Pyncheon question - inbreeding?

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by aschm01, Sep 25, 2012.

  1. aschm01

    aschm01 Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 6, 2012
    Hello all,

    I am pretty new to this backyard hen hobby, so I started out with eggs of various breeds to see which would be quiet and manageable in my setting. I obtained some Pyncheon eggs from a breeder on ebay and they hatched fairly well, but 3 of the seven who hatched had some kind of neurological disorder/failure to thrive problem, something like wry neck I believe. I have read that such is often a problem with inbreeding in crested breeds. Indeed, the three chicks who failed to thrive and passed away all had apparent crests(tassels?) shortly after birth, whereas the four healthy survivors did not.

    Two of the four healthy birds have since matured and have grown the crests or tassels (one male and one female), however two have regular heads (both female). (I'm sorry, I'm new to this lingo, so I hope I'm making sense). So, what can I expect come spring? If the tasseled roo and the tasseled hen mate, then will their chicks be even more inbred and likely to present with this neurological/failure to thrive problem?

    I'm crazy about these birds and eventually would like to have a few more Pyncheons, They are so cool - so fearless and great foragers, but so tame. I don't want to show the birds necessarily. But I am a huge fan of Nathaniel Hawthorne's writing, so I want to keep them true. Mine have the wrong color legs anyway. I wonder if mixing in an Olandsk dwarf pair might help boost the genetics some? But then the tassles will likely go away for good, right? True Pyncheons seem really hard to find. Or does anyone have any idea about how this breed came to be and how to recreate it or where to look that information up? Hawthorne's family was very American, but his Great, great grandfather (or something like that) was English. Could Pyncheons be derivative of a cross of OEGBs + Crevecoeur or something like that? Any thoughts?

  2. Dovemaiden

    Dovemaiden Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 16, 2012
    Flaming Gorge, Utah
    Very late reply (sorry! ) do you still raise them?
    I have a small flock I've been keeping for quite a while, and they are a very neat little bird.
    You are quite right in observing the failure-to-thrive syndrome in the "new" Pyncheons presented by the hatcheries.
    I think it is a metabolic problem, although I am not totally convinced it is neurological.
    I have observed the same problems (the wry neck) but I think some of that stems from the inherent weakness of the chicks at hatch.

    I've "helped" a few out of the shell that were like that; their necks had been twisted in position for so long since they couldn't pip out that it seemed as if cervical and/or muscle damage occurred during that stressful time when they were trying to break out.

    I could be mistaken in that, of course.

    But if you take into account the way the young birds are growing so quickly, wrong positioning or overly long positioning in the shell without breakout can cause lasting damage to the extremities, e.g. feet, toes, head; I've seen the chicks unable to "untwist" the neck and I wonder if some fusion of the cervical vertebrae is induced by overly long hatch issues.

    I've observed that both the yellow and brown chicks at hatch have issues.

    The problem is apparent more in the brown/grey chicks than the yellows, which is doubly unfortunate since they have the correct red/bay base color at feathering.

    You need that red ground color for the Mille Fleur to be correct.

    Anorexia and failure to thrive (droopy, puffed chicks; no interest in eating; pale coloration in epidermis of all extremities) appears from hatch time.

    Effected chicks display symptoms similar to coccidiosis; but these are not sick from Eimeria.
    I've even tubed some of them when I first started, with hand-feeding formula to try to pull them through; but they either live through the first seven days or they die.

    Whatever this metabolic problem is, it is fatal.

    In the final analysis, it would not be advantageous to save these chicks anyway because of the inherent problems they display at hatch.

    You don't want to be dealing with that in addition to the other problems, and viability is the number one issue; everything else can go on a back-burner.

    This breed has been line-bred to the max; and a couple of faulty traits have been added in along the way that need to be addressed (shanks, pattern, tassel) but all those are secondary problems when you are looking at the viability issue.

    I don't believe the background has Crevecour because of the leg color and crest.

    They appear to be more of a Dutch breed origin; the name Pyncheon, although sounding Frankish, was believed to be the name of the family that had them.

    It is a bit ironic in the story how Hawthorne talks about them being very inbred (yikes! even back then!) and showing various faults.

    He is making a comparison between the chicken flock and the family being inbred as well in the story.

    It takes about four generations to get the Mille Fleur pattern back to where it needs to be.

    The tassel is not hard to recover, genetically, but you need good Pyncheon stock that carries the gene to breed that back.

    The tassel is different from Appenzellers with their "Mohawk" tuft; you don't want that bred in.
    It's a doozy to breed out again!

    If you've ever had an Appenzeller rooster get in with your other breeds of chickens, you know what I mean!

    Besides that, they are large fowl; these are bantams; you don't want to make them larger, which they certainly will do on an outcross since they are genetically "poor" allele-wise.

    Your most common out-cross crested Polish; Houdons; Sultans: Silkies; Crevecouers; La Fleche.

    The first problem you'll run into is a weird one, focused on the nostrils.

    These breeds all have pronounced nares with a broad stop; the Pyncheons are one of the few crested breeds that do not display the flared, back-stopped nostrils you see on these other birds.
    The bill and nostrils just go straight down. The bill should have kind of a brown-red color that you'll see at hatch. It's peculiar to the Pyncheons.

    The little hens in your photo; they need the tassel; how old are they?
    Did you find some other Pyncheons for breeding?

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by