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#1 2011-12-31 03:58:28

poplar girl
Administrator
From: Athabasca, AB, Canada
Registered: 2011-06-30
Posts: 3159

Lavender d'uccle: breeding for improvement

These are the nuggets from another thread as they relate to lavender d'uccles. It seems this breed is another favorite of forum members!

Lisa wrote:

One piece of info that I gleaned out of a poultry judge this summer, regarding the little purple chickens - he said something about the lavender gene being linked to poor feather condition - that it's often necessary to cross them with something else to improve the feather condition. I have no idea what that would be, but maybe we can figure it out through our genetics class...

skeffling lavender farm wrote:

Those little purple chickens are awesome too!  Black is what you want to cross them with, try to get mature black d'Uccles with no red or gold in the hackles  or get eggs and make sure the breeder gets no red bleed through if possible.   I did get some show ones last year but they were not very vigorous and he had red in his hackles when he got to 4 months old :banginghead:

Poplar girl wrote:

Regarding my tiny purple chickens...I would agree that self blue d'uccles lack some feather quality compared to some of the other varieties. And as my birds are from Claire's inbreeding is a huge concern so I also won't be hatching any eggs without new blood either. To show y'all what an addict I am...I have already spoken for 2 split black (so they both carry the self blue gene) pullets which I will be picking up at the show in February. I am fortunate to know someone who has recently started to breed and shows the lavender d'uccles (k.r.l. on the forums) and we are trading stock as both of us are in need of some new genetics and both content to share and try to improve each of our lines.  Here are my two new babies:   
http://i905.photobucket.com/albums/ac252/sulzmi/f963bcfc.png
http://i905.photobucket.com/albums/ac252/sulzmi/24bcedbe.png

I will watch for red in the hackles Claire. They are far superior to mine in foot feathering but a bit on the big side so my plan is to cross them with my tiny purple rooster Ozzie. Then there is earlobe color, eye color, split wing...  I have further plans as well but suffice it to say my tiny purple chicken breeding strategy is a work in progress! I may be able to help you out with some hatching eggs this spring Claire.

Lisa wrote:

PG,

NICE BIRDS!!!!!

Can you put me on your wait list for some black-blacks, or black splits , or splits of black splits too??

I have a charming lavender cockeral (Austin) - he has great foot feathers, good size/shape and good colour, but overly large wattles, and his feather quality is not great. Would love some new blood!!! Claire, do you remember the pair of lavenders that you sold to Don? Helen has those, and Austin is their son. Helen also has Violet's daughter (rescued from your killing cone!) named Lulu, and Austin's younger sister.

Could we consider moving this piece on "how to improve lavender d'uccles" to it's own genetics thread? I think there are enough of us interested in them that how to improve them could be it's own topic. Or maybe this is not appropriate for the eo forum??

So there you go Lisa, I think I got all the good bits ;)


Raising red cuckoo (marraduna) Euskal Oiloak and self blue (lavender) & black Belgian Bearded d'Uccles.

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2011-12-31 03:58:28

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#2 2011-12-31 03:59:49

skeffling lavender farm
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From: Wiarton, ON, Canada
Registered: 2011-06-17
Posts: 2720
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Re: Lavender d'uccle: breeding for improvement

Yep cos they are endearing little creatures :chook: :love:

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#3 2011-12-31 19:31:46

ipf
Member
From: Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada
Registered: 2011-08-29
Posts: 168

Re: Lavender d'uccle: breeding for improvement

Apparently it's not the lav gene itself that causes the poor feather quality (which is good news). However, the association has been long recognised. My guess is that there's a very tight linkage between the lav gene and a mutation that negatively influences feather quality (by tight linkage I mean close together on the same chromosome, in the same way that pea comb and blue egg are close together on the same chromosome).

