Breeding to the SOP - Serious discussion about Ameraucanas, including project colors such as splash,

Discussion in 'Exhibition, Genetics, & Breeding to the Standard o' started by samouw, Sep 10, 2016.

  1. samouw

    samouw Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,119
    276
    236
    Mar 19, 2011
    Aiken, SC
    This is a thread for the serious discussion of breeding, showing, and the genetics of true Ameraucana, according to the US APA/ABA Standard of Perfection. Pictures of EE, OE, or other breeds are not allowed.

    Please introduce yourself.

    I'll start - I've been breeding Ameraucanas since 2011 in the wheaten and blue wheaten varieties. I added blacks last year and blues this year.

    The biggest challenge I have faced with the wheatens is the black striping in the hackles, occasional stubs on the legs, and specks of porcelain white in the ear lobes.
     
  2. Chicken5555

    Chicken5555 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hello. I am pretty new to Ameraucanas. My beauties are from Susan Mouw's birds and the eggs in my incubator are from Kara Ferri's Ameraucana flock. I don't consider myself a breeder, so much as a fancier. I admire the breed and believe in preserving/perpetuating the Ameraucana breed to the best of it's genetic ability. Therefore, only the very best of my stock will be used for breeding. I do not participate in shows, but I would like to create show quality Ameraucanas to make them available to those who do.

    Question - which of the following is the best way to improve lacing in blues?

    1) black to blue
    2) black to splash
    3) blue to blue
    4) blue to splash
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2016
  3. Ravynscroft

    Ravynscroft For the Love of Duck Premium Member

    30,605
    15,099
    676
    Nov 30, 2014
    Middle Tennessee
    Thank you, Susan... great idea!

    :frow

    I've had Ameraucanas for about 3 years now... started with some blacks split to self blue and have been trying to correct issues with them... still have issues, occasional beardless and single combs that pop up... ended up with a small side project as well...

    So I finally did what most keep advising, I sourced a group of self blues from what I thought was a reputable breeder and ended up with a whole flock of culls...

    So now I am putting my side project up front and center to see where it goes... working with a much older self blue cock (fertility has been excellent, luckily) and the offspring from a black split... the pairing throws recessive whites and what I think is a smutty white so far... not sure if I'll keep and continue with whites yet or not, but hoping to get some decent self blues eventually...

    Oh, and also hoping to add a wonderful line of blacks this fall... ;)
     
    2 people like this.
  4. chickenmomma16

    chickenmomma16 Chillin' With My Peeps

    485
    42
    131
    Jul 16, 2012
    Buckley, Washington
    Great idea! Definitely will be lurking here.

    I recently got Wheatens in June so I am a newbie to the breed but I'm sure I will be asking questions as my birds get older and I start culling and picking my 2017 breeders.

    One question:
    What editions of the SOP have Ameraucanas listed? I am on the look out for an older used book as long as the information is still good and readable on Ameraucanas. Just need to know how old of a book can I go.
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. Ravynscroft

    Ravynscroft For the Love of Duck Premium Member

    30,605
    15,099
    676
    Nov 30, 2014
    Middle Tennessee
    I *think* Ameraucanas were originally entered into the APA in 1980, so any newer editions after that year should be good... but I recommend getting the newest edition possible... they never remove or change anything, just add to it, but you never know what else you might want to look up... plus the resale value on the books never seems to drop much at all...
     
  6. samouw

    samouw Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,119
    276
    236
    Mar 19, 2011
    Aiken, SC
    Great question! I'm going to share what my thoughts are on this subject, but keep in mind that this is my first year with blues. So my voice is not one of experience, just a lot of reading and questioning those more experienced than I. :)

    Ameraucanas are not truly "laced", at least the ones I've seen don't seem to follow the SOP for what a blue should look like. So, let's take a look at what the SOP actually says about the blue coloring..."an even shade of clear bluish slate, distinctly laced with glossy black.". I have seen lots of beautiful colored blues, or at least I thought so, but I don't remember a single one of them where the lacing is glossy black.

    Most folks will say that the blue coloring should mimic the blue lacing as seen on a blue Andalusian - which also references the same blue coloring statement in the SOP as the Ameraucana. But if you put a blue Andalusian next to even the best blue Ameraucana, you can see the difference.

    So...why is this and how do we get to that point?

    Blue Ameraucanas carry the heterozygous form of the blue dilute gene (Bl). In it's homozygous dominant form (Bl Bl), we have splash and in it's homozygous recessive form (bl bl), we have no dilution of whatever black is on the chicken - this is what black Ameraucanas will have, as well as wheatens. Blue wheatens have the heterzygous form, diluting the black breast, tail, wings, etc to blue.

