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PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 9:39 pm 
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Dapper Duck
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By the thread title, you can probably guess this question is from a novice Sussex keeper. Excuse my ignorance..... :roll:

Background: We got our first coronations in November 2016 from a lady working on a lavender project. Not sure what exactly.... Two pullets and a cockerel. We rely solely on broody hens for breeding, so, no mass egg hatching projects are going on here. (I.e., not a huge number of offspring.)

Our roo has his faults, but he is an enormous and well formed bird, 4.5 to 4.8 kg. His legs are not pure white, kind of buff - but without a really (pure) white leg to compare with, one would call them creamy white. He also has some vague whispy feathering on his shanks. One of the girls has pure white legs, no trace of feathers. The other girl has the same colour buff legs as the roo, also no trace of shank feathers.
I know yellow leg gene is recessive. There have been 5 young.

2 of these have bright yellow legs. The boy has slightly feathered shanks, just little short whisps... I figured roo is carrying 1 gene for yellow legs.
2 other offspring have pure white legs. Again, the boy has whispy feathers on the shanks.
I am not sure what's happening with the 5th. Yellow legs and no feathers, so far, but less than 2 weeks old, though wing feathers are coming along and I am leaning towards this being a girl.

So, my questions are: could the hen with the "not quite white" legs be carrying a yellow leg gene which is breaking through in expression? I guess there could be other leg colours? If this is the case, could I assume the girl with the pure white legs is homozygous for white leg gene? Or at least not carrying yellow leg gene?

And the last question, the most burning question....... Could the remnant
feathering on the shanks be an easy way for me to get an early gender detection in this group?

Thanks for reading. Look forward to seeing what people think... :th


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 6:35 am 
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Hi Okaru. The direction you go in is going to depends on your goals - whether you want to breed white legged sussex with clean shanks only, or whether you are happy to breed a mix.

It sounds like you have a nice big and sturdy male which is a good thing in breeding Sussex.

Chickens with white legs have no pigment in the dermis (underneath layer) and no pigment in the epidermis (outer layer). The gene that ensures the outer layer is white is called W (White) and for yellow it's called w (not white). As you know genes work in pairs. If a chicken has two copies of w (not white) then the legs will be yellow. If the chicken has one copy of each kind of gene so w and W, then the legs will appear white because white is dominant. So that recessive w gene can be hiding in flock with pure white legs and you don't know it's there until you arrive at a chick which ends up with two of them and shows you the yellow legs.

Yellow legged birds can have strong yellow colour or paler versions of it. The bird consumes various pigment carrying foods and absorbs and retains the pigment in the skin. This pigment can fade out at times. The legs on laying hens fade out when they've been laying for a while, if the feed the birds are eating doesn't have a lot of the pigment in it, they fade, and when they are under stress or moulting or whatever, you can have the legs pale off. Giving them access to grass and corn and other foods good for yellow keeps it strong.

If your male has yellow legs, even if they are pale I think he wil have two copies of the yellow gene. White legs on Sussex are very white with some pink showing through on a mature male. A photo of the bird might help here. Creamy legs could be dirty but generally white legs are white.

If you want to breed white legged birds I would put the white legged female with the white legged young male with the few feathers on the shank in due course and get offspring. They should all have white legs.

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And the last question, the most burning question....... Could the remnant
feathering on the shanks be an easy way for me to get an early gender detection in this group?

No feathered shanks are not a sex-linked feature. A few can pop up in a breeding program when you outcross so it's obviously lurking there and can show itself when an appropriate cross takes place. To get rid of it you'd get breed from the ones with none or fewer feathers over time.

Some photos would help inform the discussion on this. Whatever you do all the offspring will be lavender if breeding from lavender (coronation) parents.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 8:45 am 
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Cathy, how were the Lav Sussex developed? Was a pattern gene removed from Coronation or was a lav gene introduced from another breed or are Lav and Coronation completely different genes?


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:14 am 
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Be careful not to confuse Lavender the gene and the colour; and Lavender which is being commonly used to describe a colour variety of Sussex.

Coronations are really a Silver Lavender (colour) columbian Wheaten.

'Lavender' (the variety and sometimes called Platinum) are really Lavender Silver Birchen.

They have a different base pattern. The coros should be Ewh (wheaten) which allows for the paler legs. The Lavenders are ER (Birchen same as Silver Sussex) which gives that lacey pattern to the feather in the breast area and which comes with black legs usually. It's very hard to get light legs onto a 'Silver' Sussex due to this base pattern.