Thie thing to understand about linked genes is this. To break up this association, you need what is called "crossing over". This means that you need, first, to have a bird or two that are heterozygous for lav (and so will not be blue themselves). It doesn't necessarily have to be the offspring of a lav and a black, but this would certainly be one possibility. Now think about the chromosome that holds the the lav gene and the faulty feather gene (we'll call this allele "f" for now - note that the lower case suggests it is recessive, as are most mutations that stick around). These heterozygous birds, offspring of a bird that is homozygous for both lav and f mated to a bird that is homozygous for Lav+ and F+ (the wild-type, non-mutated alleles), will have two chromosomes containing these two loci (locus=location of gene; loci is plural of locus) that can be symbolised thus: lav - f//Lav+ - F+ (one chromosome on the left; the other on the right).

When you breed theses birds, they will contribute only one of these chromosomes on to each offspring, and the other parent will also contribute one. As those chromosomes sit now, if the parent passes on the lav gene it will also pass on the f gene, and we're no further ahead. HOWEVER, sometimes during the formation of gametes (sperm and eggs) we get crossing over; the pair of chromosomes wraps around together, and the individuals break and recombine. IF the break happens between these two loci, we would have this: lav – F+//Lav+ f, where the F+ is now on the same individual chromosome as the lav. When gametes are formed, they will be either lav-F+ or Lav+/f. (Remember that gametes only contain one chromosome of each pair, while somatic (=non-reproductive) cells of all birds will contain two).

If you’re fortunate enough to end up with two birds that are lav – F+//Lav+ f, and mate them together, ¼ of their offspring will be lav – F+// lav – F+, which is what you want. Half will be lav – F+//Lav+ f, and ¼ will be Lav+ f//Lav+ f.

Note that the genotype of the bird you want to mate, lav – F+//Lav+ f, is abbreviated Lav+lavF+f. This is identical to the abbreviation of the genotype of the bird with lav - f//Lav+ - F+. Confusing? You bet. Make sure you get this, though.

The probability of crossing over between two loci is approximately proportional to the physical distance between the loci, which makes sense, if you think about it. Two loci that are immediately adjacent are highly unlikely to have such a random event occur at precisely that point, while loci that are far apart can be separated by a crossover anywhere between them. In fact, the distance between the loci is conveniently expressed as the probability of a crossover event happening. For pea comb and blue eggs, it’s about 4.1 map units – meaning that  4.1% of gametes produced by a bird heterozygous for blue eggs and pea comb will have the blue egg gene on the chromosome with the non-pea comb, or the non-blue egg allele with the pea comb. If you’re trying to produce a bird that will breed true for straight comb and blue eggs, only 2.05% of the gametes are the ones you want.

If, as seems likely, f and lav are closely linked, you can (I hope) see that  it will take a lot of crosses to produce birds with the right chromosomal configuration.

I expect I haven’t written this out very well, so that this is not as clear to you as to me; PLEASE ask for clarification of the iffy bits.

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#4 2011-12-31 21:05:59

Lisa
Member
From: near Arthur, Ontario, Canada
Registered: 2011-07-05
Posts: 649

Re: Lavender d'uccle: breeding for improvement

Ipf,

I'll give this a go, and please correct me where I got it wrong! I have trouble keeping straight the letters for different things, so I've attempted to translate into long-hand...

I'm gonna try this using our d'uccles as an example.....

What I think you said is that the gene that makes the bird lavender is probably on the same chromosome that gives the poor feather quality (first off, is that a really educated guess, or is it fact?). So, in order to improve feather quality, we've got to break up the two genes, which will be way tricky to do since they are on the same chromosome. It'll be even trickier if they are close together on the chromosome, since the chances of them splitting up is even smaller.

So, here's a guess from me ('cause I really don't know - please correct!). I'm guessing the lavender gene itself is quite recessive, so just about anything else crossed with the lavender is going to come out the colour of the other bird (unless it's carrying the lavender as a recessive). So a black bird crossed with lavender comes out black, a mille fleur crossed with lavender comes out mille fleur, etc. Is this right??

So, if we have a bird that is lavender and "poor feather", the first cross we want to make is with a bird that is "good feather" and any other colour. With luck, this first bird carries "good feather"/"good feather" (no recessive poor feather). This cross gives us birds that look like the other parent (black or mille fleur, etc), will probably all have nice looking feather quality ("good feather", and all carry "poor feather" as a recessive), and will be carrying the lavender colour AND "poor feather" as a recessive. Cross this with a lavender, and the lavender colour comes back in about 50% of the grandchicks (which gives back the colour we want).

