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Hello and Welcome! I decided to start this blog for everyone out there who has an interest, or WANTS to be interested, in living a life that is a little more sustainable. I am still learning, and invite you to follow this blog to learn along with me. I will share what I have learned as we go, and hopefully you will pitch in and share what YOU are doing to live a little more off of what you can grow and DO from home. PLEASE BELIEVE ME when I say, if I can learn how to do this on a very small backyard plot in a city, then ANYONE can do this!!

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Sunday, December 9, 2012

Quick Breed Profile: Blue Andalusian

Fresh From Home
Just checking in!
Bandit loves checking on us inside; I hope she approves of what we are up to!  Blue Andalusian hens are very expressive, sweet and docile.  She can be a bit flighty simply because she is a lighter build than our heavier breeds (like the Barred Rock).  She currently has Vaseline on her comb and wattles since we are having a cold snap here in Colorado; she is a Mediterranean breed (originated in Spain) with larger comb/wattles that need to be protected from frostbite in  the cold.  This breed carries themselves as if they are royalty-without the snobbish attitude!  Her feathers are a beautiful slate blue color and are what is called 'laced (outlined)' with black.  She also has white 'earlobes' that have tints of a slight bluish/green color in them; it almost gives an iridescent effect.  She developed what look like spurs around 4-5 months old.  We almost found her a new home, but thank goodness many knowledgeable friends confirmed that some Mediterranean hens do get spurs (not just roosters)! 
Another thing I love about her and have noticed since she was a little peep, is that her eyes are VERY expressive!  

Andalusian's are typically described as: "noisy, somewhat standoffish and not adaptable to confinement, yet they’re less flighty than most Mediterranean chicken breeds (source: breed profile)."  On the contrary, our experience has been very different.  While Bandit definitely has a screechier sound when she 'talks', she rarely makes noise unless you are outside in the yard and she wants out of the pen to come hang around with you.  Bandit has not been standoffish, but I believe that has a lot to do with the fact that she was hand raised by us from the first few days on.  She was handled daily by our children as well as adults and still seems quite attached to me (ahhhh, the benefits of being a primary caregiver ;-)  Bandit will often fly up on my shoulder when I am in the run or, more occasionally, if she is startled about something.

Chicken hats!   Approx 4 wk old pullets 

Although once quite a popular choice, the Andalusian is now listed as "Threatened" on the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy’s Conservation Priority List.  Some people like to raise breeds like this that are threatened or scarce specifically to help bolster their standings on lists such as these, and, believe-you-me, if I was allowed to have more critters in my backyard-I would be one of them!

Bandit's 1st and 2nd egg!

The Blue Andalusian will lay lovely pale white eggs that are medium in size.  She typically lays 3-4 per week and has not slowed down her production thus far during fall/winter. 
Bandit + Tina=Buddies!

Bandit-5 wk old Blue Andalusian pullet
She may be considered a more 'compact gal,' but she is bursting with personality!  Bandit was an 'extra' purchase when making up our current brood (we won't say she was a 'mistake,' for OBVIOUS reasons) and we are all very grateful for stumbling upon this wonderful breed of chicken!  Have you heard of any unique chicken breeds that you want to add to your flock some day?

Bandit (Blue Andalusian) and Tina (Barred Rock)-approx 3 days old


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