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How to improve solid blue marans

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by chickeneyfoot, Mar 5, 2012.

  1. chickeneyfoot

    chickeneyfoot Chirping

    Dec 17, 2011
    I have pure blue marans that are not copper mixed and their eggs are at lowest a 3 and highest a 5-6. How do I improve them? Also the same with splash their darkest egg was a 7! Thanks

  2. luvinbluechickens

    luvinbluechickens Chirping

    May 19, 2011
    San Diego, CA
    Do you sell eggs? What lines do u have? Where are u located?

  3. I discussed this idea with Illia a while back as a sort of fantasy-project (I won't be having chickens for several years). I, myself, prefer the look of B/B/S Marans over the Black Coppers (and Blue Coppers and Splash Coppers), but I know the Black Coppers are known for laying darker eggs. I asked her what genes are different between Black and Black Copper.

    I seem to have deleted the email correspondence, but what I remember of the plan was that if you bred a Black roo to Black Copper hens which laid exceptionally dark eggs, the offspring will all be "leaky Black" F1s. If you mated the F1s amongst themselves, you will find 1/16 (I think....might have been 1/32...I'll have to ask Illia again) that are solid Black again. If you chose the Black F2 hens with the darkest eggs and added them back to your flock, you'd be introducing some more of the dark egg genes from the Black Coppers. Then take the Black roos from the F2 and start over again with another set of Black Copper hens.

    Keep repeating the process and over time, you'll get more and more of the dark egg genes from the Black Coppers into birds that are solid Black, leaving behind the two genes responsible for the Black Copper pattern. Because you are not introducing another breed, you won't have to worry about "breeding back to type" because essentially, there are only two genes that differ between the Black Copper and the solid Black (or maybe three...I'll have to forward this to Illia and get her in on the discussion).

  4. Illia

    Illia Crazy for Colors

    Oct 19, 2009
    Forks, WA
    F1 x F1, a little less than 16% will get you just what you want, but yes, you can continue either adding and removing more copper birds or you can continue with looking for the best F1 x F1 birds. The trick is to avoid any leakage at all costs.
  5. Illia, refresh my memory -- the difference between solid Black and Black Copper is two genes, right? One is at the E locus (extended black is dominant over the black copper pattern), and the other is sex-linked silver vs gold (Blacks are silver, Black Coppers are gold). So if one was to cross Black with Black Copper, it'd be better to use a Black roo, since that way, the F1 sons will have one copy of gold and one copy of silver, and the hens would be just silver. If you went the other way, the hens would be gold, and that'd be one more thing to breed out.

    Oh, wait...was there a third gene that was different? Something about mahogany?



    OK, I looked some stuff up. Solid Black Marans differ from Black Copper Marans at three genes (if there are others, someone please teach me!):

    1) Blacks are E/E (extended black), BC's are E^R/E^R (birchen) -- Black is dominant over Birchen, but Black birds split to Birchen will show leakage.

    2) Blacks are S/S in roos, S/- in hens (silver -- it's sex-linked), BC's are s/+s+ in roos, s+/- in hens (gold). Roos that are S/s+ are "golden" -- intermediate between gold and silver.

    3) Blacks are mh/mh (wild-type, or "not mahogany"), BC's are Mh/Mh (mahogany, changing gold to coppery-red). I don't know if mahogany is expressed on an extended black bird -- might show as some "leakage" but might not.

    Black roo X Black Copper hen =
    50% E/E^R, S/s+, Mh/mh roos (will look "leaky black" with areas of pale copper showing through)
    50% E/E^R, S/-, Mh/mh hens (will look "leaky black" with areas of silver/white showing through)

    If you breed the above together (perhaps using different BC hens so you're breeding half-sibs rather than full-sibs), you'll find some solid Black offspring with no leakage that will also have a dose of "dark egg" genes from the Black Copper lineage. So first pick hens that are completely Black with no leakage, then save the ones from them that lay the darkest eggs for breeding with your solid Blues. To continue dipping further into the Black Coppers, take your completely Black with no leakage F2 roos and start again, breeding to Black Copper hens.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2012

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