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 Post subject: Wyandotte combs
PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 7:03 am 
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Wyandotte Combs

I think the next thing I need to look at critically is the wyandotte comb. I actually think this might be easier to get right than a lot of other things. We have seen an improvement in our combs with each passing season and we now get a fair percentage of fairly tidy combs. The comb does not represent many points on the scale of point, but it's still something that a good bird needs to have.

To state the goal, the Wyandotte Breeders of America have put up some good pictures to show what we want and what we don't want. It's the ideal, but I think pictures help a lot. I recognise these pictures from our Australian Wyandotte Club Handbook so they are likely to have come from the same source, or perhaps they are original to this site and our Club has borrowed them. Here is their website:
http://www.wyandottebreedersofamerica.n ... andard.htm

Firstly, the ideal:

Image

Then the common problems:

Image

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Wyandotte combs
PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 7:03 am 
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H. Price has an article in the Wyandotte Club of Australia Handbook. He says that the wyandotte comb should be what the old folks called the 'rocker' comb. It should be a low rose comb that follows the curve of the skull like an inverted chair rocker. This should be widest above the base of the beak and taper gradually to a definite point or spike at the rear. It should be covered with a uniform set of fine points. A lot of faults are hereditary and should be removed from the flock.

He believes that the male controls the transmission of comb formation so it is VERY important to have the right cock bird. He needs to be as close to perfect as possible. You need to wait five or six months to be able to select cockerels. He believes that if you put together two birds that both have a significant workings, that you will get course combs in the offspring.

Paraphrased from: p. 54,55 of Handbook by Wyandotte Club of Australia

What I think is encouraging about combs is that you can see good progress fairly quickly just by making the right breeding choices. However, the reverse can also be true. A friend of mine made the mistake of selecting birds with a smooth comb with limited workings and ended up with a flock full of putty combs. That was corrected over a couple of generations of breeding the workings back in.

It would be good to get a selection of photos of wyandotte combs - both good ones and poor ones. I'll try to get a few.

The other thing that I think is interesting is the genetics of the workings. I remember reading about a gene that controls rosecomb roughness and I think that may be relevant here. I think it's possible that crossing a well worked comb with a smooth comb may result in offspring that are heterozygous for this gene and perfect looking combs. I need to go back and have a look at that again.

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 Post subject: Re: Wyandotte combs
PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 7:04 am 
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Bad leaders. Anything like this should be removed from the breeding pen.

I think this is an inverted leader:

Image

Missing leader:

Image

There shouldn't be a hollow in the centre of the comb either. I haven't yet found a picture of that.

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 Post subject: Re: Wyandotte combs
PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 7:05 am 
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I'd like to know what part this rough comb gene plays in the breeding of wyandotte combs.

Quote from http://www.edelras.nl/chickengenetics/mutations2.html

Quote:
There are two "Rough/Smooth" comb alleles listed, that modify comb texture (especially noticable in rosecombs), eg:

He+ (Rough, also produces more spikes in single comb) &
he (Smooth)

* notice the first is considered the wild type.

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 Post subject: Re: Wyandotte combs
PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 7:05 am 
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Great thread, don't get my wyandottes tll next year but have already thought about the comb!

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 Post subject: Re: Wyandotte combs
PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 7:06 am 
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Old Mother Goose
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A good topic.

Combs are a funny beast. A bad comb is the ruin of a good wyandotte. It is only a small number of points in the show pen but a bad one is hard to look past.

I agree it can be quickly adressed. I also think that is because of only a few genes interacting. Get them right and uniformity returns. get them wrong and it all goes horrible.

Hopefully I can drag the conb back in line quickly once all the other things are set in the BLRs. I hope so. NMy gut says it will be easy, but experience says some things may be impossible.

I still need to read that topic on pea combs.....
Raf

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 Post subject: Re: Wyandotte combs
PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 7:06 am 
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Gallant Game
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Interesting... so that is the official name for this condition.

I suspect I can help out with an "in the flesh" pic of this comb type (or at least think this is the same thing):

image
image

as opposed to

image
image

(no doubt this second comb is also undesirable - but still serves to demonstrate the difference)

Cheers,
htul


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 Post subject: Re: Wyandotte combs
PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 7:07 am 
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Great Game
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Thanks for putting this up Katy really appreciate it.
Raf's 2nd line above is exactly how I see it, it may only be worth 5 points but when its not good its hard to see the remainder of the bird is perfect, One judge we had last season made the comment about one of our cockerals on how well his comb was worked and that has stuck in my mind a bit, so that brings me to my problem in the breeding pen, my novice thoughts were to place good worked comb to good worked comb and set good worked combs in my line, but the Wyandotte book as paraphrased above suggest this is not a good idea and will result in overworked combs. Our next series of show males have underworked combs but not putty and with great type so these may be the males that should be getting the breeding pen first. We have only bred one over worked cockerel this season and the males i used last year had smallish combs, I did select for that in the males and thinking back on the females they probbly had smooth combs, but we have progressed a big step forward with this seasons young I dont want to go backwards with the upcoming breeding season. I may need to have better written records.

