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genetics page


Genetics of
Belgian Barbu Bantams

Contents:
<<Breeding Colour Chart>>
<<Breeding Combinations>>
<<Breeding Blue Millefleur>><<
The E locus>>Genotype>>
<<Leg Colour Genetics>>
<<Fowl Nomenclature>>

The colour/pattern genetics of Belgian varieties will mostly be discussed here. Please keep in mind that the genotypes of Belgians will vary from country to country, or even line to line.

Blue Gold Spangled

Breeding Colour Chart

The following is a basic guide as to what varieties are able to be paired together, without any deleterious effects. The main aim is to not mix Black lines that are carrying mottled, with Cuckoo lines, not to mix Black lines carrying Lavender with Blue lines, etc. It is best not to breed Silver varieties with Gold varieties (ie, Silver Millefleur with Millefleur), as "gold leakage" may occur with the Silver offspring. Quail varieties are not to be paired with Millefleur varieties, to avoid introducing the mottled gene into the Quail lines (ie, Mottled Quail is not a recognised variety) & so on.....

* There are many reasons why these basic guidelines are not followed, eg developing a new variety, developing disease resistant lines, to avoid inbreeding depression (infertility, etc), to improve type in a line & so on..... It is only a guide.
* It is important to keep accurate records/pedigrees.

Colour Breeding Lines:
* Cuckoo, Black, Lavender
* Blue, Black, Splash
* Millefleur, Blue Millefleur, Golden Neck (Splash Millefleur)
* Porcelaine, Millefleur
* Quail, Blue Quail, Splash Quail
* Lavender Quail, Quail
* Silver Quail, Blue Silver Quail
* Lavender Silver Quail, Silver Quail
* Blue Mottled, Black Mottled
* Lavender Mottled, Black Mottled
* Buff Columbian (Fawn Ermine), Blue Buff Columbian
*Buff Columbian, Lavender Buff Columbian
*Columbian (Ermine), Blue Columbian
*Lavender Columbian, Columbian
* Silver Millefleur, Silver Porcelaine,
* Blue Silver Millefleur, Silver Millefleur
* Cream, Buff
* White
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Breeding combinations

The following gives a basic idea as to the results of pairing Lavender with Black varieties, Cuckoo with non-barred, Blue with Black & Splash, White with coloured varieties, Mottled with non-mottled & Silver with Gold.

* Lavender (recessive)
eg
Black/Lavender, Black Mottled/Lavender Mottled, Millefleur/Porcelaine, Silver Millefleur/Silver Porcelaine, Quail/Lavender Quail, Silver Quail/Lavender Silver Quail breeding combinations.

Black + Lavender = 100% Blacks, all carrying Lavender
Black (carrying Lavender) + Black
= All black, 50% carrying Lavender
Black (carrying Lavender) + Black (carrying Lavender)
= 75% Blacks [50% carrying Lavender, 25% pure Blacks], 25% Lavender
Black (carrying Lavender) + Lavender
= 50% Blacks [all carrying Lavender], 50% Lavender
Lavender + Lavender
= 100% Lavender

------------------------------------------------------------

* Andalusian Blue (incomplete dominant)
eg
Black/Blue/Splash, Black Mottle/Blue Mottle, Millefleur/Blue Millefleur/Golden Neck (Splash Millefleur), Silver Millefleur/ Blue Silver Millefleur, Quail/Blue Quail/Splash Quail, Silver Quail/Blue Silver Quail, Buff Columbian/Blue Buff Columbian, Columbian/Blue Columbian breeding combinations.

Andalusian Blue + Black = 50% Blacks, 50% Andalusian Blue
Andalusian Blue + Andalusian Blue
= 25% Blacks, 50% Andalusian Blue, 25% Splash
Andalusian Blue + Splash
= 50% Andalusian Blue, 50% Splash
Splash + Splash
= 100% Splash
Splash + Black
= 100% Andalusian Blue

-----------------------------------------------------------

* Sex-linked Gold (recessive) & Sex-linked Silver (dominant)
eg
Millefleur/Silver Millefleur, Quail/Silver Quail, Columbian (Ermine)/Buff Columbian (Fawn Ermine).

