Birchen possible in BBS chicks?

kurby22

Crowing
Apr 12, 2021
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Sacramento Area, California
I am just curious mostly, as I’m newer to chickens and chicken genetics and figured I could learn more by asking!

I have 4 bantam BBS Cochins that are about 4 months old. One is blue and three are a messy mix of blue or black. My one boy has started getting a fair amount of gold lacing in his hackle feathers and I just wondered if this is leakage of some sort or if BBS can also carry some birchen traits? It’s pretty and adds some interesting appearance to him and I just wondered!

Thanks!
 

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kurby22

Crowing
Apr 12, 2021
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Sacramento Area, California
I don't know the answer to your question specifically, though I do know that Marans come in a Birchen variety and they are also BBS. 🙂 I would expect them to more silver than gold though.
Photo from the internet.
View attachment 2872496
Oh thanks! That answers part of the question :D I found a thread on here where they mentioned that gold is a possibility, but I'm not sure if that is even what my little dude has haha. I didn't really even know birchen was a thing until a couple weeks ago haha. :)
 

The Kooky Kiwi

Crowing
Dec 23, 2017
750
2,122
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New Zealand, Golden Bay
I am just curious mostly, as I’m newer to chickens and chicken genetics and figured I could learn more by asking!

I have 4 bantam BBS Cochins that are about 4 months old. One is blue and three are a messy mix of blue or black. My one boy has started getting a fair amount of gold lacing in his hackle feathers and I just wondered if this is leakage of some sort or if BBS can also carry some birchen traits? It’s pretty and adds some interesting appearance to him and I just wondered!

Thanks!
Birchen is one of the "base" options - in genetic terms it's one of the E designations.

You then "build" on that base with genes that modify colours and melanin. Like Melanotic, Columbian, Silver etc. etc.

Example:
A bird might be birchen based (E^b) with melanisers and effects that combine to make a black bird. If you then add the blue gene, this dilutes the black parts to blue.

Your bird:
It happens from time to time that the genes that affect the placement of black and colour are either lost (due to non inheritance from a parent) or are poorly exhibited (some effects have variable expression).
If you have a birchen based bird where the melanisers and effects aren't present or aren't working fully (leakage) - you would expect to see the typical birchen patterns (notably the colour on the hackles) starting to show through.
As for those hackles looking gold - yes it's possible that the birds ground colour (under all those black modifiers) is gold and it is only just now showing through.
Leakage of this kind is actually quite common (annoyingly) in the roosters.
 

kurby22

Crowing
Apr 12, 2021
1,456
3,540
346
Sacramento Area, California
Birchen is one of the "base" options - in genetic terms it's one of the E designations.

You then "build" on that base with genes that modify colours and melanin. Like Melanotic, Columbian, Silver etc. etc.

Example:
A bird might be birchen based (E^b) with melanisers and effects that combine to make a black bird. If you then add the blue gene, this dilutes the black parts to blue.

Your bird:
It happens from time to time that the genes that affect the placement of black and colour are either lost (due to non inheritance from a parent) or are poorly exhibited (some effects have variable expression).
If you have a birchen based bird where the melanisers and effects aren't present or aren't working fully (leakage) - you would expect to see the typical birchen patterns (notably the colour on the hackles) starting to show through.
As for those hackles looking gold - yes it's possible that the birds ground colour (under all those black modifiers) is gold and it is only just now showing through.
Leakage of this kind is actually quite common (annoyingly) in the roosters.
This is a really helpful way to describe genetics for me. I have been working on making sense of chicken genetics and this was very easy to follow and totally makes sense. Thanks so much!
 

Tankueray

Bird Nerd
Premium Feather Member
Feb 12, 2021
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West Texas
Thank you! This stuff is so interesting!
That looks like gold (s+) leakage. Probably on an E/ER bird, because the lacing isn't very distinct. E/E does not allow patterns to show, ER does, and when pattern genes are present, ER allows them to show in the tailfeathers of roosters and the patterns are usually strong on the breast (pattern in rooster tailfeathers has to have ER). You've seen my Spitzhauben and Ameraucanas, the Spitz are ER (all colors) and my white Ameraucanas are E. The chicks from my Spitz and W. Ameraucana had white bellies and are growing out without distinct patterns so far, which means that they're E/ER, but the Spitz and EE chicks (the EEs must be ER/ER) are popping out every pattern you can think of, which then tells me what pattern genes my EEs carry by process of elimination.

Remember that the e-allele designated birchen (ER, not eb, eb is brown) is totally different from the variety (color) named birchen.

e-alleles are easier to identify in chick down, do you have any pictures of them as chicks?

the e-alleles are:
E - Extended Black
ER - Birchen
e+ - wildtype/duckwing
eb - brown
eWh - wheaten
 

kurby22

Crowing
Apr 12, 2021
1,456
3,540
346
Sacramento Area, California
That looks like gold (s+) leakage. Probably on an E/ER bird, because the lacing isn't very distinct. E/E does not allow patterns to show, ER does, and when pattern genes are present, ER allows them to show in the tailfeathers of roosters and the patterns are usually strong on the breast (pattern in rooster tailfeathers has to have ER). You've seen my Spitzhauben and Ameraucanas, the Spitz are ER (all colors) and my white Ameraucanas are E. The chicks from my Spitz and W. Ameraucana had white bellies and are growing out without distinct patterns so far, which means that they're E/ER, but the Spitz and EE chicks (the EEs must be ER/ER) are popping out every pattern you can think of, which then tells me what pattern genes my EEs carry by process of elimination.

Remember that the e-allele designated birchen (ER, not eb, eb is brown) is totally different from the variety (color) named birchen.

e-alleles are easier to identify in chick down, do you have any pictures of them as chicks?

the e-alleles are:
E - Extended Black
ER - Birchen
e+ - wildtype/duckwing
eb - brown
eWh - wheaten
Thank you this is helpful info!!

Haha, do I have pictures of them when they were babies? Only 800 😆😆😆 these are the best ones of all four of them. You can see one is blue (she is definitely a blue), and the other three are messy black or messy blue. So s+ is gold? Chicken genetics are so confusing haha, there’s birchen coloring and birchen the color. There’s blue that is actually pretty dark Gray, there’s mille Fluer coloring and mille Fleurs d’Uccles…😁 I’m not sure I will live long enough to get it all figured out! 😆
 

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The Kooky Kiwi

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Each gene/trait/effect is given a symbol. And we write it as a pair - because each bird receives 1 half of their genetics from mom and 1 half from dad.

Birds are gold (the wild type colour) until we add any genes to modify that. Silver will modify gold by removing it.

Male birds need to receive two copies of that Silver gene for it to work properly.
If the male bird received two copies we write this as S / S
If the male bird only received one copy we write this as S / s+
(It seems counterintuitive but the little + sign means that gene is NOT present)
If the male bird has received no copies we write this as s+ / s+

We repeat this for all the possible genes.. for example Birchen
Two copies of Birchen base = E^r / E^r
One copy of Birchen base plus one copy of Extended Black base = E^r / EE

When you want to describe the birds entire genetic "recipe" you then list all those pairs!
 

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