When is a Sizzle a Sizzle????


In the Brooder
12 Years
Nov 7, 2007
Cave Creek
When does a cross breed become a “real” breed? IE: When is a Sizzle a Sizzle???

The general knowledgeable consensus is, it takes at least 7 generations before a cross is breeding consistently enough to call it a breed in it’s own right and a lot more work after that to be officially recognized as a breed. There are a few folks who are getting close but… Sizzles are a work in progress, with many years of development still ahead of them. I know from my own experience that at 6th generation I am just starting to breed true. By breeding true I mean, a large enough percentage of my hatches are true to standard; maybe not good enough to show but, good enough to continue to improve the breed.

Sizzles are a newly developing breed that started out as a cross of Frizzled Cochin & Silkie. We (as in, those dedicated folks on the Sizzle list and a few others around the country) have chosen, for now, to use the Silkie standard for a place to start & to provide consistency for Sizzle fanciers. We have a major difference in the feather type, going with a hard/barbed frizzled feather, with a variety that is the same but smooth feathered. So, Sizzles need 5 toes, feathered legs & ft, blue skin, turquoise earlobes, Walnut or Rose combs & crests with a frizzled (or smooth) hard/barbed feather. Silkie feathering is a DQ. They come in all kinds of colors but, for show we are sticking to the recognized Silkie colors. We do have a few breeders who are experimenting with new colors, but they have to do the paperwork for the standard when they get them breeding consistently. With at least 7 generations before a cross IS breeding consistently enough to call it a breed in its own right and a lot more work after that to be recognized officially as a breed, ......Sizzles are very much a work in progress, with many years of development still ahead of them.

I got hooked 6 yrs ago on Sizzles because I got a beautiful “proper” Sizzle from an F1 breeding. I also got about 150 that didn’t meet the grade that season. Of the over 250 I hatched out that first year, she was the best one and I kept 25 that were worth breeding but weren’t up to standard yet. Now, at 6th generation (about 200 hatched so far) , I’m getting a much higher percent of “proper” birds and the quality of them has gone way up also but, I still have more then 40% who are sold off right away because I already know they aren’t going to live up to expectations and another 20-30% who will not be kept for breeding as they develop because of the same problems. That means I’m up to about 30% success at “proper” Sizzles after 6 years of breeding, which is a big improvement over the 10% I started with.

So, in the beginning it becomes important to be aware of what generation your birds are from. The further along your breeding, the better and larger percent of actual Sizzles you will get from your hatches. IMPO - birds who do not have the required characteristics may be Sizzle “breeding” or perhaps pre-Sizzles. They are NOT Sizzles. If their faults aren’t too bad & you have an understanding of genetics, you can breed them to complimentary birds and hopefully get some “proper” Sizzles. That IS how we all started after all, but birds with 3 toes &/or no crests or foot feathers &/or big red wattles &/or Silkie feathering, they do not meet the standards and are not Sizzles. They may be Sizzle breeding & they might be breed to produce Sizzles but, they are NOT Sizzles. We, as a breed, are too young to have the leniency (of recognized breeds) to call a poor quality bird with faults a Sizzle. We are still defining our breed & if a bird doesn’t come up to standards or the possibility of producing standard, it only delays the goal of reaching breed status by identifying it as a Sizzle..

Please understand, I’m not throwing rocks at anyone here but, I am making a flat out statement on this for the sake of consistency for Sizzles. I have been seeing ads for F1 (Silkie to Frizzled Cochin) eggs & birds being sold as Sizzles. Also "Sizzle Crosses" breed to other breeds??? Putting a fancy name on it doesn't change the fact that it's a MUT. Sizzles are technically muts until they breed true! If you aren’t aware of how small your chances are at getting a “proper” Sizzle from early generations or the variety you most likely WILL get from it, you are probably going to be disappointed in what you hatch. That does not mean they have no value! Breed to the right complimentary bird just might give you something really terrific. There is already enough confusion about Sizzles, what they are, what they should look like, and how to get them without adding misleading ideas.

If your interested in having Sizzles, there are a growing number of dedicated folks out there selling eggs & adults who have done the work for the development of the breed. Be sure to ask what generation your getting, especially if your wanting to raise some of your own and please be aware that this can be a challenging endeavor that requires study, patience and persistence. If you decide to start your own lines (which I strongly support for the sake of genetic diversity) choose the best stock you can afford and go for it. Please, be prepared for the years of dedication ahead of you. It has been an amazing journey for me but, it’s also a lot of work!

If I have offended anyone with my statements, please accept my apology. I felt the statements needed to be made to help clarify a number of things and to promote discussion. Because we are a newly developing breed, we get to write the standard for our "kids" & we all need to "be on the same page" for them. We do (as a group) get to add the things we want to our standard and we also have to live with the results of what we do. I have happily given 6 yrs of my life to this project & hope to keep working on it for a long time. I wish for everyone else involved or thinking about getting involved as much fun & fulfillment as I get from it.

Sarah -

I think that your frustration is true regardless of what breed you are working on, especially if you are working on a new breed or a new color within a breed.

There are those who want to work at a color or breed to make it better and there are those that want something that looks nice/unusual to have as part of their flock. And, there are always those that want to get from Step A to Step Z without going through the rest of the letters.

