Long time chicken keeper, first time adding a Roo. Questions.

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Ashley80, Jan 18, 2015.

  1. Ashley80

    Ashley80 In the Brooder

    I've kept hens for several years now, purchasing and incubating fertile eggs every few years to replenish the flock. Thanks to discovering the collar trick this year I'm finally keeping a roo. Rocket is a 4 month old Black Pekin Bantam (I'm in Australia, I think he's similar to a Cochin Bantam in other places). He's just started trying to get frisky with the girls and I'm wondering a few things...

    1. Currently my 5 old girls, all large breeds are in one coup and Rocket and his 8 hatch mate girls are in another. They all free range in the same space during the day. Rocket has just recently started chasing the older girls, I thought they would tell him where to go but it appears he's dominating them. Since he's paying attention to both sets of girls can I presume that he'll eventually win over the older girls and amalgamate the two flocks for me?

    2. Once he's got the hang of things is it worth trying to hatch the big girls eggs? I've read mixed things about this.

    3. I've read that Black is a dominant colour, can I expect to get any different coloured babies at all from hatching the girls eggs? There is a real mixed batch to choose from, the smaller girls breeds include Blue Pekin, White Frizzle Polish, Gold Laced Frizzle Polish and Australian (with a tail) Araucana (white and Lav). The bigger girls include Salmon Fav, GLW, Barneveler, Silver Pencil Wynodotte and French Wheaten Maran. I don't think it makes a difference or even how true it is but according to the lady I got the eggs from his parents were "Cuckoo Pekins that occasionally throw solid black babies".

    Thanks in advance. Incase you can't tell I'm kind of excited about the prospect of finally hatching eggs from my own flock :)
  2. Twistedfeather

    Twistedfeather Songster

    Feb 23, 2014
    Congratulations on getting a Pekin Chicken (Sorry whenever I see Pekin I think of the duck) Oddly enough I have actually read another thread asking a very similar question about putting a Cochin in with the bigger hens. Since I think once Cochin Bantams are fairly big (I've only seen show strains which are purposely groomed and bred to be rounder) Since he's so young right now the other hens will dominate over him, I remember distinctly reading that hens sometimes were the most dominate in the flocks but then again I was reading about Goat social behavior the same night I did chickens, I could of gotten them mixed up.

    From my perspective don't try to hatch any of the large fowl eggs but if you did have another Pekin bantam I would actually encourage hatching eggs from them instead. If you breed black to white you can blue and I think you can breed black to blue to get a splash (genetics can get hairy by the way and I think it's important to keep the genetic line as pure as we can)
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    Will the two flocks ever become one? Probably whether he is around or not. Right now the younger girls are scared of the older and are avoiding them. Rightly so. The more mature hens rank higher in the pecking order and are probably going to be pretty strict in enforcing the pecking order. By pecking! When those younger pullets mature enough to force their way into the pecking order the flocks will probably mingle and merge. It’s not unusual for flocks to break up into sub-flocks with certain groups sticking together. Often but not always these sub-flocks are pullets raised together. It’s always interesting to watch chicken flock dynamics.

    Some people will talk about size of the chickens, but it is not unusual for a bantam to dominate a full-sized fowl. It’s not the size of the chicken in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the chicken and some bantams have a lot of spirit.

    Can a bantam rooster fertilize a full-sized hen’s eggs? Maybe if I know what your specific concern was I could directly address it, but it happen all the time.

    Yes, what you call Peking we call Cochin.

    I’m sorry but his parents were not Cuckoo Pekins unless he is barred. Sure sounds like he is solid black. If his mother is barred it is genetically impossible for him to not be barred. That’s just the way the barring gene works. If he is solid black it is impossible for his father to be pure for barring. That means his father might have one barred gene and one that is not-barred and he passed the not-barred gene to his son.

    Black is a very dominant color. But you are dealing with a gene pair, not a single gene. It’s probable from what you said that he is pure for black (has two black genes) but since his parents are apparently mixed as far as the barring gene goes, it is possible something else is hiding under that black. If he is not pure for black and something else is hiding under that black, you could get a real rainbow of chicks from those hens.

    Let’s assume he is pure for black. With those hens you will get almost all black chicks. It’s possible you will get some with leakage (that’s where a few feathers of another color, either red or white show through) but for all intents and purposes they will be solid black. There are some exceptions though.

    With your blue hens you might get black or blue chicks. Blue is a strange gene. It changes black to blue. About half the offspring will get the blue gene so anything that would normally be black turns blue. The other half are black. The lavender is different. That is a recessive gene and will not have any effect.

    The white hens open up some possibilities. There are two different ways to make a hen solid white. If the hen has recessive white, then she has two genes that match up and hide any other color or pattern the hen may have. Since it is a recessive gene the white will not show up in the next generation, but whatever it is hiding might. Since the rooster is assumed pure for black, that black will probably mask anything that hen might have and the chicks will be black, but there are a few things like barring or blue that could be hiding under there.

    The other possibility for an all-white hen is that she has dominant white. That is a dominant gene that turns any feather that would be black to a white. With that pure black rooster, all the chicks will be white.

    The way I understand the Frizzle gene, it is dominant but if both genes at that gene pair are Frizzle that kills the chick. So any Frizzle will only have one Frizzle gene at that location on the chromosome. That means about half your Frizzle offspring will be Frizzled and half will not be. That also means you should not breed a Frizzle rooster to a Frizzle hen. About ¼ of the chicks will die before hatch. But breeding a Frizzle chicken to a not-Frizzled chicken is fine.

    That’s a whole lot of typing to say most of the chicks will probably be black but you might get a few surprises in the mix.

    Good luck!
    1 person likes this.
  4. Ashley80

    Ashley80 In the Brooder

    Thanks for the replies :) Especially that genetics explanation Ridgerunner! I guess I'll find out in a few months what he might be hiding, the other Pekins from the hatch were a barred roo and a blue roo, they were re-homed before I decided to keep a boy which is a shame in hindsight, it sounds like they might have made for more colourful offspring. Given what you've said I suspect the breeders "pen of cuckoo pekins" was actually a pen of mixed colours that just included some cuckoos, he could have anything hiding in those genes!

    I have read up on Frizzles and I think we're safe there, he has regular feathers and the two frizzle polish are definitely girls so there is no chance of doubling up the gene although I imagine he could make some funny looking babies with those girls!

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