Or, if the first cross happens to be with a bird that has the lavender gene as a recessive (PG's black-lavender split), we'll be one generation ahead in getting back the lavender colour. But that'll only help if PG's black bird has the "good feather" gene, AND the combo of her black bird and the lavender/poor feather results in lavender chicks (should be about 50% of them??), AND the genes have been shaken up enough to give us the elusive bust-up between the original lavender and poor feather.

So what this means (I think), is that if we want to improve feather quality in lavender d'uccles, we've got to choose birds of another colour that have great feather quality (and anything else great we can think of to improve our birds while we are at it), and plan a long-term breeding program, expecting to need to hatch a whole bunch to get the feather quality separated from the lavender gene.

Have I got it??


When all else fails, go spend time with your chickens. :)

Pens are currently filled with Red Cuckoo (Marraduna) and Red Basque (Gorria) breeders, Spitz, and Seramas.

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#5 2011-12-31 21:17:36

ipf
Member
From: Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada
Registered: 2011-08-29
Posts: 168

Re: Lavender d'uccle: breeding for improvement

MY COMMENTS IN CAPS
What I think you said is that the gene that makes the bird lavender is probably on the same chromosome that gives the poor feather quality (first off, is that a really educated guess, or is it fact?). WELL, IT IS A "FACT" THAT IT'S NOT THE LAV GENE ITSELF THAT CAUSES THE FEATHER QUALITY PROBLEM (THIS IS REALLY GOOD NEWS). THERE ARE TWO OTHER POSSIBLE EXPLANATIONS - ONE IS MODIFYING GENES, THE OTHER IS TIGHT LINKAGE. FROM WHAT I'VE READ I'D GUESS THAT IT'S TIGHT LINKAGE. JUST A GUESS; YOU CAN DECIDE HOW WELL-EDUCATED IT IS. So, in order to improve feather quality, we've got to break up the two genes, which will be way tricky to do since they are on the same chromosome. It'll be even trickier if they are close together on the chromosome, since the chances of them splitting up is even smaller. RIGHT!

So, here's a guess from me ('cause I really don't know - please correct!). I'm guessing the lavender gene itself is quite recessive, so just about anything else crossed with the lavender is going to come out the colour of the other bird (unless it's carrying the lavender as a recessive). YES
So a black bird crossed with lavender comes out black, a mille fleur crossed with lavender comes out mille fleur, etc. Is this right??  RIGHT

So, if we have a bird that is lavender and "poor feather", the first cross we want to make is with a bird that is "good feather" and any other colour. With luck, this first bird carries "good feather"/"good feather" (no recessive poor feather). This cross gives us birds that look like the other parent (black or mille fleur, etc), will probably all have nice looking feather quality ("good feather", and all carry "poor feather" as a recessive), and will be carrying the lavender colour AND "poor feather" as a recessive. RIGHt TO HERE
Cross this with a lavender, and the lavender colour comes back in about 50% of the grandchicks (which gives back the colour we want). NO, 25% LAVENDER GRANDCHICKS.

Or, if the first cross happens to be with a bird that has the lavender gene as a recessive (PG's black-lavender split), we'll be one generation ahead in getting back the lavender colour. But that'll only help if PG's black bird has the "good feather" gene, AND the combo of her black bird and the lavender/poor feather results in lavender chicks (should be about 50% of them??), YES
and the genes have been shaken up enough to give us the elusive bust-up between the original lavender and poor feather. MAYBE, BUT PROBABLY NOT. DESPITE MENDELS RULE OF INDEPENDENT ASSORTMENT, GENES ON THE SAME CHROMOSOME ASSUREDLY DO NOT ASSORT INDEPENDENTLY. YOU'LL LIKELY NEED HUNDREDS OF OFFSPRING TO GET ONE GOOD ONE.

