Interesting New Color

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by CityChicker, Aug 10, 2010.

  1. CityChicker

    CityChicker Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So, I thought I would share a really pretty new color variety I have started and see if there is any interest in it. I am not sure whether or not to continue with it, but I think the birds are turning out really pretty and the back story of the birds is interesting...

    We have been working with a couple different varieties of Mallard mutations. I am working with a hatchery that sent me several Mallard "sports" last year that they wanted me to work with. The birds hatch in about 1 in 5,000 ducklings. As ducklings, they are much darker than normal Mallards. Looking down, they almost appear to be Black as the dorsal spots are entirely obscured. On the face, they have two very thick black stripes that cover almost the entire face (some of them almost look like Black Bibbed as ducklings). Anyway, they sent me 7 of these birds last year. I kept the darkest 3 birds, all of which ended up being hens. In the adult plumage, they look very similar to normal Mallards. They are just much darker than normal, but otherwise look like Mallards (still with Mallard feather pattern, they did not end up feathering out black).

    We have had a few thoughts on what mutation they may be, but really need to do some breeding tests and we don't have a male in this color so I will have to breed to normal Mallard if none in this variety hatch this year. So, we also have an old Pastel Mallard drake that was not paired this year. We were consolidating cages and put these hens in with him. He immediately bred them and fertile eggs soon followed. I decided to hatch a few just to see what would result and this is what we got....

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Sorry for the low quality pics! I took this out in the barn at night with my cell phone! LOL. Anyway, I was pretty much expecting Blue Fawn which is what they most closely resemble. They are overall darker than most Blue Fawns (again, somewhat to be expected since the hens are very dark). They are a much more lilac shade though then Blue Fawns with the brown areas having a definitive pink cast to them (hard to see in pics). The wings are a solid lilac color (not genetically, just in visual appearance). I have seen that to some extent in Blue Fawns. These are just more pronounced.

    Anyway, I can't decide whether or not to hatch more, but they are still laying. It could be an interesting project while I am awaiting mates for the parent birds. It is one of those sort of projects that I would have very little opportunity to recreate as the hens are sports and the drake is also a rare variety (and has had fertility issues). The next generation could be really interesting as I imagine I would end up with some very darkly colored Pastels (25% from the double Blue dilution) with similar lilac tones. Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2010
  2. Sweetfolly

    Sweetfolly Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, I'm definately interested! You have me hooked on the genetics stuff - it's fascinating. [​IMG]
     
  3. Blooming chicks

    Blooming chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I can't really see (in the pictures) the mallard markings, but the colors are beautiful. I am partial to the blues. I would be interested if you decided to move forward with the breeding.
     
  4. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Very pretty!! I think you have the beginnings of a potentially very interesting new breed/variety.

    As for whether to continue or not, I think you have to ask yourself whether *you* are passionate about it. If you think it's beautiful, and the idea of working with it gets you really excited, then you're on to something that you are going to excel at and that is going to keep you interested. The market side of things has to be developed--no matter what you're working on--"interest" in the sense of actual market, doesn't usually just happen. And the best way to develop that market is to work with something that puts a happy note in your "voice," and that you can't stop talking about. The more excited you are, the more other people will be.

    That, in a nutshell, is the best business advice I've ever been given, and I think it applies in breeding too.

    Good luck!
     
  5. rollyard

    rollyard Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A pic of one of the mums would be interesting too [​IMG] You have basically bred wild-type to "? wild-type", & added one dose of blue. But is the "? wild-type" a variant of wild-type, or some other factor eg unknown pigment enhancer? Did you hatch any normal coloured blue fawn from the cross or did all ducklings express the darker colour? How many did you breed ie what size sample to work with? I can't see from the photos so what sex are the young that have this different colour ie have both sexes expressed the new colour?

    Probably what we can be reasonably sure of is that it comes from the duck, expresses in a single dose (assuming drake doesn't also have the same recessive), & is therefore likely a dominant regardless of whether it is on the Z chromosome (because only homogametic male progeny inherit a single dose of it from the mother, not heterogametic daughters) or autosomal (single dose inherited by progeny of both sexes, percentages dependent upon purity in stock bird).

    I am tired & will have to think on it some more
     
  6. heatherindeskies

    heatherindeskies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    yep, this is interesting.
    Can you post a picture of one of the dark hens?
     
  7. CityChicker

    CityChicker Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you everyone! I think I will hatch out at least a few more and then decide whether to breed them together next year or not. I am still undecided as to whether or not the hens are different enough to be considered a new mutation or whether they are simply a darker variation of wild-type (because m+ birds are known to vary quite a bit in appearance). I had hoped to get some drakes in the same color as the hens this year as that might tell us a lot, but no luck so far. At any rate, we really need to increase numbers in the Blue Fawn and Pastel Mallards anyway, so these birds will definitely be of use in future breeding if the hens end up just being darker wild-type birds. [​IMG]
     
  8. rollyard

    rollyard Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, there is quite some variation in colour/pattern in many of the breeds as we know them but the 1 in 5000 ducklings bred as described does sound significant doesn't it; something (factor or factors) has to cause the variation that we see [​IMG]
     
  9. CityChicker

    CityChicker Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I will try to get some pictures of the original hens this week as we are moving birds. In the adult plumage, they basically look like very dark wild-type birds (probably at least 2-3 shades darker than normal). A couple of them have a few feathers that are entirely black. I gave away four of the original birds because I didn't think they were different enough to be considered anything other than m+. Of course, when I saw that the three we kept are all female, I instantly of course thought of the possibility of sex-linkage (perhaps without validity). It is hard to tell anything by such a small sampling size.

    The cross to Pastel is not something I normally would have done. I just decided to hatch some of the eggs sort of spur of the moment. They all would have obviously inherited one Blue dilution. I only have one so far that is fully feathered, a few more that our recently hatched, and I am putting a bunch more eggs in the incubator. The one that is fully feathered though is a definite hen and like the adult hens, she is much darker than normal (which really pretty much eliminates the possibility of sex-linkage since the drake was a Pastel). I think if we ever have a drake hatch in the darker color, breeding him to the hens could tell us a lot.

    I have noticed many times over that wild-type birds vary considerably in depth of color (people here comment almost daily about Rouen ducklings being darker with two ocular stripes). I really suspect that with these birds we may simply be seeing birds that are a natural variation in the wild-type color (perhaps modifying genes?) rather than a mutation per se. I can't say for sure yet. I really want to get to a point where I have personally seen each and every named mutation pop up in wild Mallard stock, but that involves hatching hundreds of thousands of ducklings, LOL. We will eventually get there! It is just a very long process of waiting for sports to pop up and then doing test crosses. Of course, money and space are factors as well. [​IMG]
     
  10. rollyard

    rollyard Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Variable expression of the wild-type, yes of course; I wasn't thinking too clearly this morning. Does sound very interesting, thanks for sharing [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2010

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