White silkie genetics

R3n3308

Chirping
Jun 24, 2018
57
67
71
Texas
Can anyone educate me on white silkie genetics. I have been reading and researching a lot, I am not really comprehending. Can someone break it down to a elementary level?
I have been breeding my white hen and roo and getting good silkies that are breeder/show quality. I am wanting to switch hens up and add more, but I want to comprehend genetics before I do.

Currently I have a pullet with light brown eyes and skin pigment holes on her feet, she is completely white. The lady said her parents are both PAINT and that I could breed her with my white roo and get good babies. Someone else said no, wont breed good quality.

Of the white silkies I have, how do I figure out the color genes they have? or if they carry the silver gene?
 
Last edited:

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
27,482
20,712
907
Southeast Louisiana
Oh, fun and joy. white genetics. Do you have a Tylenol handy, you may need it.

There are two distinctly separate genes you can use to make a solid white bird. One is dominant white, the other is recessive white. They occupy different gene airs on the DNA. There are exceptions to practically everything to do with chicken genetics so I'll hit the basics. You may notice I did not mention Silver.

Dominant white is a modifier of black. It turns any feather that would normally be black to white. If you have a red bird dominant white will not have an effect. It is a dominant gene so you only need one copy of the Dominant White gene at that gene pair for it to have an effect. So if you have what would normally be a solid black bird and introduce Dominant white, you get a solid white bird.

Recessive White is a recessive gene, both genes at that gene pair need to be Recessive White for it to have an effect. When they do pair up it's effect is really powerful. It will turn any color white.

I don't know how you got an solid white chicken from two Splash chickens. It should not happen. The B/B/S (Blue/Black/Splash) gene is a modifier of black. If both genes at that gene pair are the B/B/S gene you get a splash chicken. If only one is B/B/S you get a blue chicken. If neither are B/B/S it defaults to black. But once again I'm only talking about black feathers, Red or Buff don't work. The offspring of two Splash chickens should be Splash, not solid white.

I don't know if your white rooster is Dominant White or Recessive White. If you cross a Dominant White with a Splash chicken you should get solid white. If your rooster is Dominant White and is solid white he should give black to his offspring anyway, depending on whether he is pure for Dominant White and Black or of he is split for those traits. Pure means both genes at that gene pair are the same, split means they are not.

If your white rooster is based on Recessive White he will give one RW gene to his offspring but unless the hen also gives a RW the chick will not be solid white.

All this is theory. In reality you often get different things to happen. One regular occurrence is leakage. This is where a random feather (or several) of a different color shows up. That may be a random scattered feather or they may be clumped together. I think it is more likely when genetics are split than pure, but it is a real common problem.

There are different ways to make a solid black bird. The Extend Black gene is the one best known but some genes can modify other colors to black. For example, melanizers can turn red feathers to black. So you can take what would normally be red bird genetics and turn the bird black by adding melanizers. Also some of the diluters that turn red feathers buff can have a strong effect on black. There are other modifiers out there too. I don't know what effect any of these modifiers might have on either Dominant white or Recessive White genetics. There is a lot I do not know. The more I learn the more I realize how little I actually know.

I know, clear as mud. If you cross that white rooster with your white silkie you might get a show quality white, you might not. There is only own way to find out.
 

The Moonshiner

I'm Kind Of A Big Deal
Premium Feather Member
Nov 17, 2016
9,857
53,648
861
Missouri
@Ridgerunner I think you know exactly how you get a white bird from two splash.
You just don't realize it at the moment.
Both splash carry a recessive white gene.

Silkie have dominate white in their paint breedings but white silkies are mostly recessive white. Just breed white to white. If need another option breed white to blue/black/splash. Then breed offspring together for 25% white or offspring to white for 50% white.
If you're breeding show silkies whites and blacks are the most plentiful so shouldn't be hard to work just between them.
 

ErinDO83

Chirping
Mar 22, 2019
33
113
99
Dryden, Michigan
I
Oh, fun and joy. white genetics. Do you have a Tylenol handy, you may need it.

There are two distinctly separate genes you can use to make a solid white bird. One is dominant white, the other is recessive white. They occupy different gene airs on the DNA. There are exceptions to practically everything to do with chicken genetics so I'll hit the basics. You may notice I did not mention Silver.

