*UPDATE* After hours of research I found the answer. The black/gray that my Reds have is called smutt. It is needed to keep the reds dark or they will lose their dark red color after about 3 generations. Once they reach maturity they should absorb most of the smutt and be red. I wanted to give this update to put everyone at rest and give answers to anyone who may have similar questions in the future. My Reds are Reds, I am just paranoid, but pleased. Thanks to those who responded to the original post. I always like to get a second, third, etc. opinion when I'm not sure about something. original question: I posted a what "what breed is this" question the other day because my 7 week old pullets that are supossed to be RIR's have gray on the underside of their saddle feathers. RIR's are supossed to be red throuhout, with maybe some black on the wings and tails. Buckeyes have gray on the underside of the saddle feathes. here is the link if you want to see photos: https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=224203 I called the hatchery to ask if there was a mix up or if they were hybrids. The hachery told me they are true RIR's and to check the feathers again at 20 weeks of age to see if the color had changed. Here is My question: If the chicks are fully feathered at this point, how are the feathers going to "change color"? I know that by 20 weeks they should be mature and ready to lay, but does age have an effect on feather color? I don't have enough experience in this area to know if the hatchery is being honest with me. Please help me if you know the answer.