Big Medicine,

I would love to find some massive SQ Brahmas – ideally both blue partridge and buff columbian. I’d breed the two together and then use the F1 with some of my buff-laced birds. I don’t show, but my eye does like big, tall, massive birds with an owly brow. I admit to being cautious about breeding to a show standard that might compromise these birds’ utility. The SQ feathering is actually way too soft for the windy hill I live on. It doesn’t so much hold heat as act like a wind sail in this neck of the woods. smile

I don’t worry about messing up the laced pattern – or getting set back a few years – as I am way further ahead on this project than I imagined I would be by now. My main focus really has been on dual-purpose utility. That may seem a bit weird considering I’m playing with one of the most ornamental fowl patterns in the fancy. I just think that our livestock were meant to be more Rolls Royce (expressions of self and ‘beautility’) and less McDonalds (over billions served). I digress.

Dominant white does reduce the gold. I have some gold-laced cockerels that are brilliant deep mahogany (which would work well for you), but some that are much paler than the typical gold-laced standard. I’ve had buff-laced pullets that started feathering up almost pure white that ended up near perfect buff-laced birds. Some of my buff-laced cockerels have deep red shoulders, and some have an even ‘buff columbian’ toned buff throughout. As I’ve mentioned - for this particular project - I am trying to shoehorn a ‘Rolls Royce’ into a ‘Farmall’ sort of lifestyle. So, my selection process is a bit like trying to fill my shopping cart with a nice healthy balance of Mozart and meat and potatoes! smile

BTW, have you explored the ALBC’s buckeye project at all? It presents a great hands-on way to select for utility. I will find an URL for you if you want it.

I will try to get you some photos of my gold-laced birds. I wasn’t able to hatch until late in the summer – and this winter has been the worst in 15 years - so this spring’s youngsters are still looking pretty unkempt this spring. However, I purposely breed some of my oldest birds (three years old) in order to select for longevity, so some of the old gold-laced girls that have made ‘the cut’ (by shear will to live) are still around and looking better than many of last fall’s hatch at this point in the season.