Silkie breeding genetics ?

22lilchickens

Chirping
5 Years
Oct 3, 2014
166
7
61
Virginia
So I'm starting to try to breed silkies, I have two mature white silkies that I got that came from flock of AI and NIPH certified. They are really good looking birds , well I hatched some eggs from them and so far there babies look great. I plan on keeping then hens. But I have a question , I got what I thought to be a black pullet from my uncle who has like every color of silkie ever , but now as she gets older she is a partridge. I'm gonna put her in the pen with my whites until I can find a rooster that I like. What would the chicks look like with a white crossed with a partridge ?
 

QueenMisha

Queen of the Coop
Jan 14, 2015
6,022
965
316
Placerville, California, USA
The unfortunate thing about Whites is that there is no straightforward answer to "what will White crossed with X color look like?"

Think of White as a coat of paint. Whites are not genetically white, they are another color with a "coat" of white "paint" over the top. They may be Partridge, they may be Blue, they may be Cuckoo. There is simply no way to know just by looking, because the white gene (either I/I or c/c) acts like a coat of paint over it all, switching off all pigment in the feathers.

The typical White in Silkies is recessive (c/c). Very rarely you will find a dominant white (I/I) Silkie, but it's not common. I don't know how much you know about genetics but recessive means you need two copies of the gene for it to show. So if a bird is recessive white, you will only get white offspring by A. Crossing a white with a white, B. Crossing a white with a white carrier (C/c), or C. Crossing two white carriers together. So unless your Partridge bird is carrying recessive white for some reason, the offspring will look like Partridge x whatever color the white is hiding. For example, if the white was genetically Blue, the E and Bl genes would take over and you'd get 50% black and 50% blue offspring, who would also carry the white gene (and could produce white offspring if bred back to a white or white carrier).
 

Wappoke

Chirping
Dec 5, 2015
336
88
81
From your description, she is not partridge but is a genetically black hen. She carries genes that make a chicken's plumage black. You could cross her with a white rooster but the F1 offspring will most likely all be more or less black in color. This result depends on if the hen is pure for the genes that produce black plumage. It is possible that some of the offspring would be more or less black and others would be similar to a partridge color. If the black hen is carrying a recessive white gene, then some of the offspring will also be white. Backcrossing the F1 females with the white rooster will produce white BC1 offspring and some BC1 offspring with partridge color and some with black color.

The genes that produce partidge color are wild type or brown at the E locus and gold at the sex-linked silver locus. Birds with a slate under color are brown at the E locus and birds that have a gray under color are wild type.
 

QueenMisha

Queen of the Coop
Jan 14, 2015
6,022
965
316
Placerville, California, USA
So what is a partridge gene?and how do I tell


Partridge is not so much a gene as it is a pattern. It's based on several genes; including the E-locus groundcolor gene eb (as I recall. I believe other genes are involved to get penciling in the feathers, someone correct me if I am wrong). The phenotype results in female birds looking like the pullet that SilkiesnFrizzles posted. Males are Wildtype.

You can only determine what color a White is hiding by test-breeding it.

MY little pullet is black with gold leakage around her neck?could she have the genes?


I doubt she has any kind of Partridge genes in her. Maybe Birchen, but even then I would consider it doubtful. Most likely she simply lacks some melanizers. Even a completely black (E/E) bird requires additional melanizers to make them pure black. A few generations of lax breeding and gold in the hackle or red in the wings can easily become commonplace. Gold hackles are especially common in black Silkies; the breed seems to have a tendency towards the flaw.

Are you looking to breed Silkies as showbirds and to the SOP or are you simply breeding for fun and enjoyment of the breed?
 

Wappoke

Chirping
Dec 5, 2015
336
88
81
partridge secondary color pattern is normally due to the following genotype - brown/brown (E locus), gold/gold or gold/_, and pattern/pattern e^b/e^b, s+/s+, Pg/Pg in male and e^b/e^b, s+/_, Pg/Pg in female
 

trimquick

In the Brooder
5 Years
Jul 6, 2014
15
0
24
Cullman al
Hey there wanting to breed silkies.i have located some white one.my question how can I get information on cross breeding .i like the blacks blues to..but by now you can tell I don't know the first thing about this. Can you stir me in the right direction. Thankd
 

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