Calling Silkie genetic experts: Who's the Daddy???


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

I have a small mixed flock of silkies that are all 8 to 11 months old, 4 hens and 3 roos. I decided to try and hatch some of their eggs - out of 18 fertile eggs, 15 hatched - 9 were black, 1 was blue and the rest looked like these two:



These two babies are only 9 days old, but would anyone care to take a guess as to their color? I'm thinking the first one is a partridge, and the second a grey?

Now, here is where I really need help...

My hens are 1 black, 2 blues, and Penny, who I've been told is a partridge (if she's not, please tell me what she is?):


My roos are these fellas:

Batman (he's a blue something, but I don't know what - or maybe a grey of some sort?):


Robin (I've been told he's a blue partridge?):


And The Joker (silver birchen? grey? something else?):


SOOOO.... I'm assuming that IF the babies above ARE partridge and/or grey, Penny would HAVE to be their mother, right? Wrong? (Remember my other three hens are a black and two blues.)

But, here's what I really need to know: Who would have been their father???

Thanks (in advance) for any insight you can provide!!!

I admit, I've no idea!!! The only thing I know about Silkies is I want one! At first I thought they looked freaky, but the more pictures I see of them, the more I want one!

Your flock is beautiful, and you can send me the chicks! Cause I wouldn't want ya having a bunch of chicks with an unknown Daddy! ( was gonna use the b@$+@rd word but didn't wanna get banned!!)
Anyway, can't have the neighborhood kicking you out because of those chicks, so to help ya out, I'll hide them in my coop. No one will see them that way, and honestly, though it will be a slight inconvenience to change my coop around some, I'll do it just for you.

Sooooo without further ado, I insist you get rid of those right away!
The first chick is a partridge, it will likely be lighter than most partridges, with a lot of buff. The second is a grey and either the blue or the grey is the father, although I'm guessing it's the grey and either one of the blue or black hens is the mother, not the partridge, as the chicks would be more partridge. The bluish bird is an off colored blue. He's carrying the silver gene, which is bleeding through in the hackles. These birds are useless in a black breeding program, but can be great for a grey breeding flock when looking to darken the birds. When bred to a black, that is the typical pattern seen in the males, in the females, you will see slight silver lacing in the breast feathers. Your partridge male is carrying the blue gene, a "blue partridge" if you will. He's likely the father of the partridge chicks, and the partridge female is the mother.
Penny is a partridge, but not quite correct--her breast should be penciled, and it does not appear to be. Someone correct me if I am wrong, but I think this is evidence of Co? I think the chick in the first photo is more likely to have this type of colour pattern than correct partridge.

I am not sure what the spots on the neck indicate. I do have a pure buff chicklet, except for similar spots.

2nd chick is grey.

I can't tell whether Batman is solid blue with silver hackles, or if there is some pattern on his feathers? If patterns, then he is a blue grey, if not he is blue with insufficient melanizers to cover his hackles.

The partridge chick is probably Penny's & any of the males. The grey one is probably fathered by Batman or Joker and either

- a daughter of Penny
- either son or daugter of a blue or black.

If the grey is a boy; Penny is not Mama.
Thanks, everybody, for your replies - I'm sorry I'm so late in responding, but we had a family wedding this weekend, and I'm just now starting to get caught up on things...

Anyway, NottheMomma - thanks for your offer to "relieve" me of my chicks, but I'd really like to see how these chicks feather out! These are the first eggs I've hatched from my own silkies, and even tho they're just pet quality, I'm really quite excited about them!!! I'm done hatching eggs for the year, but if you'd be interested in some eggs to hatch on your own, please feel free to PM me!

To all the people that responded about genetics, thank you for your replies, however, I have some other questions/comments for you:

Of all three roosters I have, Joker is the most, well, uh... lets just say, "active"... In fact, if Batman and Robin try to breed with any of the hens, Joker interferes. I was really kinda hoping that you all would be able to tell me with at least SOME certainty that Batman and/or Robin were the fathers of these chicks and NOT Joker - that would mean that they were "sharing" the girls instead of Joker keeping them all for himself! I'm thinking now I should remove Joker for a while because he IS so domineering, and so that Batman and Robin would have a chance to become fathers? Or would that pose a problem when I tried to re-introduce Joker to the flock?

Now, Batman is mostly solid blue with those off whitish hackles (at one time, they had a definite yellow tint to them) - with the exception of some VERY SLIGHT white tips on his saddle feathers and white tips on the streamers on the back of his head. His primary wing feathers are solid blue, as is his tail and the rest of his body, but I looked closely at him this evening, and found that his down feathers are snow white - does THAT mean anything?

So, in light of the above, and based on your assessments of these chicks, am I to assume that there really is no way to know who fathered them?

And I understand Batman is an incorrectly colored blue, and that Robin is a blue partridge with too much orange, but are you all telling me that Joker is a grey? He's kinda "dark" isn't he? I always thought he was in incorrectly colored black or a birchen of some sort - but I know nothing about chicken genetics. I'm pretty well versed in genetics of cockatiels, lovebirds, Indian ringnecks and so forth, but this chicken stuff has me absolutely STUMPED...

As for Penny and her lack of penciling on her breast possibly being evidence of "Co" - is that Columbian? If so, I would LOVE some advice on how to work on that - I saw someone else's Columbian silkies here on BYC, and simply fell in love... But back to Penny - so she can pass on her pattern to daughters with these roos, but not to sons? And my roos can pass their patterns on to sons AND daughters with my black and blue hens, as well as with Penny? <head spinning here>

If you all are interested, I'll certainly post pics and info about these chicks when they feather out and when I can tell what sex they are. BTW, to add to my confusion, I'm NOW seeing some silver and reddish "tipping" on the wing feathers of some of the black chicks that hatched in this same batch...

Thanks again -

Yes, Joker is a grey. Grey is the same pattern as partridge, but with silver replacing the gold, aka silver partridge. You can think of it as the B&W version of a penciled partridge.

Co is the columbian gene which is one of the genes needed to create a columbian coloured bird. I am not familiar enough with that variety to give you the geneset needed. Check the chicken calculator.

Penny will pass the gold gene (s) to her sons because it is a sex-linked gene. They will also get a copy of silver (S) or gold (s) from their father, depending on what he carries. The daugters will inherit only from their father. Females have only one copy of hte sex-linked genes. The other genes that are in Penny's variety are not sexlinked, and therefore she has two copies from which she will provide a copy indescriminately to all her children.
Thanks - I'm afraid that chicken genetic calculator just makes NO sense to me...

The advanced version is just COMPLETELY over my head, as I have no idea what genes make up the colors in my flock. The "easy" version is more my speed, but it only allows you to select ONE male color and ONE female color - and it doesn't list "grey" at all, nor does it list "blue partridge" or "blue with off colored hackles" (LOL).

I really AM a novice at chicken genetics, and as much as I've tried to figure out what I have, and what they might produce, on that calculator, it seems that I always turn up with some sort of "duckwing" - and I really have no clue what that is, either!

But thank you so much for your help! When these chicks feather out a bit, I'll probably ask for your assistance again, if you wouldn't mind?


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