Saturday, April 18, 2015

White Spots on Roosters: Going, Going, GONE.

Another quick update on the Aloha project!

First of all, I wanted to share another recent photo of "Robin" who is the F1 Turken x Aloha cross rooster owned by my friend Deb in Tucson.  Isn't he a looker?

A quick note, F1 is usually used as shorthand for "First Generation" - as in, this was offspring of the first cross between a colorful Aloha rooster, and a solid pale yellow Turken hen.  What was surprising about Robin is that he showed any spots at all.  Usually, if you cross a spotted chicken with a not-spotted chicken. all the spots go into hiding.  This suggests to me that the genes for spots on Robin, might be very strong spotty genes indeed!

F2 would be the next generation after that - which is where I took the F1 hens (Robin's sisters) and crossed them with various roosters to get my next generation of Turken Alohas!  If you read last post, you would see I kept about 8 chicks.

Half of the F2 chicks did not really show any spotting, so I sold those.  The other half showed various degrees of spotting.  Now if you've been following the Aloha project, you will see where I've said sometimes Alohas get MORE spots as they age, but most of the time, they LOSE white spots as they mature - especially in roosters!

So I wanted to share a little reminder about this.  You would not believe how much white is lost in the boy chicks as they grow!  This is why I look for boys that seem to have "too much" white as babies, and why THIS one Aloha boy was special - despite his terrible skinny body type.

The original skinny, tiny Aloha rooster that I bred the Naked Neck hens to had a very unusual amount of white for an adult Aloha rooster.  He just had terrible body type, and was very thin, which is why I bred him to the big fat Turken hen:

So that is a full grown rooster.  With a TON of white.  Which, it turns out, is very rare.  That is the dad of Robin, who is Deb's Mille Turken x Aloha rooster, shown at the top of this post.

Now the last Blog post was talking about the grand-chicks from this cross.

Here is the grand-chick of that rooster, as a baby:

WOW!  Look at all that white on his chest!  He's going to be SUPER SPOTTY, right?  Right??!?

But wait, here he is a little older:

And a little older:

And finally, TODAY:

Almost ready to breed - and the white spots?  GONE!!!
Wait . . . WHAT?  That is the same baby chick?

And that is why the grand-daddy "mostly white" super spotty rooster was so precious, despite his thin, weedy type.  It is very very tough to keep a ton of spotting on a full grown rooster!  Speckled Sussex, Swedish Flower tend to "drop" their white at 4 months old, right as they are getting old enough to breed.

Strangely, Exchequer Leghorns, a different breed of chicken that also has spotting, those boys STAY flashy all the way to adulthood!  Nobody seems to know why this is?  Here is a photo of an Exchequer Leghorn so you can see for yourself:
Exchequer Leghorn - NOT MY PHOTO - borrowed from "Signature Feathers" farm.
I borrowed this photo from "Signature Feathers" farm, which appears to have GORGEOUS Exchequers, please go get some from this breeder if you want to raise some of these beauties!

Anyway, I used some Exchequers very early in the Aloha breeding program, and I crossed them with Speckled Sussex.  It took AGES to breed the black color out, but I feel certain that this dose of Exchequer helps some of my chicks end up super-spotty and flashy, as you never see this much whtie on Swedish or Speckled Sussex!

This Aloha rooster of mine - please compare him to the purebred Exchequer above:

Pumpkin mottled Aloha rooster.
You can see he's a bit of a "throwback" to the Leghorn bloodlines, with his lovely big comb and long flowy tail.  Unfortunately, like most Leghorns, he's a bit small compared to breeds like Sussex or New Hampshire.  But he sure as heck did not lose his white spotting!  Which is why he's still hanging around here, despite his small size.

Here's another small rooster with tons of white, at my friend Jessica's place:

The most elusive thing for me, is I have yet to get a super-spotty BIG rooster.  This is the current "spotty boy" here who has a lot of white, and yellow legs.  While he is not huge, I would not call him small:

His eyes are gold but his Mom was my blue-eyed hen.
He will be bred to my largest Buff Sussex hens, and while that will "hide" the spots in his babies the first generation, I hope to try and pull the color out again . . . someday.  The search for a seriously BIG rooster with a ton of white like this continues!  I will be searching through my babies for any prospects that are both large and showing a lot of white spottting.  But as you can see with the above Turken rooster photos, even when a chick shows a TON of white feathers as a little chick, that doesn't mean they are going to keep that much white as they mature.

I am growing out a few boys and I continue to remain hopeful that one will keep good size PLUS a good amount of white.  My most promising baby boy, who is BIG and also shows a lot of white:

"But just because I show white now, doesn't mean I'll stay that way!"
And a new one to watch:

I just picked up this boy yesterday, from a person who bought hatching eggs from me and needed to pare down on all the roosters.  I wonder if he will keep his white spotting?  Stay tuned for photos of him as he grows!  Will be keeping my fingers crossed. 

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