Silkie color genetics

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by eestep8, Mar 31, 2009.

  1. eestep8

    eestep8 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 15, 2009
    SW Ohio
    I know nothing about genetics. So, I was wondering if there was an "Idiots" guide to silkie color genetics? Like how do you get blue, splash, mottled, or cuckoo colors? A good website that explains it all in plain english would be great. lol
    I would like to breed silkies in the near future.
     
  2. Poulets De Cajun

    Poulets De Cajun Overrun With Chickens

    Silkie genetics work like all other poultry color genetics. The exception is that not every color is accepted as standard. If you want to breed Silkies, I recommend studying the breed closer and when you decide on a variety, focus on it specifically. There are only 7 recognized colors of Silkies; buff, blue, black, splash, partrige, gray, and of course white.

    If you like competition, raise the white variety.

    If you want to be different, raise the blue/black/splash varieties as these are the only colors that can be 'interbred.'

    If you are a masochist, raise buffs as there is a lot of culling involved.

    If you are a die hard for punishment, raise partridge as this is one of the hardest colors to get right.

    You'll find other colors like Lavender, Cuckoo, "porcelain", Birchen, Columbian, and a whole host of other colors that people dont know what they are, so they just assign names to like 'pink tipped buff.' Some of these like Lavender are nearly perfect and very close to being accepted as standard, but the others arent.

    By studying a broad spectrum of genetics, you'll get confused fairly quickly. Start off by studying one or two varieties and build up from there.
     
    Llamachief likes this.
  3. Byrdj

    Byrdj Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 7, 2008
    Commerce, GA
    That's why I'm sticking to white Silkies for now! I have a neighbor who has great looking show quality gray Silkies she bought from a breeder. I thought about buying some hatching eggs from her at some point but don't know how to tell the difference between gray and blue Silkies. I know that Andalusian blue doesn't breed true and gray does, but what you you describe the color differences to be? Are quality grays hard to breed to standard, and what are the most common problem areas with them?
     
  4. Poulets De Cajun

    Poulets De Cajun Overrun With Chickens

    Greay Silkies are very easy to tell from blue silkies. Blue Silkies should have dark navy blue hackles and a lighter body, and Gray Silkies should have light silver hackles with a darker body.


    Grays (picture from internet)

    [​IMG]


    Blue (picture from internet)

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

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    Tempe, Arizona
    Greys are a patterned bird; blues are essentially solid coloured.

    Grey is partridge with silver rather than gold. The hardest part about grey is avoiding autosomal red.

    The hardest part about blue is getting lighter (versus too dark) shades.

    I will disagree with Chris' assessment that buffs and partridges are hard. I think that getting good blues is as hard. Of course, part of the success or failures of breeding quality birds is the quality of the breeder birds.

    I am getting very consistent results on my partridge--I have a brooder full of nice looking youngsters. It is generally harder to tell the quality of males as their colour is very late coming in. However, they are a variety where the appearance is significantly diferent in male and female--I can tell gender with partridge MUCH earlier than other varieties.

    My main problem with buffs have been quality males. When I've had a good cock with a good comb, both shape and colour, the babies have all been really nice. My biggest problem has been acquiring and keeping a quality buff cock.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2009
  6. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

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    My grey pullet: [​IMG]
     
  7. StrawberryHouseMouse

    StrawberryHouseMouse Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 23, 2009
    Cleveland, Tennessee
    >.> little secret in my future plans. I had decided to take my favorite breed and try to get my favorite color variety. Which is silver laced. -Gasp- [​IMG]

    maybe you will see me around some time in the distant future with some silkies colored like this.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Byrdj

    Byrdj Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 7, 2008
    Commerce, GA
    Great information. I can easily distinquish between blue and gray now. I learn so much from you Silkie experts. The same neighbor that bought the show quality grays also bought a Partridge rooster. He's the best Partridge I've see. I'll try to get a picture of him and post so you can critique him.
     
  9. Poulets De Cajun

    Poulets De Cajun Overrun With Chickens

    Quote:Well ALL varieties are HARD to get good birds with, but of ALL the varieties, Buff and Patridge are probably the hardest. And by hardest I mean least consistant. Your partridge may look completely different than the next person's down the show isle. I dont think I've EVER seen two partridges even look remotely alike. Even at Nationals there weren't two birds that looked alike. And the only reason I said buffs, is because they have so much black in the feathers that you have to hatch and cull 50 smutty birds before you get 5 good clear or nearly clear ones.

    Blues aren't hard because blue is going to produce blue is going to produce blue. Now you may get some off color in there, the hackles may be lighter than they need to be, the entire bird may be too light or too dark, but blue is blue is blue all day long.
     
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  10. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

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    Select, select, select.

    However, smutty buffs is not something I have had to worry about. I have had to worry, to an extent, about black in the primaries & tails.

    With my firsts, the biggest issue was the boys gnarly, too red combs and lack of type. I've had difficulty hanging on to good boys. Lost a very sweet, very typy cock while I was gone at Christmas. I did get a couple of chicks from him, who are maturing well. Without a buff cock, I am trying to experiment with a ginger red cockerel to see how that will work--unfortunately, the buff ladies are on strike. He has absolutely NO black, but is lacking in crest. Since they all have large crests, I hope they will pair okay, but without eggs, ...

    My issue with blue is getting sufficiently light colour that it registers visually as blue. When crossed to a non-silkie, the blue is always the perfect shade, but on silkies it is dark, dark, dark. If you read some of the more advanced genetics site, blue is considered a difficult colour to get right--that is certainly my experience. Buff has been a walk in the park, comparatively.

    I don't have off-colours in my blues except on one cross who is in my layer flock, not to mention also being my best broody (who else has a bird who will raise THREE clutches in a row, without a break, hatching only the first?, and will take any chick you give her and happily decide it's time to "mommy.")
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2009

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