Chicks with silver down...genetics question?

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windwalkingwolf
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Chicks with silver down...genetics question?

Post by windwalkingwolf » Fri Aug 11, 2017 6:46 am

Every few hatches, I will end up with a chick with a down colour that's almost true silver. Always from hens with production Leghorn grandparent or great or great-great grandparentage. All can be traced back to the prod. leghorn rooster I used over Ee hens so that I would get great blue egg layers from average green layers. When I say the chicks in question are silver, I do not mean shades of blue or gray or iridescent white or lavender pinkish gray. I mean the chick pops out of the egg and once dry, is a shiny silver. Like a coin, silver. An astonishing colour that I would LOVE to see in an older bird! It's been impossible for me to capture this colour on a camera, mostly because I'm a crappy photographer, but also because I have a very limited time with chicks hatched this colour. Without exceptions, these guys die as young chicks. 3-5 days old is usual, but I think I had one that lived a whole 8 days once.
Everybody else, healthy as oxen, but these rare shiny guys just crap out and die. I would love to know if anyone has thoughts, insights, information or even just theories about this. I think it's a strong possibility it's some strange genetics at work, and my best theory is that whatever makes the shiny down colour, also makes a dangerous problem elsewhere, perhaps digestive tract...a few never eat, but most start off seemingly normal but then go off food and act as if their bellies hurt. I have not necropsied any, for several reasons, first being that I've never done small chicks before, second being that these silver guys are VERY few and far between, and third, because unless there's something grossly obvious such as an intestinal blockage or missing organs, I'd never see it, Fourth, I'm not sure I could even bring myself to dissect a tiny baby. It's emotional when I lose one or have to cull, and I'd rather just dispose and move on a.s.a.p.
But, if anyone has ever heard of anything like this, I'd love to know. I've heard about the lethal tufted gene in Auracanas, this I believe is similar but different lol, and although I've only had *maybe* 10 chicks like this, total, in the past 7 years, I'd liketo narrow the 5 W's down if I can.
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labradors
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Re: Chicks with silver down...genetics question?

Post by labradors » Fri Aug 11, 2017 8:00 am

Wow! That is most interesting! Something similar happens with "silver" Labradors. They are really chocolate, and they are unhealthy and the silver gene should not be pursued, but some breeders do it anyway :(

(I am not a breeder, this is just info that I've picked up along the way).

Linda
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WLLady
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Re: Chicks with silver down...genetics question?

Post by WLLady » Sat Aug 12, 2017 8:53 am

I have had 2 ameraucanas like that. Neither survived. Didnt think much of it at the time.
the regular lethal genes wouldnt explain it-tufted....creeper etc....my gut would tell me that it must be linked (aka close to) another gene so when the recombination event happens at fertilization that gene rearrangements bring this lethal thing and silver (which could well be lavender or chocolate or something else that appears silver in the down) together.....
i would love to get my hands on one or two of those chicks and i could autopsy them....see if i can find what is wrong. I would think its not silver per se-like hackle colour silver, but maybe a diluter taking silver just that one step further....something like frizzled...apparently frizzled has higher mortality and lower fertility because of the frizzled gene....i am thinking something like that. If one could figure out through autopsy why they die-is it GI or brain if they dont eat-then narrow down potential genes based on the patterning....
i would be happy to autopsy....
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windwalkingwolf
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Re: Chicks with silver down...genetics question?

Post by windwalkingwolf » Sat Aug 12, 2017 3:50 pm

That would be awesome, WLLADY! I won't be getting any more this year (in theory lol), because I'm about done incubating, and most of the eggs I'm waiting on are black Giants or Orpington and a couple bantam mutts. If any pop out silver, I will figure a way to get it to you. :)
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Re: Chicks with silver down...genetics question?

Post by Shnookie » Sun Aug 13, 2017 11:26 pm

Is there a lethal white gene like in some animals?
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Re: Chicks with silver down...genetics question?

Post by WLLady » Mon Aug 14, 2017 7:47 am

not that i have heard of....lethal white is a mammalian gene, linked to blue eyes in animals like horses etc for those that haven't heard of it. lethal white results in a blind ended cecum (GI tract) so the animals are born normally and then starve to death over the first few days of life because they cannot defecate or absorb their food properly. horrible way to go.
paint horses with blue eyes tend to carry it....and of course paints are "wanted" colours, so it ends up being bred into the population as heterozygotes (carrying 1 copy only) because people like the paints....when there are 2 copies in an animal it is lethal.
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Killerbunny
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Re: Chicks with silver down...genetics question?

Post by Killerbunny » Mon Aug 14, 2017 10:24 am

Wow! I had come across a lot of white cats in the UK that are deaf.
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kenya
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Re: Chicks with silver down...genetics question?

Post by kenya » Mon Aug 14, 2017 3:43 pm

I know with the lavender ameraucana they hatch that silvery white colour, some don't make it to hatch others die after hatch. A very hard colour to raise
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Re: Chicks with silver down...genetics question?

Post by Shnookie » Mon Aug 14, 2017 10:13 pm

Interesting about the lavender ones.
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