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chicken genetics, poultry genetics, genetics, inheritance, feather colour, colours of chickens, breeding
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First Review

The Genetics of Chicken Colours by Sigrid van Dort - David Hancox and Friends.
The how and why of chicken genetics has long been a mystery to many of us amateur chicken breeders, and books on the genetics of chicken colours are few and far between. The book 'The Genetics of Chicken Colours The Basics' is therefore a very welcome addition to this field.

The book is written by Dutch amateur geneticist and chicken breeder Sigrid van Dort with the help of her friends and is intended for amateur chicken breeders who lack a formal background in genetics. Sigrid's co-author of the English Edition is Australian David Hancox. David's contribution is based on knowledge gained throughout his 45 years of experience in the field of chicken breeding.

One of the first things one notices about the book is the large number of photo illustrations. The author's claim that the book consists of about 2/3 illustrations and 1/3 text appears correct. The numerous illustrations of both birds and individual feathers make it easy to identify the more subtle differences in colours for example; different types of barring may look similar when seen on a bird but are quite different when individual feathers are compared.

The second aspect that stands out is the 'down to earth' style in which the book is written. The author introduces genetics by comparing chicken colours to vegetable or minestrone soup and uses this example throughout the book to highlight how genetics work. For example, similar to soup, the colour and appearance of chickens can be the result of a greater of lesser concentration of say tomato paste, while at other times a colour can be the result of a adding a completely new ingredient. By comparing the daunting topic of chicken genetics to an everyday item such as soup the author demystifies the topic and makes it, excuse the pun, easy to digest.

The book explains in simple terms how genetics create certain colours and the factors that influence the way colours are inherited. The author also discusses how different genetic factors combine to create colours and provides numerous examples of the results of particular crosses. The book includes special sections on topics such as: the red colour of the Yokohama breed, feather patterns, and has exercises for readers to test their understanding of chicken genetics.

About a quarter of the book's more than 200 pages describe in words and through photos of both hens and roosters the wide range of standardised colours and the genetic 'recipes' that are responsible for their occurrence.

In light of the easy to read style and the ability of the author to explain complex material in an easy to understand manner I hope she will also expand or write a further book on chicken genetics covering aspect such as crests, beards and leg feathering and the differences that can be found in Frizzles and Silkies.

I expect that this book will be well received by Australia's amateur chicken breeders and fanciers, and commend the author on presenting the topic in such an easy to understand manner.

About the reviewer, Erik Berrevoets has bred and kept chickens off and on for the last 30 years and his knowledge of genetics prior to reading the book did not exceed that of a year 12 biology student.

 

 

 

 

Teaser...
Tollbunt Polish bantam in pot
Chicken Colour Genetics Basics.pdf