Can anyone explain sex link to me?

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by Thecowboysgirl, May 2, 2011.

  1. Thecowboysgirl

    Thecowboysgirl Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 29, 2011
    I have a Plymouth rock rooster, 3 rhode island red hens, 3 buff orpington hens, none old enough yet to breed or lay.

    What would their chicks be like? Someone told me they are sex links and the females would look like the hen breed and males would look like the rooster breed. Is that correct?
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Sorry, what you have will not make a sex link. Tadkerson gives a great explanation of how to make sex links in the first post in this thread. If your hen was Barred and the rooster was either BO or RIR, it would work.

    By the way, not all Plymouth Rocks are barred. There are several different color and pattern combinations for Plymouth Rocks, but most people are talking about the Barred Rock when they say Plymouth Rock. It can get confusing. These are the color/pattern combinations listed on Henderson's Breed Chart under Plymouth Rock: Barred, White, Buff, Silver Penciled, Partridge, Columbian, Blue

    Tadkerson’s Sex Link Thread

    Editted to actually answer your question. If the rooster is a Barred Rock, the chicks with any of those hens would be mostly black and white barred. There would probably be a few feathers with red, brown, or buff showing throuigh, called leakage, but mostly black and white barred like the daddy. If the rooster is one of the other colors or patterns, the answer will be different.
    Last edited: May 2, 2011
  3. WallTenters

    WallTenters Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 16, 2010
    Sweet Home, OR
    Sorry hun, but that's reverse. You want barred hens and a red rooster.

    Sex linking works because there are certain color enhancing/masking genes (like the barring gene) that are carried on specific sex chromosomes... I might be a touch off on the labeling here, but I'm too lazy and it's early in the morning for me to go look it up exactly.. you'll get the point, just don't write any books off this info.

    So, a rooster is ZZ, and the barring gene is on both Zs so he has a double dose of barring (BB).
    A hen is WZ, so she's only got one Z and one dose of barring (Bb) because that barring gene is only carried on the Z chromosome.

    That's why barred hens usually look a little darker than the males of the same breed. The barring gene makes white bars on a black bird = the more barring genes, the more white comes out.

    So... when we cross a Rhode Island Red rooster (ZZ - but he isn't barred - he has NO barring gene) bb.
    to a barred rock hen... WZ and Bb...

    She passes that Z gene onto her male offspring, and since her barred gene is carried on the Z chromosome, she passes that to them as well.
    The female offspring get the W from their mother, and no barring gene.

    Thus, the roosters will be born with the classic barred bird look - the spot on the head, etc and will grow up with bars.
    The females will be born all black and stay that way.

    Why black? Because a barred rock is a black bird with white bars. With no white bars, it's just black, and black is dominant over red.

    There's also columbian sex links, but I'll not go into that...
  4. Thecowboysgirl

    Thecowboysgirl Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 29, 2011
    LOL now I'm even more confused! But thanks for trying to explain it to me anyway...

    I believe my rooster is actually a Barred Rock then. He does have the black and white barring.

    It does make me wonder about the guy we bought them from, he's the one who said they'd produce sex links.

    Luckily I don't actually care what the offspring look like. My husband wanted RIRs, I wanted a Barred rock (plymouth rock, whatever) and then we both thought the Buff Orpingtons were so cool we had to get some of those, too lol. So that's how we ended up with our strange flock.

    Bottom line is, I won't be able to tell sex by any color pattern out of my birds, correct?

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