View Full Version : Sumatra Face Color
01-26-2009, 05:25 PM
I have several trios of bantam sumatras in black,splash, and blue. The face color on the hens is a dark mulberry, but the faces on the males are more towards red. The faces do darken up some when the weather is nice and I have them exposed to natural light. But I have moved them indoors for the winter, so that I can use lights to get an early start on hatching.
My questions are -
1 - Is there anything I can do besides sunlight to darken the faces.
2 - From the judges point of view, how much of a defect is the lighter face color?
01-26-2009, 06:18 PM
1) Sunlight is it. Genetics, too. In my experience with large fowl sumatras, the males that have the darkest combs and faces after a winter indoors, are the ones that turn the darkest quickest in sunlight in the spring, and they get the darkest. but, as long as they get dark in the sun, I don't care what they look like in the winter.
A 4-Her in my county had a great looking sumatra bantam male a few years ago, except that its comb and face stayed red no matter how much sunlight it got. In breeding, face & comb color is a factor when culling.
2) APA & ABA Standard says: "Gypsy" color, and defines that as very dark purple, almost black. A male with a red comb doesn't get very far.
An old poultry breeder once told me his view on genetics, "Anything that's bad is dominant, anything that's good is recessive."
01-26-2009, 07:30 PM
All of my black and blue hens have good face color, the male with the best face color is the blue. If I put him over the hens, how might it affect the eye and leg color? It seemed last year that the eye color was lighter on the black/splash cross hatches. From what I have been able to gather, the blacks from a blue cross would not be a desirable as black/black. As for type, I really like one of the black males. And all have yellow feet.
01-27-2009, 11:29 PM
Usually the dark face is correlated to dark shanks and eyes (which is
why you never see yellow-legged black breeds with gypsy faces). But it's
probably not so strong of a relation that the bird with the best
face will have the best eyes and the best legs always. You're better off
breeding with a male that has pretty good color on all three than with a
male with great face color and terrible eye color. This is assuming of
course that the type and shape is nearly identical, as that should be
what you cull on first.
Typically, you get the best blacks from black-black crosses. This is
because you know what the black color of both parents are and can choose
the best colored birds to breed. Pure black lines of sumatras have been
bred for black color and only black color for years. Lines that have
been crossed with other breeds to get the blue gene added often do not
have the feather quality of the best black lines. The biggest difference
I see is that blacks from blues often do not have the sheen of the best
blacks. But if your line of blacks originally came from a line of blues,
or a line that has been crossed with blues a lot, then your blacks will
probably look the same whether they are crossed onto blues or blacks.
Pete Akers &
Neil E. Grassbaugh
01-28-2009, 08:33 AM
What a good thread.
I like to see exchanges like this on TPC . Good question, informative answers- good for everyone.
I never even raised a Sumatra and I find this interesting.
01-28-2009, 12:14 PM
Doug is always good about sharing his extensive expertise and information. He's a real asset to this forum!
02-04-2009, 09:29 PM
This is just the place I have been looking for. Great answers from experienced people.
Thanks for pointing me in the right direction Neil!
And I appreciate the people who have taken the time to share their knowledge!
02-05-2009, 11:16 AM
Doug and Pete, I was wondering...I have bantam Sumos as well as Standard ....my bantam cock bird has done well at shows and has nice type, but only single spurs..I know the requirements for the large fowl, but recently I had a judge award him breed, but put on the card "single spurs", in my old Bantam Standard it says single, double, triple, or quadruple are all OK, but I know the judge considered this a fault...has something changed or should I just not worry ?? I know everyone has an opinion, but wanted to hear from a breeder ( most times experienced breeders can provide better info than the judges unless they raise said breed).....Thanks for your time, Jane
02-05-2009, 12:14 PM
Since there's no point deduction listed for single spurs on male sumatras, it's open to the judges interpretation of the standard. The definition in the ABA Standard, appears to me, to contradict itself. Basically, the first sentence says that spurs may be single. Then, the second sentence states that multiple spurs are a breed characteristic. Here's the exact wording from the 2006 ABA Standard - "Spurs, hard, fine, on each leg they may be single, double, triple, or even quadruple. Multiple spurs is a breed characteristic." (Actually, "Multiple spurs are a breed characteristic, would be grammatically correct.)
The APA Standard reads, "multiple spurs preferred."
Judges definitely look for a second spur on a sumatra male. However, realize that the male may have one dominant spur and a "nubbin" for a second one. That "counts" as multiple, according to the judging that I've seen, but that could leave it open to interpretation, too. So, I'd prefer to have at least two decent sized spurs so the judge doesn't have to make a judgment call to determine if it's single spurred or multiple spurred.
Some sumatra breeders cull any single spurred males. But, if your best male is single spurred, you still may want to breed from him, especially if you're just starting out. (Unless you can find another male just as good in type, but with multiple spurs.) You could cull for multiple spurs in the next generation.
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