Leghorn Comb & Feather Genetics Question

Cigo

In the Brooder
Sep 21, 2016
9
3
19
I'm having trouble finding information on it now, but I remember reading that the white feather color in leghorns is a dominant trait, and that a rose comb is dominant as well. I may have this totally backwards, but I was wondering if I were to cross a rose-comb brown leghorn, for example, with a single-comb white leghorn, would the resulting chicks be mostly rose-comb white birds?

I'm still learning new things every day about chicken genetics and I'm eager to learn more, especially with this particular question, so I appreciate any insight anyone can give.
 

Colonel-Sanders

Chirping
Feb 24, 2017
49
27
79
Ohio
Well you can boil it down to something as simple as a punnett square or as complicated as going to school for a genetics degree. If you're dominate and recessive traits are correct, you can use a 4x4 punnett square to help you out!
 

Colonel-Sanders

Chirping
Feb 24, 2017
49
27
79
Ohio
It is vital to know whether or not both parents were heterozygous or homozygous for both traits you mentioned. I just sat here and did what I believe to be all possible combinations of the two chickens you're breeding based upon what you say are dominant and not and it seems that...

If both chickens are homozygous dominant for both traits you would have a 100% chance of getting chickens that have white feathers and rose combs

But this would be extraordinarily rare unless this was bred into them. Basically you have a chance of getting any combination of brown and white feathers with single or rose combs, but the percentage chances change. If you're correct with your dominant and recessive, you will have the best chance at getting a white chicken with a rose comb. Without knowing if the traits in the parents are heterozygous or homozygous it is difficult to guess. Hope this helps!:D
 

Cigo

In the Brooder
Sep 21, 2016
9
3
19
It is vital to know whether or not both parents were heterozygous or homozygous for both traits you mentioned. I just sat here and did what I believe to be all possible combinations of the two chickens you're breeding based upon what you say are dominant and not and it seems that...

If both chickens are homozygous dominant for both traits you would have a 100% chance of getting chickens that have white feathers and rose combs

But this would be extraordinarily rare unless this was bred into them. Basically you have a chance of getting any combination of brown and white feathers with single or rose combs, but the percentage chances change. If you're correct with your dominant and recessive, you will have the best chance at getting a white chicken with a rose comb. Without knowing if the traits in the parents are heterozygous or homozygous it is difficult to guess. Hope this helps!:D


Wow, I reallly appreciate this! I guess the key here lies in whether or not my memory serves me well concerning what I've heard about these traits. And even if I am remembering correctly, I don't even know if what I read was true in the first place. I suppose I'm going to do some more research to try and figure out more about these specific sets of traits. In the end I may have to just try it out myself (I don't even have these breeds yet), but in the mean time I'd love to hear of any leghorn breeders that have experience with these crossings. Thanks again, Colonel!
 

The Moonshiner

I'm Kind Of A Big Deal
Premium Feather Member
Nov 17, 2016
9,857
53,652
861
Missouri
Rose comb is dominate to single comb. And yes it depends if the rose comb bird is heterozygous or homozygous. If theyre from a hatchery they should be homozygous for rose comb. All chicks will be rose comb but they will be heterozgous so they wont breed true for rose comb.
If your parent bird is heterozygous for rose comb they will throw both kinds of combs.
Their white is dominate white but it takes two copies of it to make a pure white bird.
With that cross the pullets will be mostly white with a few specks of black here and there. Some also show some red in the breast area.
The cockerels will have some black show here and there also. They will show a lot of reddish color in the hackles and saddle areas. That part usually gets more color as they age.
 

Cigo

In the Brooder
Sep 21, 2016
9
3
19
Rose comb is dominate to single comb. And yes it depends if the rose comb bird is heterozygous or homozygous. If theyre from a hatchery they should be homozygous for rose comb. All chicks will be rose comb but they will be heterozgous so they wont breed true for rose comb.
If your parent bird is heterozygous for rose comb they will throw both kinds of combs.
Their white is dominate white but it takes two copies of it to make a pure white bird.
With that cross the pullets will be mostly white with a few specks of black here and there. Some also show some red in the breast area.
The cockerels will have some black show here and there also. They will show a lot of reddish color in the hackles and saddle areas. That part usually gets more color as they age.

Thanks a ton for your insight, that is exactly the type of info I was hoping for. This is all very interesting to me
 

The Moonshiner

I'm Kind Of A Big Deal
Premium Feather Member
Nov 17, 2016
9,857
53,652
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Missouri
This is a cockerel from a white single comb X light brown single comb.
20170101_162506(1)~2~2~2.jpg
 

Cigo

In the Brooder
Sep 21, 2016
9
3
19
That's quite a good looking chicken!

The main reason I'm wondering about all this, and maybe this should be in its own separate thread, is because I want a laying flock of brown leghorns (better camouflage for free ranging) with rose combs (for better frostbite resistance in the winter). However, I hear hatchery stock of this type doesn't lay nearly as well as the classic white single comb variety. My intention was, if I can't find a higher producing existing strain of rose comb brown leghorns, to breed better egg production into them over the course of many generations with the help of white leghorn genetics.

Has anyone tried this or think it would be a good idea?
 

The Moonshiner

I'm Kind Of A Big Deal
Premium Feather Member
Nov 17, 2016
9,857
53,652
861
Missouri
That's quite a good looking chicken!

The main reason I'm wondering about all this, and maybe this should be in its own separate thread, is because I want a laying flock of brown leghorns (better camouflage for free ranging) with rose combs (for better frostbite resistance in the winter). However, I hear hatchery stock of this type doesn't lay nearly as well as the classic white single comb variety. My intention was, if I can't find a higher producing existing strain of rose comb brown leghorns, to breed better egg production into them over the course of many generations with the help of white leghorn genetics.

Has anyone tried this or think it would be a good idea?

Ive found in the birds I have or have had that the rose comb browns (both light and dark browns) do not lay as well as the single combs.
My single comb light browns lay just a tad less then my whites. If it was me id cross light brown single combs with light brown rose combs and work from there.
Side note and might be hard to imagine but my whites do just as well as my browns at staying safe free ranging.
 

Cigo

In the Brooder
Sep 21, 2016
9
3
19
I was considering crossing with single comb browns instead of whites in the hopes that I'd be able to skip the plumage perfecting process, so that's great to hear that yours lay almost as well as the whites. It's also reassuring to hear that your whites are as good as your browns at staying safe free ranging, if I do decide to go that route. Lots to think about.

Where did you get your leghorns, if you don't mind me asking? I know it's usually best to obtain poultry from local breeders or farms as opposed to big hatcheries, but I haven't been able to find a good source for rose combs besides McMurray.
 

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