If you're looking to add some beautiful color to your flock AND your egg basket, the Whiting True Blue might be the chicken for you!
Whiting True Blue chickens are friendly, hardy birds that lay bright blue eggs at an impressive clip! These small framed birds are excellent layers. True Blue chickens are the brainchild of Dr. Tom Whiting. This new-ish breed was developed at Whiting Farms in Colorado in the 90s.
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Want To See More Of My Chicken Coop?
Check out this YouTube playlist where we chronicled the construction and installation of the chicken coop and run!
Who Is Dr. Tom Whiting?
Dr. Whiting is a brilliant poultry geneticist and researcher. He earned a Ph.D. at the University Of Arkansas, a Master of Science degree from the University of Georgia, and a Bachelor of Science from Colorado State University, all related to poultry genetics and husbandry.
His passion for poultry led him to a career in breeding roosters with very particular hackle feather features for fly fishing lures. Today, his company, Whiting Farms is one of the largest fly-tying feather producers in the world!
In the late 90s, Tom got the bug to create something new, and he started working on developing lines of "commercial", high-production chickens laying blue, green, or brown-shelled eggs. His emphasis was on high quality, appearance, and sustainability for people like us, with small flocks! Thus, the Whiting True Blue was born.
What Makes A True Blue?
Before we get into the heritage of True Blue, a quick primer on chicken genetics may help explain the importance of a quality breeding program. We're going to go back to middle school biology for a second!
In order for a hen to lay a blue egg, it must carry 1 set of the dominant blue shell gene. This gene means that the hen's body applies a pigment, called oocyanin, to the egg during the shell production process, rather than an overlay over a white shell. This explains why blue shells are blue throughout, while brown shells are white on the inside with a brown bloom layered over top.
Dr. Whiting created a prolific blue layer, by breeding together a high-output breed, like the leghorn, with a blue-laying breed, like the Ameraucana. Breeding these two different breeds created a hybrid chicken, that, in early generations, would result in often unexpected results.
Over time, the chicks that hatched with desirable traits were bred together, and over generations, this created a consistent breed, with expected results and consistent genetics. This is known as selective breeding and helps to ensure all chicks hatched from two True Blue parents will breed true.
One really interesting thing about the Whiting True Blue chicken is that they come in ALL feather colors and patterns! While many breeds have a breed standard, True Blue is a proud, non-standard chicken, though some of its characteristics harken back to its ancestors - the leghorn and likely Ameraucana.
Their legs are clean and come in many colors, though yellow is the most common, and their faces can be clean or bearded. Whiting True Blue chickens have pea combs. They are medium-sized birds, with hens weighing around 5 lbs at maturity, while roosters weigh as much as 7 lbs.
In our flock, we have a pure white and a splash True Blue, but they come in many colors and patterns, including duck wing, bi-color, partridge, and more.
Whiting True Blue hens are prolific layers, laying between 280-300 eggs per year! Their eggs are large in size, and powder blue in color. These productive hens add bulk and interest to your egg basket.
Not only that, but these birds come into lay early and reach maturity around 20 weeks. Their egg-laying starts off slow with medium-sized eggs and ramps up over the next month or so.
The Whiting True Blue Breed is known for its friendly and curious birds, which makes them a great addition to any backyard flock. Their easygoing temperament means they get along with both other chickens and humans alike. This laid-back demeanor makes them great coop mates and pets.
They love attention but don't love to be touched, they will usually follow you around, even if it's just to investigate what you're up to!
These birds are also very active and enjoy foraging in the yard or garden for vegetation, insects, and other goodies.
The Whiting True Blue chicken breed is an ideal choice for any homesteader looking to add to their flock. Not only is this hardy breed cold and heat tolerant.
Our True Blues handled 104f last summer and -45f last winter without a complaint. As long as you've provided them plenty of water and shade from the sun as well as appropriate shelter and nutrition from the winter elements, these birds will handle anything your climate throws at them.
Where To Buy Whiting True Blue Chicks
There are many hatcheries selling Whiting True Blue chicks or hatching eggs!
I choose to buy my chicks from small breeders who focus on high-quality breeding rather than mass production, but if you're having a hard time finding True Blues, the Murray McMurray Hatchery seems to be the hatchery closely working with Dr. Whiting himself.