Chocolate Color Genes Explained in Poultry
I just recently came home from the second Crossroads of America Poultry show which had 10,276 birds shown. While I was there I noticed that there were Chocolate OEGB and Polish and I was lucky enough to be getting some Chocolate Orpingtons.
I was talking to someone after the show who wanted to get chocolate into another breed and so he had picked up a Khaki bird, which when crossed to black would create a chocolate bird. When I told him that I had picked up a pair of Chocolate Orpingtons, Chocolate split male and a Chocolate female, he was confused about the difference because he wasn’t the most knowledgeable about genetics but knew the basics enough where he could play around with the genetics to make new varieties.
I thought it would be good to explain this so that people wouldn’t be breeding the Dun Chocolates with the Chocolates together on accident. Most people know that the Dun color breeds a lot like Blue where if bred together you would get %25 Black, %50 Dun, and %25 Splash/ Khaki. The Dun type of Chocolate is the type of Chocolate that can be found in Polish, Wyandottes, OEGB, Ohiki and some other breeds.
There is another type of Chocolate that has recently been imported to the US first in Serama Bantams but has been imported just this year in Orpingtons and Wyandottes, to my knowledge Wyandottes are the only breed that have both types of chocolate varieties. The genetics of this color is similar to the barring gene except that the barring gene is dominant and Chocolate (choc) is recessive.
The choc gene is sex-linked, so when you cross a choc male on a black female you will get females that are choc and males that are black. If you cross a black male over a choc female all the offspring will be black but only the males will carry the choc gene, if you cross a split male over a black female then you will get black males with %50 of them carrying the choc gene and %50 females that will show choc while the rest will be black, finally if you cross a choc male to a choc female then all of the offspring will be choc. It is important that you watch what you cross because if you don’t you might not get what you expected.
By Jon Alden