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How do Breed Standards become standard for the Breed?

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KathyS

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I have a general question about how the standards for the different breeds actually develop and become the accepted standard.
What got me thinking was one of several discussions on here about the difficulties many of us face while trying to produce the desired yellow shanks on a Black or Blue Cochin. It seems that getting pure yellow legs on a Black bird or a dilute (i.e. blue) is a real challenge.

This made me wonder why yellow came to be the accepted color for Blue and Black Cochin legs. I did a little comparison with some other breeds:
Cochin
White - Shanks & Toes: Yellow
Buff - Shanks & Toes: Yellow
Blue - Shanks and toes: Male - Yellow, bottoms of feet, yellow. Female yellow of dusky yellow, yellow preferred. Bottom of feet - yellow.
Black - Shanks and toes: Male - Yellow, bottoms of feet, yellow. Female yellow or dusky yellow, yellow preferred. Bottom of feet - yellow.

Plymouth Rock
White Rock - Shanks & Toes: Rich Yellow
Buff Rock - Shanks & Toes - Rich Yellow
Blue Rocks-Shanks and Toes - Male - yellow; Female - yellow or dusky yellow; yellow prefered.

Wyandottes
White Wyandottes - rich Yellow
Buff - Rich Yellow
Blue - Rich Yellow

Orpingtons
White - Shanks & toes pinkish white
Buff - Shanks & toes Pinkish white
Blue - Shanks & toes Leaden blue, bottom of feet and toes, pinkish white.
Black - Shanks & toes Black in young, shading to dark slate in adults; bottoms of feet and toes, pinkish White.

I have never had to put in any extra effort to get slate shanks in Black or blue orps. It just seems to happen naturally without any effort on my part! tongue

So why does the standard vary like this amongst the different breeds? It would be so easy to consistently produce slate legs on the blue cochins. This seems to be the natural inclination, and its like a contradiction happening between skin/shank color and feather color? That is probably not an accurate statement, but I'd love to hear a scientific explanation.
All I know is its a good thing there is some leeway allowed with the term dusky yellow....unlike with the Wyandottes!

Does anyone here breed Blue Wyandottes? I wonder if the same problems exist with regard to yellow shanks?

http://www.hawthornhillpoultry.com

Piet

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I like the looks of bright yellow on the blacks and blues and have seen a lot of cochins if not all with real nice yellow legs. The yellow legs are recessive, so with any luck some of your birds are still carriers. As soon they are slate, something else has gotten in the mix who knows when! A simple thing as yellow legs can easily be overseen for years if one does not know or care for the standard and know you will have to pick up the slack becuase of it. You need to outcross to a good yellow legged cochin, because it looks like it has gone missing in your birds by the sounds of it.

http://pvgflemishgiants.tripod.com/

R. Roo


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Last edited by R. Roo on Mon Feb 18, 2013 1:04 pm; edited 1 time in total

Piet

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R. Roo wrote:Ive read somewhere that the lighter colored shanks are related to finer meat qualities, dont know if its really true but it seems reasonable to assume that we are selecting against nature's wild type for many of the qualities we demand in poultry. A good example is the cushion comb and small wattles in chantecler, they are in opposition to nature's vision for fertility in that larger combs/wattles are more desirable to the females sense of attraction. I also read more and more about people questioning the wisdom and authority of the standards and especially pedigree systems of breeding. Personally I agree that the standards do not take into account any actual function of the animals in question, only the appearance of the animal. My personal battles with willow shanks proves shank trubbles can be beaten however I still question why I had to bother with it when it makes no difference to eggs or my ability to consume the carcass, only the arbitrary standards made these efforts necessary, for what though?? someone else's sense of beauty? With my chosen breeds the authority has changed the phenotype envisioned by their creators further dividing the social and economic potentials to certain advantages or disadvantages. Is it really better for the chicken? or for me? or the authority?

