Originally Posted by LeslieDJoyce
The line I'm working with is only like 6 generations old ... and a couple of those generations were still working toward Delaware from the original hybrid ... as far as I know, it's always been slow.
My guess is the faster-feathering lines have been tweaked at some point.
Possibly, also, the original "Superman" bird mentioned in the breed history had the faster feathering gene. Though the fact that the 1956 article exists at all tells me otherwise, it tells me in 1956 the industry was dissatisfied with the feathering rate of Delawares.
No. That is not the case, concerning the project birds.
It has long been understood that slow feathering was counter productive in production fowl. It is considered by some to be an advantage in some ornamental varieties. That would not be the case with the Delaware, in my opinion.
There were some that considered it as an advantage among broilers.
It is not that it has been tweaked in some lines. It was intentionally eliminated long ago.
What you had been reading was some trying to understand what they were seeing, and how it was inherited. I do not know when we began identifying evidence of the different rate of feathering genes, but I do know we were discussing them in the 40s-50s. There was such an effort to eliminate the trait from Reds etc. One of the advantages to the New Hampshire was that it had the sex linked fast feathering gene as the Leghorn did.
The production "Reds" were improved by introducing the fast feathering and associated growth of the New Hampshire. We still comment that production Reds are hybrid crosses between the two today, which is misleading. I think Ideal still describes them similarly.
What you would want (if I am thinking right), is a male from a fast feathering line. I believe it is sex linked, so the female offspring would exhibit the fast feathering. It would be relatively simple to breed for it from there.