Orpington Breeding Questions

Discussion in 'Exhibition, Genetics, & Breeding to the SOP' started by micanopy farm, Mar 13, 2017.

  1. micanopy farm

    micanopy farm Hatching

    Mar 12, 2017
    I have several Orpington varieties and I recently started trying to learn more about crossing in order to get certain coloring. I found so much different info that it's a bit overwhelming. I was wondering if I can list the chickens we have, and see if I can make other orpington colors or varieties from crossing them.
    We have;
    Black Orpington
    Lavender Orpington
    White Orpington
    Chocolate Orpington
    Silver laced orpington
    Gold Laced Orpington

    We have crossed one of our black orpingoton hens with lavender( Lost our black rooster and put her in with the lavenders so she wasn't alone). The chicks that we hatched from that came out black. From what I understand, That chick is "Split" black and lavender? I am new to the terminology but I want to learn more. Any input would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    Lavender is a recessive gene that modifies black when it pairs up. It does not affect other colors, only black. It is not a sex linked gene so both parents will have two copies of genes at that point on the DNA. Since it is recessive if the chicken has one copy of Lavender and one copy of not-Lavender the chicken will show no effects of having the gene, the chicken will look black. If the chicken would normally be solid black but the recessive Lavender gene pairs up, you get a solid Lavender chicken. If the chicken would normally be a red chicken with a black tail, if it pairs up you get a red chicken with a Lavender tail.

    When you breed a Lavender chicken with a true black chicken you get a Black. That chicken has one copy of lavender and one copy of not-Lavender at that point on the DNA. That’s called split for that gene. But those chickens will not breed true to black. If you cross two chickens split for Lavender, you will get about ¼ lavender when the recessive Lavender pairs up, about ½ split for Lavender and showing Black, and about ¼ pure for Black. If you cross a true Black chicken with a chicken split for Lavender you’ll get about ½ Lavender and ½ Black.

    You should not consider a chicken split for Lavender to be a true black. In later generations that recessive gene can show up and be a big surprise. That happened to me with a different recessive gene and it is a pain trying to breed that recessive gene out of my flock. You never know if that recessive gene is hiding in a chicken or not when you select breeders.

    Chocolate is another recessive gene that modifies black so it is pretty similar, but there is a big difference. Chocolate is a sex linked gene. That means a Chocolate rooster has two genes at that location on his DNA but a hen only has one gene. If you are not familiar with sex linked genes the first post in this thread explains it.

    Tadkerson’s Sex Link Thread

    The Chocolate rooster gives a copy of one of those genes to all his offspring but the hen only gives a copy of hers to her sons. That means if you cross a Chocolate rooster with a Black hen, the males will be split for Chocolate and will look black. But the pullets will only inherit a Chocolate from their father and nothing from their mother so they will look Chocolate and can be considered pure for Chocolate. So those pullets will breed true for Chocolate but the cockerels will be split and not breed true. From your breeds that’s the only case I see where you wind up with anything not split.

    If you cross a gold laced rooster with a silver laced hen you will get a red sex link. I’m not sure how easy it will be to see the difference in the red and yellow down when the chick hatches with that specific cross but I’d think it would be pretty easy. But the males will be split and won’t breed true. The pullets will breed true for gold but there are probably other genes that would be split so they may not breed true for other things. I’m not sure about that though.

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