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Reddish Bay eyes on Black Ameraucanas

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1 Reddish Bay eyes on Black Ameraucanas on Sun Jan 15, 2012 11:00 am

Omega Blue Farms

Full Time Member
Full Time Member
One of the flaws on the Black Ameraucana is inconsistent eye colour. Colours range from red that is the same as what is on a Rhode Island which I believe is proper Reddish Bay. I have also seen lots of dark eyes (looks black from distance)and many as light as golden.

My research into the genetics taught me that science still has alot to learn about eye colour genetics, and therefore I'm hoping the traditional knowledge held by judges and other fanciers can shed light.

I have read so far is that final eye colour tends to not be reached until sexual maturity and therefore it is hard to assess younger stock. Reviewing my birds, all my older stock has red eyes, but many pullets still have much lighter (almost golden) eyes. However, I don't recall our young Rhode Islands having off eye colour as younger cockrels and pullets. Can one select for faster reddish bay developement?

I also learned that there is a gene that distinguishes between red and brown eyes, but I'm not clear on how to distinguish between the two genotypes.

when assessing a field of birds with a broad range of eye colours, the judge indicated that she considered the dark eyes less of a flaw than the golden eyes but I never had the opportunity to ask why. Do others feel the same, and if so, why?

With discussions with another ameraucana breeder last fall, it was suggested that the proper eye colour for an ameraucana is lighter than what I've observed on Rhode Islands, wyandottes, and many other Reddish Bay breeds. Is there any diffences between breeds in how the standard interprets "reddish bay", or is the colour intended to remain consistent from breed to breed.


2 Re: Reddish Bay eyes on Black Ameraucanas on Sun Jan 15, 2012 9:04 pm

Blue Hill Farm

Golden Member
Golden Member
You ask interesting questions Omega. Wish I knew the answers. And it’s not just the blacks that have inconsistent eye colour. If you go to the ABC website and browse the pictures of the different varieties you’ll see quite the range of eye colours, from dark brown to light gold.

One thing I’ve noticed in my own flock is that the eye colour of the cockerels tends to be lighter than the pullets. These two are full siblings. I think this pullet has proper 'reddish bay' eyes, please correct me if I’m wrong. Question

Sorry about the huge pics. Embarassed I tried cropping the bird’s heads but photobucket seems to hate me lately. Oh, and I found this interesting bit on another site and thought I'd share even though it's probably old news.

"Eye color is also associated with the E locus alleles (black produces darker eyes) and genes like dominant white will dilute the eye color. I would expect blue and lavender to do this too.

I had a Blue splash Ameraucana rooster that had bright orange eyes with red streaks in them. I bred him for two generations (the second one back to his daughters) because I like the eye color, but I never got anymore like him. Eye color is pretty much a genetic mystery for chickens.

Smyth in Poultry Breeding and Genetics, 1990 Crawford, ed. Cites a Sex-linked brown eye phenotype (Br). The normal color is called bay. Brown eyed birds are also seen in association with dark shanks and the id^M sex-linked dermal melanin allele. The dominant E allele is associated with brown eye too.

Pearl eye is thought to be recessive to bay eye. I'd think that there were at least two genes involved, but the genetics aren't known. Something inhibits carotinoid deposition and also melanin deposition in these eyes. White skin is known to inhibit carotinoid deposition in the skin, but Smyth claims that it isn't involved in pearl because yellow skinned Cornish can have pearl eyes.

The color I had in my Ameraucana was not the normal bay color it was a bright orange eye with blood red streaks in it. It was pretty striking and could not be confused with the normal bay.

The red color may be carotinoids (the pigment left in fall leaves and can be seen in vegetables like carrots and red peppers). "

Quoted from http://www.edelras.nl/chickengenetics/mutations2.html#gen_mut_eye

3 Re: Reddish Bay eyes on Black Ameraucanas on Mon Jan 16, 2012 8:30 am


Golden Member
Golden Member
This is an interesting discussion.
I bred Barnevelders for some years, and they are a reddish bay eye colour as well. When I started they were notorious for having light or greenish eyes. It was made doubly tough as, like Omega stated, the eye colour did not stabilise until the birds were mature.
I actually found it pretty easy to get the proper colour (my interpretation of it anyways) solidified in my birds. I just only bred the birds with the colour I wanted and I think it only took 3 years before I was not seeing anything unwanted pop up.
I think there is degrees of red bay with in the breeds. It would have to do with the body colour, as Flicker mentioned. And some feather colours are tougher to get a good reddish bay on than others because of linkages I know nothing about!
I don't think you can always breed for what the judges want. I think people's interpretation of the written word can vary and when it comes down to it you have to breed birds that you like cause you have to look at them. For me that is breeding as close to what I think the Standard says as well as putting my individual taste in them.
So breed birds that have the eye colour that you think is reddish bay and some judges will think you have it bang on and others may not.

4 Re: Reddish Bay eyes on Black Ameraucanas on Mon Jan 16, 2012 3:29 pm


Addicted Member
Addicted Member
Omega Blue I would agree with Coopslave that eye color is one of the easy things to correct. I never do serious culling of my young birds until they are quite mature and one of the things that I look for at serious culling time is eye color in some of my old english the eye color should be as dark as possible but the males will generally have a slightly lighter eye and I think this could apply to many breeds, when I say slightly I mean by a shade, I do not keep keep or breed from any females that don't have but the best eye color, no matter how outstanding and by doing this I have in a very short time solidified my eye color.

It should be no different with the reddish bay color. Next time we are at a show talk to me about it. I would say that the eye color of the blue male pictured appears to gold for my liking. While eye color is one the easy things to correct if you have some birds with correct eye color it is also one of things breeders tend to let slide to easy, I am guilty of his too from time to time, but I have really tried to change my ways and don't cut any slack when it comes to the overall bird, eye color not good to excellent the bird is dead.

I don't know anything about all the deep genetic stuff but from my exprieance the females have a very direct influenance on the shade of the male eye. So as far as the genetics, I don't have a book handy this is just what works in my flock with my experiance. Take Care



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