Nothing found except a life boat oar from the Edmund Fitzgerald .
Originally Posted by The Sheriff
Regarding feathering issues in Icelandics. This is what I know.
1.) We do not even know that what we have observed is fray. The chicks I have hatched with abnormal feathering could fall into more than one of these recognized feather mutation categories.
The following mutations diminish feather quality (egg, feathers prone to breakages, etc).
(source: Poultry Breeding & Genetics).
1. Fray (fr) - autosomal recessive (affects mostly wing flights & tail feathers)
2. Flightless (F1) - autosomal dominant (affects mostly wing flights & tail feathers)
3. Alopecia - autosomal recessive (affects mostly remiges & rectrices)
4. Dysplastiv remiges (dr) - (affects remiges & rectrices, -extreme cases wing coverts)
5. Hypoplasia of tail feathers (Hy) - autosomal dominant (affects tail feathers, resembles rumplessness,
but vertebrae normal) Found in Ingie Fowl.
6. Matted Down - polygenic trait
7. Ragged Wing (rw) - autosomal recessive (affects wing flights)
8. Porcupine (pc) - autosomal recessive (spiny quills)
9. Ropy (ropy) - autosomal recessive (sticky down, adults - large wing feathers, sometimes body feathers -
10. Stringy (st) - recessive (down feathers stringy, very high mortality rate)
11. String-2 (st-2) - autosomal recessive (down sticky, adults - most barbules were absent from wing & tail
12. Sunsuit (sn) - autosomal recessive (down wiry & sticky, adults - extremities bare of feathers, body
13. Wiry (wi) - autosomal recessive (down sticky & lacked barbs on distal halves. Adults - mostly wiry
barbs of wing flights & tail feathers).
14. Wooly (wo) - autosomal recessive (shortened down- semi-naked, slick shiny feet. Adults - feathers
abnormal in structure, rough & incomplete).
15. Wing Patch - expression limited to males, may possibly be linked to the lavender locus.
2.) Feather abnormalities have not been observed in the birds originating from first Icelandic eggs legally imported into the United States by Sigrid in 1999. It has not been observed in subsequent legal importations of eggs by Sigrid.
3.) I do not know of any feather abnormalities in birds I hatched or others hatched from my original two pairs from Sigrid.
4.) I first heard of the feathering issue after I hatched eggs in May 2010 which originated from the line imported by Lyle Behl in 2003. Those eggs came from someone who established her flock from eggs from the Lyle Behl line. The first notice I had that there might be a problem was this correspondence in August 2010 from the person I got the eggs from.
"The feathering issue is that some of the feathers of some of the chickens grow in an odd position so the chickens don't look smooth and sleek. I even got one that looked like its feathers were curly. I'm culling them from my flock whenever I can but I'm still getting occasional chickens with weird feathering. Eventually I'll have it culled out. It doesn't affect the health of the chickens, just the looks."
5.) I was never able to get any more concrete information about the feathering issue. We corresponded infrequently about it but I was not able to find out exactly what the problem was.
6.) In May 2011 I contacted her sending pictures of a chick I hatched that had strange feathering. Her response was:
"I think your chick shows a high probability of have "funky feathers" but it's so young that you will certainly have time to figure it out before he/she is of breeding age. Trust your eyes. If you have a non-moulting chicken that looks disheveled all the time, I would definitely take it out of the breeding pool."
"I have attached two pictures of the last hen that I have with our version of funky feathers. She's not as bad as some have been but she just has an overall disheveled look and a few feathers that are askew. Please forgive the quality of the pictures but you will be able to see her larger feathers (whitish) that are growing at a strange angle. What the pictures don't show are that she also has a few small feathers on her back the look like they are growing at a different angle than they should."
6.) I have not spoken directly to Lyle Behl about this issue but I have had many, many requests from people looking for eggs or chicks not from Lyle's line because of "feathering problems." This is in no way meant to disparage Lyle Behl or his line of legally imported Icelandics. From my correspondence with him and what I have heard from others, Lyle is a good man. Where and when the first Icelandic chicken with feathering problems appeared I have no idea. What I do know is it didn't show up in my flock until after I added the other line for "diversity."
7.) I have removed all Icelandic chickens from my flock with the exception of the pair I received directly from Sigrid. I am rebuilding with eggs from their mating and will hatch more of Sigrid's eggs this summer.
8.) Specifically to redchicken9, I am one of the "you people" you called out in this statement: Frankly, all you people with frayed icelandics that have continued to hatch and sell them are the ones spreading this "mutation". little has been done to stop breeding these lines The real issue is if fray is bad, you folks need to work harder on removing fray."
You need to know that most of us on this thread have worked hard to identify the cause and origination of the "feathering problem" and eliminate it from our flocks. It was only after several other attempts to find the source that I made the gut wrenching decision to get rid of all my birds with the exception of the pair from Sigrid. I resent your accusations.
9.) I do, however, agree with two of your statements: "there could be outcrossed birds" Yes, there could be and there have been. Just as in every other breed of chickens being sold and traded, there are people who do not care about preservation. We have no control over what people do with their chickens. We have asked, begged, and pleaded with people to keep their Icelandics pure but some just don't care. There are crossbreeds out there of all the breeds of chickens, I can guarantee you that. We do the best we can by trying to pick good stewards of the breed and notify each other privately when we find out someone is crossing them. Beyond that there is not much we can do about it.
"It's clear that it hasn't always been imported with regulatory diligence (no surprise)." I have good reason to believe that this statement is quite true and I am in the process of investigating recent claims of legal importations. I have it on good authority that Johanna G. Hardardottir has never sold nor given away eggs to be imported into the United States.
10.) This is all I know and all the information I can provide as to the issue with feathering in the Icelandic population in the U.S. I believe this is just something that happened, probably not even true fray, and those who care about the preservation of the Icelandic chicken in the U.S. will continue to do whatever they can to rid all mutations from the relatively small gene pool. Now that hatcheries have gotten their hands on Icelandics it may be too late. As with all other breeds there will always be breeder/keepers who have quality stock.
Do I regret adding the other line to my flock? In retrospect, yes. Would I ever do it again? No. Do I know with certainty that it came from the other line? No. Am I doing everything I can to find out and fix it? Yes.