The littlest and newest chicks are not so little anymore! Now six and a half weeks old, they are filling out and fluffy! Some are developing very handsome beards, and the girls are starting to develop the “salmon” color on their chest.
One of the girls, Silver pullet #2 above, has off-color legs as I mentioned before. They are green, called “willow.” This is because the breeder obtained a new rooster who had a recessive gene for yellow skin. Instead of white skin with darkened pigment resulting in the slate legs of the other Silvers, she has yellow skin. With the additional melanin, this appears green. The original rooster was a carrier of the yellow skin gene; he had one copy of the dominant white skin gene and one copy of the recessive yellow skin gene. Therefore, his phenotype, or the color he displayed, was white, while the yellow genes were hidden. Half of his offspring (F1 generation) inherited this yellow gene, again, hidden by the white gene from their mother. Finally, in the F2 generation, carriers of the yellow gene were mated together. Because each had one gene for white skin and a recessive gene for yellow skin, 25% of their offspring inherited 2 yellow skin genes and show the willow legged phenotype. Of the remaining offspring: 50% have one white and one yellow gene and are carriers (heterozygous), and 25% inherited 2 white skin genes and are homozygous for the dominant, white skin trait. I don’t know whether all of my chicks have the same parents or if they are from different pens; therefore, I do not know if my birds with slate legs are homozygous or heterozygous carriers of yellow skin. I would need to do 2 generations of test crosses to figure this out. I think the feathering on Silver Ameraucana hens is beautiful, as is their egg color, and I fully intend to keep this girl although I will not breed her as an Ameraucana. I will put her with the Easter Eggers and name her Willow!
The Wheaton boy is late developing. His white legs should be gray; his extra pigment is late in coming. So, too, is his beard: He may be clean-faced. So, all in all, not exactly a show-quality bunch, but they are healthy, beautiful birds. The Wheaton boy and two Silver boys will eventually need homes, so if you are reading this and would like one, leave a comment and let me know. Here they are!