Breeding Blue chickens. { Update: Pictures are on page 2!!!!!}

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Wolf-Kim, May 5, 2008.

  1. Wolf-Kim

    Wolf-Kim Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,832
    17
    221
    Jan 25, 2008
    Okay, here is some background info. I am working on a breeding project to introduce the color blue into a breed that doesn't have a blue variety. I was given a Blue cockerel in which to breed to my Black hens to introduce the gene into the line. The cockerel is of a different breed but genetically "close" to the breed I am working on.

    Are there different quality levels to the color Blue?

    My cockerel is different shades of blue, his hackles and tail being darker than the body. He even has the very slightest hints of a tan/brown on his back and base of tail. The lighter blue of his body also differs slightly from feather to feather. He is definately "blue" but not as evenly colored as other Blue birds I have seen. I want the evenly colored type, the ones with the only difference being between the hackles/tail and body and a slight difference at that. I will try to get pictures of him if I can. Even his feet have two different shades of blue along with the yellow. His coloring pattern almost resembles a Splash that has light blue where the white would normally be.

    He is still quite young, just having his comb and wattles turn red in the last few days. Is this just juvenile feathering?

    How do you obtain better qualities of Blue?

    Selective breeding or are there specific genes this cockerel is missing to produce a more "even" coloring?

    I do not want to introduce an inferior quality blue if I am having to outcross for the color itself. Can this cockerel throw more even colored offspring? Does it depend on the hens? The hens are Black with a green sheen.

    For those who play with this Blue gene, give a beginner a hand. I understand and have memorized the ratio patterns of breeding Blue, Black, and Splash birds. But my questions are more specifically to the Blue gene and it's qualities. Illustrations, pictures, and explanations are GREATLY appreciated. I'm very excited about this project but my Blue cockerel, which will be one of the founding sires of my new variety, is starting to make me question him.

    Thanks,
    -Kim
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2008
  2. jmhappycowboy

    jmhappycowboy The Egg Wrangler

    808
    0
    149
    Dec 13, 2007
    Philadelphia, MS
    My personal opinion is not to use a blue rooster with the brown in him if you are aiming for solid blue's as it is possible and most likely he will pass on the brown feathering to his offspring.

    James
     
  3. Wolf-Kim

    Wolf-Kim Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,832
    17
    221
    Jan 25, 2008
    I had to look extremely close to see the brown, it was just so lightly laced into the blue feathers. He didn't have any brown feathers, but some of his blue feathers had small traces of brown. I'll get some pictures from different angles and distances tomorrow. I know it's hard to describe a color over the net, nevertheless a "quality" of a color.

    I appreciate your input. He is the only Blue I have. So him being useless to me, means I would have to dispose of him and then obtain another bird. He was such a pretty shade of blue when he was younger too.

    Can diet have anything to do with color? For instance, had I kept him on the more suggested diet(chick feed) would his color be any different from today?

    I know it seems silly, but the sole purpose of me obtaining this bird was for that Blue gene. LOL He is of no other use to me, other than introducing the Blue color.

    Thanks,
    -Kim
     
  4. Kanchii

    Kanchii Chillin' With My Peeps

    I'd be interested in seeing pictures of him! But honestly, you never know what kind of babies the boy will thrown until you breed him, so maybe do a small test batch, and you'll be able to tell what color the babies will have within a week or two on their wing feathers!
    Best of luck to you, I look forward to the pics of him!
    I wouldn't worry too much about the bit of brown, it's faily common on blue roosters.
     
  5. jmhappycowboy

    jmhappycowboy The Egg Wrangler

    808
    0
    149
    Dec 13, 2007
    Philadelphia, MS
    Kim, hey I am sorry I by no means meant to say or even suggest that your rooster was useless to you, I wouldn't dare dream of saying such a thing. I may have even read what you had written completely wrong I thought you was asking about breeding for solid blue birds and since I breed Blue Orpingtons I only breed for the solid blue birds and don't have any of the brown feathers thats why I said I wouldn't recommend using him. As for introducing the Blue color to your birds and project he will most certainly do that with no problems even if he does have the brownish colored feathers on him and most likely some of his chicks will not have the brown feathers but some will. And I would love to see pics of him I absolutely understand about trying to describe colors and birds on the net.