As to how Lavender Sussex have been developed, I can't know what people around Australia are crossing in to bring in Lav, could be from Arauacana or even more likely from Coronation Sussex. Whatever they used, they cross to a Silver Sussex to do it. Then the offspring need to be crossed again and the undesirable features bred out to leave a Lavender Silver Birchen. Some breed on to remove the excess white and get a self lavender colour, but some prefer to regard the birchen pattern as correct. No Lavender Sussex is currently standardised in the Australian Poultry Standards so it's hard to decide what's right and what's wrong, but I prefer the Lavender Birchen approach if it happens. Then it is the Lavender counterpart to the Silver.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:22 am 
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If Okaru has some birds that are split eWh and ER as a result of a cross between Coronation and Silver Birchen, then I would expect the legs to be very pale grey, or dark, not creamy yellow. We probably need photos to guess further.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:50 am 
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Thanks Cathy


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 2:15 pm 
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Thanks Cathy and Sue,

that's great information!
I see I have my assignment for the weekend to post some pics. :)That is no problem, as weekend snaps of chickens seems to be a regular occurrence here. :rofl:
My intention is to improve my backyard flock - gradually heading more towards a "true" coronation sussex, whilst also maintaining a plentiful supply of great eggs (and meat). However, breedings is very new to me as prior to getting the coronations (and later silkies) we never had anyone that went broody. Mr Okaru, fortunately or unfortunately, has not yet embraced the idea of "hatching more" - (either for specific purpose, or to see what happens), ha ha, so for the moment I just take opportunities when a broody comes along, (which seems to be frequently), then let Mr O melt when the chicks arrive. So far, so good. I think my ploy is working...... The first extension to the coop has been agreed to in principle. :wee

Irrespective of different breeds of chooks in our pen, the only fertile male that has access to hens is Dudley. He has a good size, good "clean/clear" feather colouring, as far as I can tell, nice head, though a little bit short in the back (maybe) - though that could be because his shoulders are so wide. The male offspring he has fathered from Australorps have light grey clean shanks. I will work on the premise the leg feathering so far in the sussex boys whilst not on the girls is a fluke. (Poor statistical population to base any theories on in any case.....). Photos will follow over the weekend so you can see what I mean about cream/white vs yellow legs.....

thanks again! :th


Attachments:
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 2:22 pm 
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Dapper Duck
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sorry - got all excited posting and have another question:

the gene controlling pigments in dermis and epidermis is the same one? or are there two different genes?

thanks!!


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 2:39 pm 
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Take a look at this page: http://www.edelras.nl/chickengenetics/m ... en_mut_leg

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 2:22 pm 
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Thanks for feedback so far. :-)

Here is a close-up of the rooster's legs, so the colour and feathering can be seen.
Attachment:
dudleycloseupcreamylegfeatheredshanks.JPG
dudleycloseupcreamylegfeatheredshanks.JPG [ 44.89 KiB | Viewed 47 times ]


Here are the two hens from whom white chicks came. (Seems strange not to post pics of the whole bird...)
Attachment:
hen1creamylegnofeathers.JPG
hen1creamylegnofeathers.JPG [ 42.97 KiB | Viewed 47 times ]

Attachment:
hen2whitelegnofeathers.JPG
hen2whitelegnofeathers.JPG [ 94.97 KiB | Viewed 47 times ]


and here are a "collection of legs" amongst the offspring - a pullet in foreground with clean legs and a white cockerel behind with feathering down the legs. Australorp cross has pale legs and no feathering.
Attachment:
whitecleanlegpulletand2cockerels.JPG
whitecleanlegpulletand2cockerels.JPG [ 56.49 KiB | Viewed 47 times ]


A close-up of a cockerel's leg, bright yellow and feathering
Attachment:
cockerelsussexyellowlegsfeatheredshanks.JPG
cockerelsussexyellowlegsfeatheredshanks.JPG [ 55.03 KiB | Viewed 47 times ]


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 2:53 pm 
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Dapper Duck
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Following the post I just put up, I also wanted to show another pic of a clean legged pullet.

Bright yellow legs this time. She is heading to point of lay, though before her face started colouring, all the skin on her face and her beak was bright (as in glow in the dark bright) yellow. Now this is less obvious (especially since the photo has her turned a little away..... :o ).
Attachment:
pulletyellowcleanlegs.JPG
pulletyellowcleanlegs.JPG [ 61.33 KiB | Viewed 45 times ]


Also, to mention that it IS clear the rooster's legs are "yellow", easier to see this in photos, (in last post), compared to the purely white legged birds, but nowhere near as yellow as some of his progeny.
Is it clearer now? :-)

Also, here is the youngest chick we have. Way too early for me to tell, but I think this is a girl. (I will be certain in about 20 weeks....)
Attachment:
DSC_0681.JPG
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And this is the oldest coro-cockerel with his half brother. These two were born on the same day. He has pure white legs and feathering down ONE shank and what looks like a few strands of hair on the other...... However, note the difference in size between these two boys. Although his shape and colour is good - - he's a bit wimpy, though I guess he could still grow. (27 weeks old - very slow to mature.) Not quite sure whether to keep both.
Attachment:
cockerels20171209.JPG
cockerels20171209.JPG [ 42.75 KiB | Viewed 45 times ]


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