Combining colors

Discussion in 'Peafowl' started by AquaEyes, Mar 6, 2011.

  1. I've seen many combinations of patterns, but have never seen peafowl carrying two colors (such as "purple midnight" or "opal bronze"). I think a possible exception is peach which, from what I've read, seems to have occurred from a purple-cameo background, and possibly is the result of a crossover, so that "peach" is really "purple-cameo." Has anyone ever seen a peafowl homozygous for two colors? I emailed a breeder I found on the web who concentrates on breeding high-percentage spaldings in various combinations, and am including the (lengthy) text from that below. Thanks in advance for any information.



    I've been fascinated with peafowl for years, but I've never
    lived where I can keep them (I'm from NYC and in Buffalo only for
    school). I've seen breeders combine the patterns with a color, but
    have yet to see two colors combined.

    From descriptions on the origin of the Peach color, I'm thinking that
    breeding the Cameo and Purple resulted in a crossover, since both
    mutations are sex-linked and thus contained on the same chromosome
    (the Z chromosome). Though no one has stated this emphatically, it is
    what I suppose happened. A test breeding could determine this. Pairing
    a Peach male with a Purple female would result in male offspring
    inheriting one Z chromosome from Dad (with "Peach" on it) and one Z
    chromosome from Mom (with "Purple" on it). If these males grow to be
    Purple, then one of two things would have happened: 1) Purple is
    dominant to Peach, or 2) "Peach" results from the interaction of
    Purple and Cameo, and the males inherit two copies of Purple (one from
    Mom and one from Dad, if "Peach" is a combination phenotype) thus show
    the Purple phenotype. They would then be split for Cameo, if "Peach is
    truly resulting from the combination of these two colors. Having a
    Peach male paired with a Cameo female would answer which of the two
    possibilities is true, since if males are all Cameo then we know that
    Purple is not dominant over Cameo, and we can conclude that "Peach" is
    really "Purple-Cameo."

    Why am I bringing this up? Well, combining two colors whose genes are
    located on the same chromosome is much more difficult than combining
    two colors whose genes are located on DIFFERENT chromosomes. The
    reason is that for both genes to combine on one chromosome, there must
    be a crossover event so that a piece of one Z chromosome is switched
    with a piece at the same location on the other Z chromosome. This
    could only happen in a male (females are ZW, so they have only one Z),
    and for the mutations to swap so both are on the same chromosome
    instead of one on each, the male would have to be split for both.
    A specific crossover such as this would be a rare event.

    However, if we see that this combination results in a significantly
    different color phenotype, why not try combining other colors which
    can happen without a rare crossover event? Purple and Cameo are both
    sex-linked colors, and the other colors (except Peach) are not. This
    automatically tells us that we can combine Cameo or Purple with any of
    the others very easily.

    Let me use a combination of Purple and Midnight (you can substitute
    Cameo for Purple and/or substitute any other color for Midnight). To
    make identification easier, let's say we are starting with regular
    India Blue's (not Black Shoulder, which might make identification of
    hens difficult). If you breed a Purple male and a Midnight female, the
    offspring will be Blue males split to Purple and Midnight, and Purple
    females split to Midnight. If you started with more than one pair and
    bred the F1 offspring from each together (to avoid inbreeding), you will get:

    1/16 Purple Midnight Male

    2/16 Purple Male split Midnight

    1/16 Purple Male

    1/16 Midnight Male split Purple

    2/16 Blue Male split Purple and Midnight

    1/16 Blue Male split Purple

    1/16 Purple Midnight Female

    2/16 Purple split Midnight Female

    1/16 Purple Female

    1/16 Midnight Female

    2/16 Blue Female Split Midnight

    1/16 Blue Female

    These are offspring probabilities according to a Punnet Square. Note
    that ALL males produced from this crossing will be split to Purple,
    including the visual Midnight males. If these Midnight split Purple
    males are bred to unrelated Midnight females, you will get two kinds
    of females: half will be Midnight, and half will be Midnight Purple.
    Their brothers would be Midnight 50% chance split Purple.

    What to do with the Purple Males from the previous cross? 2/3 of the
    Purple males will be split to Midnight, but you won't be able to tell
    which. Well, if you repeat the original cross of Purple Male to (new
    unrelated) Midnight Female, but use these "Purple 2/3 possible split
    Midnight" Males, you will either be repeating your original first
    cross, or have a 2/3 shot of being a step ahead of the game by
    possibly getting some Purple Midnight Females.

