Delawares or Delaware look-alikes? Help me sort out these chicks!

Discussion in 'What Breed Or Gender is This?' started by littlelemon, Jun 2, 2008.

  1. littlelemon

    littlelemon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am so confused-I need some help from you folks!

    I hatched some chicks in the incubator this year, and I timed it so they would hatch about the same time my hatchery chicks arrived. In the bator I had some White Plymouth Rocks, and in my hatchery order I had 3 Delawares.

    The chicks are now 4 weeks old and mostly feathered out. The Delawares all look different. They all have dark speckles on their necks, and some dark tail feathers. One of them has a nice lacy dark pattern on her wings. The other 2 have a much less obvious pattern on their wings, and it is not as lacy. Do Delawares feather in differently? Meaning, does the coloring differ from bird to bird?

    Anyway, I noticed this week that one of my White Rocks looks like a Delaware! I can't believe it-the only reason I KNOW he is not a Delaware is because I ordered 3 females and he is a roo and would be number 4. But he looks JUST LIKE the 2 Delawares with the lighter wings! He even has the neck speckles! What is going on?!?!? I hatched that roo, he comes from a White Rock rooster and White Rock hen. Do you think it is just a case of some recessive genes manifesting themselves?

    Here are some pics:

    Delaware chick with the lacy pattern on wings:
    [​IMG]
    Here are her wings opened up:
    [​IMG]

    Now here is one of the other Delaware chicks wings opened up(sorry about the poop spot,lol!)-see the difference?
    [​IMG]

    Now here is the White Rock roo that looks like a Delaware-check out his neck, back and wings:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    At this point I am wondering if 2 of the 3 Delaware I ordered aren't "real" Delawares. I am thinking that the one with the lacy back and wings is what a Delaware is supposed to look like and the other two are just some mixture of genes. They must be, because my roo looks just like them and I KNOW who his parents are!
    Anyway, if anyone has any picture of young Delaware chicks or can offer my any advice on why my white rock offspring has Delaware-like markings I would be grateful! I am very puzzled here....
     
  2. tx_dane_mom

    tx_dane_mom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 23, 2007
    SE Texas
    Are you sure that roo ISN'T one of the Delaware 'pullets' that was sexed incorrectly?
     
  3. littlelemon

    littlelemon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, I have 4 Delaware look-alikes, and I only got 3 from the hatchery. One of them doesn't belong, but which one!?!?

    I will try to get a picture today of the 4 of them all together.
     
  4. seriousbill

    seriousbill Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 4, 2008
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    Hi, I can help you here. The main point is that you are looking at juvenile plumage, and juvenile plumage can vary greatly on silver, columbian-patterned birds and will change as the birds grow. Some feather in with varying degrees of "smut" or dark or lacy marks on them (in places they're not supposed to be).

    In Delawares, depending on the underlying genetic makeup, more smut on the shoulders and backs tends to indicate a male bird. This is helpful to us Delaware breeders as we can often tell whether we have males or females by around 3 weeks of age. Of course, it doesn't always work that way [​IMG] The main thing to remember is that these dark stippled or lacy patterns on the feathering will clear up as they grow. Their adult color pattern will usually lose 95% of the smut. That Rock does look like a Delaware. Not sure what you have there, but if you're sure he's a Rock, I'd say you've got a similar case of juvenile plumage that will clear as he grows.
     
  5. littlelemon

    littlelemon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks Seriousbill. Does leg color come into play here at all? My rocks have yellow legs, do Delaware chicks have more of a greenish tint to the legs?
     
  6. seriousbill

    seriousbill Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sometimes they do, Amy, especially as youngsters. Again, Delawares of different strains have different underlying genetics. Y'see, silver coloring is like frosting on a cake; it hides the color genetics underneath. Underneath that silver/white color, Delawares can be different patterns, like partridge, wild type, or wheaten. Depending on what kind of cake is underneath the frosting, they have different leg tints and different juvenile feathering. They all end up looking like Delawares in the end. But the ones with the greenish tint to their legs as youngsters seldom have the perfect or ideal "rich yellow" leg color that the breed standard calls for. However, they still have yellow legs and are still Delawares. I've seen that tint in many different lines.
     
  7. littlelemon

    littlelemon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Seriousbill your genetics explanation was very helpful! I'm still surprised to see smut on my white rock though, since his parents had no smut when they were chicks. They were from a hatchery, and I guess I expect a little bit of a "cleaner" line from a hatchery.
    Here's a pic of all four of them together. Now make a guess-which one is the White Rock?
    Please don't tell me I'm going to have to wait until they molt to find out!?
    [​IMG]
     
  8. littlelemon

    littlelemon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh, and I wanted to add that two of them have yellow legs (one being the roo that I suspect is really the white rock), and two have greenish legs.
     
  9. seriousbill

    seriousbill Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Actually, in my experience, hatchery lines are smuttier. More of them are based on e+ or wild type. Breeders tend to stick with wheaten or partridge as a base.

    LOL, about the Rock. Can't pick him out.
     
  10. littlelemon

    littlelemon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What does e+ or wild type mean?
     

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