After reading pre-WW1 books on breeding poultry I find it obvious there is a severe lack of knowledge among amateur breeders, there is a ton of stuff which is unsaid, never spoken or discussed among competitive breeders. I think that the real experts are never heard from as their information is proprietary, industry has won this one hands down and as long as we fight with the phenotypes they keep their economic advantage. Chickens are food, food is power. I got nuthin' but chicken LOL.
what are you talking about?? Very Happy

http://pvgflemishgiants.tripod.com/

Country Thyme Farm

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KathyS wrote:I have a general question about how the standards for the different breeds actually develop and become the accepted standard.
What got me thinking was one of several discussions on here about the difficulties many of us face while trying to produce the desired yellow shanks on a Black or Blue Cochin. It seems that getting pure yellow legs on a Black bird or a dilute (i.e. blue) is a real challenge.

This made me wonder why yellow came to be the accepted color for Blue and Black Cochin legs. I did a little comparison with some other breeds:
Cochin
White - Shanks & Toes: Yellow
Buff - Shanks & Toes: Yellow
Blue - Shanks and toes: Male - Yellow, bottoms of feet, yellow. Female yellow of dusky yellow, yellow preferred. Bottom of feet - yellow.
Black - Shanks and toes: Male - Yellow, bottoms of feet, yellow. Female yellow or dusky yellow, yellow preferred. Bottom of feet - yellow.

Plymouth Rock
White Rock - Shanks & Toes: Rich Yellow
Buff Rock - Shanks & Toes - Rich Yellow
Blue Rocks-Shanks and Toes - Male - yellow; Female - yellow or dusky yellow; yellow prefered.

Wyandottes
White Wyandottes - rich Yellow
Buff - Rich Yellow
Blue - Rich Yellow

Orpingtons
White - Shanks & toes pinkish white
Buff - Shanks & toes Pinkish white
Blue - Shanks & toes Leaden blue, bottom of feet and toes, pinkish white.
Black - Shanks & toes Black in young, shading to dark slate in adults; bottoms of feet and toes, pinkish White.

I have never had to put in any extra effort to get slate shanks in Black or blue orps. It just seems to happen naturally without any effort on my part! tongue

So why does the standard vary like this amongst the different breeds? It would be so easy to consistently produce slate legs on the blue cochins. This seems to be the natural inclination, and its like a contradiction happening between skin/shank color and feather color? That is probably not an accurate statement, but I'd love to hear a scientific explanation.
All I know is its a good thing there is some leeway allowed with the term dusky yellow....unlike with the Wyandottes!

Does anyone here breed Blue Wyandottes? I wonder if the same problems exist with regard to yellow shanks?


I believe the leg colour on the birds your asking about has to do with the base skin colour for the breeds in question, i.e. Rocks and Cochins are yellow skinned breeds, while Orpingtons are white skinned. The APA preference then would normally be to keep the leg colour the same for the whole breed.

I am by no means a colour genetics expert, but maybe the genes that cause black in feather also tend to affect leg colour? It is possible that in a white skinned breed like the Orpington, breeding a black or blue bird to keep white legs may actually be impossible, so this may be why they made the allowance. The only blue or black birds I work with are Muscovies, and I don't think it would be possible to breed a blue or black muscovy to keep pink feet and bills.

Keep in mind that the APA standards are always written/rewritten to represent an ideal to work towards.

Don't know how accurate it is, but here is a site discussing leg colour genetics in Ameraucanas:

http://www.browneggblueegg.com/Article/GeneticsWillowLeg.html

http://countrythyme.ca

KathyS

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I like the looks of bright yellow on the blacks and blues and have seen a lot of cochins if not all with real nice yellow .

Could you hook me up with names of those breeders, Piet! Wink

There probably are lots of correct Blues and blacks out there somewhere, but I know maintaining nice yellow shanks in these varieties is a bit of a struggle...even among some well established breeders.
My thinking was along the same lines as Country Thyme suggested...just wondered if anyone else had more insight.
Thanks for the comments so far!

http://www.hawthornhillpoultry.com

Piet

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Pm'd you kathy

http://pvgflemishgiants.tripod.com/

CynthiaM

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Piet wrote:Pm'd you kathy

Why don't you PM me too? I am raising blue and black cochins too, I am working hard to get yellow leggers too on this breed, don't forget about me....have a most awesome day, good discussion Kathy, CynthiaM.

