Colorsplash Rare Poultry
In the 1980s, Lowell Barber saw a letter in a British poultry magazine from
an elderly gentleman in England who had preserved this extremely rare color.
The elderly gentleman (in his 90s) feared his Blue Laced Red (BLR) Wyandottes were the last left, and hoped to interest others in carrying this
pattern on so it should not be lost. (Lowell left me the actual magazine.)
He also warned me, as did Prof. Ron Okimoto, a poultry geneticist, that crossing the BLRs to Gold Laced or Silver Laced Wyandottes would bring in genes for the feather patterns that would dilute or mask the deep rich barn red that is part of the name of the breed, spoiling it for a very long time, maybe permanently.
Maybe it is because the line was maintained for years by elderly men who doted on their birds and maybe unconsciously selected for sweet temperaments, but a hand-raised BLR is the gentlest lap chicken you can imagine.
The vast majority of the BLRs in the US came from a hatchery that admitted they did outcross their first BLRs to Gold Laced and possibly Silver Laced, and the brassy or yellowish gold gene is a recessive that is extremely hard to breed out. When they got out of the poultry business, they sold their stock to McMurray.
Genetically, BLRs are the Andalusian type of blue. This means that you will get three possible colors on the lacing: Blue, Splash (which in BLRs can look either like platinum, or dirty white), and Black.
If you only breed Blue to Splash (never Splash to Splash or Blue to Blue) you will never produce birds with black lacing.
On the other hand, if you produce an outstanding black and outstanding splash and breed them together, 100% of their offspring will be blue laced. This means your splash are very valuable as breeders. Don't under-rate them!
If you do not know for sure that your birds came directly from Lowell Barber's birds or Phyllis Eide's or Greg Catt's birds, they probably are descended from the many color-crossed BLRs produced by the hatchery, and contain the diluter genes that turn red into brass, orange, and gold.
Questions or comments? Contact me!