Breeding out feather legs?

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by Celtic Hill, Dec 7, 2010.

  1. Celtic Hill

    Celtic Hill Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 7, 2010
    Scotland CT
    If you were to cross a clean leg with a feather leg and breed it back to a clean leg, how long would i take to breed out the feathers?
  2. Illia

    Illia Crazy for Colors

    Oct 19, 2009
    Forks, WA
    In most cases, it will take 4 generations to make 100% clean legged birds. However, you can still have the possibility of light feather shanking show up in future generations.
  3. big medicine

    big medicine custom Brahmas

    Mar 6, 2009
    Speaking from limited personal experience here, but this is what I can share. Was working on one of my Brahma projects, my gold laced birds where not as heavily feather legged as they should have been, mostly shank and only outer toe feathered. Onto these hens I put a splash blue laced red Wyandotte as a late season experiment. Out of this I hatched a single blr cockerel, he had feathered shanks and outer toe. I crossed him back to the gold laced hens(feathered legged). Out of that hatch I had a suprising number of clean legged chicks, I would quess maybe near 10%. I then gave one of those clean legged cockerels to my Dad who crossed him onto some white Cornish hens. This resulted in about 30 chicks, one has feathers on outer shank, one or two have a few stubs of feather on shanks, but the most are clean legged. That brings us to present time, I suspect a few stubs may still show up occasionally for a few years.
  4. gallorojo

    gallorojo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 15, 2009
    I will post this answer I gave somebody earlier, then try to add/clarify it a bit.

    The feather leg trait is essentially dominant, although incompletely so. This actually is not that much a problem, eliminating unwanted dominant traits is simple, to eliminate an unwanted recessive trait is much harder. The f1 cross will come 100% feather legged, but the leg feathering will be much reduced, more like a Marans, or a Langshan. If you cross the F1 back to the clean legged, that time, 50% of the the chicks will have lightly feathered legs, and 50% will have clean legs. You then select the best typed clean legged chicks, and you are done. 2 generations, feathered legs/feet, gone. I have done this exact thing myself, breeding feather foots to clean, and then selecting for clean legs. Simple, only 2 generations.

    To clarify, if you can't see any feathers or stubs on the legs, then that bird does not carry the feathered leg gene. Where you will get yourself in trouble is by crossing 2 birds together that are mixed for feathered legs, or, by using a lightly featheerd f1 as a breeder. Here are some examples... Ok, so lets have FF = feathered legs, like a cochin, Ff=feathered legs , like a marans, and ff=clean shanks. Lets say I cross a d'uccle( FF), with an OEGB (ff), which I have done. The F1 cross will be FF x ff= 100% Ff, split for feathered legs, but, since it's dominant, all chicks will show some degree of leg feathering. If I take the F1 and breed back to a pure OEGB(ff), it would work like this- ff x Ff = 50% Ff, split for feathered legs, all will show some degree of leg feathering, and 50% ff, clean legs. This is the F2 generation. If you would use a ff clean leg from the F2 and cross only back to a pure clean leg ff, you will get 100% clean legs. So, I guess It's by the 3rd generation that , with careful selection, no more feathered legs will appear. Where this gets tricky, is that some of the Ff birds will have very few leg feathers, just stubs,really. If you use any bird that is Ff, split for feathered legs in your breeding, 50% of the chicks will have some amount of feathered legs, always. So, when selecting breeders, be very careful none have any level of leg feathering, not a trace!! Finally, if you cross 2 birds that are both split for feathered legs Ff x Ff, you will get 25% clean legs, ff, 50% split, Ff, and 25% super feathery legs, FF. Hope that is sort of clear.​
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2010
  5. swheat

    swheat The Bantam Barn

    Mar 18, 2008
    My Coop
    I got clean legs from f4 birds, of course this was from heavy culling from the beginning. Still may have stubs show up in future generations later. This was from Serama X Frizzled Cochin cross.

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