Is this splash, or a similar trait?

Discussion in 'Exhibition, Genetics, & Breeding to the Standard o' started by Yrat, May 27, 2016.

  1. Yrat

    Yrat Out Of The Brooder

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    Background: I am into the third or fourth generation of my flock, selecting for members of an original easter egger/americauna x some sort of white rooster. Within the last couple generations I have accidentally stumbled across a splash gene that was hidden within my original pair. Last year, I had one chick hatch with some light black spots on otherwise yellow down. He grew into one of my current roosters and has a black feather or two on his neck against a mostly white/grey background.

    This spring I hatched several more chicks with even more pronounced dalmation "spots." Another individual has the classic splash look, with a bit of red leaking:
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    The "spotted" chickens however, have a totally different appearance from this classic splash. They seem to be much more purely white, with straight black feathers scattered here or there:
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    I also noticed that whereas the regular splash bird had no indication of her trait upon hatching, all of these mottled, black-spotted birds had these patches visible in their down as soon as they left the shell. Here is one only a few weeks old, showing the trait coming in very strongly, but it does not appear as the normal splash.

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    One of these latest birds is now clearly a rooster, and over the last couple generations I have noticed that the red on the shoulders is entirely sex-linked. This male also has a couple black patches on his neck, although they are hard to see from this angle.
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    Here is the parent flock. The white rooster on the right with the black sickle feather is carrying this hidden splash/patch gene. He is the son of the original rooster, now gone. I also have one of his sons, who looks identical and might as well be a clone, but he is not in the picture.

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    So I am wondering if this is just a different variation of splash, or is it something else entirely? So far, there has been no shade of in-between these two traits. I have now had several birds hatch with the "patch" trait over multiple seasons, while this spring was my first time coming across the classic splash.

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    Last edited: May 27, 2016
  2. Kev

    Kev Overrun With Chickens

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    Most likely you're dealing with dominant white. The little black spots on day old chick down is very classic sign of a dominant white cross.

    To test for this.. breed with a black chicken. "spotty" bred with black chicken likely would give you half black chicks and half white/cream chicks with the little random black spots. This is very strong proof this is a dominant white gene. Because if it was a splash, then all of the chicks would be blue.....

    Dominant white is good at altering black to white, but when not 'pure' there can be a fair number of chicks showing the little black spots and random black feathers or patches on the adults. Pure for dominant white usually are solid white. You can see some of this by breeding two 'spottys' together and you should be seeing a few solid whites, mostly 'spottys' and finally a few blacks.

    one common example of dominant white crossed with colored are the California white leghorns, which are a cross of white leghorn with California gray (a barred leghorn). Another common example are Austra-Whites which are crosses of white leghorn with black australorps. Many of them end up with the little black spots/feathers. Same basic idea with yours

    Dominant white is not very good at altering red/gold pigments... the red patches on the roosters is an indication your flock is lacking some of the genes necessary for making a solid black chicken. In any black stock with this problem, the "leakage" is much more obvious on roosters than on hens.. that is why it seems sex linked when it's not exactly sex linked. basically it is much easier to make a solid black hen than a solid black roo... this is the same issue as your black roo showing some white on neck and back in second to last picture.

    if you want to get rid of the red patches, you need to breed them with the blackest roosters, although roosters with *white* patches can work allright. Breeding with blue will also help with whitening, as long as they do not show red leakage and actually blue is often thrown in white stock for this reason- to help get rid of the spots.. as splash tends to make the birds whiter, and dominant white makes black chickens whiter, so combine the two... although you can sometimes see a spotty with blue feathers instead of black(I have one right now in fact).

    Breeding the spottys to brown/red chickens will make even more red in the white.. and eventually lead to things like a red/brown chickens with white tails and spots on necks(the black areas)

    Alternatively if you like the spottiness or the black patches, you can breed for a possible increase of those. But it will not be possible to make a true breeding strain of spottys- there will always be a few solid whites or blacks, depending on what the parents are.

    The original 'some sort of white rooster' most likely had dominant white and those spottys are a legacy of his.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2016
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  3. Yrat

    Yrat Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for the help!

    I think the original white rooster was at least part leghorn, so it seems like you are correct in that I must be dealing with dominant white. So essentially (and tell me if I'm wrong here) these are black birds but with dominant white which makes them unable to develop the pigment in their feathers... and for some reason this dominant white is switched off or lacking in small spots on their body.

    The black rooster is actually an unrelated olive egger that I haven't gotten rid of yet. It looks like he has some white in the picture, but it is actually gold.

    Personally, I like the look of the spottiness. I think I will continue to try to select for more of it to get these "painted" dalmation birds. I especially like the look when they also have the blue legs.
     
  4. Kev

    Kev Overrun With Chickens

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    You got it. Black chickens with dominant white. Also keep in mind the DW birds with black showing very likely are not pure for DW, so expect a breeding similar to how it goes for the blue color-black-blue- splash except it's black-spotty-pure white for the DW but also some of the solid whites will happen to be not pure for DW so the results won;t be so clean cut every time.

    In theory, if there is a genetic cause behind the spottiness, it may be possible for spottier birds.
     
  5. Yrat

    Yrat Out Of The Brooder

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    yes, it would be interesting to see what the spectrum of spottiness could be... maybe at the other end you could have the DW shut down over most of the bird except for some random spots to have the reverse spottiness, white spots on black.
     
  6. tadkerson

    tadkerson Chillin' With My Peeps

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    here is an example of dominant white, with red and black.

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    take a look at exchequers almost white spots on black- you might be able to get white spots on black due to modified mottling (exchequer) - not sure if there is a modifier that will do that - a bird that is brown at the E locus, is mottled MO*MO, ML-PG*Ml-pg ( homozygous melanotic and heterozygous pattern) and S*S (homozygous silver) may get the desired effect - I have produced almost black birds that were dark wheaten- silver dark wheaten that is mottled may do the trick- the dark gene may be the modifier that would work. I never tried to do what you want so I am just hypothesizing.



    http://www.pets4homes.co.uk/classif...r-leghorn-cockerels-one-or-both-stafford.html
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2016
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  7. Yrat

    Yrat Out Of The Brooder

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    I thought I'd update this thread with some new pics now that the birds are several weeks older.

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    here is the bird that was the tiny chick from my last post with photos, she is showing much more grey in her feathers instead of bright white like the rest:

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    and lastly, my one and only true splash that my flock randomly produced, her colors have come in much better since the earlier photos:

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