Gold + Gold = all gold
Gold male + Silver female
= all gold females, all silver males (S/s) -carrying gold
Silver male (S/S) + Gold female = all silvers, all males carrying gold (S/s)
Silver (S/s -carrying gold) male + Gold female = of males: 50% Silver [S/s -all carrying Gold], 50% Gold, of females: 50% Silver, 50% Gold
Silver (S/s -carrying gold) male + Silver female = of males: 50% Silver -carrying Gold (S/s), 50% pure Silver (S/S), of females: 50% Silver, 50% Gold

---------------------------------------------------------

*Cuckoo/Barred (Sex-linked Dominant)
eg
Cuckoo/Black, Lavender Cuckoo/Lavender breeding combinations.

Cuckoo (B/B) + Cuckoo (B/B) = all cuckoo
Black male + Cuckoo female = females black (non barring), males cuckoo (B/b) -carrying non-barring/black
Cuckoo (B/B) male + Black female = all cuckoos, all males (B/b) -carrying non-barring/ black
Cuckoo (B/b -carrying non-barring/black) male + Black female = of males: 50% Cuckoo [B/b -all carrying non-barring/black], 50% Black, of females: 50% Cuckoo, 50% Black
Cuckoo (B/b -carrying non-barring/black) male + Cuckoo female = of males: 50% Cuckoo, (B/b -carrying non-barred/black, 50% pure Cuckoo (B/B), of females: 50% Cuckoo, 50% Black.

---------------------------------------------------------

* Mottled (recessive)
eg Black/Black Mottled, Blue/Blue Mottled, Lavender/Lavender Mottled, Millefleur/Buff Columbian

Solid + Solid = All solids
Solid + Mottled = 100% solids, all carrying mottled
Solid (carrying Mottled) + Solid = all solid, 50% carrying mottled
Solid (carrying Mottled) + Solid (carrying Mottled)
= 75% solids [50% carrying mottled, 25% pure solids], 25% mottled
Solid (carrying Mottled) + Mottled
= 50% solids [all carrying mottled], 50% mottled
Mottled + Mottled = 100% Mottled

-------------------------------------------------------

* Recessive White
eg
Coloured/Recessive White breeding combinations

 Coloured + Coloured = all coloured
Coloured + White
= 100% coloureds, all carrying white
Coloured (carrying White) + Coloured
= all coloured, 50% carrying white
Coloured (carrying White) + Coloured (carrying White)
= 75% coloureds [50% carrying white, 25% pure coloureds], 25% white
Coloured (carrying White) + White
= 50% coloureds [all carrying white], 50% white
White + White
= 100% White
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Creating Blue Millefleur variety

1: Blue Buff Columbian to Millefleur = Buff Columbian, Blue Buff Columbian
Pair F1 Blue Buff Columbian to Millefleur = Buff Columbian, Blue Buff Columbian, Millefleur, Blue Millefleur
* If the original Blue Buff parent is pale buff, then the Millefleur may be too light in ground colour, ie if possible use a deep Buff

2: Blue Mottled to Millefleur = Black Mottled, Blue Mottled
Pair F1 Blue Mottled to Millefleur = Black Mottled, Blue Mottled, Millefleur, Blue Millefleur

* May have problems with Mottled progeny having gold in neck hackles, etc, or too much black in neck hackles of Millefleur. The Mottled with gold in neck hackles are good for pairing back to Millefleur & Buff Columbian but not necessarily of Mottled show quality.

3:  Buff Columbian to Blue Mottled = Black, Blue
4: Blue Buff Columbian to Black Mottled = Black, Blue
In 3 & 4, pair Blue F1 back to Millefleur = 1/8 Black Mottled, 1/8 Blue Mottled,1/8 Blue, 1/8 Black, 1/8 Buff Columbian, 1/8 Blue Buff Columbian, 1/8 Millefleur, 1/8 Blue Millefleur

The best pairing would be Splash Buff Columbian to Millefleur or Splash Mottled to Millefleur. This would give all Blue progeny in the F1.
eg Splash Buff Columbian to Millefleur = 100% Blue Buff Columbian, giving you higher numbers to use in next generation &/or to cull for “type”.

* F1 = 1st generation

There are other pairings that will give you Blue Millefleur, but smaller percentages.

Pairing Blue Millefleur to Blue Millefleur will give Splash Millefleur genotype, looking like a Buff Mottled in phenotype. This variety is called Golden Neck in the USA. The Buff Mottled (Oker Mottled) of Europe is the Millefleur variety with the Dominant White gene added. They have a very similar phenotype to the Splash Millefleur (Golden Neck). If you add the Lavender gene to either the Splash Millefleur or Oker Mottled (Dominant White Millefleur) you will have the “Cream Mottled” variety.
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The E locus Chicken/Down Colour Pattern

Below are the most common e locus genes. Most of my d'Uccle Millefleur, Buff Columbian & Quail varieties have the e+ (Wildtype) gene at the e locus. In other countries, eb, eWh & ey alleles may be found in these varieties.

Genes: E, ER, eWh, e+, eb, ebc, ey

Gene names: Extended Black, Birchen, Dominant Wheaten, Wild type, Partridge or Brown, Buttercup, Recessive Wheaten.

Phenotypes: Dark Grey, Birchen Grey, Wheaten, Black breasted Red (salmon breasted hens), Partridge (brown breasted hens), Buttercup, Clay Wheaten.

e locus chickens: click to enlarge

Above are the typical e locus down patterns, without columbian-like restrictors (except maybe ebc chick). Columbian (Co) will change the appearance of e+ & eb down, but not E, ER & eWh. Both E & ER down are indistinguishable, with variation from all black (eumelanin) to black with white as shown above. The chick down of some varieties of d'Uccles may be found on the Chicken webpage.     
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Genotypes

Below are the basic genotypes of most of the Belgian Barbu varieties. The e locus alleles will vary from line to line. The following is based from the results of breeding my d'Uccles.

* upper case letters are dominants eg B (barring), lower case letters are recessives eg b (non barring).

Belgian varieties based on E (Extended Black) or ER (Birchen)  allele

Phenotype 

Genotype

Black

ER/ER

Ml/Ml

Mo/Mo

Lav/Lav

bl/bl

b/b

 

Lavender

ER/ER

Ml/Ml

Mo/Mo

lav/lav

bl/bl

b/b

 

Blue

ER/ER

Ml/Ml

Mo/Mo

Lav/Lav

Bl/bl

b/b

 

Splash

ER/ER

Ml/Ml

Mo/Mo

Lav/Lav

Bl/Bl

b/b

 

Cuckoo

ER/ER

Ml/Ml

Mo/Mo

Lav/Lav

bl/bl

B/B

 

Lavender Cuckoo

ER/ER

Ml/Ml

Mo/Mo

lav/lav

bl/bl

B/B

 

Black Mottled

ER/ER

Ml/Ml

mo/mo

Lav/Lav

bl/bl

b/b

 

Lavender Mottled

ER/ER

Ml/Ml

mo/mo

lav/lav

bl/bl

b/b

 

Blue Mottled

ER/ER

Ml/Ml

mo/mo

Lav/Lav

Bl/bl

b/b

 

* All these varieties may or may not have the Ml (Melanotic) gene. Black enhancing genes are needed to produce the above varieties. The varieties can have E or ER at the E locus.

* Laced Blue = Blue geneotype plus Pg (Pattern Gene), Ml (Melanotic gene)
* Recessive White birds are c/c, with any other genes masked under the white.

