So, we have not had the best year for poultry hatching. Chicken eggs are, as it turns out, quite a bit different from reptile eggs, which are very simple to hatch, and the learning curve has not been kind. While I realize that hatching eggs should be easy enough that a chicken can do it, the specifics seem to have somehow evaded me.
Thus, we have produced, so far, a grand total of one chicken. Luckily, it's an interesting one.
Most of our chickens are Cochins -- the round, puffy chickens with leg feathers that make them look like they are wearing bell-bottoms. I love Cochins. They are poofy and cute enough to be good eye candy, as well as being super friendly, but they are also hardy and do well outside in a farmyard situation. (Some fancy breeds are so specialized that they don't do so well in a farmyard -- they're better off indoors.) They also lay plenty of big, brown eggs. My Cochins aren't show quality, but they at least look like Cochins, and they lay well.
Since I am not aiming for show quality, I haven't cared about the color. Most of our Cochins are blue or splash, but there is a buff hen in there. Most people apparently don't breed blue to buff, or mix the colors at all, but apparently you can get some funky results doing that.
This is the mama hen -- she's a buff.
This is the rooster. His name is Penguin. He is a blue Cochin.
... And this is the baby. I was expecting that a buff blue would be a pale bird -- both genes appear to dilute pigment, after all.
WRONG! This is totally not what I was expecting. Buff chest, (bright orange, actually); orange back with black lacing. The blue is nowhere to be found. I am calling it Pumpkin Chick.
Now, I know that Penguin is heterozygous blue (otherwise, he'd be a splash), so maybe Pumpkin Chick didn't get a copy of the blue gene. If that were the case, though, I would expect her to be solid buff.
Chicken color genetics -- what the heck?
K writes this stuff, for some reason that has yet to become apparent.