Dominant white is a modifier of black. It turns any feather that would normally be black to white. If you have a red bird dominant white will not have an effect. It is a dominant gene so you only need one copy of the Dominant White gene at that gene pair for it to have an effect. So if you have what would normally be a solid black bird and introduce Dominant white, you get a solid white bird.

Recessive White is a recessive gene, both genes at that gene pair need to be Recessive White for it to have an effect. When they do pair up it's effect is really powerful. It will turn any color white.

I don't know how you got an solid white chicken from two Splash chickens. It should not happen. The B/B/S (Blue/Black/Splash) gene is a modifier of black. If both genes at that gene pair are the B/B/S gene you get a splash chicken. If only one is B/B/S you get a blue chicken. If neither are B/B/S it defaults to black. But once again I'm only talking about black feathers, Red or Buff don't work. The offspring of two Splash chickens should be Splash, not solid white.

I don't know if your white rooster is Dominant White or Recessive White. If you cross a Dominant White with a Splash chicken you should get solid white. If your rooster is Dominant White and is solid white he should give black to his offspring anyway, depending on whether he is pure for Dominant White and Black or of he is split for those traits. Pure means both genes at that gene pair are the same, split means they are not.

If your white rooster is based on Recessive White he will give one RW gene to his offspring but unless the hen also gives a RW the chick will not be solid white.

All this is theory. In reality you often get different things to happen. One regular occurrence is leakage. This is where a random feather (or several) of a different color shows up. That may be a random scattered feather or they may be clumped together. I think it is more likely when genetics are split than pure, but it is a real common problem.

There are different ways to make a solid black bird. The Extend Black gene is the one best known but some genes can modify other colors to black. For example, melanizers can turn red feathers to black. So you can take what would normally be red bird genetics and turn the bird black by adding melanizers. Also some of the diluters that turn red feathers buff can have a strong effect on black. There are other modifiers out there too. I don't know what effect any of these modifiers might have on either Dominant white or Recessive White genetics. There is a lot I do not know. The more I learn the more I realize how little I actually know.

I know, clear as mud. If you cross that white rooster with your white silkie you might get a show quality white, you might not. There is only own way to find out.
I have a question for you. I got 4 white silkies given to me by my cousin who gave me no information other than she got them at tsc. But anyway, one of them only had 4 toes on both feet. The other 3 have 5. What could be the reason? Isn't the 5 toe gene pretty strong? I dont know a lot about the gene thing. Thanks in advance
 

hhouck514

Chirping
Nov 4, 2018
42
68
80
OR
I

I have a question for you. I got 4 white silkies given to me by my cousin who gave me no information other than she got them at tsc. But anyway, one of them only had 4 toes on both feet. The other 3 have 5. What could be the reason? Isn't the 5 toe gene pretty strong? I dont know a lot about the gene thing. Thanks in advance
Yes, the 5 toe gene is strong, but occaioccasio you will see a 4-toed silkie for some odd reason. It cannot be shown shown, and shouldn't be bred. Other than that, it is fine.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
27,482
20,712
907
Southeast Louisiana
I

I have a question for you. I got 4 white silkies given to me by my cousin who gave me no information other than she got them at tsc. But anyway, one of them only had 4 toes on both feet. The other 3 have 5. What could be the reason? Isn't the 5 toe gene pretty strong? I dont know a lot about the gene thing. Thanks in advance

From my understanding there are two levels to the answer to this. One is basic genetics. 5-toes is dominant over 4-toes. That means if one of the genes at that gene pair is the dominant 5-toed you should see 5 toes. So if you pair up some birds that have both 5-toed and 4-toed genes you can get both 5-toed and 4 toed offspring. If both parents have one 4 and one 5, you should get about 75% five-toed and 25% four. If one parent has both of these genes only 4-toed and the other parent has one 4 and one 5, you should get about 50-50. So the simple answer is that there is a recessive 4-toed gene floating around in the parent flock. That's not unusual, recessive genes are hard to get rid of.

Of course since it is chicken genetics it can't be that simple. There can be other genes involved. I don't think they are that common but these other genes, if present, can affect how many toes show up that might be different from the basic 4 or 5 genes. What should be 5 will be 4. Or maybe you get a 6-toed bird. You can even get a bird with one foot 5-toed and the other foot 4-toed. I've seen the 5-toed gene called a partially dominant gene too but this is not how I thought partial dominance works. This part of it is way too complicated for me to understand and the simple answer is most likely the correct one in your case. There is a recessive 4-toed gene floating around in the parent flock.
 

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