Monday, April 18, 2016

Lets Talk Genetics

*Let me just say I'm loving this whole blogging thing, its a great way to keep me writing. Hopefully you readers enjoy my posts and much as I do making them!*
Now lets talk genetics!
I've probably learned more about genetics in the last year with this adventure than I ever did back with like 6th grade science. Chicken genetics are just way more interesting than that monk guy with his tall and short peas and what not.

One of the first interesting things I picked up on with the first generation was the sex-linking. 
For those not in the chicken loop, sex-linking is when a breed of chicken is gender dimorphic (Now isn't that a fun word!) Specifically it's when you can tell whether a chick is a male or female from the moment it's born. 
When you cross a White Rock hen with a Rhode Island Red rooster equals a brown sex-linked chick.
Problem is we don't have a WR hen and RIR rooster, we have a WR rooster and a RIR hens. So this cross did not produce an immediately sex linked chick BUT the adult are still gender dimorphic!! WHAT? Yup with this cross the roosters look like this:
And the hens look like this:

Now isn't that cool!?

It's just been plain interesting to see how the different colors react together. For the most part I think the white/barring of the rock is dominate over the reds and yellows. 
With the fruition of the second generation though the reds are coming back, (recessive traits are so much fun and surprising I love them.) 
for example, Chipmunk! She's about 10 weeks old now.
I'm thinking chipmunk's dad was Alfredo, he obviously had a suppressed red gene in him.(recessive genes that are suppressed by dominates sometimes express themselves in little ways, a red feather here and there amoung white speaks of a red coloring suppressed but dying to come out in the next generation if given the chance.) most of the roosters have little yellow or red feathers mixed with bars and white. Even Tortelini my pure white easter egger mix has a tiny red feather hidden in his saddle feathers! 
Tortellini's little red feather.
Alfredo's red feathers is MUCH more prominent  though, he has lots of red spots on his wings.
I'm thinking her mom was a RIR hen, maybe one of the RIR hen crosses but definitely RIR. That makes her at least half or 3/4s red, which is enough to finally overcome that white and barring, and this time it's the white and barring that's struggling to come through not the red.

I've also noticed in the second generation that the barring is now coming out as more like mottling, I've got some of these white birds that have a crazy amount of speckled/mottled wing feathers. They still some what cluster in a barred pattern the barring is almost slowly denigrating.
Although there may be some colorful ones in the first batch of chicks we hatched the second batch is definitely the most varried!
I've got two chicks that look about 1/2 to a 3/4 easter egger, 

A little roo seems to taking after Alfredo with some soft tinges and spots of red on his wings, I named him Chili.

And then there's the beautiful, Hershey. I have no idea how I came to have a chocolate chicken but now I have one and she's BEAUTIFUL!! Soft chocolate colors fade into warm yellows with beautiful spotting. She's to die for!
The trend of interesting colors and patterns continues with Salsa, unlike the other barred rock mixes that have their usual bars with maybe some faint tinges of reds and yellows she is completely black except for some beautiful silver lacing on her chest! How this happened exactly I don't know but she's beautiful!
And last but not least we have Basil, words cannot describe how beautiful she is.
Its amazing that this much variety comes from only a handful of breeds, White Rock, RIR, NHR, EE, BO, and Barred Rock.
Whenever I tell people about my chickens and my breeding program, At some point in time I always say, "Genetics are amazing!" I'm positively fascinated by how the different colors, combs, temperaments mesh together and create some altogether new and extraordinary. I'm having trouble trying to narrow but colors and comb types, leg colors and body shapes I want in the final new Rufus Ruby chicken breed. I want to try them all! I will figure it out eventually though, and I will learn tons along the way!

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