Help Explaining Pigeon Genetics (or genetics in general) to younger kids?

CascadiaRiver

Songster
7 Years
Dec 12, 2014
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Pacific Northwest
I'm officially aged out of 4H now but still very close to my 4H pigeon group and will be training to be a youth leader when I get the chance. Our local fair just passed and the judge loved the kid's knowledge but said they could use some work on genetics and colour knowledge.

Thats where I come in. I totally nerd out on genetics and have been the group's "genetic guru" of sorts, so after the judge came through the kids came flocking to me. Thankfully there was a lot of birds there at the fair that were nice to use as real life examples but I'm bad with words... and not the best with kids sometimes, I noticed that I kinda failed to explain some things and I'm not sure how to explain it to them.

One of the main questions was, while I was explaining, whats dominant/recessive? I kind of blanked cause to me that was more basic knowledge. How would you explain it? Should I try to make a more physical example/game for them to see?

I was going to recommend them to this absolutly amazing game, https://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/pigeons/pigeonetics/ but some of the kids don't have a lot of access to computers, and ideally I'd like to be there to help explain some things to the younger kids and I don't have a lap top haha

Pigeons got a fun thing called sex-linked genes as well and I found myself stumbling over my words each time I tried to explain it to them too, cause its one thing knowing that (ex.) ash red will cover blue, but it's another to try and explain in just words or on paper that for each colour theres two 'slots' but the females only have one, but only for some? ahaha, I'd love some recommendations on maybe some easier ways to explain genetics for kids, it's been awhile since I've been in biology...
 
I'm not good on genitics, but there are a few members that keep pigeons that are very knowledgeable. @Pyxis for one.

That's awesome that there is such a big pigeon section in your 4-h!

If you need any pictures of birds with different colors to show the 4-h, you could ask on https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/pigeon-talk.1276029/ and more than likely, someone will have that color.
 
I really like to draw so over this year I actually have images I've drawn of the base colors and some of the main simple factors (markings sorta) so I'm good on images, it's more the phrasing and such! I will head there though if there's something more rare I'm having trouble getting, thank you!!

And this year at fair we had almost 70 pigeons! Just three years ago there wasn't a pigeon section at fair! (The gentleman that uses to run it passed away a long time ago) and I'm one of those founder members! 22 pigeons and 4 more being delivered this month!
 
Pigeons got a fun thing called sex-linked genes as well and I found myself stumbling over my words each time I tried to explain it to them too, cause its one thing knowing that (ex.) ash red will cover blue, but it's another to try and explain in just words or on paper that for each colour theres two 'slots' but the females only have one, but only for some?

When I write about genetics, especially sex-linked genes, I start right at the basics, since most people, even experienced poultry keepers, would have no clue that birds have different chromosomes than humans, so I start there, and that helps a lot.

Here's an article I wrote on duck genetics; maybe it can help give you some ideas :)

https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/mallard-derived-duck-color-genetics-basics.74277/
 
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