Recessive Red in Wests
Discussion on the Recessive Red Color

By: Bob Christman
There has been a lot of discussion about red selfs, red mottles and agates. What colors they will throw when crossed to other colors, what is an agate and how does it differ from a regular red or red mottle, etc. To answer those questions I am posting the following in the hopes that it would answer a lot of those questions and help the newer members to have a better understanding of recessive red and how it interacts with other colors.

Recessive Red in Wests

Recessive red is, as the name implies, is a recessive genetic trait. To fully express itself a bird must have two genes for recessive red. It is a trait that interacts with a birds existing base color and pattern giving it a reddish appearance.

Recessive red is a rather unique trait. It acts like a coat of paint on top of what ever the base color is. Recessive red however is not one of those one coat will cover any thing type of paint. The base color of a bird will effect the appearance of the recessive red. That base color can be any variation of brown, blue or ash red. Recessive red on a bird that is a blue bar based bird will be a very poor looking recessive red bird. It would be a rather light colored recessive red showing a lot of blue and very uneven in color.

The darker the base color is, usually the darker the recessive red will be. The redder or more bronze colored the base color is, the redder the recessive red will be. The more even the base color is, usually the more even the recessive red color will be.

Recessive reds in Wests fall into two basic groups: ash red based and blue based.

Ash Red Based Group. This group consists of the red self and red mottle families that were bred strictly to each other for show and presently dominate the red self and red mottle color classes at our West shows. Examples of this group would be the families of reds and yellows from the lofts of Bruce Rodegerdts, Terry Bishop, Doug Boyland and Jim Krebaum Jr. The winning reds at the SCWOETC 2006 Most Promising Baby show shown by Matt Matuska would be included in this group. The yellow whiteside OH, that was reserve champion at the last National, also falls into this group.

This group of birds have been bred for an even dark rich color through the body and throughout the extremities. In the mottles the white has been bred to stay confined mainly to the wingshield area. Birds with plum or off color and birds with white in the extremities are often bred from this family but the majority will have good color and will have white confined to the general wingshield area. This group of birds are normally ash red based birds, in other words the birds are ash red with the recessive red trait expressing itself on top of it.

Typically the base color for this group of birds is ash red T-pattern combined with sooty, dirty, kite bronze and other modifiers that enhance the red color of the ash red, which in turn enhances the color of the recessive red.

Blue Based Group. This group consists of the red selfs and mottles bred from the almond and tortoiseshell families of birds. A single dose (gene) of recessive red enriches the bronzing in the tortoiseshells and the ground color in the almonds. The rich colored tortoishells, those almonds with the rich golden base color and the rich colored kites related to the tortoiseshells and almonds can almost be guaranteed to carry a dose (1 gene) of recessive red. Because families of good colored tortoiseshells and almonds carry the recessive red gene they will also throw a large percentage of recessive reds. These recessive reds often show more plum or fading in the flights and tail then the ash red based recessive reds. The red mottles from these matings typically show a lot more grizzling (sometimes a whole lot of grizzling) and a lot more white in the extremities then the ash red based recessive reds. But nevertheless sometimes you will find a blue based red or blue based red mottle that is comparable to the ash red based recessive reds and mottles for color and markings. But that is generally the exception and not the norm.

The base color for a good colored recessive red blue based bird would be blue T-pattern, sooty, kite bronze and over modifiers that enhance the bronze color and hides the blue.
Typically the blue based recessive reds will not be as good colored as the ash red based recessive reds, but there are exceptions.

It is common practice to take these recessive reds from the tortoiseshell and almond matings and cross them back into the tortoiseshell and almonds. However when choosing which reds to breed from one should only use the deepest colored reds that show no plum or bluing. The plum and blue showing through the recessive red is sign that the base color of the bird probably lacks kite bronze and sooty or other factors you need for good torts and almonds. The reds you use for almond and tort matings should be scrutinized just as carefully for color as are the almonds, tortoiseshells and kites you breed from. Haphazardly breeding from a red back to almonds or torts just because it is a red is not good practice. If that redís base color happens to be a poor colored kite or blue it can set your breeding program back.

Agates. The recessive reds bred from an almond family have historically been referred to as agates. Recessive reds bred from non-almond families may have the same exact appearance and even the same genetic makeup as an agate, but because they were not bred from almonds, they would not be considered to be agates. It is not the recessive red color of an agate that makes it unique but the fact that it is bred from almonds. The only way to know whether a recessive red bird is truly an agate or not is to know itís heritage. At the time the standard was being revised there was a push by some almond breeders to have agates as a separate color class in the standard. The majority opinion was that agates are recessive reds and should be shown in the regular red class along with the rest of the recessive reds. All recessive reds, including agates, are presently shown in the regular red class.

Crossing Blue Based Recessive Reds to Ash Red Based Recessive Reds. Generally speaking this is usually detrimental to maintaining good color in the ash red based recessive reds. Typically you will raise more birds showing plum and in the mottles you will show more variance in the white markings, usually raising more birds with white in the head and muffs and other extremities. It would probably take a couple of breeding seasons to reset the color and markings. Sometimes you can have successful crosses, especially if the blue based recessive red is a hen, but in general it is usually a cross one should avoid.

Crossing Ash Red Based Recessive Reds into an Almond or Tortoiseshell Family. Again, generally speaking this is another cross to avoid. From this cross you will be introducing ash red into your torts and almonds. Ash red is dominant, so instead of raising those tortoiseshells and almonds you intended to breed you will be raising a lot of ash reds that are of no value in breeding almonds and torts. This cross is another good way of setting your tortoiseshell or almond breeding program back a season or two.

Other Recessive Red Variations.
Yellows. Yellows are dilute recessive reds. Like reds they can be ash red based or blue based and all the same information above about reds applies to yellows.

Golds. Golds are pale recessive reds. Like reds they can be ash red based or blue based and all the same information above about reds applies to golds.

Deroys. Deroys are recessive red almonds. They are recessive red on an almond based bird. Deroys typically look somewhat like faded golds in color with darker gold colored patches. Though gold color in deroys may resemble the regular gold color they are a different genetic makeup. In deroys it is the almond gene that is lightening the recessive red color to a gold color; in golds it is the gene for pale that is lightening the recessive red color to gold. The gold color in deroys has dark splotches and is a lighter less even color than the regular goldís. Goldís on the other hand are darker and more even in color.

Peach Laces. Peach laces are reduced recessive reds. Peach laces are blue based but unlike the reds from the almond and tort families the good colored peach laces do not carry the kite bronze or sooty factors. A good colored peach lace is reduced black (spread), T-pattern blue and recessive red. Another way to picture them is that they are recessive red on a gray lace based bird.

 Bob Christman
Recessive Red in Wests
Discussion on the Recessive Red Color

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