About Random Rosecombs, aka how this crazy chicken thing happened...

For some reason I've always been intrigued by chickens. My family used to go the county fairs around here when I was a little kid, and I was just totally enthralled by the fancy bantams, and decided that I needed to get some of those. Back in the olden days, a kid had to be 9 years old before joining 4-H... so I had several years of waiting to do! So I drooled over hatchery catalogs and the Standard of Perfection and fell in love with every odd looking breed you can think of. In the end though, I decided I wanted Old English Game Bantams. So in the summer of 1987 (wow that seems like ages ago!) I got a pair of Spangled OE. Honestly they weren't all that great, but to me they were like the world's most beautiful creatures, and it at first it didn't bother me one bit that I didn't win anything. But time went on and I wanted to improve them, so I got some BBRed OE in 1989 with the intention of crossing the two to improve the Spangles. That didn't really work out, but there I was tinkering with color genetics already at the ripe old age of ten years. I really liked the BBReds though, so I kept breeding them, and did really well with them at shows.

In 1992 I wanted to diversify the flock a bit. I really liked Black Rosecombs, I thought they were very cool looking, so in February of that year I got a trio of them. A year later, on a whim, I crossed the two breeds, and ended up deciding to make BBRed Rosecombs. And I did! Well, it's still work in progress, and it's funny because that really wasn't my intention when I first tried crossing the two breeds. Along the way, the BBRed bloodline also starting producing Brassy Backs, so I've worked on those too. Interestingly, my purebred Blacks also throw the occasional "sport" Brassy Back, which is how the color got started in Old English Game Bantams.

In the late 1990s I brought in two other colors: White and Blue. I bred the Whites to the BBReds, and in two generations I had a pretty good start on Red Pyle. But I quickly realized that I didn't have the facilities to keep white-bodied birds in good condition, so I sold the flock. To this day I regret it, because the buyer claimed to be serious about them, but shortly thereafter he fell off the earth and I have no idea what happened to the birds. The Red Pyle line threw some pretty weird stuff, including Mottled, Lemon Blue, and an incredibly colorful Blue Red Splash who became a pretty cool pet.

I had also purchased some Blues, and I bred those to BBReds to try to produce Blue Red. I worked on those for a few years but was never able to get good coloration on the females. But in the mean time I had also bred the Blues to the Brassy Backs and produced some awesome Blue Brassy Backs. So I decided to focus on those instead of Blue Reds.

So, I've had a lot of birds since 1987. There was one year I hatched 400 birds. That was insane. There was another year (when the CA shows were shut down due to Exotic Newcastle Disease) that I only hatched a dozen. In the last several years (I am writing this in February of 2011) I have not been able to raise many birds or attend many shows. Life is busy. I'm a professional artist/engraver. If you haven't seen my website, please go do so! But I'm sticking around to whatever extent life and circumstances allow me to do so, and I hope you'll be seeing my birds at shows for years to come! :-)


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