Originally Posted by Fire Ant Farm
I will definitely be getting some blue or black copper marans (sucker for the dark egg - but which would be more interesting color wise for crossing? I confess to being a sucker for anything blue, but know that blue genetics is complicated). I am considering a few of some other of the following and would be interested in your opinions as far as possibilities for interesting color from NN crosses:
Wheaten ameraucanas (or lavender ones)
Blue laced red wyandotte (SOOOOOOO GORGEOUS!!!!!)
(There are also good quality barred rocks, but I'm not so interested in those).
(I have Cream Legbars - pets, including hatchery pullets but a high quality/breeder cockerel - but they have a small body so I'm not as interested in that cross - thought the Ameraucanas would be bigger and still give me green eggs, just not the straight combs of the CLs.)
- Ant Farm
Oh take your time! I got my start on genetics with several different pigeon breeds given to me at around 10-12? years old. I soon noticed there was sort of a predictable pattern to the colors and different feather traits(crest, nose crest, leg feathering etc) and eventually was able to make rough predictions with their babies and got to the point I challenged myself to create a "new" type, choosing one or two different traits from 3 or 4 separate breeds.. I succeeded at this.. but had not heard of genetics so I did not know any of the hows, whys, whats etc. Then I read the genetics chapter in high school bology and that was SUCH a powerful moment. The interest has been with me ever since but without the Internet it did take me decades and tons of hands on experience to figure out other things. That's how the 300+ flock of chickens came to happen! lol (good thing they were edible too) But now with the Internet and forums like this, the information is massively more accessible.
I think I forgot to send chicken genetics link you asked for? Just realized it at this moment, here are two excellent sites to check out:
Wanted to throw that right in the middle before I forgot again.. lol
Get blue-anything, if you love it! You really only need a blue or splash to introduce it into the flock. No need to get pairs, trios, whatevers. So you could do a mix of both blue and copper marans.. or just use the BLR to introduce it. Or chicken math it with all three.
I would say the Marans are best for keeping size up- ochochicas, agree/disagree? Amers and wyandottes to be honest, can be half fluff, there are some heavy ones here and there but they are essentially "feather birds" especially the wyandottes and feel light for their size when picked up. Personally the one bad thing about the wyandottes in my experience- small eggs and not exactly very productive layers or for meat. Their smallish and roundish eggs proved to be very dominant and I am struggling with this even 2nd generation away in a line that has wyandotte blood... dont like seeing such small eggs especially from big heavy pullets?! Not sure how typical the eggs are for wyandottes though. maybe it was an exception based on the two lines I had. I have to say, the birds from this can be great pet temperaments- really like the one scaleless boy from this line, he is very handleable and very mellow.
The BLRW would be absolutely the best for bringing in a maximum of new mutant color and pattern genes into your flock. They are partridge(eb) with the various genes for intense red, all the necessary genes for single lacing.. if you break them up, you will start to see spangling, double lacing, maybe pencilling, etc. There's a slight problem- wheaten likes to make light breasts on the chickens- look at wheaten amer hens for example- breast is much lighter than backs.. unfortunately this also shows on birds that have the pattern genes, they can have fantastic patterns on their backs and wings but their breasts will be "too light"- lacing reduced to mere halfmoons or almost no spangles etc.
However if the copper marans you get are truly genetically birchen(not leaky extended black) you could transfer the blrw genes onto these and make birds that are laced all over, including the tails unlike on the wyandottes(black tails). Like on laced polish.
I've not had any pure Amers. So I couldn;t make any real comments on them, production wise- however are you sure they are actually heavier than CL by a good margin? Do realize, if you introduce the blue eggs by these, you will very likely be dealing with a linkage between colored eggs and pea combs. Can be a curse or blessing, depending on whether you like the pea combs after it's mixed with single comb.. blessing as in so easy to tell which pullets are going to lay colored eggs, no need to keep them to POL or egg color selection like I have to with my single combed color eggers.
With the wheatens, they will not exactly add much color diversity especially with the NN. Both are already wheaten based, and the dominant Co being present in practially all NN will make the crosses colored and patterned much like what you have now.
Lavender is also a solid black, this would be good for example, a solid black NN or project of some kind. If you introduce lavender into your NN, you will eventually end up with some Isabel- which is both a buff and lavender bird. Very soft pastel body with a lavender grey tail. Could potentially be two projects in one but this suspiciously looks like very strong chicken math, hmmmm....