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Chuckkeeper

Songster
Jul 13, 2020
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I agree that Buff (Silkie) father and Light Sussex or Coronation Sussex mother should be sexlinks, with buff/gold/brown females and silver feathers/white or yellow down males.

Buff Silkie father and Buff Sussex mother should produce buff chicks of both genders.

Any chick with white feathers must be male (white/yellow down.)

If the breeder knows exactly which chick came from each hen, then chicks from two mothers can be sexed.

But make sure to check which chick came from the buff mother--it could be either gender but MUST be buff, so if the breeder says a white chick came from that mother, then there is a problem somewhere.
Thank you so much. The chick which I am advised came from the buff mother is the middle chick in the photo I shared. That's a problem for all three chicks, isn't it!?
 

NatJ

Crowing
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The chick which I am advised came from the buff mother is the middle chick in the photo I shared. That's a problem for all three chicks, isn't it!?
Yes, unless the middle chick actually has buff or gold feathers that I'm not seeing in the picture :)


That's odd, I got a notification that someone replied, and then that post has disappeared. That other person made a good point--there is a sex-linked gene that affects leg color. Any dark-legged chicks from any of the mothers should be female. Dark legs/feet are quite visible in adults (dark legs on the Silkie male but not on the Sussex females in the photos), but sometimes it takes a few weeks after hatch for the chicks' skin to turn dark.

I can't see the chicks' legs in the photo, but if you see them in person or get another photo, dark feet/legs on a chick should be a good indication of female gender (useful if it's the chick on the left, the gold one-- because that's the one that could be either gender from one mother or female from the other mothers.)

Edit to add: light legs on newly-hatched chicks don't prove anything about gender, but dark legs do.
 

OneHappyRooster

Free Ranging
Apr 5, 2020
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Yes, unless the middle chick actually has buff or gold feathers that I'm not seeing in the picture :)


That's odd, I got a notification that someone replied, and then that post has disappeared. That other person made a good point--there is a sex-linked gene that affects leg color. Any dark-legged chicks from any of the mothers should be female. Dark legs/feet are quite visible in adults (dark legs on the Silkie male but not on the Sussex females in the photos), but sometimes it takes a few weeks after hatch for the chicks' skin to turn dark.

I can't see the chicks' legs in the photo, but if you see them in person or get another photo, dark feet/legs on a chick should be a good indication of female gender (useful if it's the chick on the left, the gold one-- because that's the one that could be either gender from one mother or female from the other mothers.)

Edit to add: light legs on newly-hatched chicks don't prove anything about gender, but dark legs do.
Interesting! I thought I heard something like that.
Can you explain a bit further?
How does it work?
 

Chuckkeeper

Songster
Jul 13, 2020
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Yorkshire, England
Yes, unless the middle chick actually has buff or gold feathers that I'm not seeing in the picture :)


That's odd, I got a notification that someone replied, and then that post has disappeared. That other person made a good point--there is a sex-linked gene that affects leg color. Any dark-legged chicks from any of the mothers should be female. Dark legs/feet are quite visible in adults (dark legs on the Silkie male but not on the Sussex females in the photos), but sometimes it takes a few weeks after hatch for the chicks' skin to turn dark.

I can't see the chicks' legs in the photo, but if you see them in person or get another photo, dark feet/legs on a chick should be a good indication of female gender (useful if it's the chick on the left, the gold one-- because that's the one that could be either gender from one mother or female from the other mothers.)

Edit to add: light legs on newly-hatched chicks don't prove anything about gender, but dark legs do.
I do have a video of them but it's fairly inconclusive. I tried to screenshot... But LOL. I've found someone else with some 3 day old warrens... She says they are guaranteed pullets from the colour of them?

Screenshot_20201030-114144.jpg
Screenshot_20201030-114226.jpg
Screenshot_20201030-114029.jpg
Screenshot_20201030-114026.jpg
 

NatJ

Crowing
Mar 20, 2017
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Interesting! I thought I heard something like that.
Can you explain a bit further?
How does it work?
There's a sexlinked gene that either allows dark skin or blocks it. We mostly notice it in the legs, although it affects the other skin of the bird as well.

Being sexlinked, it works about the same as any other sexlinked gene.

The mother needs to have the dominant gene on her Z chromosome, so she can pass it to her sons. Light skin is the dominant. You can check by looking--yup, the hens have light legs.

The father needs to have the recessive on both of his Z chromosomes, so he passes them to both his daughters and his sons. Because it's recessive, if he has dark legs, then you know he's got two copies of the gene. Again, you can check by looking--yup, the male has dark legs.

So the daughters get their Z chromosome only from their father (W from their mother, no skin color genes there.) They have dark legs, like their dad.

The sons get one Z chromosome from each parent, so they get light from their mom and dark from their dad. Because light is dominant, they show light legs.

