the Blackest Ones: on exploring the significance of Cemani mutations

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by Resolution, Jun 17, 2011.

  1. Resolution

    Resolution Chillin' With My Peeps

    Like India, Thailand and China, Indonesia would appear to have a significant number of native chicken races developed in antiquity to the exclusion of other breed races.




    There is some fantastic scientific information streaming out about the origins of domestic fowl. The significance of genetic diversity amongst chickens is invaluable.
    We learn about the validity of breed and breed types by learning about their origins.
    Of particular interest to us is the molecular data coming from China.
    For example, we know that the largest diversity of chicken breeds originated in South East Asia, specifically, in regions bordering the the Gulf of Tonkin.
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    Mainland Red Junglefowl
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    Philippines Red Junglefowl



    Molecular data has shown us that not all chickens originated in those countries bordering the Gulf of Tonkin. Quite separately, in an independent domestication event many thousands of miles across the sea to the south, domestication of another junglefowl was also underway. That centre of distribution was the island of Java.

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    Note the geographic location of the island of Java and look to the north and west to locate Vietnam. From Vietnam you can switch views the map above to gain a better comprehension where the Gulf og Tonkin is in relation to Java.

    The two forms of red junglefowl are so similar in appearance it is difficult to distinguish them. What separates them is time and space. They were once a single species and at some point in prehistory, climatic events (probably theMount Toba Event ) destroyed vast stretches of forest biomes that once covered all of Southern Asia (Indian sub-continent), South Eastern Asia and Indonesia. That series of catastrophic events isolated two respective populations of Red Junglefowl. One population survived in southern Indonesia (Java) and the other in mainland continental Asia. The two are still phenotypically very similar. They are not distinct species. Indeed, populations of Red Junglefowl in Sumatra are a melting pot of the two respective populations that radiated back into forests that have regenerated over the tens of thousands of years since the super-volcanic event that separated them to begin with.



    With the aim of elucidating in greater detail the genealogical origin of the present domestic fowls of the world, we have determined mtDNA sequences of the D-loop regions for a total of 21 birds, of which 12 samples belong to red junglefowl (Gallus gallus) comprising three subspecies (six Gallus gallus gallus, three Gallus gallus spadiceus, and three Gallus gallus bankiva) and nine represent diverse domestic breeds (Gallus gallus domesticus). We also sequenced four green junglefowl (Gallus varius), two Lafayette's junglefowl (Gallus lafayettei), and one grey junglefowl (Gallus sonneratii). We then constructed a phylogenetic tree for these birds by the use of nucleotide sequences, choosing the Japanese quail (Coturnix coturnix japonica) as an outgroup. We found that a continental population of G. g. gallus was the real matriarchical origin of all the domestic poultries examined in this study. It is also of particular interest that there were no discernible differences among G. gallus subspecies; G. g. bankiva was a notable exception. This was because G. g. spadiceus and a continental population of G. g. gallus formed a single cluster in the phylogenetic tree. G. g. bankiva, on the other hand, was a distinct entity, thus deserving its subspecies status. It implies that a continental population of G. g. gallus sufficed as the monophyletic ancestor of all domestic breeds. We also discussed a possible significance of the initial dispersal pattern of the present domestic fowls, using the phylogenetic tree.

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    male Indonesian Red Junglefowl Gallus bankiva

    One subspecies of the red junglefowl (Gallus gallus gallus) suffices as the matriarchical ancestor of all domestic breeds

    Akishinonomiya Fumihito

    *Yamashina Institute for Ornithology, 115 Tsutsumine-aza, Konoyama, Abiko-shi, Chiba Prefecture 270-11, Japan

    ABSTRACT

    The noncoding gcontrol region of the mitochondrial DNA of various gallinaceous birds was studied with regard to its restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) and sequences of the first 400 bases. Tandem duplication of the 60-base unit was established as a trait unique to the genus Gallus, which is shared neither by pheasants nor by quails. Unlike its close ally Gallus varius (green junglefowl),the red junglefowl Gallus gallus is a genetically very diverse species;the 7.0% sequence divergence was seen between those from Thai- land(G.g.gallus and G.g.spadiceus)and the other from the Indonesian island of Java (G. g. Bankiva). Furthermore, the divergence increased to 27.83% if each transversion is regarded as an equivalent of 10 transitions. On the other hand, a mere 0.5-3.0% difference(all transitions)separated various domestic breeds of the chicken from two G.g.gallus of Thailand, thus indicating a single domestication event in the area inhabited by this subspecies of the red junglefowl as the origin of all domestic breeds. Only transitions separated six diverse domesticated breeds.