    I know this sounds like something which will take years to accomplish,
    but from the websites I've visited, I have yet to see anyone offering
    birds listed as "visual Purple Midnight" or other such combination
    (I'm not including one or more patterns combined with one color, such
    as "Purple Silver Pied Blackshoulder"). If you were to accomplish
    this, you may have a unique new phenotype, which, if attractive, would
    command a premium price. Once you have a small population breeding in
    India Blue, you can experiment further by introducing Blackshoulder or
    breeding a new color into Spaldings. I'm in no position to start a
    project like this myself, but having read through your website, I
    think you're the type of person who might enjoy the challenge. Let me
    know what your thoughts are on this, and if you know of any pics of
    peafowl carrying more than one color "visually" (meaning not split).

  2. Choctaw Valley Farm

    Choctaw Valley Farm Songster

    Jan 16, 2010
    As far as I know there is no pictures of a Peafowl with two colors showing like Opal and Purple and so on, they can be split to many colors that's why when you buy birds at auctions you have no idea what your Peafowl could be split to unless you know the breeder and trust them.

  3. Interesting, and thanks for the reply. I wonder, then, if splits for more than one color are common, why no one has (as far as I know or have found) combined them. In my example of Purple and Midnight, a male Midnight split to Purple bred to a female Midnight would produce the combined Purple Midnight in half the females. The reverse male condition (Purple split to Midnight) would yield the same ratio of Purple Midnight females when bred to a female Midnight. It just seemed to be such an easy cross, compared to how much work has been done to introduce mutations into high-percentage spaldings, that I wondered why I haven't seen any mentioned. Are there any breeders who are familiar with peafowl genetics who could reply? Thanks again.


  4. Pavo Royale

    Pavo Royale Songster

    Jul 6, 2009
    Gainesville, GA
    I am no expert by any means, but I see some major problems with the exert from the original post. First, males inherit two sex chromosomes and females only one. That is how sex is determined. So, a female cannot be split to any sex linked color. She will exhibit the phenotype of the one sex linked gene she inherited, either purple or midnight in the example given. She cannot be purple and split to midnight. Also, males must have homozygous pairs of sex linked genes (both the same) to exhibit the color they represent. If a male inherits a purple gene and a midnight gene, he will be appear blue but be blue split to purple and midnight. At this point, if he is crossed to a blue female, he can produce purple females or midnight females and males that are split to purple and males split to midnight. It is the next crossing that can produce sex link colored males. This is the reason sex linked colored males are more valuable.

    The original question raised by the poster pertains to two sex linked colors being exhibited at once. The closest we can come to that scenario is a male that is split to two sex linked colors, but he will appear blue. Females only carry one of these genes and can and will only exhibit that one color.

    I am not trying to bash and may not be totally correct, but this is the way I understand sex linked genes to operate.
  5. prairiehen74369

    prairiehen74369 Songster

    May 7, 2010
    north east oklahoma
    I've had peacocks off and on threw the years (aways the blues) yesterday I bought 5 young (coming yearling) peafowl these were discribed as black shoulder and white eye is white eye a color or an addition to a color?? I'm confused also how old do they have to be before they will color out so I can tell for sure which is male and female will try to get pictures on soon.I hope folks can understand what I'm asking.
  6. Pavo Royale

    Pavo Royale Songster

    Jul 6, 2009
    Gainesville, GA
    They are old enough to sex now. Black shoulder (BS) females will be really light colored and the males will be looking much like the normal blue color. Black shoulder and white eye are patterns which occur in addition to thier overall color but the BS hens are very different looking than blue hens. The white eye trait refers to the males eye feathers on its train which will be white in the center.
  7. Quote:The purpose of my inquiry was to illustrate the ease of combining a sex-linked recessive color with an autosomal recessive color. From all the genetic information I've read on peafowl websites of merit, Midnight is NOT a sex-linked recessive color. Thus females CAN be split to midnight. Your information is correct for Purple, Cameo and Peach inheritance, with some modifications:
    In birds, males and females BOTH have two sex chromosomes. In males, the two sex chromosomes are the same, and are called ZZ. In females, the two sex chromosomes are different, and are called ZW. There are organisms which do have a different NUMBER of sex chromosomes between genders (Drosophila comes to mind...aka Fruit Flies), but in birds and mammals, sex determination is based on a different KIND of sex chromosomes, yet both genders have the same NUMBER (some exceptions exist that I know of in mammals, specifically some moles...).

