Birchen

Genetic code = ER/ER S/S M1/M1 Id/Id W/W Pti1/Pti1

My first Birchens came from the Leurquin line. These had any number of faults from sprigs in their combs to squirrel tails. They were carrying so many unwanted recessive genes that they were too many to count. This was the line that got me interested in breeding and of all the genes this bird was carrying. It was the birchen that took my fancy. The birds were smaller than they should have been and laid more of a pinkish egg than the russet brown egg we know as a Marans egg.


I crossed them with my Fitch cuckoo hen in the hope of improving the egg color and it did work to some extent. Then all the females became black and even had black combs. I had to back track a couple of years to get the silver to show in the females hackles. Eventually I gave up and started all over again using a bird that I had crossed into the black copper line. I am still working on the second line but have more experience in breeding now. Like most other lines I have worked on, I couldn't resist adding the blue gene. Blue is my favorite color - even in chickens.


Typically the birchen Marans has a solid black breast but the APA would like them to have a laced breast to match the standard of perfection of other birchens breeds. Some people have bred lacing from birchens they have but I have had to put the lacing into the bird genetically. I did this by crossing the birchen with a cuckoo and selecting for breast lacing. The bird shown has too much lacing on her breast but by breeding her to a male with no lacing I am hoping to get the top one third laced.


The bird is in her last molt before she comes into lay.


The bottom two pictures are of the birchens I first started with from the Leurquin line, we have come a long way since then.

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Gallery

Birchen Female

Birchen Female

Birchen Chick

Birchens

Some of the first bred here in the United States from the Leurquin line

Birchens

Some of the first bred here in the United States from the Leurquin line