Before the boys were born, and while they were too young to have an opinion, I bred several different breeds of 'fancy' purebred chickens. I was selective about which rooster I bred to which hen, in order to maintain the standard for that breed. A few years ago, the boys asked if we could take the incubator into their classrooms and hatch chicks. I thought that sounded like a wonderful project! Which breeds did they want to hatch? Mixed breeds! They just wanted to walk out, grab a bunch of eggs from random nests and see what came out. What came out was an amazingly colorful mix of chicks that were all different sizes since some of my chickens are bantams (miniatures) and some are full-sized. We have repeated that project each spring and the children LOVE it! And we've found that the mixed breed chickens are so beautiful and unique. Take this hen, for example. She displays some of the characteristics of a Silkie - the soft fuzz and crest, dark skin and rosecomb - and the beautiful black plumage of a Sumatra.
A special thanks to Hope, from Knoxville Daily Photo, who presented me with this award yesterday: