The problems and interesting facts about breeding poultry
is determined by the genetics of the parents
The genes involved are unlikely to be in a simple relationship but some basic principles can be seen. If one breeds birds with white eggs to those with brown then the pullets produced lay a variety of tinted eggs. It is possible that there are factors for amount of colour - the white layer has none of the extra colour factors and a dark egg layer has most extra factors. It is also possible that there is an inhibitor factor as well to inhibit colouring.(has anyone got better research results for this that we can include?) It is known that the colour is sex linked - i.e. that the father is the most important determinant for the colour of the eggs in the next generation.
Therefore your cockerel/ drake is the most important bird in controlling and improving your egg colour in the future.The other very important factor is yourself - you chose the eggs that are hatched - you control the quality of the next generation.
Every time you hatch (or if using broody hens allow to be hatched) chicks /ducklings that are from eggs that are not right for the breed - come from hens that are not productive - etc you are playing a part in the demise of utility strains in this country. The future of utility poultry lies in all our hands - every one of us
White :- Leghorns; Minorca
Mid Brown - Rhode Island Red; Orpington; Wyandotte; Sussex:
Dark Brown - marans; welsumer; Barnevelder
Blue - Araucana; Cream Legbar
If you have a white egg laying breed and you are getting some creamy eggs there are several actions you can take:
This might be useful for the immediate future while the Araucana is not a particularly eggy breed these days but the demand for blue eggs at farmers markets for example is rising fast.
-What we do not want to do is compound past errors by flooding the pet market with hybrids of dubious value as breeding stock.
A suggestion I found (from The coop genetics message board)is that the blue eggshell color may be influenced by the rate of lay. The chemical that colors the blue eggshell is a compound synthesized by the liver. If that synthesis is slow, a high rate of lay may mean that lesser amounts of that color is available for each individual egg. The rate of lay might be a trait that works against the blue eggshell color.Another part of teh blue egg production is that the blue porphyrin is throughout the shell and therefore must be continuously added as the shell forms, not just at the end when the shell is already complete as with the brown colouring. So if there is a limited supply of the blue eggshell pigment (due to rate of synthesis limitations), a high rate of lay could result in a lighter eggshell.
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This site is being created and maintained by
Jill Bowis of Kintaline Poultry and Waterfowl Centre, Benderloch, OBAN Argyll PA37 1QS Scotland
for the utility poultry breeders everywhere
Any useful information you have for the site is gratefully received