Poultry of the American Southwest also deserve a place in
the sun, or at least a place on this website. The pioneers relied
upon Guinea Fowl, peacocks and chickens to keep the rattlers
away from the homestead. You may read a story that includes something
about my chickens in The Blizzard.
Oldtimer's note: don't leave eggs lying around during a drought.
Rattlers can get so desperate that they will come around anyhow
to eat the eggs. Found that one out the hard way:(
I breed Black Sumatras and Cubalayas, and have assorted other
egg layer hens for breeding experiments. You may view a short
movie here and a long one
here of some of these chickens.
An interesting thing about Sumatras and Cubalayas is that
they are the only breeds whose roosters have two or more spurs
on each leg, as well as thick, abundant tails held horizontal
or below. Sumatras are a pure breed from the wilds of the island
of Sumatra. Cubalayas were developed in Cuba from birds brought
from Asia (perhaps Malaysia or the Philippines) plus some European
stock. Note that the development of this breed is not well documented.
I would not be surprised if the Cubalaya breed benefited from
Sumatra genetics, or perhaps they have a common ancestor. Perhaps someday DNA sequencing will resolve
One of the Cubalaya eggs I got from William Bender (AKA Shamoman)
hatched into a cockerel, Stretch, that I originally thought looked
like maybe a Shamo sneaked in with a Cubalaya hen. Experts
who have looked at Stretch's photos disagree. They say he is
just a variation on the theme of beautiful things Cubalaya, and
I guess they must be right. Stretch has a long tail, but the
rest of his body is much more closely feathered that my other
Cubalayas. Click here for photos
of Stretch. He's much bigger than the other Cubalayas, and
way more aggressive. In one of the movies
on this site you can see Fosdick getting nervous, then running
away, and then Stretch comes swaggering into the picture. That
was the day before he almost killed Fabian. Auugh! Stretch now lives in the South Valley (south of Albuquerque) where he is participating in a breeding project to create exceptionally vigorous long tail roosters.
To learn more about poultry,
please see these books.