    Nevertheless, a 2.75% difference was seen between RFLP type I breeds(White Leghorn and Nagoya)and a RFLP type VIII breed(Ayam Pelung).The above data suggested that although the mitochondrion of RFLP type V was the main contributor to domestication,hens of other RFLP types also contributed to this event.

    Nevertheless, the people of Java domesticated their native Indonesian Red Junglefowl Gallus g. bankiva , thousands of years before the first domestic fowl from the mainland of Asia arrived on that great island. The oldest breeds of Java represent this uniquely Indonesian genetic lineage. They are RFLP type VIII breeds.


    There are two native junglefowl species on the island of Java, the Indonesian Red Junglefowl Gallus bankiva and the Javanese Green Junglefowl Gallus varius.. Whereas female Indonesian Red Junglefowl were, at one point in time ~ 12,000 years ago, the only domestic fowl on the island of Java. Indonesians actually had the two native species of Junglefowl to work with to generate their domestic fowl. Male Green Junglefowl were hybridized with certain strains of RFLP type VIII breeds to produce ceremonial creatures, generated for their voices and plumage rather than their fighting capacity, meat or eggs. These hybrids were somewhat fecund with hybrid males fertilizing female RFLP type VIII strains that in turn contributed genetics to local and regional strains of fowl. Consequently, Mutations unknown amongst those domestic fowl descended of mainland Red Junglefowl native to regions around the Gulf of Tonkin, were probably present from the earliest days.

    Getting back to the Ayam Cemani.
    Recombination of some of these enigmatic mutations derived of some level of more or less regular contact with hybrid sires led to the development of unusual land race breeds uniquely suited for life in the environmental realities of Indonesia. Whereas recombination between RFLP type VIII breed females and male Green Junglefowl probably initially created certain mutations, these ancient breed types proved poorly suited for the level of production and disease tolerance of mainland Asia derived forms.
    The Javanese simply couldn't produce enough of their unique mutations to meet demand for them. For example, black boned mutations were particularly desired by Chinese ethnics and traded widely all around the South China Sea and on to Japan and beyond. Recombination between mainland Asia derived chickens with the traditional Indonesian breed types was inevitable. Eventually, it was discovered that mainland Asiatic breed types were more amenable to close inbreeding than the Indonesians, especially those of hybrid origin where genetic outbreeding is already an issue, producing a significant percentage of sterile birds. They were able to lock mutations onto the mainland derived forms and then breeding them to type at higher numbers than experienced with the archaic Indonesian breed types.

    Eventually, Europeans arrived and carried with them a new breed type, hitherto unknown in Asia, the Mediterranean egg production breed types. After a few centuries of Dutch colonialism, the Mediterranean breed type physical characteristics came to be preferred over old Asiatic types. But typically for the Indonesians, recombination of the best of both world went to work and in a few centuries, land races like the Kedu emerged. These were often highly localised breeds of unusual vigour or appearance, the Dutch valued as much as traditionalist Javanese and Sundanese islanders. Some strains would continue to have matriarchal ancestors of the original RFLP type VIII breeds and sires of the Mediterranean type breeds. These recombined composites would come to be the foundation of many Dutch breeds that we consider very old. We have to remember that the poultry industry as it were was thousands of years old in Indonesia before the first European arrived.

    That said, the Dutch relied on poultry for a greater percentage of their nutrition than the Indonesians who continue to keep fowl for ceremonial reasons including fighting and singing. Strictly utilitarian or ornamental import of the domestic fowl usurped the animistic tradition at the very foundation of domesticated fowl.




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    Violaceous Bekisar the hybrid between Green Junglefowl male and red junglefowl female.


    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1994PNAS...9112505F
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2011
  2. Resolution

    Resolution Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Here's what one may expect (in Indonesia) from a good clutch of Kedu landrace eggs. Four or five colour types hatch from most pairings. After hatching, the respective colours are segregated into different colour types. Respective segregates are traded or sold under the name of their colour. Often times, the number of tines in their combs will define them further and this distinction will be added to their descriptive name. These Pelung Kedu are of a distinct breed type-comparable to saying a gamefowl is Bancavoid or Malayoid or a Leghorn is Mediterranean. Pelung is the breed type, Kudu is the region in which they were "improved" during Dutch Colonial period.
    Pelung breed type are easily distinguishable from all others breed types. They are lanky, quite large with long backs and horizontal conformation ( you chicken judges please correct me as to the correct terminology and vernacular please.) But their combs and wattles are enormous. The legs and neck are very long akin to that of gamecock races but the posture is horizontal and the wings are not particularly substantial. Nevertheless, the Pelung Kedu is a landrace. Colour types one produces rarely breed true to colour - conformation yes- but colour only rarely and voice somewhere in the middle. It's not in the interest of the Indonesian poultier to only produce one colour from a clutch. It can be done by taking individuals of one of the colour types and select breeding them in complete genetic isolation. Because of phenotypic polymorphism hard wired into their genetics, it will take a while to select breed them to type. It can be done but one has to be patient. This why the New Batavia is significant to western poultiers and its descendant the Black Java even more so. Each represents a different level of selection- a different level of utility expressed with consistency.