    Also maybe some of the other breeders of Blue birds like Bamachicken, and others will get in on this discussion because I think they will agree with me that in the Blue orpington roosters it is not a common thing for them to have brown feathers, at least not unless they are mixed.

    James
     
  6. Wolf-Kim

    Wolf-Kim Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,832
    17
    221
    Jan 25, 2008
    James I didn't think you were calling him useless, that's what I said. His only purpose is to introduce the Blue color, but I do not wish to use him if the brown is dominant or the mismatched colors are dominant. You know what I mean? I cannot use him if he is going to set me back instead of forward. Yes, I should get Blue babies, but what good are blue offspring if they are an inferior quality. It would probably be best for me to seek a new Blue cock instead of using this one if his coloration are hints to faulty genetics.

    Kanchii, it's good to hear about how common the brown is. Do you know if it is a dominant trait?

    The cockerel in question is a Blue Jersey Giant, I do not know if that helps at all.

    I will try to remember to get pics of him tomorrow. The brown isn't very obvious, I picked him up today to get a really close look because the variations in blue were starting to make me question.

    I may just not know what I'm talking about. We'll see once I post pics. Knowing me, I'm probably making a big deal over nothing.

    I just wanted to make sure and get second opinions, that way I can avoid mistakes since breeding projects are so time consuming. I know I can't be sure what he'll throw until he gets the chance, but I'm already gambling 50/50 on getting Blue offspring once you add in having to go through the Blue offspring and selecting this uneven coloring, I would of had to start with a pretty big batch.

    -Kim
     
  7. chickenhawk

    chickenhawk Out Of The Brooder

    Its hard to get rid of the brown Id get a different rooster
     
  8. Vamp-A-Billy Princess

    Vamp-A-Billy Princess Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 13, 2008
    Indiana
    sounds like an interesting project. Good luck. I cant wait til I can stat creating different kinds of chickies. My oldest are only 6+ weeks so they aren't ready for that yet.
     
  9. Wolf-Kim

    Wolf-Kim Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,832
    17
    221
    Jan 25, 2008
    Does anyone know the genetics behind the brown?

    I've read quite a bit trying to understand the blue coloring, but I cannot recall anything mentioning the brown.

    -Kim
     
  10. Kev

    Kev Overrun With Chickens

    6,511
    647
    361
    Jan 13, 2008
    Sun City, California
    It's more "what's the genetics for a solid black chicken". If a black or blue bird is showing off color on them, it's showing they are lacking the other "helper" genes that get rid of the off coloring.

    E(Extended black) and Birchen are two common base genes for black chickens. E usually are pretty black, even so, off color lacing can show up so even those E base need the extra genes that either repress the off coloring or put more black pigment which in effect makes the feather have too much black- a good thing for a black chicken.. but horrible for certain non-solid black birds.

    The clearest evidence for the extra genes is the fact that many black birds are Birchen based. The same Birchens as in Birchen Modern Games.. those birds are almost half black half colored.. yet add certain extra genes and they can be turned solid black.

    So if that bird turns out to develop off color on the neck, it shows he was lacking the extra genes. It also would be possible he was a cross, which can "null" the useful helper genes and let the off color show up in the cross.

    Unfortunately it can be a challenge to breed out the off color. Part of the challenge is the hens can appear solid black.. while they in fact don't have all the desired genes. Roosters have a much harder time hiding their impurity at maturity, as color has a strong tendency to show up in the hackles and saddles if they aren't pure for all of the desired genes. (many "Copper Black Marans are good example of this- many hens are either or nearly solid black while the roosters are black with red hackles and saddles. They are Birchen on a gold base by the way.. why do people insist on giving all sorts of different names for the same genes.......)

    Keep that cockerel, just in case he does end up solid later(small chance but..). If it's very important to have solid colored, it's best to get good stock as they already have most of the needed genes in them. Due to the different black bases, it may be easier to use a blue with the same black base as your desired breed.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by