Like the guy who called me a week before the county fair started and wanted to buy my best bird for his daughter for 4-H, and he wanted it for $2-$3. I pointed out to him that she needed to RAISE the bird and understand the breed and handling and showmanship. That taking the bird to the fair was only a very small part of the whole 4-H experience, and that he was cheating his daughter and not allowing her to grow and develop in a healthy and supportive environment. He looked me dead in the eye and said, "She IS going to raise it for the next WEEK. What more could she possibly learn?" These are the same people who cannot understand the difference between a Hatchery Bird and a Breeder's Bird.

I knew at that point I couldn't change his mind, because he refused to be educated. I COULD refuse to sell him my birds. Which I did. He went away mad, calling me every name in the book, and I'm sure he found someone else who was willing to sell him a bird.

It is frustrating, but you cannot change those people, all you can do is work within the group that shares your goals and ideals. Create change where you can, Educate where you can, and spend your energy on your passions, rather than on people who cannot possibly understand.

I do sound pretty frustrated don't I..eep! I think it was the ad selling Sizzle crosses that just "frosted my cake" And thank you for the encouraging words, your are very right. Every group has problems with some form of things like this. Ya can't let it get too ya! Guess I'd just better get that Sizzle web page built!

Thanks again for the "support"!
I contacted our extension office and inquired about 4-H and poultry ..... much work later, I am told that in Jacksonville the county fair is not considered an agricultural fair and that their idea of showing poultry is to drop if off in a cage and pick it up the next day after it had been judged. No handling or showmanship. The judge walks down the aisle looking at the birds in their cages and decides? What? So I thought about it and realized that I would be a) putting my birds at risk and have to quarantine them, and B) my daughter would not learn anything about showing her bird and C) I spoke to the guy in charge of judging and he told me he knew nothing about poultry and that the judging is more for the public to see some pretty and different chickens.

I decided I was not going to do it.

Breeding good stock is not an easy hobby it is a job and I agree with your upholding to your standards. There are too many people who just put animals out there as this breed or that and they are muts. Case in point....I have a sweet little cockerspaniel - with papers that is no way pure....She sheds which cockers have hair and are not suppose to shed plus her face is all wrong - she is my adorable little mut dog that might have some poodle in her too - I am glad I did not pay too much for her but she was originally for sale for $800 which I think is an outrage - the older she got from puppy hood the more obvious to me she was clearly not a purebred cockerspaniel - I don't care what her papers say. (My friend gave her to me when she got too big for the puppy store.)
So.. I can't help but to ask if your by chance pointing this "frustration" toward me? I have sizzles, I have crossed them back to silkies to improve their type (toes, dark skin and walnut/dark combs)... If you are directing this to me, please let ME Know that you disagree with my breeding program? If your not directing this at me, please accept my apologies for asking. Thank you so much,
Donna Marie,

It's not in my nature to attack someone on a public forum. I'm a firm believer in the very old adage that you catch more flys with honey then vinegar, although I always thought bees made more sense then flys...but I ramble.

Beside DM, breeding back to Silkies is pretty standard practice in the development of this breed so, you aren't making Crosses, your improving your type. Yeah you!

I won't say the exact cross I saw that disturbed me because again, I don't want anyone to feel like I'm attacking them personally. Besides, it's a free country and last I heard there are no chicken police. If they wish to cross what ever they want, they can. My problem arose from referring to them as Sizzles and frankly, it's an education problem & in some ways my fault. I (& other dedicated breeders..hint, hint) need to do more to educate the public about Sizzles and that really was my intent when I started the letter. Chalk it up to my being still post surgical grumpy and again please accept my apology.

I hope there was at least some useful information in that long winded soliloquy and folks get more from it then that I was frustrated. I have had a web page planned for over a year and really, really need to get it into production. So, my frustration is as much to do with me as anyone else. The Sizzle list is working on a name to call the fanciers and once we have that I can buy the web site. I've written enough on this list to start pulling together information. My biggest problem is I'm a bit of a technotard & really wanted to build the site myself so I could maintain it but, find myself too often outsmarted by the plastic box!!! Aaarrrgggghhhhh!

So, onward & upward my fellow Sizzle fanciers. Please don't be put off by my frustration. Developing Sizzles is a fascinating hobby & anyone who would like to assist with the creation of the Sizzle Fanciers web site would be very appreciated!

Best to everyone
Forgive me, just had seen your posts on this topic a few times and couldnt help but think it was me you were lashing out at, I'm sure a few BYC people who raise/sell sizzles thought you were directing toward them. Your statements do come harsh and offensive to others. I thought you were the sizzle police. Though I may just be tired and menopausal???

Maybe you could invite this person to join the yahoo group so that they can learn and help others learn? Or even offer your personal assistance?

I am a proud momma and very over protective. I do take the breeding of sizzles very seriously, and would like to help others do so too. I will gladly share my knowledge with anyone wanting to know what I think I know, LOL. I am soooo still learning, and plan to be learning for a long time.
Please could you post pictures of your sizzles-I simply adore them. You didn't have any available when I was importing but I loved you birds.
I have some sizzle culls- I call them "sizzles that err on the cochin side". I like them that way- not really fond on the silkie comb. I'm not trying to perfect the breed or anything, and don't claim to be. I have never sold any, and don't plan on it. I actually might cross them with my banty aracaunas to make little frizzle EEs! Should I not be using the word sizzle at all?

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