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Compatible Colors
General Guide on Color Matings


By: Bob Christman
This posting is intended as a guide to color breeding for many of our newer breeders. Over the last several months I have seen many pictures of youngsters that were the result of some rather unusual color crosses. Color is important in the West. Without good color you will not win in the show pen. Many colors are not compatible with each other and to haphazardly breed them together is going to be detrimental to maintaining good color. When having extra birds of different colors sitting in the loft it is tempting to breed them. But it is better to wait to obtain a mate that is compatible with the color you want to raise then to just mate two birds together that are not compatible in color just because they are available. When mating these incompatible colors together the resulting offspring usually will not meet the standard for color and are not usually useful for advancing your stud for the color you want to breed.

Trying to breed that one with excellent color is a game of playing the odds. When breeding like to like or to a compatible color you are increasing the odds of raising a bird with good color. When breeding to unrelated colors or incompatible colors the lower the odds that you will raise that good one with good color.

Good color was bred well before we knew anything about color inheritance. With few exceptions, color breeding basically consists of breeding the best to the best of any particular color to each other. In general you should be breeding like to like or to closely related colors. Most successful colors have been the result of many years of selective breeding, weeding out the undesired color modifiers and selecting for the desired modifiers that result in the ideal expression of that specific color. This is an ongoing process. Regardless of how well established a particular color family is this process needs to continue or otherwise the color will eventually regress.

The ideal color, whether an almond, cream bar, blue check, red mottle, black self, or whatever, is the result of a specific combination of genes that is unique to each color. The genetic combinations for some of these colors are very similar to each other while other combinations are very different from each other. A good colored khaki bar can be mated to a good colored silver bar, for instance, and one would generally expect to have good colored silver bar and khaki bar offspring because both of these colors are the result of combination of genes that are very similar to each other. On the other hand if you were to mate a good colored black to a good colored blue bar, for example, the result will mostly be black offspring that lack in color compared to the original parent. The reason is that the combinations of genes that make up a good black are very different then the combination of genes that make up a good colored blue bar. By crossing the black to the blue bar new combinations of genes are being created that are detrimental to either maintaining good colored blacks or good colored blue bars.

Following are some general guidelines for breeding colors. Sometimes some unconventional crosses can result in good colored birds but that is usually an exception and not what would generally be the norm. Even those exceptions can often have an overall detrimental effect on the gene pool for that color family you are trying to build or maintain. To be successful in breeding a specific color family, whatever color, is a long term sustained effort and the decision to cross to another color needs to be carefully evaluated in the terms of whether it is going to improve the color you are working on before making that cross.

BARRED, OPEN CHECK, AND T-PATTERNS
Khaki bars, brown bars, silver bars and blue bars are very compatible colors and can be mated in any combination. Other potential successful matings would be to khaki, brown silver and blue open checks or T-patterns.

Cream bars and red bars are compatible. They could also be successfully bred to yellow and red open checks and T-patterns.

Generally it is detrimental to color to mate cream or red bars, checks, or T-patterns to the khaki, brown, silver and blue bars, checks or T-patterns.

Generally it is also detrimental to breed bars, checks or T-patterns to velvets, selfs, mottles, almonds, andalusians (andalusian to blue bar may be a possible exception), kites, gray laces, khaki laces, peach laces or tortoiseshells.

VELVETS
Khaki velvets, brown velvets, silver (dun) velvets and blue bars are very compatible colors and can be mated in any combination.

Yellow, gold and red velvets are compatible in any combination (yellow and red baldheads are examples of yellow and red velvet).

Generally it is detrimental to color to mate yellow, gold or red velvets to the khaki, brown, silver (dun) or blue velvets.

Generally it is also detrimental to breed velvets to bars, checks, T-patterns, selfs, mottles, almonds, andalusians, kites, gray laces, khaki laces, peach laces or tortoiseshells.

SELFS & MOTTLES
Khaki, brown, dun and black selfs and mottles are very compatible colors and can be mated in any combination. When breeding khaki, brown, dun and black mottles the preferred mating would be self to mottle.

Yellow, gold, and red selfs and mottles are very compatible colors and can be mated in any combination. When breeding yellow, gold, and red mottles the preferred mating would be mottle to mottle.

White selfs the preferred mating is white self to white self. Potential out cross is white to cream bar or red bar baldheads. (Numbers will vary from mating to mating but you could expect between 50 to 80 per cent whites and between 20 to 50 per cent mismarks.)

Generally it is detrimental to color to mate khaki, brown, dun or black selfs and mottles to yellow, gold or red selfs or mottles.

Generally it is also detrimental to color to mate selfs or mottles to bars , checks, T-patterns, velvets, almonds, andalusians (with the exception of black self or mottle to andalusian), kites, gray laces, khaki laces, peach laces, dominant opal or tortoiseshells.

ALMONDS
Kites and agates are compatible with almonds. Sulfur or gold (pale) kites and yellow or gold agates can be useable in the short term put detrimental in the long term because eventually dilute and pale almonds will be produced lowering the chances of raising the proper colored almond even lower. Bronze tortoiseshells can also be a compatible for breeding almonds.

Generally it is detrimental to color to mate almonds to bars, checks, T-patterns, velvets, selfs, mottles, andalusians, gray laces, khaki laces, peach laces, or dominant opals.

ANDALUSIANS
Black selfs or mottles bred to andalusian is the usual mating for andalusians. Andalusians to andalusian can also produce good colored andalusians. It may be possible to produce good colored andalusians from andalusian to blue bar or even gray lace matings.

Generally it is detrimental to color to mate andalusians to bars (except blue), checks, T-patterns, velvets, selfs (except black), mottles (except black), almonds, kites, khaki laces, peach laces, dominant opals or tortoiseshells.

KITES
Almond and tortoise shell are compatible matings with kites.

Generally it is detrimental to color to mate kites to bars, checks, T-patterns, velvets, selfs, mottles, andalusians, gray laces, khaki laces, peach laces or dominant opals.

GRAY LACES
Gray lace to gray lace or to khaki laces is the preferred mating. Gray laces can be successfully out crossed to black selfs, brown selfs or andalusians.

Generally it is detrimental to color to mate gray laces to bars, checks, T-patterns, velvets, selfs (except black), mottles, almonds, kites, peach laces, dominant opals or tortoiseshells.

KHAKI LACES
Khaki lace to khaki lace is the preferred mating. Khaki laces can be successfully out crossed to gray laces, black selfs, or brown selfs.

Generally it is detrimental to color to mate khaki laces to bars, checks, T-patterns, velvets, selfs (except black), mottles, almonds, andalusians, kites, peach laces, dominant opals or tortoiseshells.

PEACH LACES
Peach lace to peach lace is the preferred mating.

Generally it is detrimental to color to mate peach laces to bars, checks, T-patterns, velvets, selfs, mottles, almonds, andalusians, kites, gray laces, khaki laces, dominant opals or tortoiseshells.

TORTOISESHELLS
Tortoiseshell to tortoiseshell or tortoiseshell to kite is the preferred mating. Almond to tortoise shell or agate to tortoiseshell can be a successful mating.

Generally it is detrimental to color to mate tortoiseshells to bars, checks, T-patterns, velvets, selfs, mottles, andalusians, gray laces, khaki laces, peach laces or dominant opals.

 Bob Christman
Compatible Colors
General Guide on Color Matings


 
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