Friday, February 29, 2008

A New Mystery

When Chick-Chuck was born, she seemed to be a pure Cuckoo Marans hen. Quite possible in my little flock.

However, now that she is 5.5 months old and nearly mature, it has become obvious that she is half Ameraucana, and since my only rooster, Egglebert, is a Marans, she must get the other from her Mama.

How do I know? Look at the combs on these Marans hens. They have full red combs and wattles, and smooth cheeks.

Now observe this Ameraucana hen. She has a pea comb -- very short and tight to the head, and she has earmuffs and a beard instead of any observable wattles. These are characteristic of Ameraucanas -- not to be confused with Araucanas, but somewhere in their background they come from the same stock.

Now take a look at Chick-Chuck:

Her comb remains tight to her head, and she definitely has earmuffs and a beard, almost no red to be seen around her head.

So what does all of this imply?

The Marans lay dark brown eggs. The Ameraucanas lay green/blue eggs. What color will Chick-Chuck lay? More on eggshell genetics to come....

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