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    Ayam Pelung Kedu
    1. Traditional Indonesian land race breed type the Pelung Kedu met certain requirements unique to Indonesians-while adapted for conditions of life there.


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    Kedu New Batavia
    2. Dutch Colonialists required different levels of utility from the Pelung Kedu and imported a Mediterranean breed type to accomplish this objective via selective breeding.

    3. The Dutch Colonialist exodus from Indonesia carried New Batavia to England; the northern eastern coast of South America, the Dutch West Indies and eventually to North America, particularly the eastern seaboard.


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    Black Java
    4. North Americans select bred New Batavia stock genetics into the great American Black Java, a distinct, well defined breed produced through successive generations of selective breeding.

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    Kedu Cemani subbreed

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    Ayam Hitam Limahong

    5. Concurrently, Indonesians select bred New Batavia stock with a Malay/Philippines breed type called Hitam Limahong (Black Pirate) selected for black plumage or particularly bright plumage and fierce disposition. It's not a strictly Indonesian breed type but it has been used increasingly in efforts to select for Cemani.

    Just as the Dutch colonized Indonesia, the Spanish colonized the Philippines.

    Merchant class Chinese ethnics moved between colonial ports. The black boned fowl was/is more economically significant to Chinese ethnics than to either Indonesian or European consumers. Generally speaking, the Chinese use black-boned fowl for medicine; Indonesians for ceremonial sacrifice and Europeans as exotic curiosities. Hindu Sultans carried the Cemani to Sumatra where it was recombined with fighting games to produce the Sumatran.

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    Yeonsan Ogye (Black Crow Fowl)
    6. Hindi and Chinese merchants imported Hitam Batavia Limahong to Korea where they became the genetic foundation of the Crow Fowl.

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    Tomaru Niigata
    7. Korean merchants carried Black Crow Fowl to Japan where they were recombined with the Dutch Indonesian New Batavia. The composite would become the genetic foundation of the Tomaru

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    "hsian tulang naga" (Dragon Bone)

    8. The genetic repository of all this stock - that is recombination via self-selection of mates without selective breeding- what would happen to a flock of any of the above black boned fowl left to their own designs produces the "Hsian Naga" (Dragon Bone), known as Daitomaruigari Cemani in Japan. This stock was generated during Japanese occupation of Java and came be to favored as fighter, long tail and long crower amongst the generation of Japanese educated Indonesians that would eventually demand their independence from all colonialist rule.

    *Note the rounded hackles and iridescent centers, the prominent facial marking- all characters shared with bekisars and naturally Green Junglefowl. This blonde colour and the black crow flight feathers taking up the majority of the surface of the wing are common to hybrid derived land races.
    Too, they accrue the extra coverts and tail feathers with delayed moulting of the green junglefowl. Compare the tail of the green junglefowl and that of the red. Count the retrices and coverts surrounding them.
    This is all the more significant given the number of generations that have passed since the green junglefowl hybrid progenitors contributed their genes- several hybrid roosters breeding hens to the exclusion of non hybrid males for some period of time- followed by breeding interse between the hybrid's recombined offspring- the gene pool is a close- one or at least the formula of genetics are essentially similar- females of the Red Junglefowl(s) primarily breeding red junglefowl roosters- for some number of generations- followed by breeding interse and together with red junglefowl domesticates- to the exclusion of hybrid genetics for many more generations- that's essentially what's happened- certain combination of genes accrued from the green junglefowl have been shanghaid and injected into the domestic red junglefowl- and then selected to appear like the hybrid and its mutations to the exclusion of progeny that look like the red junglefowl.


    So just count tail feathers on these archaic breeds- and yeah at this point all domestic chickens have twice as many tail feathers as the red junglefowl- gives you an idea of how much influence the green jf hybrid sire has had- much more so in Indonesia where secondary contact with hybrids is a consistent. So the Indonesian breeds.