    Where I posted about two sex-linked colors being expressed at once was my hypothesis for how the "Peach" color arose. Based on what I read of the background of the first peach hens raised, I believe that a crossover event occurred in a male split to both Purple and Cameo, wherein the piece of the Z chromosome with one mutation was exchanged with the corresponding part of the other Z chromosome that did not have the mutation. The result, in that particular sperm, would be one of two possible Z chromosomes -- one would have neither mutation, and the other would have both mutations. If a sperm carrying this crossover Z chromosome with both mutations on it fertilized an egg that became a hen, that hen would, on her one Z chromosome, carry both mutations for Purple and Cameo. Test-breeding can confirm or deny my hypothesis, as I stated in my original post.

    I am thankful for all the responses thus far. If anyone reading this has seen peafowl expressing two colors at once (i.e. visual for both, not visual for one and split for another), please write back, and post pics if you have them. Thanks again.




    Last edited: Mar 10, 2011
  8. Choctaw Valley Farm

    Choctaw Valley Farm Songster

    Jan 16, 2010
    I know this is not the answer your looking for but I did find some info on the Peach from Brad Legg. but like I said before I have never seen one showing two colors but if anyone has I bet Brad would be the one to talk too.

    The Peach mutant first appeared in 1991 as a hen born at Roughwood Aviaries, Scottsburg, IN owned by Clifton L. Nicholson, Jr.

    The mother of the peach hen was the mutant Purple hen born in 1987. This first purple hen was mated to a cameo cock. This mating produced two India Blue males. These India Blue males carried both the Cameo and Purple color gene. These two cocks were mated back to their mother, the original Purple hen. This mating produced eleven peachicks which included three India Blue (2 males and 1 female), three Cameos (females), four Purples (2 males and 2 females) and one Peach (female). This was the first Peach produced.

    The next year one of the India Blue males split Cameo & Purple was bred back to its mother, the original Purple hen from which ten chicks were hatched of which one was a Peach female. During this same year the other India Blue male, split Cameo & Purple was bred to a Spalding hen which produced two chicks, which one was a Peach hen. This made a total of three Peach peafowl to be born at Roughwood Aviaries; the first female born in 1991 and two other females born in 1992. In 1993 the first Peach hen was bred to a India Blue male split Cameo & Purple, this mating produced the first Peach male.

    Near this same time around 1992 another Peach chick approximately 3months old was found at the fall Exotic Auction in Gardner, KS. This chick was in a cage with a Cameo chick. Fred Huebner, North English IA and I found this unusual bird in which Fred purchased these two chicks. Inquiries were made to find the owner of these birds. The owner was from somewhere in Texas. When speaking with the owner he said the chicks were from a pair of Cameos he had bought from me a few years earlier at this same auction. I was able to trace this pair of Cameos back to progeny from 10 Cameo peachicks that I purchased in 1980 which were out of a Cameo hen and a India Blue male split to Cameo.

    The following year Fred purchased the Cameo pair that had produced the Peach chick purchased at the auction and three more peach chicks hatched the current year from the gentleman in Texas. Fred later bred the Peach hens back to their father the Cameo male. This mating produced both Peach and Cameos chicks.
    It is amazing that the Peach color showed up around the same time from two parts of the country; one Peach line from the original Purple hen and the other Peach line from a pair of Cameos.

    Later Clifton produced a Peach in the Black Shoulder pattern which traced back to the original purple hen, which was found to be carrying the Black Shoulder Pattern.

    Fred also bred some of his Peach hens to a Black Shoulder male then after a couple generations Peach Black Shoulders were produced.

    During the mid 1990’s I purchased some Peach birds from both Clifton and Fred which gave me two different lines for breeding. The first year the two lines were bred separately. The following year the two separate lines were bred together to see if this mating would produce all Peach chicks, which it did.

    It was thought that the Peach color mutation would be a sex link recessive, due to the color coming out of two different sex link color recessive parents the Cameo and Purple. This theory was verified by breeding a Peach male to India Blue hens which produced all India Blue males and Peach females.

    Over the next few years the Peach color was mated to other patterns to produce Peach in other varieties. The Peach was also bred with the Green Peafowl to produce Spaldings in the Peach color.

