Musings and Mental Meandering Concering My Naked Neck Rooster
Yes, it's a sad fact that I have stooped to the ultimate in name calling and have christened my poor roo as 'Stupid'. I have not done this out of meaness, but because he earned his name with honors. He's not quite a dumb cluck, but he's really, really close.
Stupid is an F1 Showgirl, which is a cross between a Silkie hen and a Naked Neck rooster. I'm don't remember his mother's name, but his father was called Capt. Randy, because he was...well...um..."randy". (I won't go into details.) One would think that being the son of a bantam hen and an average-sized rooster that he would be a size somewhere in between, but in fact he is nearly as large as a Jersey Giant. I find this odd, considering. Other odd things about Stupid:
1. He has yellow skin and feet with bay colored eyes and a horn colored beak, not what you would expect from a Silkie cross, which usually have dark skin and slate feet.
2. He has a single comb. This is probably not too unusual given the genetics of chicken combs, but for the record, his mother would have had a walnut comb, and his father had a pea comb.
3. He has some barring in his feathers on his head and on his saddle. I've never seen another blue chicken have barring, but I'm not saying it can't happen.
4. He has a little bit of a crest and extra toes like a Silkie. You can't see the crest too well now because of his huge comb, but when he was still young, you could tell the feathers were sticking up.
5. He has no feathering on his legs. Genetics says he should.
Stupid has had some interesting offspring, to say the least. His first girl was a black sex-link called Henny Penny, the others came from some Easter Eggers. From them were produced to date:
1. Black barred males and females. This was an interesting group. The one on the right I think is a male, the one on the left a female. The rooster in the back came from Henny Penny, and the two others came from the Easter Eggers. I'm not sure why the ones from the EE's had crests, but the one roo didn't. All three had yellow feet, bay eyes, and horn colored beaks. The "Puffies", as I called them, had pea combs.2. Naked necks, various colors: blue, silver duckwing, black, wheaton. The solid blue female was from Henny Penny, the other colors from the EE's. Note in the photo you can see that her skin is slightly pigmented on the back of her head, and she has dark eyes and slate legs. Not all, but some of the other NN chicks had this pigmentation in various degrees.3. Blue golden duckwing. This rooster, Big Blue, is from an EE hen. Like his barred brother, he's very large and has fathered many chicks in the EE pen. He's not bearded or muffed, but has produced bearded and muffed chicks, along with NN chicks. To my knowledge Na is supposed to be an incomplete dominate, so techincally he should be a NN to pass on the gene, but that hasn't been the case with my flock. I'm working on finding out about this... 4. Birchen, blue and black, silver and gold. All have faint birchen markings, but not complete like most photos show. They are much lighter and less defined on the head than photos I've compared them to, but they're the only color pattern they match. All have been female so far. I know at least one of them came from Henny Penny, probably the one that has the yellow feet and bay eyes. The others have slate legs and dark eyes.
Stupid is now housed in a pen with his three blue birchen daughters, and one NN granddaughter, sired through Big Blue.
Big Blue's Offspring
Big Blue is sort of an enigma when it comes to his chicks. Technically, he's a non-bearded EE, and should not have the NN gene because he's not showing the trait, yet he's produced NN chicks. He's also brought out some interesting genes in the EE pen I didn't know even existed in my original flock, since the original hens were marked partridge or golden duckwing. I haven't kept but one of these chicks, so I don't know exactly what they turned out to be, but at least two appeared to be blue partridge or blue golden duckwing at 6 weeks. The one chick that I did keep turned out to be muffed (no beard because the Na gene masks it) blue silver birchen. She has dark eyes, beak, and feet, and is comparatively smaller than most of my other hens. I have also kept a few other normal females he produced, among them being silver birchen and a few that have diluted coloring, something entirely different from the blue gene. (I'll get to those later...)
The NN Big Blue sired has been named Elvira, because of her "sideburns". Elvira was put into the pen with her granddad Stupid when I got a request from a friend to hatch her some NN's. I figured between his 3 daughters and Elvira, I was sure to hatch some in very short order. I don't think all the chicks from the hatch were actually his, since the girls were in another pen, but a few of the chicks came out with NN's with EE chick markings, and at least one was blue. One late hatching chick which didn't make the trip to my friend's place has turned out to be a splash that's nearly white with a few smudges of blue through her coloring. (I'm assuming it's a "she", since at 4 weeks of age, I'm getting nothing to suggest otherwise.) The whiteness is a nice surprise; I wasn't expecting any splashes he threw to be this dilute at this point, but I think I know why. One of the girls in his pen is a splash, but still comparitively dark when looking at the others. She's not much lighter, but I know she's splash because she also has the streaks of darker coloring. I think she may be the mother of this chick, based on a maneuver Stupid pulled earlier in the summer...
I had Stupid free-ranging, so he had access to the yard and the area surrounding the pens. I have all my pens netted to prevent the escape artists I have from getting loose and roaming roos from making themselves at home wherever they want. There was one hen that got out (I'm not sure how) and I had to catch to put back in. For whatever reason, I totally forgot about that incident, until...