Genes

Phenotype

lav/lav

Lavender

Bl/Bl

Splash

B

Cuckoo

Bl/bl

Blue

mo/mo

Mottled

c/c

White

Varieties based on the e+ (wild type) allele

Phenotype 

Genotype

 

Wild type
(Black-breasted Red roo, salmon–breasted hens)

e+/e+

s/s

Rb+/Rb+

bl/bl

b/b

   

Blue Red

e+/e+

s/s

Rb+/Rb+

Bl/bl

b/b

   

Crele

e+/e+

s/s

Rb+/Rb+

bl/bl

B/B

   

Brassy-back

e+/e+

s/s

rb/rb

bl/bl

b/b

   

Blue Brassy-back

e+/e+

s/s

rb/rb

Bl/bl

b/b

   
               

Silver Duckwing

e+/e+

S/S

Rb+/Rb+

bl/bl

b/b

   

Blue Silver Duckwing

e+/e+

S/S

Rb+/Rb+

Bl/bl

b/b

   

Silver Crele

e+/e+

S/S

Rb+/Rb+

bl/bl

B/B

   

Silver Brassy-back

e+/e+

S/S

rb/rb

bl/bl

b/b

   

Blue Silver Brassy-back

e+/e+

S/S

rb/rb

Bl/bl

b/b

   

Genes

Phenotype

S/S

Silver

s/s

Gold

B

Cuckoo/Barred

Bl/bl

Blue

rb/rb

Recessive Black

# note - "rb" nomenclature is not formally described by scientists (only used here for short-hand purposes). A "recessive black" gene was indicated in test breeding by Fred Jeffrey, this mutation found in Quail and Brassy-Back OEGB stock. Campo et al isolated Ml (Melanotic) in a synthetic Quail Prat line (with eWh - wheaten and Co - Columbian).

Gold (s/s) varieties based on e+ or eb or eWh alleles, with Columbian 

Phenotype 

Genotype

Buff Columbian

e+/e+

s/s

Ig/Ig

Co/Co

Mo/Mo

Lav/Lav

bl/bl

Rb+/Rb+

i/ i

Blue Buff Columbian

e+/e+

s/s

Ig/Ig

Co/Co

Mo/Mo

Lav/Lav

Bl/bl

Rb+/Rb+

i/ i

Splash Buff Columbian

e+/e+

s/s

Ig/Ig

Co/Co

Mo/Mo

Lav/Lav

Bl/Bl

Rb+/Rb+

i/ i

Lavender Buff Columbian

e+/e+

s/s

Ig/Ig

Co/Co

Mo/Mo

lav/lav

bl/bl

Rb+/Rb+

i/ i

                   

Quail

e+/e+

s/s

Ig/Ig

Co/Co

Mo/Mo

Lav/Lav

bl/bl

rb/rb

i/ i

Blue Quail

e+/e+

s/s

Ig/Ig

Co/Co

Mo/Mo

Lav/Lav

Bl/bl

rb/rb

i/ i

Splash Quail

e+/e+

s/s

Ig/Ig

Co/Co

Mo/Mo

Lav/Lav

Bl/Bl

rb/rb

i/ i

Lavender Quail

e+/e+

s/s

Ig/Ig

Co/Co

Mo/Mo

lav/lav

bl/bl

rb/rb

i/ i

White Quail

e+/e+

s/s

Ig/Ig

Co/Co

Mo/Mo

Lav/Lav

bl/bl

rb/rb

I / I

Lemon Quail

e+/e+

s/s

ig/ig

Co/Co

Mo/Mo

Lav/Lav

bl/bl

rb/rb

i/ i

White Lemon Quail

e+/e+

s/s

ig/ig

Co/Co

Mo/Mo

Lav/Lav

bl/bl

rb/rb

I / I

                   

