1. Come check out hundreds of awesome coop pages (and a few that need suggestions) in our 2018 Coop Rating Project!

Color Confusion

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by k0r1nag, Oct 4, 2010.

  1. k0r1nag

    k0r1nag Chirping

    Sep 11, 2010
    As a newbie to the world of chickens, I must confess many of the names for colors I find confusing. And even after looking at many photos on-line, I still am not sure that I understand what colors are called. Some photos show examples called buff and gold and red, yet look almost identical in coloring. I understand that the colors are related, but where is the line drawn between each color group? My buff cochins are a golden yellow, but my gold laced Polish are almost orange in color. Is there a "paint chip" chart you can purchase in order to know what to call your birds?

    And often it is confusing what is a pattern and what is a color. "Lace", as I understand it, is a pattern and usually the color in the name relates to the color inside the lacing – ie Silver Laced (white inside, black edging), Gold laced (gold inside, black edging), but how do you denote the outside lacing color? For example, Buff lace has white feather edging. Is there any standardization to the nomenclature?

    And the blues & lilacs are even more confusing. I have several Polish with pale blue inside and dark blue edging (not quite black). Is this a blue laced? And would that mean the edge should be black on the lacing? So the "dirty" blue color is really just poor quality black? I have a cochin hen who is pale blue with splashes of black. Is she a Lilac Splash? A Blue Splash? Just a mutt?

    What is the best resource - with pictures - to learn about colors and patterns from? I have read the descriptions from many of the breed clubs, but without good color photos it is hard to really understand the distinctions.

    Thank you for all of your advice and help!

  2. muddyhorse

    muddyhorse Songster

    Aug 11, 2009
    Bloomsdale, MO
    I love my Storey's Illustrated Guide to Poultry Breeds, It has great pictures of the different colors and a pattern wheel [​IMG]
    on the lacing the color describes the main feather color not the lace color
    if you have any questions about the color of your birds post them and we can help
    lots of blue birds have some lacing on the feathers it is a desirable trait
  3. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

    Jan 4, 2009
    Tempe, Arizona
    There are a lot of inconsistency in variety names; your mention of gold laced and buff laced is an excellent example. I have not seen that particular Storey book, but would recomment Genetics of Chicken Colours as having excellent photos and pictures of many, many varieties.

    Also, the name of a variety can vary from one country to another; the details of the standard may vary also. I am not aware of lilac being a recognised variety for any chicken breed in the US, but I have heard of projects suing the term.

    There are two kinds of patterns: primary patterns, which have different feather colouring on different parts of the body. An example would be a lakenvelder which has a golden or silver body with black hackles and tail. [​IMG] (from feathersite) or a BBRed (black breasted red) [​IMG](from feathersite)

    Secondary patterns involve patterns on individual feathers such as the lacing you mentioned. [​IMG](from Poultry Genetics for Exhibition Breeders website)

    There is also penciling, with is three concentric sets of black markings that parallel the edge of the feather. [​IMG](from Poultry Genetics for Exhibition Breeders website)

    Barring which is white stripes on a black feather (cuckoo is a similar pattern, but with fuzzy rather than crisp stripes) [​IMG]
    (from Poultry Genetics for Exhibition Breeders website)

    There are many, many patterns; I found the easiest way to learn about the differences is to ask breeders to explain why a particular bird is whatever variety he/she is.
  4. k0r1nag

    k0r1nag Chirping

    Sep 11, 2010
    Thanks to you both! I will definitely look for the books you suggested. And Sonoran Silkies, thanks for the breakdown info on the patterns - very clear and helpful. I will try to post a few photos from my birds soon, but I still have dial-up as I live in the boonies with no satellite site-line, so it may take awhile.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by