Black silkies

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by Gordonhillfarm, Jan 29, 2011.

  1. Gordonhillfarm

    Gordonhillfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 11, 2010
    After searching for months and comming up empty handed. It dawned me there aren't many people breeding pure black silkies. If they are it's a great secret or becomming rare. Every black I found available was split. So I thought why not start a thread for shareing information on breeding BLACK silkies. Hope others find it useful.
  2. Chicken0Boy

    Chicken0Boy Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have never saw a pure black silkie, but I would love to see how you get/breed them! [​IMG]
  3. ultasol

    ultasol Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 30, 2009
    SE Washington
    I breed black on black. They are my favorite. I do have some splits that are in with a lavender cockerel as well- a couple of which were purchased and a couple were hatched by me last year.

    I have two black breeding pens. I've done well with my blacks- they are my favorite by far, I find the challenges in the blacks to be 1) getting tight wings in the cockerel without losing fluff- often the wing problems seem to be linked to excessive shredding of the primaries 2) getting nice cockerels with clean hackles that stay clean through the years 3) getting the feather shafts to be black all the way to the base. Sometimes they seem to get lighter at the very base especially on the primaries.

    I used to get some horns, from birds that I started with, but crossing with some stock from AmyJo Piehl has helped me to get rid of that. I no longer have any stock/breeder/show birds with any horns.

    There are more people with blacks that aren't splits than you think. AmyJo Piehl and I are two, and there are many others. While I do have a lavender pen that is completely separate pen from my blacks. While I might put a lav roo over a really good black girl for awhile to get some nice splits, it doesn't mean she is used only to breed splits.

    Blacks rock!
  4. destiny_56085

    destiny_56085 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 29, 2009
    Sleepy Eye, MN
    I'm Amy.... 2011 marks my 10th year raising silkies. I've been concentrating on the the blacks since 2006 at least. There are a few of the old timers still have some awesome ones out there..... Eddie Travers, Premier, Myron Turk just to name a few. I don't claim to be an expert on them, but I do raise quite a few good ones.

    Blacks pose just as much of a challenge to raise as any other color. Build the barn and then paint it... Get the body type down and then worry about perfecting the color. I am still battling issues with looseness of wings, comb size, horns on comb, 6th claws, etc. Just like any other colors, you breed alot and cull hard for those first. Then you deal with the color too. Some of those chicks first start getting off color in the hackles at 3-5 months, some at 10-12 months, and some are after a few years. It means alot of time in the growout pens before you decide on them. Its very common to see the black not extending down to the feather base. In some lines, you see the partial white toes and nails. Direct sunlight can bleach out the feathering, so conditioning also plays a role.

    Feel free to click on the website link and it will take you to my photobucket page. I have thousands of pics grouped under breeding stock and pics of young stock from each year. In 2006 I got rid of all my old stock and shipped alot of birds up here from Bobbi Porto from FL. This was almost after she combined her flock with Alan Stanford and was getting rid of the extras. It was also before she started crossing to the lavendars so the ones I got were all still the pure blacks. Fall of 2008 I got 4 young pullets from Premier Silkies and crossed them in and kept back the best 17 pullets. Fall of 2009 I got an older black cockerel from Premier's show string and he died on me that winter. Spring of 2010 I got another cockerel from Premier. I've been crossing them back on those girls and will eventually keep just some of the young stock from this and next year. I keep BLACK ONLY pens and keep specific records on parents of each bird. Some of the other BYC'ers that have gotten blacks from me and have posted pics are ultasol, silkieluver_07, joe17, cityslickers, tinychicks, etc.

    I think a mistake alot of people make with them is using them only as project birds for other color projects. Blacks are extremely beautiful in their own right. There are a few old lines of black only. When people started crossing them on lavendars especially (and now the paints), I feel that are just using them to get better type on those 'mutts' and forget about keeping an all black pen to maintain the line they already had. Well pretty soon you end up with all these sub-par 'split to whatever' birds. Some of these splits are getting better over time, but far and few between.

    Ok the black color itself....
    There are several types of blacks in silkies, all of which are determined by the E gene.
    The alleles (variations) in order of dominance are:
    1. E (extended black) - applies to most of black birds; needs least amount of help from other genes/melanizers to make a black bird
    2. E^R (birchen) - needs help from black extenders to make a black bird; creates a bird with pheomelanin on the head, hackles, shoulder, saddle and breast feathers; birchen-based birds do not have pheomelanin on their secondaries (wing triangle)
    3. E^Wh (wheaten) - dominance can vary and behave as a recessive under certain circumstances
    4. e+ (wild-type)
    5. e^b (brown or partridge)

    You also have to consider that all chickens have a silver/gold gene too. Males have two, females one. They can be either silver (S/S or S/-) or gold (s/s or s/-), or males can be golden (S/s). This shows for some varieties (partridge, buff, grey) but not others (white, black, blue, splash). Incorrect combinations of other genes can cause silver or gold to show on the patterns where silver/gold should not be apparent.

    Here is a great link to some books specifically on silkie color genetics.....
    1 person likes this.
  5. ultasol

    ultasol Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 30, 2009
    SE Washington
    Amy... I don't think I ended up with any birds with horns from the chicks I raised from your line last year. I did end up with a couple when I crossed the cockerel I originally purchased from you over the Calesta hens.

    The crosses have been my best showbirds. I still have on loan a nice black mihalik cock from her, which I am using over my show pullets from the fall.

    There are lots of good blacks out there.

    I've been using toe punches to keep track of who is a split and which of the two breeding pens the black comes from. I have a diagram posted on my incubator to remind me which toes to punch for what pen. I tried the bands, I tried fingernail polish, and nothing had the staying power I needed.... so now I toe punch.
  6. featherbaby

    featherbaby Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 18, 2009
    Jacksonville, FL 32210
    Quote:Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge of black genetics!!!! We're all still learning and appreciate it so much when someone else explains things to us!!!!
  7. destiny_56085

    destiny_56085 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 29, 2009
    Sleepy Eye, MN
    The genetics behind the blacks can be easily found by doing any google search. I've just learned to take notes over the years and try to apply it to the actual breeding pens. Alot of it is trial and error too to see which birds have the certain niche too. When you breed enough of them, alot of those unknown recessives also pop up over time too.

    Jen.... At least you are one of the very few that does keep separate pens. What irks me is those who want your blacks ONLY for BBS or AOV projects. A few years down the road, they wonder why all those black splits aren't near as good anymore. Granted there are a couple of very good lavendar breeders here in the US now that can probably produce some splits with good type. About 99% of those lavendars I've seen everywhere else are nowhere close in body type, feather quality, and consistency to the blacks/whites yet. Now with this latest 'paint' craze.....
  8. Freckle Face Farm

    Freckle Face Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 1, 2009
    I breed blacks on blacks and I love them [​IMG]
    Also threecedars breeds blk on blk so there out there ya just have to find them...
    I have been breeding and keeping 2 separate pens 1 gold 1silver trying to keep the hackels clean by crossing back the roos.. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2011
  9. jen5680

    jen5680 Southside Silkie Shack

    Jun 18, 2009
    SW Ohio
    Quote:What is a toe punch?? I haven't heard of that????
  10. ultasol

    ultasol Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 30, 2009
    SE Washington
    It seems kind of barbaric, but it is a little teensy hole punch that you use to put a hole in the webbing between the base of the toes of chicks. The hole stays as the bird grows. You can use different combinations of the placement of the punches and the number of punches to indicate which breeding the chick is from.

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