Millefleur

e+/e+

s/s

Ig/Ig

Co/Co

mo/mo

Lav/Lav

bl/bl

Rb+/Rb+

i/ i

Blue Millefleur

e+/e+

s/s

Ig/Ig

Co/Co

mo/mo

Lav/Lav

Bl/bl

Rb+/Rb+

i/ i

Splash Millefleur
(USA Golden Neck)

e+/e+

s/s

Ig/Ig

Co/Co

mo/mo

Lav/Lav

Bl/Bl

Rb+/Rb+

i/ i

Porcelaine

e+/e+

s/s

Ig/Ig

Co/Co

mo/mo

lav/lav

bl/bl

Rb+/Rb+

i/ i

Citron Millefleur

e+/e+

s/s

ig/ig

Co/Co

mo/mo

Lav/Lav

bl/bl

Rb+/Rb+

i/ i

Buff Mottled (Oker)

e+/e+

s/s

Ig/Ig

Co/Co

mo/mo

Lav/Lav

Bl/bl

Rb+/Rb+

I/  I

Cream Mottled

e+/e+

s/s

Ig/Ig

Co/Co

mo/mo

lav/lav

bl/bl

Rb+/Rb+

I / I

                   

Cream

e+/e+

s/s

Ig/Ig

Co/Co

Mo/Mo

lav/lav

bl/bl

Rb+/Rb+

i/ I

Buff

e+/e+

s/s

Ig/Ig

Co/Co

Mo/Mo

Lav/Lav

bl/bl

Rb+/Rb+

i/ i

* Buff/Cream, Buff Columbian & Quail varieties may have gold diluters, eg Di & Cb. Buff/Cream varieties have extra Columbian-like restrictors, eg Db, Mh, & possibly Di. Db may also be found in Millefleur varieties. I haven't bred the Cream & Buff varieties myself. They may have a Wheaten allele at the E locus, and they may or may not have I - Dominant White & or Blue Bl, or possibly I^D - Dun in some countries. Some Creams may have ig instead of lav.

Silver (S/S) varieties based on e+ or eb or eWh alleles, with Columbian  (Co)

Phenotype 

Genotype

 

Columbian

e+/e+

Co/Co

Mo/Mo

Lav/Lav

bl/bl

Rb+/Rb+

S/S

 

Blue Columbian

e+/e+

Co/Co

Mo/Mo

Lav/Lav

Bl/bl

Rb+/Rb+

S/S

 

Lavender Columbian

e+/e+

Co/Co

Mo/Mo

lav/lav

bl/bl

Rb+/Rb+

S/S

 
                 

Silver Quail

e+/e+

Co/Co

Mo/Mo

Lav/Lav

bl/bl

rb/rb

S/S

 

Blue Silver Quail

e+/e+

Co/Co

Mo/Mo

Lav/Lav

Bl/bl

rb/rb

S/S

 

Lavender Silver Quail

e+/e+

Co/Co

Mo/Mo

lav/lav

bl/bl

rb/rb

S/S

 
                 

Silver Millefleur

e+/e+

Co/Co

mo/mo

Lav/Lav

bl/bl

Rb+/Rb+

S/S

 

Blue Silver Millefleur

e+/e+

Co/Co

mo/mo

Lav/Lav

Bl/bl

Rb+/Rb+

S/S

 

Silver Porcelaine

e+/e+

Co/Co

mo/mo

lav/lav

bl/bl

Rb+/Rb+

S/S

 
                 
                   
Genes

Phenotype

Co/Co

Columbian

s/s

Gold

S/S

Silver

mo/mo

Mottled

lav/lav

Lavender

Bl/bl

Blue

Bl/Bl

Splash

rb/rb

Recessive Black

ig/ig

Recessive Cream

Di/Di

Gold Dilute

Cb/Cb

Champagne Blond

I / I

Dominant White

Db/Db

Dark Brown

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 Leg Colour Genetics


The gene responsible for white skin is "W". It is a dominant gene. The gene "w" is the yellow skin gene, recessive to white. These gene alleles are the "epidermal-outer layer" influence on shank/sole colour. The "dermal-under layer" influence to shank colour is determined by the gene alleles "Id" (no pigment) & "id" (dermal-black pigment). The dermal genes are sex-linked.

The combination of both dermal & epidermal genes alone can produce the following
:

Shank colour Dermis Epidermis
White none (Id/Id) white (W/W)
Yellow none (Id/Id) yellow (w/w)
Green (Willow) black (id/id) yellow (w/w)
Slate/Blue black (id/id) white (W/W)
Black black (id/id) white (W/W)

* I have modified the above table from Jeffrey, F. (1977) "Bantam Breeding & Genetics" book.