So what this means (I think), is that if we want to improve feather quality in lavender d'uccles, we've got to choose birds of another colour that have great feather quality (and anything else great we can think of to improve our birds while we are at it), and plan a long-term breeding program, expecting to need to hatch a whole bunch to get the feather quality separated from the lavender gene. YES

Have I got it?? ESSENTIALLY, YES. WELL DONE!

Last edited by ipf (2011-12-31 21:17:57)

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#6 2011-12-31 21:19:59

poplar girl
Administrator
From: Athabasca, AB, Canada
Registered: 2011-06-30
Posts: 3159

Re: Lavender d'uccle: breeding for improvement

Here is a link to a discussion on lavender birds and feather quality. I am not certain how correct this info is although the individuals sure seem to know what they are talking about. It seems the jury is still out on this topic.
http://www.the-coop.org/forums/ubbthrea … amp;page=1

So on the same chromosome or not (so thus linked or not) is in question. Also what gene(s) cause the poor feather quality is not clear.

On my lavender d'uccles I have noticed two things related to feather quality. On the pullets I see slight fraying of the feathers on their bodies. This is quite recent, the girls are about 9 months old now. On my little cockerel Ozzie I see that his feathers remain wrapped in a white waxy coating for a long time, he looked a bit like a porcupine for awhile. When you break open the waxy coating sometimes there is a black centre, not as bad as that pictured in the link but along the same lines. His tail feathers are also a bit ratty looking but that could be because I didn't rinse the soap from his tail properly after bathing him (for a show).

Very interesting although I could deal with it being a bit simpler.


Raising red cuckoo (marraduna) Euskal Oiloak and self blue (lavender) & black Belgian Bearded d'Uccles.

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#7 2011-12-31 21:28:25

ipf
Member
From: Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada
Registered: 2011-08-29
Posts: 168

Re: Lavender d'uccle: breeding for improvement

yes, I read that thread too. There are some very knowledgeable folks there. The first question in it, "What do we know about why the lavender gene causes poor feather quality? Is it a secondary effect of the gene or is it linkage? " is partially answered in
http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2156/9/7  "A single point-mutation within the melanophilin gene causes the lavender plumage colour dilution phenotype in the chicken". It's a bit of a slog, butsomewhere in there they make the point that it's not the lav mutation that causes the feather problems.

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#8 2011-12-31 22:16:33

poplar girl
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From: Athabasca, AB, Canada
Registered: 2011-06-30
Posts: 3159

Re: Lavender d'uccle: breeding for improvement

I read that too ipf...thought it was a very good article actually. So if it is not the lav gene that's good.

But it still leaves the question as to how lavender and poor feather quality are related. They can't be linked if they are on separate chromosomes (can they??). First question is what causes the poor feather quality (i.e. Which genes). Is is likely the fray gene? Hutt talked about that gene (pages 113-114) but reading on the Internet it seems it is on a different chromosome from the Lav gene. Here is another article that talked about what genes are on what chromosomes and linkages. http://www.edelras.nl/chickengenetics/linkages.html. Maybe it is a different gene?

What about modifier genes, could you explain how that might work?


Raising red cuckoo (marraduna) Euskal Oiloak and self blue (lavender) & black Belgian Bearded d'Uccles.

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#9 2011-12-31 22:23:07

Lisa
Member
From: near Arthur, Ontario, Canada
Registered: 2011-07-05
Posts: 649

Re: Lavender d'uccle: breeding for improvement

Good grief, that article was a heavy slog! I think I understood about half of it....

PG, when I got Austin (who would be something like a cousin to your birds) at about 5 or 6 months, he had the porcupine patches on his wing bows and hackles (as described in the article). Not even slightly sure what that means, but it looks kinda like the d'uccles are behaving like the dutch described in the article. Austin's feathers are narrow, but don't really look ratty (he is still a bit porcupiney in the same places though, and he is about 8 or 9 months old). I haven't noticed the black described by you and in the article, but the waxy white coating yes.