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 Post subject: Re: Wyandotte combs
PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 7:08 am 
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Peter, sometimes the points don't mean as much as we might think they should. On a sussex for instance, the whole head including the comb is only worth 10 points yet I've seen judges obviously favouring birds with a tidy comb. I think it depends on what kind of birds the judge keeps themselves as that can colour the way they look at a bird, but if all else is equal, a comb matters in the end. If you produce an absolutely fabulous bird in all other respect but it has a poor comb - what do you see when you look at the bird?

Thanks for the pictures htul. I think that is spot on. If you have a look at this pdf by Sigi she has put up a number of photos from page 5 onwards that are labelled for the He+ or he gene combinations. http://www.chickencolours.com/What%20Wattles-lowres.pdf The combs that are of most interest in the context of this thread are those labelled for rosecomb as well. This is a fantastic document because she's labelled so many pictures. She's thinking about the differences in silkie comb but the pictures are helpful for many other things.

He+ is written as dominant which is why I think flocks that get an overwhelming number of 'putty combs' in them can be fairly easily fixed. He+ is fairly easily bred back in as it's dominant. I haven't found any other information about He+ but if people are reporting an intermediary effect from a split then I'm assuming it's only partially/incompletely dominant. Anyone know more?

Quite often the master breeders have worked out the right thing to do even if they don't always know the reason why it works. In the Wyandotte Handbook when it says that breeder should breed a rough comb to a smooth, I think the chicks they are producing which are 'just right' are probably He+/he, producing a smaller or moderate amount of workings. It makes sense. If, on the other hand you are breeding medium to medium (He+/he to He+/he) you would get 25% overly rough, 25% smooth and 50% spot on. Could this be the reason they advise crossing rough and smooth?

I'm not sure about this, I'm just surmising that this might be the case. Have a look at the tables below and see if it makes sense.

Table 1 shows 100% medium (or smaller) worked combs from a rough/smooth cross.

Table 2 shows that you would only get 50% from a medium/medium cross. You'd also get 25% too rough and 25% very smooth (perhaps putty).


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 Post subject: Re: Wyandotte combs
PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 7:09 am 
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Some wyandotte combs.

Image

This might be the same one.

Image

I think this one may be missing He+

Image

Image


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Image

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I don't mind some of those. A few are too smooth and are probably missing the rough comb gene. It's been good to look at this actually. I have a better idea of what I'm looking for in the breeding pen now and a better understanding of what is happening if something doesn't come out right. :ltu

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 Post subject: Re: Wyandotte combs
PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 7:09 am 
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Katy wrote:
...Quite often the master breeders have worked out the right thing to do even if they don't always know the reason why it works. ..
Exactly methinks, i have a laugh when the most knowledgeable poultry member at the poultry club i attend rolls his eyes if anyone mentions genetics and yet he has obviously been using genetics for decades!

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 Post subject: Re: Wyandotte combs
PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 7:10 am 
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Image

Image

Image

Image

a few various shots of some of the combs on our cockerals.

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 Post subject: Re: Wyandotte combs
PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 7:11 am 
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Fantastic to see! I should get some of mine as well.

I like number one. It seems to be close to what we want in a show bird.

Numbers 2 and 4 look like they have larger workings. I wonder if this means they carry two of the rough comb genes. Putting these over a smooth combed female may produce combs like number 1.

Number 3 is an odd one. Have you bred many like that? Nice workings, nice leader, nice shape. It just stands up really high at the back.

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 Post subject: Re: Wyandotte combs
PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 7:11 am 
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I like No 1 and I would like to establish this type in my line, but some have suggested its a bit narrow and would like to see it wider. No 2 I think has better width and there are plenty of workings, I dont think they are too big and I am quite happy with this shape. No 3 I dont know what to do with, we have a few that are high like this one and it is not attractive. Leader comes out a bit high too.
but it is all learning curve stuff, but I really want to establish smallish neat tight combs and I really have no idea to go about it except stay away from big ugly combs.

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 Post subject: Re: Wyandotte combs
PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 7:12 am 
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Interesting. Thanks for your thoughts Pete. It's really helpful.

On width, I've had them so wide that the bird can't see ahead of it so a happy medium must be in order.

I'm thinking that I need to develop more workings in mine. After looking at yours I think mine are too flat.

Here's three boys I've bred this year.

Image

Image

I like this one the best. He's got a problem with one wattle. I'm going to see if that can be fixed today.

Image

Here he is again from the side:

Image

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