How do 5 toe genetics work?

Y N dottes

7 Years
Sep 1, 2012
South Central WI
Are u talking about different chicks from the same brood (or whatever its called)?
If so, since every trait has 2 genes, it could go like this. Example: rooster has a 4 toed gene and a 5 toed gene. He will have 5 toes(dominant trait). Hen has 4 toed gene and for toed gene. She will have 4 toes. a chick can get the the genotype of either 5toe/4toe, or 4toe/4toe. If its the first genotype listed, it will have 5 toes. If its the second listed it will have 4 toes.

I hope this is what u were talking about....and that i did it right.


In the Brooder
Jan 12, 2017
well im nearly 5 years late but i'm gonna put this out there for others. It's called a punnet square. So basically, all chickens have 2 copies of some gene. Say we're using the chickens above; the hen has 2 four-toed genes, which are recessive, and the rooster has 1 five-toed gene. Only one dominant gene is needed to make it show, but a chicken needs two recessive genes to make it show (that's why when you breed silkie crosses, they are all hard feathered because the silkie feathers are a recessive gene)

This is the punnet square.

t t
T | | |
| Tt | Tt |
| 5-toed | 5-toed |

|_________|_______ |
| | |
t | tt | tt |
| 4-toed | 4-toed |

|________|_______ |

The top is the hen's gene. The left is the rooster's. So basically, complex living things go through meiosis, where the cell divides their dna into 4(i think) and then combining randomly, which offspring gets what dna. There's a bunch of other stuff llike mixing up the dna, etc, etc, but it's way too long to explain. hope it helped!
Last edited:


6 Years
Jan 31, 2015
So a 4 toed bird cross with 5 toed roo, is it random odds of which number of toes you will have 4/5?


5 Years
Oct 4, 2015
Brisbane, Australia
For the sake of people finding this now and the future let me clear this up!
Polydactylism is a dominant gene with variable expression, some of which is controlled by additional unrelated genes.
This means that a chick with the gene will probably have 5 toes. But can have 6 & 6 toes, 6 & 4 toes, 5 & 6 toes and especially 5 & 4 toes. The gene can even express as a single extra toenail.
Id love to also explain my theories on a polydactyl complex. But thats not proven and hard for people to follow.

polar peckers

In the Brooder
Apr 23, 2020
This is very interesting...if my egg hatches....:fl its a silkie Americauna mix and EVEN if it does NOT hatch im "ON" those toes! I feel its freaky though to have one foot with 4 toes and one with 5!? We will see! I should mention my background is breeding fancy goldfish...lil different.

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