Schipperkesue

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CynthiaM wrote:
Piet wrote:Pm'd you kathy

Why don't you PM me too? I am raising blue and black cochins too, I am working hard to get yellow leggers too on this breed, don't forget about me....have a most awesome day, good discussion Kathy, CynthiaM.

Me too please Piet. I believe the three of us are all in this together,

Piet

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They are in the US and overseas, where did yall get them from initially?? If we find some for kathy across the border than you will have to ask kathy for some down the road.

http://pvgflemishgiants.tripod.com/

KathyS

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When I look at pictures of some of the gorgeous birds being raised south of the border its always tempting to try to arrange to bring some home. But the thought of jumping through all those hoops as well as the distance to the US border, those things are a bit discouraging. I'll try to learn more and keep you all advised. Smile

http://www.hawthornhillpoultry.com

coopslave

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Are you ready for this KathyS? This is purely talking about leg colour and not about the Standard.

Taken directly from Sigrid Van Dort’s book, “Genetics of the Chickens Extremes, the Basics”, all the info is directly quoted. I highly recommend this book. I am yet to get through it, but you have encouraged me to read a chapter I had not gotten to yet, thanks! Has really amazing pictures too, which I find help me alot. She has also included a pictorial chart called Leg colours at a glance eb & E.

Leg colours
The leg colours in chickens are a bit complicated in a way they’re determined by a few things together. For this I refer to the skin colours as well because its connected. What’s leg colour physical?
The leg consists of a bone, tendons, covered with membranes, then follows dermis and finally the epidermis. The epidermis can be white or yellow it’s the skin colour. Black pigment cells are located in both dermis and epidermis. Which factors determine the leg colour?

a. Black pigment in the inside of the leg, the dermis, is also controlled by the e-allele (feather colour basis). The darkest chickens are E extended black and ER birchen. These birds have in general dark legs of which both dermis and epidermis are dark.
Also when the birds are based on other e-alleles the legs can be dark, think of duckwing (e+), these have greyish legs, although far less dark compared to E and ER birds. The e-allele wheaten (eWh) lights up dermal melanin a bit.
b. Id means inhibitor of dermal black pigment or melanin. Id and its counterpart id+ determine whether or not dark pigment is in the dermis. Id inhibits dermal dark pigment and id+, recessive and sexlinked, allows dark pigment in the dermis. A duckwing has id+. A black chicken with white or yellow legs has Id, very simply said.
c. Skin colour mixes with optical dark pigmentation of the inside of the leg resulting in blue or grey legs when the skin is white (W+), or green legs when its yellow (w).
d. The amount of black in the feathers has influence on the epidermis, the outer skin layer of the leg. A black chicken will therefore show a dark hue on the legs (also when Id), beak, nails and the eyes are darker as well compared to a lighter coloured colleague of the same breed. Melanisation is generally stronger in hens compared to roosters.
e. Feather colour has also influence of id+. Dominant and recessive white can bleach dermal pigment a bit. Cuckoo/barred (B) inhibits dermal strongly and when B/B dermal pigment disappears. Mottled (mo) can make dermal pigment spotty or (partly) disappear. Gold diluter Di makes dermal pigment lighter as well.

Does some of this help KathyS. With this information you should be able to make some choices to get you where you want to be with leg colour. Not an easy road, but you will get there.

KathyS

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Yes! Thank you so much. I had been reading info on skin, feather and leg color genetics on this page (shank/feet color is about 1/2 way down the page): http://sellers.kippenjungle.nl/page2.html

But this explanation you quoted is stated simply and that makes it easier to understand. It makes sense then, that the standard would allow for the "stronger melanisation" in the hens. ("Female yellow or dusky yellow") I had suspected the feather color to be related to skin/leg color - I just was never quite sure about that. I learned something new today!

I have added that book to my 'books wanted list'. study
Thanks again Coopie!

http://www.hawthornhillpoultry.com

coopslave

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I am so glad you found it useful KathyS. I can't recomend this book highly enough! I think it is on my 'to do' list today to have a bit more of a read. Lots of info to make stick in my head, I am glad I have it for reference to go back to.

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