BLRW's - single combs from rose comb flocks?

TurtleFeathers

Fear the Turtle!
11 Years
Jan 9, 2009
842
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By the Chesapeake Bay
Hi all -

Everything I've read online about BLRW's says that its normal for a single comb chick to pop up in a rose comb flock once in a while. Well, I recently took a very informal survey of some BLRW breeders - all but a few say they have never had it happen in their flocks.

I've also read that there are fertility issues associated with rose comb breeds - and the BLRW breeders I spoke with said they haven't had fertility issues.

I'm SO confused!!! What are your thoughts on this? And do single combs pop up in OTHER rose comb breeds and cause fertility issues?

The reason I'm asking all this is because I have one pair of BLRW's - a rose comb pullet and a single comb cockerel. They're from excellent lines and they're both growing out nicely, but I'm wondering if I should replace the cockerel because of the single comb. I mean, the single comb is a fault, but if a rose comb rooster would have fertility issues, I don't know what to do. HELP!!!
 

NYREDS

Crowing
12 Years
Jan 14, 2008
5,644
436
303
The single comb is not a fault it's a disqualification.
I've read on here that there's a problem with fertility in rose combed breeds & that it's necessary to cross in something single combed to insure fertility. I've never heard this in the real world. Over the years I have raised several different rose combed breeds including Wyandottes & have never experienced fertility problems. For one example I had Partridge Wyandotte Bantams for several years. I got them from a fellow who had bred a closed line for 50 years, in fact he still has them. I never added any new blood & the fertility was nearly 100%.
The only time I have ever bred a single combed bird with a rose combed bird was when I was trying to improve some Rose Comb Rhode Island Red Bantams. The first couple of generatiions produced birds with just awful rose combs.
Bottom line-my advice would be to replace your male with one with a rose comb.
 

Crunchie

Brook Valley Farm
12 Years
Mar 1, 2007
1,367
8
181
Maryland
I'm glad you asked this, because I've been wondering myself. I too have heard that you need the occasional single comb to keep good fertility, but I never understood why the difference in combs would matter, and I've yet to find a convincing argument that it does (not saying there isn't one--I just haven't heard it yet). I haven't kept any single combed birds.

Kathy, if you want a BLRW rooster, I've got a young splash one (with the correct comb) you can have!
lol.png
(seriously)
 

TurtleFeathers

Fear the Turtle!
11 Years
Jan 9, 2009
842
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151
By the Chesapeake Bay
Thanks for your response NYREDS - just the info I was looking for, but I'm hoping that others will weigh in on this...

Maria - glad I'm not the only one that doesn't get it!!! LOL! I just PM'd you about the splash roo. Thanks!
 

Fay at Frizzled Feathers

Peepz-A-holic
11 Years
Jan 10, 2009
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184
Hartville , Missouri
I have not experienced any fertility problems with our Wyandottes at all and we do not keep a single comb in our breeding pens.

I have found that it does happen though , a single comb popping up out of rosecomb matings . Out of last weeks hatchlings we have hatched out 2 single combed BLR Wyandottes .

I am sure they will be just as pretty as all the others but they will not be added to our breeding pens , they will find new homes with somebody who just wants some pretty birds running around their place .

Fay
 

CelticMoon1

Songster
10 Years
Jul 25, 2009
362
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I'm just adding my vote to what NYREDS is saying - I've never even seen any wyandottes with single comb before I joined this forum, and I keep reading "you need to cross in single combs to improve fertility" and just don't see the point. I've never seen any "proof" as in reliable research as to why this would be. I have rose combed wyandottes, and I have never had fertility issues. In fact I've never heard of anyone claiming this where I live - and as far as I'm concerned a single comb would be culled (as in not used for breeding), but I've never had them crop up and don't expect them to. Now what you do when you breed a single comb to a rose comb is make a whole lot of chickens that carry the single comb gene, and in turn more single combs will crop up. Just my two cents
wink.png
 

blackdotte

Songster
11 Years
Nov 18, 2008
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You have too totally different,but related issues here.
Firstly in respect to the appearance of single comb birds in rose comb breeds. Rose comb is completely dominant to single comb. You can not tell just by looking if a rosecomb bird is homozygous (pure) for the rosecomb gene, or heterozygous (impure), they look exactly the same. If you get a single comb bird it tells you BOTH parents are heterozygous (impure) carriers of single comb. You will not get rid of it just by culling the obvious single comb birds. You need to test mate to a single comb bird to identify the carriers.

