Possibly unanswerable genetics question

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by ella, Aug 26, 2008.

  1. ella

    ella Songster

    Wow it's been awhile since I actually posted a question.

    So I'm wondering about my Delaware pullets. My question is: Just what kinda white are they? Dominant? Recessive? Do they have the silver gene?

    I have some clues *and pics* but don't know what I'm looking for or even if it's possible to know by looking at them. So that's the info I'm looking for. I am interested because it's likely I'll breed them at some point and would like to know what to expect.

    Here they are:


    As you can see, Lulu has some muddy buffish coloring to her feathers. Her legs are bright yellow.


    Sophie appears pure. She has always had a slightly greenish cast to her legs.

    Anybody have an answer? [​IMG]
  2. Vcomb

    Vcomb Songster

    Aug 19, 2008
    South Dakota
    My Coop
    i'd say the first one is either impure or showing some of the breed's ancestry. other one looks good though. from what i remember they are silver, columbian, and barred.
  3. Blisschick

    Blisschick not rusty

    Feb 20, 2007
    Shepherd, Texas
    If there is some form of red or buff showing in the white, then it's dominant white. I'm not sure of the genotype of Delawares, but I think Vcomb is right in that they're barred silver columbian (or something like that).
  4. Kev

    Kev Crowing

    Jan 13, 2008
    Sun City, California
    Delawares are not one of the two common "whites".

    They are just simply the same pattern as a Light Brahma, Columbian Rocks(columbian anything actually.. the color pattern is called Columbian- a mostly solid colored body with black on hackles and tail in both sexes, usually the name gets tagged only to birds that also have Silver, which makes the body white.. If they did not have Silver, they would typically have a buff body- an excellent example is Light and Buff Brahmas.. the very same pattern except former has Silver and the latter does not) with the addition(in Delawares) of sex linked barring for the bars on the tail and neck.

    In other words, those are due to several different genes making for a mostly white bird, not a single gene per se.

    Silver usually helps with making for a clean white color/areas although it sometimes can be leaky. It can also be a challenge to keep the right amount of black in tails and hackles in Columbian colors, it can range from very little black(like that hen) or too much black.
  5. wclawrence

    wclawrence Songster

    Good post Kev.
  6. SusanJoM

    SusanJoM Songster

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Unanswerable doesn't compute when we have the likes of Kev around....

  7. seriousbill

    seriousbill Songster

    May 4, 2008
    Hi ella,

    Your Sophie is a pretty bird, and a lot of Delawares have a slightly willowy yellow color to the legs; it seems to be a common problem even in good lines. I usually just try to breed for better color as I go along, but I've seen many, many birds with legs such as you describe.

    As to the buffish smut on the other bird; well, that is something that you sometimes see in hatchery Delawares. I have also seen that kind of smut in female 1st generation crosses of Delaware males to production red females (looks exactly like your pic). Usually, if you backcross such females to a pure Delaware male, the gold smut completely clears out. Kev is right that silver can sometimes leak, usually black at the shoulders in the roos. But, from what I've seen, it can pretty easily wipe out gold in a couple of generations.
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2008
  8. s6bee

    s6bee Songster

    Jul 1, 2007
    Western, NY
    I have a Deleware ( she was picture of the week a few months ago, Ming-Ming is her name ) and though she looks very white in the picture, she's got that dirty look to her as well. I guess it's what happens sometimes....
  9. ella

    ella Songster

    Aw thanks, you guys are awesome!

    I don't have a Delaware male and anyway if I was going for purebreds I would've gone with a breeder, not a hatchery.

    It's funny none of my purebreds really match the breed standard, I wouldn't dare take them to a show! So I match individuals in my flock according to their attributes. I have a clear goal of building a healthy, decent laying, cold hardy flock that looks 'pretty'. I'm thrilled with the individuals I've bred and I love seeing my flock grow.

    So these girls are ready to go for sex links huh? [​IMG] Sweet.
  10. seeker55

    seeker55 In the Brooder

    Aug 17, 2008
    Hi Ella,

    Was very interested to learn of your goals to breed for utility and create a pure bred flock for egg-laying, health and cold-hardiness while remaining true to the Delaware breed standards.

    I read this in Roy D. Crawford: Poultry Breeding and Genetics. pp. 1035-1036, "laying records achieved by pure breeds such as Light Brahmas, Columbian & Barred Plymouth Rocks, Brown Leghorns, and White Wyandottes would rival the best of today's hybrids, but these breeds lost out because of lack of flock consistency."

    In addition to those who breed for exhibition, fighting etc., it would be wonderful if there could be a meeting of minds of those (such as yourself) who would like to revive pure breeds for their utility functions [meat, eggs] and breed flocks and strains with the original intent in mind.

    In such a venture, tiny phenotypic variations like a green cast to the shanks [that are in fact characteristic of many local/indigenous breeds ofthe Indian subcontinent], or small feathering issues unacceptable to the fancier would be ignored. Indeed, some color [white -->red] issues MUST be ignored because they involve melanocortin receptors 1-4, associated with weight gain, muscle mass, fat deposition, food conversion efficiency etc.

    The fanatical show bench standards emphasize simply one quality, aesthetics, to the possible exclusion of those other qualities that led to the development of the breed in the first place. It is a hollowing out of the breed, just as excessive utility concerns too hae hollowed out the dual-purpose Dark Indian Game, according to a thoughtful essay by E. Traverse.

    If the Light Brahma or Brown Leghorn [to mention just 2] can be brought back to the level of first rate layers without torment to the birds or their physiologies, each can fill a needed niche in the backyard or small farm flock, say climate-wise or with respect to dual-purpose use.

    Would love to hear your critique.


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