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    Green Junglefowl
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    Indonesian Red Junglefowl


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    Wild Fijian descendents of hybrids between Green and Red Junglefowl= Fijian race Pacific Junglefowl

    I must digress for one moment. A week or so ago I wrote something in a private email to a valued contributor on this forum that I regret. It was something to the effect that it frustrates me that western poultry enthusiasts determine what is valid about the origins of breeds in contrast to what peoples native to regions chickens come from might have. That was just stupid. It was insensitive, rude and counter productive given that the individual is very knowledgeable, much more than I on the majority of the genetics in question here, the genetic hereditary information, which I barely have a comprehension of. The genetic origins of breeds- the cultural origins I comprehend readily but the genetics in question are a complete mystery. I wish I could take what I wrote back but I can't. I'm writing this opus now, partly because the forum member wrote to me for information about black boned fowl. And I write this little missive because I can't help but find myself distracted with the fact that a person much more knowledgeable than myself who could really be invaluable in the discussion of selective breeding is absent. If you are out there, I sincerely apologize.

    Moving on...

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    Ayam Pelung Kedu type Hsian .

    A shrewd poultier will purchase Pelung Kedu Hsian to produce Cemani as Cemani are exceedingly expensive and difficult to come by. Cemani, tend to hatch most consistently from Hsian colour type. People will be quick to define Hsian as "partridge". In future postings I'll attempt to explore what is known about this phenotype as there is a disconnect in my mind between what constitutes "wild-type". Regardless, for now, it should be noted that the Hsiang Kedu subbreed is for all intensive purposes, the equivalent of 'wild type' amongst Cemani hatchings. Many Pelung Kedu Hsian are the result of recombination between the modern Hsian Naga
    and the old traditional Ayam Pelung. That recombination would be akin to breeding a Cornish Game back to an Asil.


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    Jual

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    Jeruk Sayap

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    Pasir Putih Sayap Hitam

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    Merah Darah




    The above are photos of some of the different strains of what we could define as "pure" old type, traditional Pelung Kedu breed type. Cemani morph can and do hatch from any of these but selection for the Cemani morph has jumped the rail so to speak in that since the 20th century, selection for the Cemani mutation has relied heavily on recombination with the aforementioned Philippines breed type, itself derivative of recombination of Tonkin chicken breed type with Philippines Red JF and an old Mediterranean breed type imported by the Spanish. I know that's a bit complicated and even convoluted- but what we have here are mirror phenotypes working simultaneously through the selection of respective peoples ( native Indonesian and Chinese ethnic Indonesian), both producing the Cemani morphotype. When the morphotypes are recombined with one another they do not necessarily produce more Cemani but these composites are the blood stock of Sumatran, Korean and Japanese black boned fowl that have been further refined and bred to type for centuries. What I'm trying to impart here is that the black boned Pelung is one kind of "Cemani"; the black boned Pelung Kudu is another sort of Cemani; the Korean's Yeonsan Ogye Crow Fowl is yet another.

    When someone says they have Cemani we have to reflect on the genetic origins of respective strains produced by different subbreeds.


    Each selection group or breed type is equally valid. They provide(d) different functions for different cultures at different times in history.


    The Katai fowl are selected from the fertile female descendants of hybrids themselves produced through exhaustive selective breeding regimes breeding a maternal lineage back to generation after generation of male progeny produced via matriarch X son ; matriarch X son/grandson ; matriarch X son/grandson/great grandson and so on.
    That first fertile female is going to be select bred for eight or nine generations back to her own male progeny- until all her daughters are fertile. These produce little bantam-sized fowl.
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    Hutan Tulang Bali
    9. There is a diminutive version of the Hsian Tulang Naga Naga, often slightly crested called Hitam or Hsian Tulang Naga or Tulang Bali.



    Sayap Hitam
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    A Cemani rooster bred to one of the rare fertile eight or nine generation outcross females from the first hybrid sire- will often produce miniature Cemani called Sayap Hitam Cemani. They will often have incredibly dark flesh and bones but due to the artificial selection regime of back crossing - the females are genetically homogenous. Bred to the Cemani rooster - by necessity a parallel lineage with some shared ancestry, the Sayam Hitam Cemani often exhibits frizzled silky plumage.
    It doesn't fare well running about along the village roads and amongst orchards- as it cannot fly.

    Breeding Katai back to Pelung sized cemani morph females whose parents were both cemani morphs:

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    If one takes a Sayam Hitam Cemani and breeds him to a Pelung Cemani morph hen one reaches Ink Black Terlihat Gambar Cemani- the ultimate in black bone.
    But then you start to see convoluted comb types- akin to those of the juvenile Green Junglefowl male
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    Juvenile Green Junglefowl male note comb, densely feathered face and gular lappet


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    There is a Black Bone Junglefowl one sees in Ponape called Saudeleur. They are descendants of fighting chickens and bekisars carried to Ponape by Melanesians in deep antiquity. They are not always black boned but when they are it is alarming as they are sometimes so black as to lack iridescence.

