OK, my batch of CL babies has hatched. I had the eggs separated in baskets per hen, but the babies climbed all over the place in the incubator (little mountain climbers), so I have to guess between Lissa and Paula's babies. (Jenny's babies hatched late, so they all got green sharpie marks on a toe.)
I don't have a baby picture of Dumbledore to see his specific down pattern but I understand that he had very good auto sexing. Of mine, Jenny and Lissa had perfect auto sexing markings, and Paula was fairly obviously female, but was blond and had an interrupted head vee. As I only have three pullets, with pros and cons with each, and I setting after the rooster injury, I set everything at once rather than being more selective as originally planned. I was hoping that Dumbledore's influence would improve the auto sexing some (but I suspect I don't completely understand these genetics - I've read and read, but seem to have a hole in my head when it comes to that).
Here's a group photo - you can see the different markings pretty well from here (no individual photos yet - I've been swamped). 6 boys, 6 girls, one that I think is a girl but especially rotten auto sexing.
Here's a photo showing one of Jenny's (left) and two of Paula's girls (two on right) a little better (heads up more):
Paula's chicks were earliest and strongest (and eggs most normal shaped) - she's also been the strongest (earliest and most consistent) layer (though paler and more green). But her female babies look like little carbon copies of her, some with rotten auto sexing. Actually, her markings were clearer than any of her babies (at this point, at least). Of six eggs, five girls, one boy. This was Paula as a chick:
Jenny's chicks were late, a few malpositioned (I had trouble with incubation conditions, but the eggs were also more round, though big and blue) - but the girls once again are little carbon copies of her as a chick, and have excellent auto sexing. Of five eggs, two girls, three boys (one boy culled at hatch, one wearing hobble for spraddle legs). This was Jenny as a chick. I don't have up close photos yet, but trust me that they look JUST like her, good head vee.
Unfortunately I don't think I have a girl from Lissa in this hatch (Lissa also had excellent auto sexing). (There was all that climbing, but still - I know the two good auto sexed girls are Jenny's, and the only ones left look like Paula.)
So, two girls with good auto sexing, four that are clearly girls but have non-optimal markings on the head, and one that may be a girl but has pretty rotten markings. And 6 boys (all with clear head spot, not sure that there's any other subtlety I should look for.
Sooooooooo, all this to ask - for auto sexing quality, and indeed, for down appearance is the influence primarily maternal? (Or is that just how my chicks turned out.) That would help a lot when choosing pairings (if the male half cannot contribute to better auto sexing markings). (I will probably try to get some girls from Lissa in a hatch later.) It's just for my back yard, but I still for sure want to preserve the auto sexing as best I can and not propagate these less ideal/more ambiguous markings at hatch.
- Ant Farm