I spent much of the day sorting chickens and moving them around. While most people I know seem to be hatching chicks already, here I am running late again! I don't even have all the birds paired up yet! Of course a lot of this process is me sitting on a chair looking at the birds thinking "hmmm."
The very obvious conclusion is that I have way too many chickens. Way too many really good chickens, which makes it hard to cut back, because it requires finding REALLY serious breeders to purchase these chickens, and these people have to be able to easily acquire these chickens, which is extra tough since I haven't shipped anything for years and years. And since those two requirements aren't often easily met, I end up with too many good chickens. I am culling ruthlessly (definition of culling: getting rid of a bird). No excuses. I have enough birds that I ought to only be breeding from the absolute cream of the crop. Anything that has a bad defect will go to auction. Any extra really good birds... well, guess I'll see what I can do about finding some über-serious breeders. I probably should have sold more at shows, but I've tended to sell myself short in other years so I was too careful this time. I sorted through all the males today, and all the Brassy and Blue Brassy females. I hope to get through the BBReds and Blacks and other colors tomorrow. I have 8 pens that can be used for breeding groups of birds (up to 7 or 8 females, 1 male) and 10 pens that can house pairs or trios. So it's tough to figure out how many of each color and what goes where. As always the main focus is Black and BBRed. I put 7 Blue Brassy females with a "sport" Brassy Back male (he's purebred black, but he ended up Brassy Back, this is not unheard of). That should give 50% each color, it's an outcross to help with the inbreeding problems (birds getting too small), and it should help with the green leg problem. I am going to put the Golden (?) Duckwing male with a few different color females: Black, BBRed, and Blue Brassy Splash. The theory there is I should be able to tell what's what. Offspring from Black should be birchen-ish, offspring from BBRed should be Golden Duckwing, and offspring from Blue Brassy Splash should be... I don't have the foggiest idea but they should be BlueSomething! But then how many pens of Black and how many pens of BBRed, and maybe breed Brassy Back to Black, or what about BBRed to Brassy Back, and what about the Duckwing females, maybe breed them to Black... It's crazy. Really crazy. I need to cut back. Oh geez and the Cuckoos. I am *really* tempted to get rid of them all now and not hatch anything. Maybe I'm just not that into the color or something. The males are all brassy from the sun...yellow cuckoo, yuck.
Oh, and the dogs and I killed two rats today. That was unexpected, just happened to flush a pair out while working in the coops. Jessie made the kill on both but it was a team effort for sure. Rats are gross. And huge. The male was 18 inches from nose to tail tip and the female was 17 inches. Yuck! Seems like no matter how many I/we kill there are always more.
In artsy news, there isn't much, I didn't do anything today, though the night is young. I got a bunch of good info about printing, and as soon as I get a price list and some shipping estimates I'll post notices about the Aseel wherever I can, and probably even get some postcards printed and mail those out.
I have a LOT of things in mind to work on. There are a few commissions in the works but nothing ready to roll right now. I sent the final Standard sketches (Dutch pair) out for critique on Friday so I'm awaiting suggestions on those. I think I'll have to make some revisions, but hopefully it won't be too arduous. Still not sure what color they are supposed to be... Blue Cream Light Brown I think, but I'm not going to do anything til I know for absolute certain. But anyhow, lots of things in mind. The whole chickens-in-context concept is endless. The background imagery is tough, the things I have in mind are enormously complicated. I don't want to divulge a lot of detail, I'd rather you just see them develop, but I'm going to have to do a "study" for the next one. The final project would be huge, a huge huge huge time investment, but if people don't "get it" then the piece would fail. So I think I'm going to do a smallish study of just the bird and no background to see if it gets the reaction it's supposed to get. If it doesn't, I'll scrap that idea because it would be a waste of time. Plenty of other stuff to do, no reason to waste time. The idea of doing some small studies actually really appeals to me. Not really small, but under 8x10, minimal background. Like the Standard drawings, but very very different. Actually almost spoofing them. And now you really wonder what the heck I'm thinking of. Bwah ha hahahaha! ;-) Oh great, now my eyelid is twitching again.
I think I'll go draw. Stay tuned!