First, I would like to thank Heather and her comments in a previous discussion, toe nail colour was never on my radar prior to that discussion.
It turns out that the majority of my Black Ameraucanas last year had white toe nails. Not just one or two, but all white! If I understand the SOP right, that is an 8 point deduction!! I'm sure I've shown several white toe nailed birds over the year, I'm surprised it took over 10 years of showing before I became aware of such a serious flaw (serious with respect to point penalty).
This year I mated white to black, I simply didn't have enough black toe nailed birds to cull out all the white toed ones. I've ended up with enough black toe nailed birds to move forward without concern. White toe nails will be gone in a couple years. Thanks WCPS and Heather for helping me improve my breed! However, the adventure has created two questions/concerns.
1) on some birds, I see toe nails that appear black and white striped. It seems more common on my more mature birds. My guess is that the toes nails turn white with wear and tear? ??? My question is, how are judges trained to interpret such occurances? Is a part white toe nail treated as white or black?
2) At the sanctioned show this last weekend, the judge seemed to favour white toe nails on the dark shanked breeds. It was weird, the birds I pulled from my cull pens did better than those I've selected from the breeding pen. The bird that won reserve AOSB is a bird that I will be putting in the freezer! I entered 5 pullets and the judge put my worst pullet on top. She had the worst eyes, worst muff/beard, and slightest build. But she had white toe nails.
So Heather, Rico, and any other judges listening, I don't see how being silent on this kind of mistake is helpful to the hobby. This isn't a breed specific mistake whereby the judge overlooks something specific to one breed. This mistake covers ALL dark shanked breeds. I feel we breeders need better guidance from the judges. My question is, how do I create awareness of this flaw in judging without drawing attention to a single judge and embarrassing him or her? Maybe it was just a bad day, we all have those. However, it was a good thing I wasn't present during judging, I most likely would have paid my money and filed a formal complaint. You all know how well those are received, LOL.