Can anyone explain the genetics of leg colour to me please?

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by Gypsy07, Oct 10, 2011.

  1. Gypsy07

    Gypsy07 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'd like to know if it's a simple thing to breed for or a difficult one. I'd also like to know the basics about it.

    I have some green legged roosters and some pink legged hens. When I bred them together, some of the offspring got fabulous yellow legs.

    Some of them also have pink legs, but none of them have green legs.

    I'd like to have an explanation for this so I could produce the same result deliberately in future, as I really like the yellow legs!

    If anyone can take the time to give me a quick outline I'd be extremely grateful.

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  2. nicalandia

    nicalandia Overrun With Chickens

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  3. Pyncheon guy

    Pyncheon guy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    To have willow/green legs in both sexes....you have to have parents that have both the yellow and blue gene...or better than that both to have willow....willow legged females can come from willow legged males and yellow legged females. Ihope this helps.....I breed and raise a willow legged colored breed.
     
  4. nicalandia

    nicalandia Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote:Please read previous post...
     
  5. Pyncheon guy

    Pyncheon guy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sorry... If you want ALL yellow legs in both sexes....don't breed from ANY male that has willow legs....or carries willow/blue gene.... Yellow to yellow produces yellow (if they don't carry the blue legged gene).....yellow legged male (pure for yellow and not carrying willow or blue) crossed to a willow legged female willow produce yellow legged males and willow legged females.....always breed to a yellow legged male...and you should have more yellow legged offspring in the future.
     
  6. Gypsy07

    Gypsy07 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nicalandia - Thanks very much for posting that link. Unfortunately I hardly understand any of it! I bought myself Grant Brereton's breeding book - recommended to me as a good 'starter' book on genetics, but again found it largely incomprehensible. I'm intelligent enough and I can pick up the theories and rules when they're explained to me in simple terms, but most of the genetic stuff just uses too much language I don't understand the meaning of, even after googling and reading the supposed explanations. So much of it supposes a background in biology, which unfortunately I don't have, so it's pretty much beyond me. However I shall persevere! Thanks again.

    Pyncheon Guy - Both of your posts were actually very useful to me. I was asking about the yellow legs just because it was a totally unexpected result with my crossbreed chicks, but I also keep a willow legged breed - or rather, a breed which is SUPPOSED to have willow green legs but which routinely turns out legs in all shades from the very palest green to a very dark slatey grey green. It's a real puzzle to quite a few of the breeders, so your knowledge will probably be hugely useful to me. I hope you don't mind if I bombard you with loads of questions about it at some future point!

    So... if you breed yellow legs to blue legs, you'll get green legs? Like mixing paint? How odd. I assume that the resulting birds will have a mixture of yellow and blue genes and therefore could most likely not be counted on to reliably produce green legged offspring? I also didn't realise that there was an actual 'willow green' gene.

    And if a pure yellow legged male bred to a willow legged female will produce yellow legged males and willow legged females, does that mean that the genes which produce both colours are sex-linked? I remember reading something about certain genes being on the D or w chromosomes, meaning they were sex-linked, but I'm not sure if this is the same thing...

    And what was going on with my own chicks then, where green x pink = yellow? All of the chicks are pullets, the yellow and the pink legged ones both. The green legged fathers are Marsh Daisies, and I have no idea if mine are proper willow like they should be, or a mixture of blue and yellow. The pink legged mothers are utility Leghorns, bred for maximum egg production with no regard for correct yellow leg colour. I've only ever kept females so have no idea if any of the males in the original flock had yellow legs or not...
     
  7. Pyncheon guy

    Pyncheon guy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Gypsy.....yellow to blue does not always produce green legs......and I've never heard of any Leghorns having white legs....usually yellow.......(??????) I hope the above info helps you...
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2011
  8. Coopa Cabana

    Coopa Cabana My Coop Runneth Over . . .

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    So what would cause willow shanks to periodically appear in yellow-shanked birds? It seems to appear mostly in the females.
     
  9. Pyncheon guy

    Pyncheon guy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    females that have willow legs got their leg color from their father who either has blue legs carrying yellow....or yellow legs carrying blue....or he has willow legs....females can not carry the blue legged gene....and can not get blue legs from their mothers...if you are ONLY breeding from yellow leg birds and are getting willow leg females....one of the males carries blue in his yellow legs..... You'd have willow legs in both sexes if you crossed this same male to a blue leg female (carrying yellow) or a willow leg female...
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2011
  10. Gypsy07

    Gypsy07 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Yeah, like I said, they're utility Leghorns bred with maximum egg production in mind. As such I don't think the breeder (a local farmer) knew or even cared that technically they're supposed to have yellow legs to be considered proper Leghorns. I've spoken to a few utility breeders here in the UK and they all seem to breed their birds along the same lines - they prefer yellow legs in their chicks but once the birds start laying they know the yellow legs are going to lose most of their colour anyway, so they don't really care too much about it. I know they're not very good examples of the breed but as they're a utility strain the most important thing is egg production, where they definitely excel.

    I crossed them with my Daisies just to see what size of eggs the offspring would end up laying.
     

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