    The Bl gene also can cause rustiness - often seen in the head and hackles area, and breast, but can be anywhere on the body. It also causes edging of feathers - pushing a darker version of the blue out to the feather edge. This edging is what we see in blues and blue wheatens. As long as you have the heterozygous form of Bl (Bl bl), you will have a blue chicken with some edging, though the edging may be faint on some birds. The gene can also cause uneven coloration, with wide ranges of expression (light blue to very dark blue), and sometimes speckled with black.

    This next statement is my opinion and will be challenged. :) When you are dealing with dilution genes, over a period of time, you will lose coloration. At least that has been experience with 30 years of dealing with dilute genes in dogs (blue dobes, etc). In order to get the dark color back, you need to a) find another blue with the dark color you are seeking or b) bring a black in to minimize the dilution.

    There are some that will argue that blue Ameraucana used to have the dark lacing like the Andalusian. That may be, I haven't been around long enough to see that first hand. If so, we've lost the genetics to create that lacing. So, the next question - where does that lacing come from and how do we get it back?

    There are three genes that cause that black glossy true lacing, as seen in the blue Andalusian:

    CO: Known as the Columbian gene, this is an incomplete dominant gene, so will be expressed, to some extent, even if heterozygous (so only one parent needs it to be expressed in the offspring that get that one copy). The Columbian gene (CO) restricts black pigment and re-arranges it, or shifts it - usually towards the outer edge of the feather. It will inhibit red expression (so covers that rustiness that often shows up with Bl?), particularly on silver ground color - which is why most people say better blues are on a silver ground color and better blacks are on a gold ground color and why blues and blacks shouldn't be crossed....up for debate.

    MI: Melanotic, a dominant gene, so will always be expressed, even if heterozygous. Enhances black coloration (which is why it is necessary in black Ameraucana - too little MI in a black chicken will cause the loss of that much desired green sheen resulting in a flat black). It also pushes the black pigment to the edge of the feather, so on a blue chicken, it will enhance that blue edging to black and push it out towards the feather edge.

    PG: Pattern gene, also dominant. This is a fun gene. :) This is where all those spangled, double laced, etc come from. The PG gene arranges the black pigment in concentric circles. When combined with MI, the concentric circles become broader and shift more towards the edge. Then, when you add in CO, the inner circles or laces are removed, resulting in a wide, black, single lacing on the feather's edge. MI will control how glossy black that edging is.

    The only way to get those three genes back into the Ameraucana is to bring in a breed that has them - such as the blue Andalusian. Of course, this would be a project color, until bred back to the Ameraucana to get the true type back and reproduce true to that type. It is being done now by a couple of breeders and I'm excited to start seeing those results in shows soon.
     
    2 people like this.
  7. Chicken5555

    Chicken5555 Chillin' With My Peeps

    @samouw Thank you for the info. I'll have to read it a few times to absorb it all.

    Edited to add - I wonder who else will contribute their thoughts and/or experiences?
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2016
  8. Ravynscroft

    Ravynscroft For the Love of Duck Premium Member

    30,605
    15,099
    676
    Nov 30, 2014
    Middle Tennessee
    Great info, Susan!

    Interesting enough, I just finished reading a thread elsewhere about the Ameraucana/Andalusian projects... not that I could remember enough to pass it on, lol...
     
  9. Wappoke

    Wappoke Chillin' With My Peeps

    336
    77
    81
    Dec 5, 2015
    in order for the blue gene to be expressed in a self-blue chicken or a blue single laced chicken the fowl must be genetically black.

    Blue chickens are most likely produced with an E locus of homozygous extended black or heterozygous extended black /birchen or homozygous birchen. As a general rule, most black birds are extended black or an extended black heterozygote. The key to removing any rust in the blue is to produce birds that carry the silver allele at the sex-linked silver locus. There are other things that can cause rust in a birds plumage- one is autosomal red and the other is a leaky silver allele ( leaky silver allele is my opinion based upon research articles). A leaky silver allele allows for red pigments to be placed into the feather.

    There are other modifiers that can add additional black pigments to a chickens plumage. If a breeder , over time, breeds out the modifiers- the birds will become a lighter blue and even begin to show rust if they are gold at the sex-linked silver locus or carry autosomal red.

    Melanotic is an incompletely dominant gene. More later
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2016
  10. samouw

    samouw Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,119
    276
    236
    Mar 19, 2011
    Aiken, SC
    My bad. I kinda assumed folks would know that a solid blue chicken would come from black.

    Source for your information on the information of the E locus? I understand Extended black is preferable for black, but why would it have an impact on blue? And, again, source for removing rust with the silver allele?

    Source for MI being incomplete dominant? Kippenjungle shows it as complete dominant, I believe. http://sellers.kippenjungle.nl/page3.html
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2016

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by