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Hi....kinda new at this, wondering if anyone can help me figure out how to breed silkies to get cuckoo silkies

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I have several different color silkies, and was wonderin how or what to breed with them to get the cuckoo. I had a cuckoo male for a year+, and my hens were not old enough to breed, unfortunately, we recently lost him, and now have a bunch of girls ready and no cuckoo sad.png
post #2 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by TammyG911 View Post

I have several different color silkies, and was wonderin how or what to breed with them to get the cuckoo. I had a cuckoo male for a year+, and my hens were not old enough to breed, unfortunately, we recently lost him, and now have a bunch of girls ready and no cuckoo sad.png

Look around BYC for a poster named "nicalandia" . That's Marvin. He is very smart with poultry color genetics.

 Best,

 Karen

Walt Boese strain and Tewart flock of Pure English  Light Sussex

My flock now resides with Farmer Karl in PA.   

  I know he will do well by them. Karl is a knowing poultry man.

RIP Hellbender, my friend. Good friend, good heart, gone too soon.

Reply

Walt Boese strain and Tewart flock of Pure English  Light Sussex

My flock now resides with Farmer Karl in PA.   

  I know he will do well by them. Karl is a knowing poultry man.

RIP Hellbender, my friend. Good friend, good heart, gone too soon.

Reply
post #3 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3riverschick View Post
 

Look around BYC for a poster named "nicalandia" . That's Marvin. He is very smart with poultry color genetics.

 Best,

 Karen

I agree Marvin was a wonderful resource, but he's not been on byc for almost a year. I miss him :(.

 

Your best bet is to look for someone with cuckoo hatching eggs. Lacking that, if you're just wanting them for backyard birds, a barred bantam Cochin rooster would be the best way to go. It would take a few generations to get back to all the silkie characteristics and the consistent barring but it could be done. 

 

F1---all barred birds, split for the silkie gene. Should have feathered legs and five toes, probably funky mixed combs. 

 

Next step depends on how you feel about close breeding.

 

You could breed the F1 siblings together, picking the birds with the closest silkie characteristics. 25% will have silkie feathers, 50% will be split for silkie feathers, and 25% will be regular feathered. Problem is, you can't tell which are split and which are not until you breed them. If my math is right, you'd get 25% double barred males, 25% single barred males, 25% barred females and 25% solid females. You'd then continue with a double barred male with silkie feathers to a single barred female with silkie feathers and that should set your basic line. Continue to breed these birds together and cull for non-silkie characteristics. 

 

If you don't want to breed siblings, you'd back cross to the silkie hens. Take an F1 barred cock (he's single barred and split for the silkie gene) and put him back over the non-barred silkie hens. I think you'll get 50% silkie chicks, and 50% split. You'd also have 50% barred offspring, regardless of gender. At that point you could back cross those females to your F1 cock, or again you could start breeding siblings. 

 

Depending on space and resources, you could run more than one pen and set up some type of spiral breeding program, if you're wanting to get serious about this project. 

Rachel BB

Stem cell transplant from unrelated donor in Feb 2015. Thank you to all my friends here on BYC for all your support during my treatment and ongoing recovery!

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Rachel BB

Stem cell transplant from unrelated donor in Feb 2015. Thank you to all my friends here on BYC for all your support during my treatment and ongoing recovery!

Reply
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 

What do you mean when you say "F1---all barred birds, split for the silkie gene"?  

 Like I said before, I am very new to this part.   I've had chickens for the last 3 years, but just as pets and for egg production.

When you say 50% will be split for silkie feathers.....do you mean they'll be half silkie feathers, half regular?

Whats the difference between double barred and single barred?

 

Let's say for giggles, I get me a barred cochin roo, breed him with a black silkie hen.   Their offspring would come out a mixture...I would be want to pick the barred ones out, grow em out, and then either breed 2 barred siblings(providing they have they silkie traits) or use a barred roo from the hatch with silkie traits and maybe breed him to a black silkie hen?  

 

I also have splash silkies, would that matter? or would I want to stay with the solid color to cross with the barred cochin?

post #5 of 5

F1 means first generation. 

 

Okay, first lets talk about barring. Barring and cuckoo are the same genetically, the terms are basically interchangeable for breeding purposes.

 

In pure bred barred birds, the male has two barring genes. The barred gene is responsible for the white "bars" on an otherwise black bird. So, a pure bred male has a double dose of white. This makes him lighter overall in color. Females, even pure bred, can only carry one copy of the gene. So, they have more black than white and are darker overall.

 

A double barred male gives one copy of his barring gene to each offspring, regardless of gender of the chick and who the momma is.

 

A barred female only passes a barring gene to her male offspring.

 

A single barred male passes his gene to 50% of his offspring, no matter the gender of the chick. 

 

 

Now, for the silkie gene. The gene responsible for the silkie feathers is recessive. That means both parents have to have it and pass is on to the chick for the chick to have silkie feathers.

 

If you breed a silkie to a non-silkie, the chick won't have silkie feathers. But, it will carry that recessive gene for silkie feathers and can pass it on to it's offspring. This is what we mean when we say "split" for a specific gene--it means the bird doesn't express/show the characteristic, but carries it and can pass it on if bred to an appropriate mate. Split can be thought of as a carrier, if you will.

 

So, if you start with a barred Cochin rooster, he's pure bred and double barred. That means all his offspring (F1) will be barred. But, since you're putting him over a hen with no barring (your black silkie), she doesn't have any barring gene to pass to her sons. So, the males will only have one copy of the barring gene and be single barred (as will the females). That first generation won't have silkie feathers, but they'll all be split (carriers) of the silkie gene. The chicks will all be black barred (one copy of the barring gene).

 

Probably the quickest way after that would be to take a cockerel from that hatch that has the most silkie traits (comb, five toes, etc) and put him back over another black silkie hen. Since he's not pure bred, he only has one copy of the barring gene, so only half his babies will be barred, regardless of gender. He's also a carrier for the silkie gene, even though he doesn't have silkie feathers himself, so breeding him to a silkie feathered hen will give you (I think) 50% silkie feathered birds and 50% that are split or carriers. You'll have 50% barred and 50% solid, so it will just be a matter of how many chicks you have to hatch to get some that are both silkie feathered and barred. You might luck out the first time, or you might have to hatch several batches.  

 

Trying to get the silkie feathers and the barring makes things a bit more complicated than if you were only trying to get one of those traits. 

 

The color of the silkie hen really doesn't matter. If you used a splash silkie under a black barred Cochin, all your chicks' base color would be blue instead of black. The base color doesn't effect either the barring or the silkie genes. Blue barred birds are very pretty, but on silkies I think the barring might get washed out and hard to see, and you might not really be able to tell they were barred unless you looked closely. You can also add barring on top of other colors like buff or partridge, but again with the silkie feathers it may get blurry and difficult to see. It might be a lot of work for a not-very-visible result is all. 

 

did that clear things up at all? Or just create more confusion :P ?

 

Where are you located? If you put your state/general area in your profile, and are looking for specific birds, you might run into someone local here. Never know!

Rachel BB

Stem cell transplant from unrelated donor in Feb 2015. Thank you to all my friends here on BYC for all your support during my treatment and ongoing recovery!

Reply

Rachel BB

Stem cell transplant from unrelated donor in Feb 2015. Thank you to all my friends here on BYC for all your support during my treatment and ongoing recovery!

Reply
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