Rose comb semen deteriorates much faster than single or pea comb semen, in about 4 days compared to 10 or more with the others. This means a rosecomb hen needs to be mated about every 3 days to ensure fertility. This is normally not a problem in small flocks with a low hen to cock ratio, or in single pen matings. However it can be a problem in flocks with larger hen to cock ratios, or where a cock has favourite hens and ignores others.

When we combine these two bits of knowledge we can see that if we have a carrier cock bird with a larger number of hens to the extent all hens are not mated within 3 days we have the possibility of some hens being fertilized with the single comb fraction of the semen. This over time will increase the frequency of the single comb in the flock, resulting in single comb birds.

In the past ,before hybrids, Silver Laced Wyandottes were a commercial farm breed, & even with all single comb birds removed from the breeding pens hatcheries still produced an average of 19% single comb birds.
David
 

TurtleFeathers

Fear the Turtle!
11 Years
Jan 9, 2009
842
30
151
By the Chesapeake Bay
Well, there ya go! Another complete, concise answer to my off-the-wall genetic questions! Thanks so much David - I know I can always count on you! However, your info leads me to a few more questions:

1. So hypothetically speaking, if I bred my single combed rooster to a pure rose combed hen, their offspring would be 100% single comb carriers?

2. When two heterozygous carriers of the single comb gene are bred together, my calculations tell me that their offspring would be 25% pure (homozygous?) rose combs, 50% heterozygous single comb carriers, and 25% single combs - correct? But the 50% single comb carriers would actually HAVE rose combs and LOOK identical to the 25% pure rose combs - so in effect, 75% of the total chicks would actually HAVE rose combs, but 2/3's of those rose combed chicks would be single comb carriers, right?

3. When a heterozygous single combed bird is bred to a pure (homozygous?), their offspring would ALL be visual rosecombs, but 50% would be pure and 50% would be single comb carriers, correct?

ETA: 4. By culling visual single combed birds, and suspected/verified single comb carriers, the single comb gene CAN be eventually bred out of a flock, right? But because of the rapid deterioration of rose combed semen, a breeding flock should consist of a smaller hen to rooster ratio, to ensure that a single rooster is actively breeding with ALL hens on a regular basis - and that "regular basis breeding" is what ensures a higher fertility rate then, correct? Thereby dismissing the information that I've been reading about the birds themselves having fertility problems?

How close did I get? Hope I didn't lose anyone - I almost got lost myself... Maybe I just repeated everything you just said, but in different words?
 
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NYREDS

Crowing
12 Years
Jan 14, 2008
5,644
436
303
Rose comb semen deteriorates much faster than single or pea comb semen, in about 4 days compared to 10 or more with the others.

Where did you get this information & did it say why this would be the case?​
 

CelticMoon1

Songster
10 Years
Jul 25, 2009
362
22
131
Quote:
Yes

Quote:
Correct

Quote:
Yup!

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Eventually it will be pretty much bred out though that'll take years. I'm working on the same problem with recessive white... You have to be aware that a certain mating generations from when you think they're pure can give single comb offspring anyway as there willl probably always be some individuals that are carriers that will fly under the radar...

But because of the rapid deterioration of rose combed semen, a breeding flock should consist of a smaller hen to rooster ratio, to ensure that a single rooster is actively breeding with ALL hens on a regular basis - and that "regular basis breeding" is what ensures a higher fertility rate then, correct? Thereby dismissing the information that I've been reading about the birds themselves having fertility problems?

I'm still not sold on that.​
 

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