so - asking for a bit of breeding advice

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
13 Years
Nov 12, 2009
western South Dakota
I put a large combed, brown speckled (with orange, red and white) rooster over some riff-raff hens. A BO, a couple of EE, and a white rock, (which I am pretty sure produced a black barred rooster).

I like the barring in brown, with the gold, orange white and red just blends into the prairie grass. I only got 3 pullets out of this whole deal. The girls are mostly golden, one though is more barred. They have small combs, and one even has the EE muff.

Looking at the roosters that I am about to harvest, one has the large bielfelder comb, but the others are small. One is very prettily barred in the colors that I want.

I think it would be best, to keep the father, and cross back over the daughters, and try and hatch from the heavily barred pullet, then tocull that rooster and keep the son?

What do you think?


Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Nov 23, 2010
St. Louis, MO
I think when you mix up breeds like that, there is no predicting what you will get.

I have crossed a white ameraucana with black penedesencas. The off spring have been every color you could imagine as were the combs. The combs were everywhere from the mother's pea comb to the father's carnation comb.


Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Nov 27, 2012
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
Depends on your goals.

With a mixed bag like you have, you'd need to segregate the eggs in the bator and band the chicks to know what cross of the birds you have will give you what you want as the chicks mature.
It's complicated and labor intensive and will take months to see what is what.


Premium Feather Member
14 Years
Feb 2, 2009
Southeast Louisiana
I’m not quite sure what you are after. Barring is a sex linked gene. Males can give it to all their offspring but hens can give it to their sons only. Hens will not give barring to their daughters. That’s why you can make Black Sex links using barring. Since barring is dominant you will be able to see it if only one of the gene pair in the rooster is barred, unless it is an all-white chicken.

I think you want barring but don’t know which of your parent flock has barring. Since you said at least one of the pullets is barred, that means the rooster has to have at least on copy of barring and the rooster sounds like he is the basic colors you want. So yes, it would make sense to use him for the next generation.

I’m a little confused though. Why didn’t you just say you wanted them all to look like the rooster? I feel like I’m missing something. Since one of the young roosters has barring and the colors you want, he may be the best one to use.

You mentioned comb size but you don’t say what the significance of that is. What do you want? What combs do the other chickens have? Is this really important to you?

In theory, comb genetics is pretty simple and basic. In practice it can get messy. That’s true of most chicken genetics. You have two genes that affect basic comb type, pea and rose. If the chicken has just one of these, you get that comb. If the chicken has none of these, you get single. If the chicken has both of these, you get walnut. Pretty simple so far, huh?

Pea + no rose = pea
No pea + rose = rose
No pea + no rose = single
Pea + rose = walnut.

There are two different kickers to this though. There are a lot of modifiers out there that can change the appearance drastically. One can give a buttercup effect. You can get a Vee comb, those look pretty wild. Some may make the comb taller or shorter, floppy or more erect, or other effects. Some of these are going to be dominant, some recessive, some may be partially dominant, and some may have an effect only if another specific gene is present.

I can confuse you even more. The rose gene is dominant. If you have just one rose gene at that gene pair, you will see the full rose effect. But the pea gene is partially dominant. That means if both genes at that gene pair are pea, you get the full pea effect. But if you only have one of those genes at that gene pair, you only get a partial effect. I call it a wonky pea. Of course it depends on what modifiers are present, but it’s sort of a mix between pea and single.

Since both pea and rose will show up if they are there, if you want single combs, try to avoid breeding birds with pea or rose. If you want a different comb, keep pea or rose or both in the mix.

Canoe is exactly right. When you breed crosses, you can get a real wide range of results in the first generation, especially if you use unrelated crosses from different breeds or colors/patterns. But when you select which offspring to breed you can greatly reduce that genetic diversity. You can start concentrating on certain colors/patterns. You can still get a lot of diversity in color/pattern but you have started narrowing it down. If you are fairly consistent in picking your breeders it doesn’t take that many generations to get close to where you want to be. It’s sort of like that 20-80 rule. 20% of the effort gives you 80% of the results, but it takes 80% of the effort to get that final 20%.

What I’m about to tell you is going to fly in the face of what many serious breeders on here will tell you. I ran the math myself (I am an engineer and it still got really messy) and then I discussed it with one of the genetic experts on here. As far as pure genetic diversity or removing genetic diversity from your flock, there is no difference in breeding full brother/sister or breeding parent/offspring. Breeding half-siblings gives you even more genetic diversity. I’m talking about the kind of genetic diversity that helps keep them more resistant to diseases, keeps them fertile, and all the other things that genetic diversity affects. Color/pattern are included in this too.

Why then is parent/offspring (line breeding) so often recommended while siblings are to be avoided? When you are breeding for certain traits you don’t want genetic diversity, at least in the traits you are breeding for. If you breed a chicken that is strong in the traits you want to their offspring that also show those traits, you greatly enhance the traits you want to enhance. Since you ae not selecting for other traits, those stay as mixed as they can.

Line breeding is usually used to develop a championship line, but then they often switch to a spiral breeding program (breeding cousins) to maintain the other genetic diversity yet maintain the traits they want. A good breeder can keep his/her line going forever and maintain sufficient genetic diversity. But it’s not always easy. That’s why they have to be good.

I don’t know which of your chickens have the traits you want so I can’t really make any recommendations other than breed the chickens that show the traits you want and try to eliminate the others. Good luck!


Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Nov 23, 2010
St. Louis, MO
There are hundreds of breeds and many varieties(colors) of each. Since you don't mind butchering chickens, I recommend you find a breed/variety that meets your desires for color size and comb. Obtain them and then it won't take many years to achieve what you desire in chickens.

Especially since you don't have the patience to breed dozens of generations with all the setbacks that involves.

You need to learn about more breeds and varieties so you can figure out what you want.
To that end, here are some breed charts.
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Hopelessly Addicted
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Jun 18, 2010
Southern Oregon
Isn't your rooster a Bielefelder? Aren't they barred, rather than speckled?

If your rooster is good for you, I'd keep him and put him back over the daughters and your other hens. His daughters should have the barring gene, and crossing them back to him should only strengthen the barring that comes through. When you put him over non-barred hens, his sons will only carry one barring gene, and only half their offspring will be barred. I'd keep Dad for another season at least, if he's good in all other respects.

I totally get the being bored thing....and it is slow, especially in December when nothing's happening. Just waiting for birds to grow up

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