I had a person I sold some eggs to email me asking about an odd chick that hatched. It was buff colored. I was mystified. All I could think was that somehow I had accidentally mixed an egg in with her order from another pen. About the same time, I had an order for a local customer hatch, and I noticed that I had an odd colored chick out of mine, too. Mine was a pale silvery blue, but to me that didn't seem so odd because some of the other chicks were the same color, only with red. Somewhere in the exchange of emails with the first customer, she mentioned the chick had 5 toes on each foot. That made me immediately go and check my odd chick, and sure enough, it had the same thing. I was baffled, so I thought about it for days. WTH?? Stupid was the only one who could have been the father, but when did he get in the pen?
Then one day about a month later it hit me. DUH!!! He didn't! For some reason that memory of me catching the hen had slipped my mind, probably because I'm always chasing down someone for something.
The chick is now almost mature, and will probably be laying in a month or so. She has the build and coloring of a Wyandotte, only she's so pale, she's nearly white, with a few very light streaks of gray with a in her feathers. I can't tell for sure, but she may even have the faintest hint of buff on her saddle feathers. The results of her coloring tell me what I already knew--her mother was a splash, hence my theory as to who the pale splash NN's mother is.
Anyway, back to Big Blue's kids...
Here is another of Big Blue's offspring. Apparently, he has the barring gene too, and has produced a nicely barred male, who at present has no name. He has a few green and other odd colored feathers scattered over his body. He is bearded and muffed, has yellow legs and bay eyes. Blue has also fathered a few blue silver duckwing pullets, along with one I think may be called blue partridge.
I cannot remember which, either Stupid or Big Blue, had been in with a birchen frizzle I once had. She had been the mother to both a blue and a white frizzle (Miss Frizzle). I lost the blue one early on from unknown causes; I went in the brooder one morning, and it was dead. The Miss Frizzle lived and has become mother herself. The last I remember, her mother the birchen frizzle had been in with my white Silkies, so I assumed that Miss Frizzle was half cochin - half Silkie, since she is white. She has yellow skin, willow feet, and bay eyes, and the normal number of toes. That should have told me right there she was not part Silkie, but the fact that my white Silkies are of questionable parentage caused me not to question this fact too deeply.Miss Frizzle has been in with a black frizzle cockerel, so I decided to hatch some of her eggs to see what I would get. (Bad genetics, I know...) I figured I would be getting black or some other colors from the combination. Today, the first two of four scheduled to hatch have been blue! I have been beating my brains out trying to figure out how blue chicks have come from a white hen and a black roo, and the only explanation I can come up with is that Miss Frizzle's white color is masking a blue gene. Stupid is two pens away from her, and as far as I can remember, there has not been a repeat of the Blue Laced Red situation. Big Blue has not been out in months, neither has the little blue-red bantam Cornish mix that lives with him. My BLR roos are all secure, and the juveniles that run the yard haven't been in her pen. That leaves me with the only conclusion that she has to be a descendent of Stupid, probably his granddaughter. I wish I had thought to write down who the birchen had been mated with!
Of the 6 frizzle chicks that hatched, I got the following:
1 smooth (blue, male)
2 frizzle (both black, female and male)
3 frazzle (2 blue, 1 black, 2 female, 1 male)
I hatched some of Stupid's eggs with the frizzles, but only one of three made it. The chick came out fully feathered, which was no big surprise, but I was surprised when my silvery chick that I thought was splash turned out to be recessive white! I was kind of taken back by this, but I guess in hindsight it isn't all that surprising, since the frizzle came out white. I don't believe she's recessive, though, because her down was yellow, not smokey. The only other smokey chicks I've had were white Jerseys, which is the norm, so I wasn't expecting to have this in my NN flock. I have a white EE hen, but I think she's dominate white, too, because I don't recall buying a smokey chick. I have more of Stupid's eggs in the incubator due to hatch 3/1/08, so it will be interesting to see how many of these come out white vs. splash.
Of the 7 NN eggs I put in, only 5 hatched. I'm not sure if it was because of the NN lethal factor, or because the electricity was out for 10 hrs. on day 10. I had what I would consider a successful hatch in spite of that:
6 OEGB -- all hatched, 1 chick died (5)
3 BLRW -- all died before hatch, yolk not absorbed (0)
2 JG -- both hatched, black chicks (2)
7 NN x EE -- 5 of 7 hatched (5)
18 total -- 12 hatched -- 67% hatched, 33% did not
Considering this is a small number of eggs, this is not a percentage.
What Stupid contributed
NN -- 2 (1 homozygous)
extra toes -- 2 (both are fully feathered)
blue -- 3 (Two are a strange dark mottled color, similar to barred chicks. We'll see.)
bearded and muffed -- 2 (1 of the NN chicks is just muffed, but would count as bearded)