Seems like if I'm going to breed him, it might be a good idea to breed him to a black... PG, when are you getting those birds????? ;)


When all else fails, go spend time with your chickens. :)

Pens are currently filled with Red Cuckoo (Marraduna) and Red Basque (Gorria) breeders, Spitz, and Seramas.

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#10 2011-12-31 22:33:57

poplar girl
Administrator
From: Athabasca, AB, Canada
Registered: 2011-06-30
Posts: 3159

Re: Lavender d'uccle: breeding for improvement

February 19th Lisa...at the end of the Wetaskawin show the little (split) black beauties are coming home with me :) Wait 'till I tell my DH I may need to raise THOUSANDS of tiny purple and black chickens to get one or two purples with nice feathers :funny:

Oh and I am absolutely planning to breed Ozzie with the split black girls.


Raising red cuckoo (marraduna) Euskal Oiloak and self blue (lavender) & black Belgian Bearded d'Uccles.

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#11 2011-12-31 22:41:24

ipf
Member
From: Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada
Registered: 2011-08-29
Posts: 168

Re: Lavender d'uccle: breeding for improvement

PG, no, they can't be linked if they're not on the same chromosome. The fray gene is on a different chromosome, so, given the inheritance patterns, it can't be the fray gene.
Since the whole chook genome has now been sequenced, it wouldn't be that hard for someone with a good lab to figure it out - but they'd have to want to.
Modifier genes are genes that have an effect on the expression of a given trait - in this case, it would be a gene that acts only when the lav gene is present (with two copies), and causes ratty feathers. When the lav gene is absent or there's only one copy, it has no effect.

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#12 2012-01-01 00:20:03

Susan
Administrator
From: Saskatoon, Sask, Canada
Registered: 2011-06-28
Posts: 2540

Re: Lavender d'uccle: breeding for improvement

Yoy know guys, you should approach some kids doing their thesis and ask if they'd be interested.... That would be amazing! I wonder if anyone at Guelph or WCVM would be interested.

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#13 2012-01-01 14:35:20

skeffling lavender farm
Administrator
From: Wiarton, ON, Canada
Registered: 2011-06-17
Posts: 2720
Website

Re: Lavender d'uccle: breeding for improvement

Looks like a great discussion.  And good thing they aren't the same gene.  My purple are fluffy ended feathers too, thought I can see the narrow feather lines on Violet as her feathers are only a month or two old. 

And as far as I can remember, Donald Harrington got siblings of Lily last year (all of them here as well) hatched at performance, he had offspring off Violet and the other daddy roo from last year (full sibs of Dolly and Blue Boy as Violet was my only hen) .  I think he got that daddy roo too and the best son of his and Violets.  He got eggs from me 3 times I think in the winter that were Blue boy x Dolly, Blue Boy x Violet and Blue Boy x Lily.  And he hatched from whatever he had from me or anywhere else.  Not sure if that helps with the family tree, but they certainly are all related.

So genetics, I understand the mechanics of genetics, and totally understand the punnets squares, polygentic too, it's getting my mind around the notation and conventions being fluent when reading the +/+ etc and picturing that bird in my head that's slowing me down.  I will figure this out. :stomp:

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#14 2012-01-01 14:37:07

gubi
Member
From: Walton
Registered: 2011-06-30
Posts: 1344
Website

Re: Lavender d'uccle: breeding for improvement

I wonder if anyone has successfully been able to separate the two genes?  This sounds like an almost impossible task as you will not know if a crossover has occurred in any birds unless you do genomics or they are a few generations down the road and are lavender color.  You could not identify them in a split lav bird!


Herd of Brown Swiss, a few sheep, red cuckoo basque, Silverspangled Appenzeller Spitzhauben, ameraucanas(EE), Welsummer, broodie silkies and a few more heritage hens

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#15 2012-01-01 15:44:51

ipf
Member
From: Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada
Registered: 2011-08-29
Posts: 168

Re: Lavender d'uccle: breeding for improvement

There are reports of lav birds with good feathers in other breeds; Araucanas for one. It would be a lot of work to isolate the lav gene from there and get it into another breed, but not impossible.

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