Two weeks ago, there were only 300 known auburn Java chickens in
the world, which means something if you're a chicken expert.
Make that 302.
A pair of auburn Java chicks hatched at the Kohl
Children's Museum on April 6 and 8, and Chicago Parent stopped
by to bask in their fame. Rusty and Lucy (named for Lucille Ball)
spent the morning pecking at corn and mugging for the
camera. Take a look:
The museum's "Eggs to Chicks exhibit" gets its eggs from Garfield
Farms in LaFox. Most Javas are white or black, the two main
strains, but Garfield Farms had told museum officials to keep an
eye out for the rarer colors, like blue or auburn. But in a decade
of hatching chicks, they had never seen anything but black and
So when Rusty hatched, the telltale wing coloration told museum
staff that they had something special.
"And then we get two? Go figure," says Dave Judy, the museum's
director of communications. "It's like winning the lottery."
Rusty and Lucy will stay with the other hatchlings at the museum
until April 19. When they get older,
they'll be part of the Museum of Science and
Industry's breeding program, cooperating with Behl Farms
in Rochester, IL to repopulate the auburn strain of the Java
chicken, which actually went extinct for a while back in the late
1800s but has remained dormant in the species' gene pool.
See more of Liz's stories here.
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