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Author Topic: The Stern of a Wheaten Ameraucana Male  (Read 476 times)

Lindsay Helton

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The Stern of a Wheaten Ameraucana Male
« on: December 27, 2019, 04:27:18 PM »
One of our club members, Jessica Rodgers, asked the following question on a group I help admin. I thought it was great question and useful for us to have on the forum, so I am sharing it on here with her permission. Thank you Jessica!

“SOP question about Wheatens/Blue Wheatens... under Blue Wheatens it says about Body and Stern: “Blue, orange-red ticking in fluff permissible“ but nothing is said about the “orange-red ticking” regarding the Wheatens (Under the Wheaten OEGB that your referred to). Why is that? I have a few males with the red ticking that is mentioned but in Wheaten. And the word “permissible“ gave me the feeling it’s allowed but not really wanted. Would I be correct in assuming that? Here is a photo of one of my Wheaten males in question.”

My response:

Ticking is referred to in the standard as “minute but distinct specks of color on feathers other than the ground color, a defect.”

For the plumage on a wheaten male, we are instructed to refer to the color description for the wheaten old English game bantam. Under that color description, it states that the body and stern should be “black.” On the blue wheaten male description, it states that the body and stern should be “blue, orange-red ticking in the fluff permissible.” The genes that are responsible for creating the pattern on the wings and breast of a blue wheaten male are the likely culprits for what you are seeing on the wheaten cockerel’s stern.

Interestingly, if we hop over to the American Bantam Association standard for wheaten plumage, under body and stern, it states “body- black, sparsely laced with red at approach to stern, pure black preferred.” I think the bantam color description tells us two things, one, that the red lacing you are seeing at approach to the stern has been seen and dealt with by other wheaten and blue wheaten Ameraucana breeders throughout the years, and two, that it is not preferred.

All other elements equal, a wheaten male that has a black body and stern most closely adheres to the standard outlined by the American Poultry Association. I personally cull for what you are seeing in the stern of the wheaten male. As the saying goes though, we have to “build the barn before we paint it.” If he has the best type out of all of your cockerel grow outs, I would consider using him in one of your pens, hatching a lot/culling hard and selecting away from it. As we all know, there are no perfect birds out there.

A special thank you to the APA for granting me permission to use portions of the standard when answering breeding questions and creating educational posts. To buy a copy of the American Poultry Association Standard of Perfection book, visit the following link:
« Last Edit: January 13, 2020, 05:49:32 PM by Lindsay Helton »

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Re: The Stern of a Wheaten Ameraucana Male
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2020, 02:53:17 PM »
The Standards are created to provide goals for a perfect bird. This applies to Type and other specific traits, as well as the color descriptions. We might feel that the standards are too restrictive.  And we as breeders can make decisions how closely we want to breed to the standard for each color. Or like a lot of us, we might rather breed a family of colors and have the best precipitous colors in two or three related colors.   

We all like to have the greatest variety of colors in the least amount of coops. And as long as we cross colors we probably can expect to have some degree of compromise. The Wheatens, Blue Wheatens and Splash Wheatens each have different genetic requirements. The lacing on the blue wheatens etc will bring color into other sections of the wheaten and splash wheaten offspring that may not be in those specific color descriptions. A breeder may choose to raise the best Blue Wheatens possible, but in my opinion the residual colors, wheaten and splash wheaten probably will not be the very best of those colors as described in the Standards.  We will likely find that the color standard for Splash Wheaten is somewhat different from the Blue Wheaten residuals. That is to be determined in the Splash Wheaten effort, (breeding and standard confirmation) in the years to come.

Now you can tell me I should practice what I preach. And you are right, I choose to use Wheatens and Blue Wheatens together for ease of managing a smaller flock. But if I concentrated on just Blue Wheaten and culled all but a back up Wheaten male or two out of the Blue Wheaten pairings, I'd likely be farther down the road. The genes for the blue wheaten's lacing would be in Wheatens when needed to mate back at least.  Some of the color issues in each variety might be a simple balancing of light to dark color too. So I'm not saying that One variety only would be an easy road. There are no magic bullets in the breeding world either.   
« Last Edit: January 10, 2020, 03:29:31 PM by Don »
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