* Another influence to shank colour is the gene Fm (Fibromelanosis). This dominant gene is responsible for the dark flesh colour of the Silkie fowl.

Silkie leg colour (Fm/Fm)
Silkie leg colour (Fm/Fm).


This is a very simple explanation on the genetics. Unfortunately, there is much more, as "plumage colour genes" can influence shank colour significantly.

Plumage Colour Influence


Diluters of black shank colour:
Blue (Bl/bl), Splash (Bl/Bl), Recessive White (c/c), Mottling (mo/mo), Dominant White (I/I), Gold Dilute (Di/Di), Barring (B/B)
Enhancers of black shank colour:

Extended Black (E/E), Birchen (ER/ER)
Enhancers of horn shank colour:
Red/gold plumage

Recessive White, Blue & Black Orpington Bantams
Above: Recessive White, Blue & Black birds, all ER (birchen) & White skinned (W/W).

I'll give a few examples:

Shank colour Dermis Epidermis Plumage colour
White black (id/id) white (W/W) cuckoo (B/B), D. White (I/I)
Yellow none (Id/Id) yellow (w/w) some ER- birchen/black *
Green (Willow) none (Id/Id) yellow (w/w) black (E or ER)
Blue black (id/id) white (W/W) blue (Bl/bl), splash (Bl/Bl), R.white (c/c), heavily mottled (mo/mo),
Slate none (Id/Id) white (W/W) black (E or ER) + lavender (lav/lav)
Black none (Id/Id) white (W/W) black (E or ER)
Horn none (Id/Id) yellow (w/w) red

 

Willow, Slate, Yellow & White leg colour
The above are:
1 Top left: Willow (e+/e+ wildtype, id/- dermal pigment & w/w yellow skin),
2: Top right: Slate (e+/e+ wildtype, id/id dermal pigment, mo/mo & W/W white skin) &
3: Bottom left: Yellow (eWh, eb or ey?, Id/- no dermal pigment & w/w yellow skin)
4: Bottom right: White (eWh/eWh wheaten, Id/- no dermal pigment & W/W white skin)


* it is not clearly understood why some ER (eg solid black plumage) breeds/varieties may have yellow shanks, whereas others have black shanks, regardless of the dermal gene allele. That is, an ER, Id/Id (no dermal pigment) bird may be either yellow or black (or willow) shanked. For example, Black: Pekins, Japanese Bantams, Leghorns, etc have yellow shanks. Other examples are Birchen Grey, Brown Red varieties with yellow legs. There is a relationship between white feather undercolour in Blacks & no shank pigment, suggesting a plumage melanotic gene is involved.

All ER (birchen), willow, black, yellow & white leg colour
The above are all ER (birchen) at e locus:
1 Top left: Willow (ER birchen, Id- no dermal pigment & w/w yellow skin),
2: Top right: Slate (ER birchen, I/i dominant white & W/w white skin, carrying yellow),
3: Bottom left: Yellow (ER birchen, Id- no dermal pigment & w/w yellow skin),
4: Bottom right: White (ER birchen, id/id dermal pigment, B/b Barring, carrying non-barring & W/W white skin)

The level of influence varies greatly from the list above, eg Barring/Cuckoo (B/B) can dilute black dermal colour to white, whereas Blue (Bl/bl) or RecessiveWhite may only dilute colour to Blue, & exhibition Belgian mottled birds have slate/blue legs.

Shank colour may change from day-old to adult hood

 Fowl Nomenclature

* Point mouse on image to show nomenclature

main sicke feathers main sickle feathers main tail main sickle feathers main tail main tail side hangers saddle hackle back leader eye beak comb neck hackle ear lobe beard muff breast shoulder wing bow wing bar wing bay or secondary flights primary flights shanks foot toe nails toenails toenails toe nails

Illustration courtesy of the Belgian Bantam Club of Australia
 

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