Why is my Cockerel White?

white cockerels

My first flock of hens were some Warren Browns, and were essentially spent stock from a local egg producer. My first cockerel was a traditionally coloured farmyard fowl that was somewhere in between large fowl and bantam in size, but after getting no results with fertility we opted to try a different route. My uncle […]

Barred Wyandottes

Barred Wyandottes

Grant Brereton, a leading authority on poultry plumage genetics examines the Barred Wyandotte, providing us with some tips on their genetics and breeding.

The Dominant White Gene

Dominent White

The word ‘gene’ is enough to put many people off when it comes to poultry articles. However, let me assure you, I don’t intend to get technical; there will be no complex looking scientific symbols in this article for poultrykeeper – just the basics. The aim is for it to be a fun read! When […]

Success Breeding Chickens: Prepotent Males

Prepotent Males

I have read with great interest the breeding articles by Stan Simister (Creating a Strain), Derek Alsop’s response and more recently, Robin Ramus’ Federation Interview in Fancy Fowl Magazine UK. I found their advice to be very wise and coming from a wealth of experience in poultry. The common theme in these articles is “records.” […]

Poultry Plumage: How it Begins…

Poultry Genetics Black and Red Pigments

Anyone writing an article on the subject of poultry plumage has to begin with the 2 pigments that account for all the beautiful colours and patterns seen today. These pigments are black and red. They are best observed in the wild Red Jungle Fowl – the original form of chicken – and the one with […]

Ancona Chickens

Ancona Chickens

Ancona Chickens take their name from the eastern Italian City of Ancona. It is thought they first reached the shores of England in 1851. There are several views about the origins of the Ancona, some believing that it is very similar to the original Mottled Leghorn.

The Lavender Gene

Lavender Gene

The lavender variety of poultry is very beautiful. The effect is born from the lavender gene being present in a black fowl and reducing the quantity of pigment allowed to express on each feather; instead of black, the feathers appear a much softer shade of pastel blue. This shouldn’t be confused with the blue gene, however, […]

Sex-Linked Crosses and their Offspring

Sex Linked Crosses

Crossing genetically gold and silver birds can result in a useful sex linkage. Still, it only works one way around, and there are often questions about the offspring they produce.

Recessive Genes / Faults

Genetic Faults

When assessing your rearing stock and noticing an obvious fault, it can be very disheartening. An otherwise-fine specimen is ruined for show and breeding. However, If the fault in question is observable in the bird’s parents or grandparents, perhaps you only have yourself to blame? We would all breed from near-perfect specimens if we could, but […]

Poultry Genetics: Black and White

Black and White

Black crossed to white? A common question in relation to breeding is: what will be the outcome of crossing a black to a white fowl? The answer to which, no-one really knows. This may seem a bold statement, but there is an explanation… The outcome of a proposed black to white, or vice versa cross, is largely […]

The Other Type of Gold (Red)

Silver Dutch Bantam

When learning about how Gold and Silver genes work in poultry, it can be very gratifying to realise that much can be made of the sex-linked cross (Gold male over Silver female). This produces sex-identifiable progeny in the day-old offspring (yellow males and brown females). Silver Pencilled Wyandottes. These specimens being ‘non-carriers’ of the Ap gene. […]

Questioning Colour

Questioning Colour

As I alluded to in a recent article on the subject, there are many factors that got me interested in colour genetics of poultry. One of the main sources was the book ‘Bantams in Colour‘ first published in 1984 by Gold Cockerel books. Little did I know at the time that both Michael and Victoria Roberts would one […]

Breeding in Numbers

Whether you are an experienced poultry breeder or relatively new to the hobby, there are some common factors which have to be learnt in order to improve your stock. The principle factor in breeding is the ‘art of selection.’ This basically means acquiring the knowledge to understand what is and what isn’t desirable when assessing the […]

An Introduction To Poultry Plumage

Red Jungle Fowl

Grant Brereton, a lifelong poultry breeder, is an internationally acclaimed authority on poultry plumage genetics and has written a book and several e-books on the subject. Here, he looks at where it all began. Black and red When learning about poultry plumage there is only one starting point: the Red Jungle Fowl, assumed to be […]