What can cause a proven breeder trio's chicks to change color?

Aug 10, 2017
18
7
56
We have been breeding a new serama line for a while now. We crossed the black cock with a scant scattering of red feathers in his hackles and saddle over an all black hen w/white earlobes and got stags with more colored feathers in hackle and saddle than cock and pullets all dull black with no white earlobe,

We then cross cock to his F1 daughters for a few months resulting in almost the same outcome as original cock/hen crossing. Baby black chicks with white undersides being the at birth standard. Stags showing increasing amount of red/gold feathering and dull all black pullets. w/o white earlobes

THEN unexpectedly this hatch today was TOTALLY different!!!!!!!!!

There were 3 almost red game looking striped biddies and 6 black biddies [ my imagination says possible blue?] with almost no white patchs but white undercoat was noted.
The hatch rate is consistent with other hatching from this trio at about 70% due to infertiles. 10% dead in shell aprox.

We run and LED light all night in the broodhouse and the temperature did take a turn for the colder during the egg gathering time.

We are still hatching from this trio and will keep post updated.

We are SURE no mistake was made gathering or marking the eggs.
IMG_0843[1].JPG IMG_0842[1].JPG


Any help solving this mystery would be greatly appreciated!
PS: Original hen was destroyed by a "pet" before this pen was set up on 11-1-2020 so she is not involved in these eggs
 

NatJ

Free Ranging
Mar 20, 2017
8,227
17,348
706
USA
Most likely explanation: recessive genes that just didn't happen to show up until now.

How many F1 pullets in the pen? Maybe only some of them have whatever genes are involved, and different ones are laying now than before.

How many chicks have you previously hatched from this pen? It does seem that color genes get distributed unevenly, just like chick genders do: so you can get clumps of one color or another, just like you might get clumps of mostly one gender or mostly the other gender.

Edit: I just re-read and I see it's a trio. So if both pullets have been laying all along, then it's NOT a case of these chicks having different mothers than previous chicks from the same breeding pen. So probably just recessive genes that showed up now rather than earlier, due to random chance.
 
Aug 10, 2017
18
7
56
I am hoping that is the reason as we do not know the history of the birds and are dealing mainly with phenotype s. Yes we definitely have clutches that are mainly or all one sex during the year from other birds.

We have hatched about 30 in 3 hatchings so far.

I am just wondering if temperature or artificial light could be a possible cause. We will keep the post updated as we have another 2 steeings in the incubator now and will continue with the trio until the F2 pullets are mature.
At any rate it was a pleasant and also scary hatching :)
 

NatJ

Free Ranging
Mar 20, 2017
8,227
17,348
706
USA
I am just wondering if temperature or artificial light could be a possible cause.

We run and LED light all night in the broodhouse and the temperature did take a turn for the colder during the egg gathering time.

From what you described, I'm pretty sure it's not the temperature or the light. Those things are common in many flocks, and if they affected chick color I think it would be pretty well known.

I am hoping that is the reason as we do not know the history of the birds and are dealing mainly with phenotypes.

I've read that Seramas often do not breed true for color, and black is dominant over most other colors & patterns in chickens, so I think it's quite likely that your male is carrying something recessive--and breeding him to his daughters is exactly the way to make it show up :)

Do you specifically want black birds?
The striped ones will probably breed true for not-black, although they may well have a lot of other variations among themselves and their offspring.

We will keep the post updated as we have another 2 steeings in the incubator now and will continue with the trio until the F2 pullets are mature.

I'm looking forward to seeing that :)
 
Aug 10, 2017
18
7
56
It is weird though that they changed 100% in just a few weeks. There are none showing the old hatch's traits at all. I would think that using the punnett square that there would be some of the older hatch's coloration along with a different one perhaps but not 100% different.
This hatching was totally different. No white spots and area on the black ones compared to the solid black with white undercoat and the "red game" dark striped ones I actually hoped would show but was not expecting them in this breeding.

I most definetly do not want the blacks. The stags are brassy backs in the making but right now not all that desireable to me. I would rather the DuckWing Game colors but am stuck with this line now. I do have another Buff line I am trying to salvage but that is another story :) In all fairness the black pullets are decent in that they are all solid color with no off color feathers which could be an asset later on.

We have another hatching coming off 1-7-21 and maybe it can offer some insight.
 

sdm111

Crossing the Road
8 Years
May 21, 2013
13,663
25,996
836
S. louisiana
You just got a clutch of throwbacks. They won't breed true for many generations if at all if what the previous responder said is true about them not wanting to breed true. Cull all that are not going the direction you like. Cull that whole clutch. It'll be counterproductive to keep any
 

NatJ

Free Ranging
Mar 20, 2017
8,227
17,348
706
USA
It is weird though that they changed 100% in just a few weeks. There are none showing the old hatch's traits at all. I would think that using the punnett square that there would be some of the older hatch's coloration along with a different one perhaps but not 100% different.
This hatching was totally different. No white spots and area on the black ones compared to the solid black with white undercoat and the "red game" dark striped ones I actually hoped would show but was not expecting them in this breeding.

I agree that is odd, but I still think it's likely to just be random chance affecting what ones you get when. :confused:

I most definetly do not want the blacks. The stags are brassy backs in the making but right now not all that desireable to me. I would rather the DuckWing Game colors but am stuck with this line now. I do have another Buff line I am trying to salvage but that is another story :) In all fairness the black pullets are decent in that they are all solid color with no off color feathers which could be an asset later on.

Since you don't want blacks, then those stripey ones are probably the ones to save for breeding. Whatever they may be, they do not look black ;)
 
Aug 10, 2017
18
7
56
You just got a clutch of throwbacks. They won't breed true for many generations if at all if what the previous responder said is true about them not wanting to breed true. Cull all that are not going the direction you like. Cull that whole clutch. It'll be counterproductive to keep any

I totally understand throwback but the mystery is why in just 2 weeks the entire hatching changed phenotypically ?
I am entertaining the thought that the cock was only breeding one hen then decided to swap up :)

The next few hatchings will rule out error by egg gatherer which would have to be 100% eggs mismarked.
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom