If you like colorful eggs and want consistent blue shells from a medium-sized and attractive chicken, Whiting true blue is for you. They add color to your flock, are heat tolerant, and have a disposition suited to being introduced to your current birds.
They are happy to free-range, and the blue egg consistency carries through when you breed them.
If you’ve wondered whether you should get a Whiting True Blue, read on and see if you get even more excited about this nifty little chicken.
About Whiting True Blue Chickens
Whiting true blues are named after the chicken geneticist that bred them in the 90s, Doctor Tom Whiting.
They aren’t considered a part of another breed. They are a breed all of their own. Dr. Whiting used white leghorns and ameraucanas at his home in Delta, Colorado. The result is a blue layer that combines the best of both breeds.
This chicken is an excellent pest controller, either free-ranging in the garden or in a good-sized run. They are heat tolerant and fairly cold tolerant.
Whiting true blue chickens live up to ten years and will be a good layer for five to ten years if in peak health.
One of the wonderful things about this bird is the ever-changing hues it comes in. Where most chicken breeds have a set standard, Whiting true blue doesn’t. You can get:
- Solid blue
- Lemon blue
- Black-breasted red
One thing that is consistent in Whiting true blue is the blue eggs. That’s hard to come by in the chicken world and highly sought-after.
Whiting True Blue Characteristics
These interesting chickens have a lot going for them, from their manageable size to their docile temperament.
1. Size and Weight
As average-sized chickens, they should top out at seven pounds. More commonly, they sit between five and a half and seven pounds. Most hens are in the lower range, while the roosters are around seven pounds.
The amount of movement and exercise they get will affect their size to a small degree, but this is not a big chicken.
One thing you will notice if you get your first Whiting true blue is how active they are. They aren’t aggressive and sometimes are quite happy to hang around while you’re in the coop or run.
They can be nosy and will come and see what you’re up to in the garden, but like many chicken breeds, they don’t usually like to be touched or picked up. Although there are always exceptions, this is not a chicken that likes to sit on your lap.
Due to their friendly nature, true blues also make for good companions to other chickens in your flock. They enjoy foraging and don’t get upset and peck at other chickens when one or the other finds a tasty morsel.
The other good thing about this breed is they don’t often go broody like many others.
3. Egg Production
This is what most people find remarkable about this chicken. The blue egg is not only powder blue on the outside; it’s blue inside as well. Where brown eggs are brown on the outside, they are white in the interior.
Whiting true blue lay between 280 and 300 eggs a year for three to five years before slowing down but still maintaining a good lay for years after.
Egg production starts promptly at five months. Initially, they are small to medium eggs, and after a few months, they usually reach a larger size.
4. Meat Production
The attraction for this chicken is the color of the eggs and the high number they lay. They don’t make good meat birds due to their size and naturally lean body. Don’t try to feed them more to fatten them up. That will just make them fat, not more meaty.
The roosters are bigger than the hens, so if you find yourself with too many, by all means, try using a rooster for meat, but you still won’t get a huge amount of meat. Give them moderate protein, and they will build some muscle.
Caring For True Blue Whitings
These aren’t demanding birds. Care is pretty simple. Give them good food and appropriate housing, and they’ll pretty much take care of themselves.
1. Food and Nutrition
In order to produce a high number of eggs from a reasonably small chicken, Whiting true blue require good quality feed with plenty of protein and calcium. Aim for a minimum of 18 percent protein in commercial feed when young. About 16 percent is fine when they are over 20 weeks old.
High egg production takes a lot out of a chicken, so fortify their feed with some other nutrients, especially if they have to work for it by foraging or pulling it apart.
Try broccoli, lettuce, greens, and cabbage.
Whiting true blue roosters are active and do well with extra seeds and grains. They are fond of cooked rice or fresh corn. If you have spare corn on the cob, they will appreciate it.
Even if their feed contains an adequate amount of protein, it’s still a good idea to sprinkle a calcium supplement over their feed. This isn’t just essential for eggshell quality but also to keep the bones of an active chicken strong and healthy.
Like all chickens, Whiting true blues need a constant supply of clean water for hydration. Change this water often, and make sure you keep the water containers clean.
Although this is a fun little chicken to have around, don’t be tempted to get more than will fit in the space you have in the coop. Whiting true blue chickens are active and move around a lot, even in the coop before bedtime.
Provide them with a little more space than other chickens. You also need to make sure you have enough nesting boxes. They are pretty heavy layers, and if there aren’t enough nesting boxes to lay in, they tend to lay them anywhere in the coop or outside.
If they free range, this can cause issues trying to find the eggs, and if they are in a fenced run, the eggs can be dirty if not in a nice, clean nesting box. Aim for one nesting box for every four birds.
Make sure the coop is safe and secure, and no predators can get in.
If you allow them to free-range, you must have a safe and secure coop for them to return to at night.
If you keep Whiting true blue in a run, give them plenty of space as they never stop moving around.
3. Care and Health Issues
Whiting true blue chickens are usually healthy and strong birds. Like all chickens, they can become sick or die unexpectedly. Ensure you provide plenty of nutritious feed, lots of water, and safe, clean accommodations.
Whiting true blue are susceptible to common bacterial diseases that affect other chickens. Look for the signs that something isn’t right:
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Sudden or unexplained reduced egg production
- Swollen body parts like feet, legs, combs
Most sicknesses that strike chickens are contagious. Isolate a chicken if you think it may be sick and seek a veterinarian’s advice.
Whiting true blue can be susceptible to avian influenza, salmonellosis, avian tuberculosis, and avian cholera.
Like all chickens, the Whiting true blue will breed when a rooster is present. Although the appearance of bred Whiting true blue will be random, they will breed true to the blue egg color. Even the leg color is random on newly hatched chicks.
This random appearance makes it difficult to breed for plumage, so breed for blue egg quality. Pen off the darkest blue egg layers.
Even though the Whiting true blue lays amazing blue eggs, breeding your own can cause a reduction in the hue. Often if the egg gets too big, the blue color becomes much lighter.
It can be challenging for the average homesteader who wants to breed their own chickens to maintain the quality of blue eggs.
You could always just let them do their thing and see what happens.
4 Tips for Keeping Whiting True Blue Chickens
When it comes right down to it, these aren’t complicated birds. Here’s the basics:
1. Give Them Space
Having a small run won’t suit Whiting true blue chickens. They are energetic and active and need to be able to move around. They even need a little more space than the average chicken in the coop because they keep moving when inside.
If you are someone who likes to free-range their chickens, this is a good breed for you. If you have a large run, they are suitable.
If you have limited space, don’t let the lure of powder blue eggs cloud your judgment.
2. Lots of Water
Hydration is important for all chickens because they are easily dehydrated. This is especially important for energetic and active chickens like Whiting true blue. They move around a lot, so they need access to fresh, clean water all the time.
3. Keep Nesting Boxes Clean and Comfortable
Whiting true blues like clean nesting boxes with a good layer of hay, straw, or whatever material you use. Every day when you collect your powder blue eggs, ensure the nesting box is clean and free of dirt or broken eggs.
4. Observe Your Whiting True Blue Chickens
Chicken lovers could watch their chickens all day, but there is also a practical reason for doing so. All chicken breeds have their own characteristics, and this is particularly so for this breed.
Constant movement and energy make them an entertaining watch, but it also allows you to notice when things aren’t right, and they may be sick or distressed.