Red vs Mahogany vs Copper

Discussion in 'Exhibition, Genetics, & Breeding to the SOP' started by ZooAtHome, Jul 14, 2019.

  1. ZooAtHome

    ZooAtHome Songster

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    I'm fairly new to the chicken world and haven't done any breeding yet, but I've been reading up on breed descriptions and standards of perfection. A few times now, I've come across phrases like "true red, not mahogany" or "no mahogany leakage" or "lustrous deep copper, no mahogany". Thing is, I have no idea what distinguishes a color as red, mahogany or copper.

    Does anyone have any pictures they can share that are good examples of these colors? Just to help a newbie understand what the differences are. I'm finding chicken genetics fascinating, but translating words into colors in my brain is proving challenging and Google hasn't been very helpful with that. I could really use some visual input on this one.

    Thanks in advance!
     
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  2. nicalandia

    nicalandia Crowing

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    I would like to point out that the terms you are mentioning come from the SOP or from show/type breeders that focus on the phenotype of the birds(the looks) and not the genetics behind them.
     
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  3. nicalandia

    nicalandia Crowing

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    There are basically three genes that affect the red coloration in chickens, two very well understood and one very obscured.

    Sex linked recessive gold s+(s+/- for females and s+/s+ for males)
    Autosomal Mahogany(Mh/Mh, dominant over the wildtype mh+, has no effect on silver based chick down)
    Autosomal red(named Ap by brian reeder, could be also polygenic)

    Please take a moment to read this article written by outstanding breeder Grant Brereton: The Other Type of Gold (Red) https://poultrykeeper.com/poultry-breeding/the-other-type-of-gold-red/
     
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  4. ZooAtHome

    ZooAtHome Songster

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    True, but the phenotypes are determined by the genetics. In any case, I would really like a better understanding of what is commonly meant by these color terms.
     
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  5. ZooAtHome

    ZooAtHome Songster

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    Thank you for the link. I have bookmarked that article for future perusal. Today is a coop/run building day. EDIT: Read it during lunch. Very interesting and informative and a great example of just how complex chicken genetics really are, but sadly it didn't help at all regarding the visual differences in red, mahogany and copper.

    I am still interested in seeing photos of these different colors, if anyone has them. Thanks in advance.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2019
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  6. nicalandia

    nicalandia Crowing

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    It would be really nice to know what was the breed of the SOP you were reading to have a better understanding and to look for pictures.
     
  7. nicalandia

    nicalandia Crowing

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    Red on the Left, gold on the right
    [​IMG]


    Mahogany
    DK-BROWN-LEGHORN-BANTAMS__element76.jpg


    Copper(only used by Maran breeders as no other breed mentions it)
    BlackCopper1.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2019
  8. ZooAtHome

    ZooAtHome Songster

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    I didn't name a specific breed because I've been reading about several and trying to get a handle on what is meant by various patterns and colors in general. That said, I have a pair of Black Copper Marans which recently started showing their "copper" feathers, thus spurring the specific question regarding red vs mahogany vs copper, so I guess starting there is as good a place as any.

    I'm really just trying to put these colors in context when it comes to chickens. "Red" can mean different colors depending on where it is used. For example, "red" with cats is really more of an orange, yet "red" in dogs is more of a reddish-brown, or what I would consider "mahogany." As an artist, I can tell you that my red pencils and paints are not at all the same as any of the "reds" we describe in animals. To further confuse matters, when it comes to chickens, a "red" comb and a "red" feather are not at all the same color. Since I am brand new to chickens, I don't yet know what "red" means when it comes to poultry.

    My reading thus far has led me to conclude that, when it comes to chickens, there is a discernible difference between red, mahogany and copper, especially given that, in some cases, these color variations are used to describe whether or not the bird conforms to the SOP. However, nothing I've read to date actually explains the difference between red vs mahogany vs copper, the articles just assume you already know, which I don't. Thus, I'm just trying to figure out what that difference is. Reading the words without any visual examples makes it difficult to quantify them, so I am in search of visual examples to aid my understanding. Honestly, I thought this would be a simple question and that learning to differentiate them was just a matter of comparing enough birds with those colors pointed out. I figured a good way to do this was to ask people to share pictures of their red, mahogany and copper chickens so I could actually see the colors.
     
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  9. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Crowing

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    Nicalania provided example photos above. Also was mentioned to look up photos of Copper Marans as that is the color. A good example of red vs. mahogany would be to look up hatchery Rhode Island Reds or Production Reds then look up breeder quality Rhode Island Reds. The breeder quality birds are mahogany, hatchery stock is red.
     
  10. ZooAtHome

    ZooAtHome Songster

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    I've actually already done this, prior to creating this thread. Colors varied considerably, which is what confused me. As for Rhode Island Reds, most of them look brown or reddish brown to me. Some are so dark they are almost black. The reddish brown, I assume, is the mahogany. None were what I would think of as "red" which is why I posted the question in the first place. I thought maybe seeing how others classified the colors might clear things up a bit.

    I did look at Nicalandia's pictures above and they did help. Based on those alone, it seems that mahogany is a deeper, brownish-red and copper is a brighter, orange-red.

    I'm getting the feeling that colors and color names are not consistent across breeds though, which would explain why I can't seem to pin them down. I had also assumed that if specific colors were mentioned in a SOP, that meant those colors had an accepted definition or range. That definition or range was what I was looking for; however, I'm beginning to think that base assumption was incorrect. The more I delve into it, the more subjective it seems to be ... which, admittedly, is often the case when it comes to color. We all seem to see and interpret them a bit differently.

    I'd still be interested in seeing pics of birds with these colors, just to see just how varied everyone's interpretation of them is. However, I don't expect to find a firm definition of each color, as I suspect one doesn't exist. As I said above, it seems to be very subjective.
     

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