The Flock

We aren’t able to ship eggs, chicks or chickens right now. If you are near Whatcom County, WA please feel free to contact us if you are interested in Olive Eggers for sale. We can even do a custom hatch.

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After years of trial and trial and trial and error, we have decided to work with Marans and Ameraucanas in our Oliver (olive-egger) project. Most of our flock now consists of feather-legged blue/black copper Marans, golden cuckoo Marans, blue/black Ameraucanas and many crosses of those breeds.

We still have a few pensioners of other breeds/crosses that have become pets and are living out their lives as flock bosses. And we have one breeding line with descendants of two Oliver/Welsummer hens that add some lovely egg color and much-needed size to our flock.

Please use this page as a reference for the breeds we have worked with over the years. They may be just what you are looking for, and hopefully our notes can help with your flock choices.

Note: We wanted to add some production to our egg sales, plus had never tried white egg layers, so last year we bought some brown Leghorn chicks. They were so flighty and so good at flying over and through fences the rest of the flock considered impassable, that we didn’t bother to wait until laying age to see if we liked the eggs. We sold the whole lot at point of lay just to be done with them.

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Seven Trees Farm flock history ~ 2005 – 2015

BigBoyThis is BigBoy, a blue copper Marans roo. He was hatched from a mail-order batch of Marans eggs from a blue/black/splash pen. He’s nearly the size of a turkey, but much nicer than one. His coloring isn’t the greatest, but the ladies like him. Marans add the dark brown eggshell topcoat to the Oliver mix, kind of like spray paint over the blue shell substrate.

SchwartzThis is Schwartz, a black Ameraucana roo. He puts the blue eggshell substrate in our Oliver hens. He’s not a bad roo, but not as popular as BigBoy. He’s a purebred though, which is a bonus. Many feedstore and hatchery chicks sold as Ameraucanas are actually Easter Eggers, more common crosses with blue/green egg layers that can carry brown egg genes.

BlaineOur youngest roo is Blaine, a semi-golden cuckoo Marans that we bought from a gal in, you guessed it, Blaine. I really wanted to bring some barring pattern into the flock, and this guy has the bonus of the gold coloring on his hackles and saddle. He keeps a low profile in the flock right now, but seems to get along with everyone.

All our Marans chickens have feathered legs, which the French breed standard requires. Bare-legged Marans are the English style, and both can be found in America. The feather legs are just kind of fun, so we’ll keep choosing chicks with them, as long as they fit our conformation and laying standards.

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Click here for the results of our 4 breed egg-laying test. Our previous flock:

Barred Rock: This tried & true backyard heritage breed has been the backbone of our flock for years, but will be cycled out this fall to make room for another heritage breed. They are healthy robust foragers, steady winter layers, and make good stewing hens at retirement age.
Ameraucana: Ameraucanas lay blue and blue-green eggs. They also have amazing/amusing facial feathers. They aren’t the most prolific layers, but when crossed with a dark egg-laying breed, make hens that lay olive-brown eggs. We hatched some this spring and will select a roo for our breeding program. The pullets will be crossed with a Marans roo to make another line of Olivers.
Cuckoo Maran: This breed is famous for dark brown eggs, and when crossed with a roo from a blue/green egg laying breed, will make hens that lay olive-brown eggs. We are added 5 to our 2012 flock and will probably keep a few over this winter. We have some of their offspring in our grow-out pen this spring.
Welsummer: The pretty eggs – pale tan with dark brown speckles – make up for this breed’s negative aspects: flighty, small, poor winter layers. We like to keep a few in the flock year-round. This breed will be cycled out in the fall to make room for other dark egg layers that are also part of our breeding program.
Black/Blue/Splash Copper Marans: We recently hatched some of this breed to add to our Oliver breeding program. Once they are big enough, we’ll select one roo to keep, and the pullets will go into a breeding pen with an Ameraucana roo.
Sasquatch was the father of some of our older Olivers. He ended up with a cranky temperament. so he eventually went to auction. He was a Blue Copper Marans/Ameraucana cross.

….. The old biddies: These gals have done their job as laying hens and are being sold or turned into soup in the next few weeks. Easter Eggers: Easter Eggers (aka Ameraucanas) lay green and blue-green eggs. They also have amazing/amusing facial feathers. They aren’t the most prolific layers, but they are good-natured with entertaining personalities and lay pretty eggs, so we always keep a few in our flock.

Black Australorp: Australia’s answer to the Buff Orpington. These shiny black hens are calm, but were a little broody their first season. They were steady layers, and are nice & plump for the soup pot, but were cycled out to make room for our breeding program.
New Hampshire Red: This was a new breed for us, and they were friendly and calm. They are an early offshoot of Rhode Island Reds that mature early and are steady, cold-hardy layers that also get big enough for the soup pot once their laying career is over. UPDATE: It turns out that the hatchery stock we bought are a far cry from true heritage-bred New Hampshires. We sold ours because Chewy didn’t like tham, but are now incubating 2 dozen New Hampshire eggs from prime heritage stock.
Welsummer: This is a relatively recent breed from Holland that is cold hardy and lays beautiful reddish-brown eggs. Another breed that slows down production in winter, but are other wise nice enough hens, if a bit flighty.
Barred Rock: This tried & true backyard heritage breed has been the backbone of our flock for years, but will be cycled out this fall to make room for another heritage breed. They are healthy robust foragers, steady winter layers, and make good stewing hens at retirement age.
Gold Laced Wyandotte: Supposedly a good winter layer and good free-range forager. After getting to know them, they don’t really stand out. Not bad birds, but we probably won’t get more.
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