    Saudeleur are mirror genotypes to a certain extent to the Black Sumatran, the Minohiki and Yokohama. The vast majority of their sires for some formulative period in the history of their respective lineages are of hybrid ancestry. Their mothers are game fowl and they've been left alone to reproduce by themselves with more lor less periodic introgression from small handfuls of fighting game males. The Saudeleur, Sumatran and the Minohiki/Yokohama also have Grey and/or Sri Lanka JF ancestry in the mix so we will leave that well alone-for another thread. The gist being that hybrid roosters often held a higher significance to their keepers- in that as they were kept for their voices, they were neither sacrificed nor eaten- so a green jf hybrid rooster had opportunity to reproduce more successfully over an extended period than many non-hybrid roosters. The fighting fowl on the other hand were often of the Asil type which is a hybrid between Austronesian type games with Sri Lanka and or Grey JF X Red JF sires.


    When the prize Cemani is purchased by an Indonesian poultier it is more often than not going to end up being bred back with Pelung Kedu breed type birds.

    So we can readily appreciate how complex the issue is with regards to founder stock. A single Cemani can be bred to type to any of the Pelung Kedu and produce Cemani.
    That progeny is going to produce some % of Hsian regardless.

    I'll try and describe the role of Green Junglefowl hybrids in the creation of the original Pelung and in novel creation ( that is creating a black bone or pearl mutant in the first or second generation) of Mutiara and Cemani in a future posting.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2011
  3. orientphoenix

    orientphoenix Chillin' With My Peeps

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    wow that's alot of reading
     
  4. ChooksChick

    ChooksChick BeakHouse's Mad Chicken Scientist

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    It's nice to see that interest in this project is revived. RevolutionMama and I have been working on some very interesting projects with the founder stock from Resolution. Her North American black boned project is coming along nicely and the cold-weather appropriate, desired pea comb is incredibly beautiful on the resulting juveniles of this generation.

    There will always be a preference in some circles to work with highly refined, only slightly variable genetic pools with very specific probability in offspring phenotype. Other groups have a deep satisfaction in working with landrace fowl or composites and the resulting surprises that pop out of such diversity. The level of enthusiasm and joy in working with different stock or breeding philosophies needn't be mutually exclusive and I enjoy learning all I can from the folks here who relish learning about the unending variety in chickens and junglefowl, while simultaneously dipping my toe in various forms of breeding.

    I'm still delving into the different cultural histories that value the black-boned birds, in particular, the South American ceremonial history. I'll share more on that soon!
     
  5. revolutionmama

    revolutionmama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    CabinInTheWoods
    picture taken from the couch of RevolutionMama Ranch over a year ago

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    picture taken from the incubator of RevolutionMama Ranch May 11, 2011

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    Quote:
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2011
  6. Nice!
    This is a project bird of mine:
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    Lisa
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. ChooksChick

    ChooksChick BeakHouse's Mad Chicken Scientist

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    Larry, KS
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    Quote:
    RevMama, I hadn't seen that latest batch! Very nice.

    Dipsy, that is an amazing look you're working on there, with the blue feathering. It's completely novel to see the coloring on a dual-purpose body-frame. I never would have thought of that, but it's certainly what would be desired in the cultures that value the dark meat for ceremonial or medicinal food.
     
  8. Quote:
    RevMama, I hadn't seen that latest batch! Very nice.

    Dipsy, that is an amazing look you're working on there, with the blue feathering. It's completely novel to see the coloring on a dual-purpose body-frame. I never would have thought of that, but it's certainly what would be desired in the cultures that value the dark meat for ceremonial or medicinal food.

    Hi! I don't know about being desirable to cultures that value the dark meat for ceremonial or medicinal food, I just think they are beautiful and so O D D. I only have two black-skin single comb girls --- that blue and a black. I've been slack about moving forward with this project, but they are with a blue JG roo now and I set new eggs tonight. I've got more blue and black black-skin pea-ish combed green-egger birds and some nice youngsters coming up (they tend to look more like black-skin Ameraucana).
    I didn't know they had black (dark) bones until a pullet jumped over in a pen of roosters and got completely scalped. Her skull-bone was black (she healed). I've dressed out a couple of cockerels that were dark-skinned (but not as dark as the girls) and they had dark flesh and bones as well.

    Do you have any pics of the adults y'all are working with?
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    Lisa
     
  9. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

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    Here is one of my American Gamefowl Sheldon Roundhead hens.
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    Chris
     
  10. Quote:She has nice spurs!
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    Lisa
     

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