    From 1991 to the present the Peach color comes in the following varieties; Peach, Peach Pied, Peach White-Eyed, Peach Pied White-Eyed, Peach Silver Pied, Peach Black Shoulder, Peach Black Shoulder Pied, Spalding Peach, Spalding Peach Pied, and Spalding Peach White-Eyed.

    Hopefully this provides a better understanding of the beautiful Peach color mutation
  9. Pavo Royale

    Pavo Royale Songster

    Jul 6, 2009
    Gainesville, GA
    The W choromsome is diregarded in most color related general public discussions since it has no color related loci. If an organism is missing a chromosome it has more problems than what color it is. Yep, midnight is not sex linked, so my considerations are not correct but the midnight coloration will be trumped by homozygous sex linked pairs in males and hets in females. Either sex can be split to midnight.
  10. Quote:Yes, that is the information I read which led me to the conclusion that "Peach" is really a "Purple-Cameo" combination. The fact that the father of the first "Peach" hen was an IB split to both Purple and Cameo is the origin of the crossover I believe occurred.

    Crossover is a common phenomenon which occurs during gamete (sperm or egg) production. The original cell has two copies of each chromosome which pair up before cell division (in females, there is only one Z chromosome, but it pairs with the one W chromosome). What crossover is is when these paired chromosomes wrap across each other, and exchange parts by "breaking" at the crossed point and reattaching onto the other member of the pair. Imagine each chromosome looking like a straight vertical line: I. When they pair up, they look like this: II. When crossover occurs, this happens: X. Wherever the point of intersection occurs, the pieces break, and the top of the left chromosome attaches to the bottom of the right chromosome, and vice versa. There is no addition or deletion of genetic material, just a "swap" of information between the two copies of the same chromosome.

    Now, let's say this crossover occurs on a an IB male who is split to Purple and Cameo. One of his Z chromosomes has the gene for Purple, and the other Z chromosome has the gene for Cameo. The further apart these genes are on the chromosome, the more likely a crossover event can result in a new combination. Let's say for example that the Purple gene is at the bottom of the Z chromosome, and the Cameo gene is at the top. After crossover, there is now one Z chromosome which has the Cameo gene at the top of the chromosome, and the Purple gene at the bottom. The other Z chromosome no longer has either gene, and is "Normal" at both loci (a locus is a spot on a chromosome where a gene is found, and loci is the plural). So now this newly combined Z chromosome will have both mutations on it. If a sperm is formed after a crossover event and carries a Z chromosome with both the Purple and the Cameo genes on it then fertilizes an egg with a W chromosome from the hen, the resulting offspring will be a hen (ZW) who has both Purple and Cameo genes on her one Z chromosome. She will thus express both genes, as she has only one Z chromosome and can't be split for sex-linked colors. This is how I believe the Peach color arose. To confirm or deny, one could undertake test-breeding. If a "Peach" male was bred to a Purple female, the males would have one Z chromosome from Mom (with Purple on it) and one from Dad (with "Peach" on it). If "Peach" is a combination of Purple and Cameo, then those males would look Purple. If "Peach" is an original mutation, then those males would look like regular IB but be split to "Peach" and Purple. The reason is simple -- if "Peach" is really "Purple-Cameo" then the Z chromosome from a "Peach" Dad would have one gene for Purple and one gene for Cameo. The Z chromosome from Mom would have one gene for Purple and no gene for Cameo. Thus male offspring would have two genes for Purple (and thus appear Purple) but only one gene for Cameo (and thus not show the Cameo color). But if "Peach" was really a separate mutation, then there would be only one copy of each color, which would result in a normal IB color.

    Crossover is relatively common, in fact sperm or eggs which show NO evidence of crossover are rare. However, there is on average about a 3% chance that crossover at a particular point will occur, so combined sex-linked colors would be rare (but not impossible). A much more likely possibility is combining colors occurring from genes located on DIFFERENT chromosomes. Since I don't know on which chromosomes the other colors occur (except that they DO NOT occur on the Z chromosome, because they are NOT sex-linked), combining a Purple with a Midnight seems to be an easy thing to accomplish. That's why I was wondering if anyone has ever tried this.

    I posted the combination of Purple and Midnight for a reason. I'm more familiar with cage-birds, and I know that in parrot species in which the violet factor occurs (budgies, various lovebirds, ringneck parakeets, etc), the most "pleasing" combination is when the violet factor is paired with a dark factor. Because Midnight appears to visually darken the blue plumage, I thought that a Purple-Midnight combination would appear more "purple" than a standard Purple peafowl.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2011

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