I have always thought that the Golden Phoenix turkeys were especially attractive. Unfortunately, I live in Minnesota and the few producers that actually have enought turkey varieties to have a few on hand (Porter's, for example), don't ship to Minnesota. So I have endeavored to make my own. The point of this post is to demonstrate that with a little thought (or perhaps help if you don't like genetics), you can make whatever color you like from standard heritage breeds (yeah, yeah, colors...whatever). Its fun to mix colors to see what will happen, but I think its more fun with a plan. I started last spring by crossing a Royal Palm tom with a Bourbon Red hen. Golden Phoenix is essentially a black-winged Golden Narragansett with an extra gray gene (b1b1 Ccg ngng Rr). The Royal Palm gives the offspring the black-winged base, the gray, and the narragansett, while the Bourbon Red gives the not white and the red. Because of the sex-linking in the Narragansett gene, all the hens look like Golden Narragansett (bb1 Ccg ng-- Rr) and all the toms look like Red Bronze (bb1 Ccg Ngng Rr). All the offspring have hidden recessive black-wing (b1) and gray (cg) genes, and the toms have a recessive Narragansett gene (ng). So to get to Golden Phoenix, I need to get the bronze base (b) out of the hens that look like G. Narri and replace it with a black-winged gene (b1). They also need to be crossed with a tom that will provide Narragansett genes (ng). The toms don't need red genes or gray genes since G. Phoenix only have one of each and the intermediate hen also has one of each, but it wouldn't hurt if they had those genes. One way to do this would be to cross these offspring with each other. This would require a lot of offspring to get a golden phoenix because of the many possible combinations. For example, the base could be bb, bb1, or b1b1. For each of these three base possibilities, the white (gray) position could be CC, Ccg, or cgcg. Similarly there will be three possible red combinations RR, Rr, and rr. There are only two possible Narragansett combintation because the hens only carry ng. That makes 54 different gene combinations. So only one in 108 poults will be a Golden Phoenix tom. Not very good odds. Especially when my brooder is only built for about 24 birds. Instead, I am crossing the hens back to a Royal Palm tom. Royal Palm toms are b1b1 cgcg ngng RR. With this pairing, half the birds will be b1b1 and half will be bb1. Also, half will be Ccg and half will be cgcg. The toms will all be ngng (hens all ng---). And half will be Rr while half are RR. This means that there are only 8 combinations, and the chance of a Golden Phoenix tom is one in 16. The RP tom is a gobbling fool and I hope to start getting eggs in about 3 weeks, start incubating by April 1 and get poults before May. If I can get a GP tom, I have a large (relatively) Royal Palm hen that will be his girlfriend for life. This pairing produces four colors with equal probabilities, one of which is Golden Phoenix. Crossing GP to GP produces nine different combination, but the chance of getting a GP is still one in four. Happy Hatching everyone!