Well fizzle. I have no idea why this is not working for me this evening, but oh well. Guess I can reply in "long hand" "Sure sounds good on paper doesn't it. IMHO that is simply not the case." I don't see why not. Breeding any breed will result in some DQ and faults, but over time, if you have a good idea what you are selecting for and against, those faults will be less an less obvious. "You can still have a utility buckeye just as you can have a utility RIR. They can still be "pure" bred but don't share the same traits as exhibition birds. With how broad the SOP is and can interpreted; they can still fall under the general guidelines." Well of course, who said otherwise? It should go without saying that it's not difficult to start with a line of purebred birds and without ever adding anything else, breed them into the ground until all you have are "utility birds". Nothing hard about that at all, hatcheries do it all the time. But the ideal is to have ALL of your birds meet the Sop. They might not all have a picture perfect comb, or some otherwise minor defect as far as production is concerned, but there should be no doubt as to the breed. That's why, to me, it's the overall quality of the flock that counts, not whether they have a few big winning "show birds". I would rather purchase stock from a breeder whose birds (Both sexes, all ages) place in every class they are entered in. "Utility buckeyes are often lighter in overall color and darkness of mahogany." Is there an echo in here? I just wrote that. "You can see the difference that I speak of in the color contrast of the red and black in the tail. IMO, with a properly colored buckeye the difference between the red and black in the tail won't be as obvious to the naked eye." I have no problem discerning the difference between black and mahogany in even the darkest birds, but then, I used to work as a negative and print retoucher decades before photoshop, so detcteing one color from another is easy for me. Still, as I pointed out, color is the one thing that is going to have the least effect on a birds productivity. Physical traits like crow headed, narrow bodies, pinched tails, and short backs are going to effect the egglaying and vitality, so if you are selecting your stock based on the SoP, you'll be eliminating those traits no matter what breed you have. I will say I've never seen a white legged Buckeye, or even one whose shanks came close to being white, but it is normal for the yellow coloring of the shanks and beak on a good laying hen to fade the longer she is in production. In fact, it's a good way to pick out the productive vs non laying and marginally productive birds in a group that for whatever reason you can't handle to check for conformation provided they aren't molting. That's not saying it's not possible to select for a rich deep yellow, only that I would not cull a bird with lighter yellow legs until i'd confirmed whether or not she was laying. I've found that when the hens and pullets are laying, the most reliable indicator of the real color of the shanks of a line is found in the male birds, but, as always, YMMV.