comb.
Also note the leg color difference between the two birds: Buttercups are required to have willow green legs, and the hen to the right clearly has slaty blue legs. Why is this acceptable? Well let us first examine what causes leg color in chickens.
There are several different leg colors in the chicken world, including white, yellow, blue, and green. The willow green of the Buttercup leg color is caused by a very dark under color, with an overlay of yellow skin. A slaty blue leg is caused by a bird with the same under color, but white skin, such as a Polish.
Like all Mediterranean breeds, Buttercups are bred primarily for egg production, and are required to have yellow skin. Their yellow skin provides them with yellow pigment to supply to their egg yolks during egg production. While they are laying, hens begin to go through a bleaching process as all the yellow pigment in their skin is used up. Eventually, all their skin bleaches to white, and the dark under color of their legs shines through as slaty blue.
The hen on the right has been laying for several months now, and the yellow skin on her legs has bleached to white, causing her legs to turn from green to blue. The pullet in the center has just started laying, and still has plenty of yellow pigment in her skin.
Check out our page about the breed or our page on heritage breeds for more information! Feel free to contact us or leave a comment with questions or thoughts!