There are two good reasons it's not very common.
-- The dark legs sometimes take several weeks to be obvious, so it's not reliable at day-old (sometimes you can see the dark legs at hatch, sometimes not.)
--Certain feather-color genes also affect leg color. So black chickens tend to have dark legs no matter what skin color genes they've got, although you can sometimes tell by looking at the bottoms of their feet.

The gene is called "Inhibitor of Dermal Melanin," which is a fancy way of saying it blocks dark skin. Dermal has to do with skin, Melanin is the pigment that makes the skin dark. The usual abbreviation is Id. And there are really several variations of the dark ones (some are visible younger than others), but the one for light skin is dominant over all of the dark ones.
 

Chuckkeeper

Songster
Jul 13, 2020
634
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Yorkshire, England
There's a sexlinked gene that either allows dark skin or blocks it. We mostly notice it in the legs, although it affects the other skin of the bird as well.

Being sexlinked, it works about the same as any other sexlinked gene.

The mother needs to have the dominant gene on her Z chromosome, so she can pass it to her sons. Light skin is the dominant. You can check by looking--yup, the hens have light legs.

The father needs to have the recessive on both of his Z chromosomes, so he passes them to both his daughters and his sons. Because it's recessive, if he has dark legs, then you know he's got two copies of the gene. Again, you can check by looking--yup, the male has dark legs.

So the daughters get their Z chromosome only from their father (W from their mother, no skin color genes there.) They have dark legs, like their dad.

The sons get one Z chromosome from each parent, so they get light from their mom and dark from their dad. Because light is dominant, they show light legs.

There are two good reasons it's not very common.
-- The dark legs sometimes take several weeks to be obvious, so it's not reliable at day-old (sometimes you can see the dark legs at hatch, sometimes not.)
--Certain feather-color genes also affect leg color. So black chickens tend to have dark legs no matter what skin color genes they've got, although you can sometimes tell by looking at the bottoms of their feet.

The gene is called "Inhibitor of Dermal Melanin," which is a fancy way of saying it blocks dark skin. Dermal has to do with skin, Melanin is the pigment that makes the skin dark. The usual abbreviation is Id. And there are really several variations of the dark ones (some are visible younger than others), but the one for light skin is dominant over all of the dark ones.
You're soooooooo clever!
 

NatJ

Crowing
Mar 20, 2017
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I do have a video of them but it's fairly inconclusive. I tried to screenshot... But LOL.
First screenshot: I see dark legs on the gold one over to the left, while the legs on the one being held on the right look light. So I think the dark one's a female. If the breeder is right that it has a light mother, the color says female. And the leg color says female anyway (unless the Buff Sussex hen has dark legs--Sussex should not, and the other ones in the earlier photos do not, so it's probably a safe guess that the Buff Sussex likewise has the light legs she's supposed to.)

I've found someone else with some 3 day old warrens... She says they are guaranteed pullets from the colour of them?
I'm not familiar with Warrens, but google tells me they're a gold sexlink cross, so yes they would be color-sexable.
 

NatJ

Crowing
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If you wanted to create that, which breeds would you use?

A Silkie cockerel over, say, a Sussex hen - would that work?
Yes, silkie rooster over sussex hen should work.

If you want to be sure that you can sex chicks at hatch, then check the cockerel at hatch--you want him and his sisters to all have dark legs at that point. If they develop the dark legs later, then it will only be useful later instead of at hatching.

As long as you watch out for the ones that have dark legs from their feather color, it should work with any dark-skinned rooster and light-skinned hen. (When most varieties of a breed have white or yellow legs, but one color has dark legs, that's a good tip-off that those dark legs are caused by some other gene.)
 

LadiesAndJane

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May 5, 2020
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Yes, unless the middle chick actually has buff or gold feathers that I'm not seeing in the picture :)


That's odd, I got a notification that someone replied, and then that post has disappeared. That other person made a good point--there is a sex-linked gene that affects leg color. Any dark-legged chicks from any of the mothers should be female. Dark legs/feet are quite visible in adults (dark legs on the Silkie male but not on the Sussex females in the photos), but sometimes it takes a few weeks after hatch for the chicks' skin to turn dark.

I can't see the chicks' legs in the photo, but if you see them in person or get another photo, dark feet/legs on a chick should be a good indication of female gender (useful if it's the chick on the left, the gold one-- because that's the one that could be either gender from one mother or female from the other mothers.)

Edit to add: light legs on newly-hatched chicks don't prove anything about gender, but dark legs do.
That was me! I was doing some research on it as I have a silkie roo and some standard hens and I was thinking of crossing them and thought it would be interesting to create sex linked chicks if possible. I was not finished with the post and I wanted to edit it to make it more informative but then had to go to bed LOL. You explain it much better than I could have anyway!😊
 

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