i have been learning about chook genetics...

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15 years 5 months ago #15556 by tonic
and it has been very interesting (but then i love genetics so... :p )!

it has made me realise what a wide range of genetic types we have had. we started off with five bantam hens and a rooster from a lady up the road. we lost two of the hens to a puppy early on[:(!] so had three hens and a rooster, and then added a couple of black orpington hens too.

then came a time when they were not contained well and the bantams snuck off to breed regularly! one hen in particular was the msot successful (ginger was her name, like in chicken run[}:)]) and she would hatch eggs laid by the other hens too.

here she is below with a bunch of chicks:


over the years she raised the most beautiful and the most ugly chickens i have seen!

we had some that had feathers that didn't hold together (like silkies only these chickens just looked horrendous)[^] one of these is on the left of the picture above. we had some like ginger except they had an amazing richness in colour. some with crests, including a couple with what i have just learnt are vaulted heads (the skull is lifted up like a flap at the back, so it has a bump on its head and it makes the crest huge) some with clear legs and some with feathers down to the toes.

there was no white in the orignal chickens or in the flock they came from for several years back, but we got some lovely mottled looking ones. the best were black (orpington crosses) with huge crests and lots of white tips to thier feathers over their whole bodies :) .

so anyway, now that i have learnt a bit more i wish i still had them to experiment with... we still have the original rooster (he spends his time sitting next to the cage with the minorca chicks and mum trying to feed them :D ) but we lost ginger last summer, she was getting pretty old by then :( and now i have seen a rooster at the local rooster dump (don't get me started on that issue![:(!]) who is a gorgeous mix of things and i have an urge to sneak down and snaffle him at night.... :p

one of really ugly 'silky' feathered roosters caused me no end of guilt! when the rest his age began fighting we decided to cull the extra roosters. however once i had him with his head on the block i realised that he was never fighting and was a lovely nature.... in fact the only reason i could come up with for culling him was that he was so darned ugly[:0][:0][:0] so in the end he lived for a few more weeks while i worked on my conscience and got my head around it :D

anyway.... that is enough rambling, probably not interesting at all.. but what the heck![;)][;)][;)]

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15 years 5 months ago #236127 by Sue
Well I think its interesting!
Glad you have had so much fun with them all, do you want me to find out whether all the various genes for crests, or feathered legs or feathers with no barbs to hold them together are dominant or recessive-or have you already found out after using various computations!!!
What is the dump rooster like?!

Sue
Labrador lover for yonks, breeder of pedigree Murray Grey cattle for almost as long, and passionate poultry person for more years than I care to count.

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15 years 5 months ago #236224 by kiwi chook
Hey Tonic, I have some spare roosters if you want to carry on experimenting :) I have a black one with gold speckles all down his front, and a couple of Rhode Island Red.

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15 years 5 months ago #236262 by tonic
thanks kiwi chook, but i really do not need to start a rooster collection... i already have four! and am trying to resist giving the one at the rooster dump a home........

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15 years 5 months ago #236263 by tonic
thanks kiwi chook, but i really do not need to start a rooster collection...[:I] i already have four! and am trying to resist giving the one at the rooster dump a home........[:0]

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15 years 5 months ago #236265 by tonic
hi sue,

if you know of any good poultry genetics websites i would be interested. the ones i have found are interesting but not set out very well...kind of difficult to follow...

thinking back, and with no records to check, i think only hens ended up with the white speckles. so i am assuming the gene was sex-linked recessive and carried by the rooster (in heterozygous form as he has no white speckles at all). all the hens started out with no white but gained more each moult.

the others (crests, feathered feet and barbless feathers) i can't remember clearly enough to hazard guesses so any info would be great!

although both ginger and the rooster had crests so as not all chicks had them i am thinking the crests gene is dominant or sex-linked....:rolleyes:

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15 years 5 months ago #236266 by tonic
hi sue,

if you know of any good poultry genetics websites i would be interested. the ones i have found are interesting but not set out very well...kind of difficult to follow...

thinking back, and with no records to check, i think only hens ended up with the white speckles. so i am assuming the gene was sex-linked recessive and carried by the rooster (in heterozygous form as he has no white speckles at all). all the hens that had speckles started out with no white but gained more each moult.

the others (crests, feathered feet and barbless feathers) i can't remember clearly enough to hazard guesses so any info would be great!

although both ginger and the rooster had crests so as not all chicks had them i am thinking the crests gene is dominant or sex-linked....:rolleyes:

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15 years 5 months ago #236360 by Sue
Hi tonic, this is a good web site with pictures, which explains a lot of the detail home.ezweb.com.au/~kazballea/genetics/default.html

There is a page for mutations eg silkie feathering, crests, naked necks,etc
Barbless, or hookless feathers, as in silkies is (h) and is an autosomal recessive gene.
Crests (Cr) is an autosomal incomplete dominant.
Feathered feet has a number of genes which cause it, varying between breeds.
Speckles and flecks come under plumage patterns and are governed by a number as well.
Ginger and red has a huge range of genes and effects.

Enjoy the pictures, it even gives chick fluff colour with the parent colour illustrated-and all the various types of lacing, pencil feather patterns, also comb and wattle variants.
There is lots of info there for budding chook geneticists :D

Sue
Labrador lover for yonks, breeder of pedigree Murray Grey cattle for almost as long, and passionate poultry person for more years than I care to count.

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15 years 5 months ago #236857 by tonic
thanks sue, will have a good look! i think crests in budgies is an autosomal incomplete dominant gene also. i wonder if bird genetics are similar between species like many mammal genes are...?

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15 years 5 months ago #237380 by tonic
hi guys,

here is a photo of the rooster from the 'rooster dump'... he has lacing down his chest too which is not obvious from this angle...

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15 years 5 months ago #237501 by Sue
Well tonic, he's a real heinz 57 varieties if ever there was a barn yard mix! Very pretty though.

Sue
Labrador lover for yonks, breeder of pedigree Murray Grey cattle for almost as long, and passionate poultry person for more years than I care to count.

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15 years 5 months ago #237637 by tonic
he is isn't he! i figured that if anything was going to give interesting breeding results for someone interested in genetics, it would be him!

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