Based on discussions and photos circulating online, there seems to be a bit of confusion about the difference between a blue laced red Wyandotte and a splash laced red Wyandotte. Since the two varieties are related and look somewhat similar, the confusion is justified.
Another issue of confusion is the origin of blue laced red Wyandottes. Conventional wisdom is that they were developed in Germany and came to the United States in the 1980s by way of England. However, evidence suggests that blue laced red Wyandottes were developed in the United States in the 1880s, perhaps exported to England, and from there to Germany, then eventually back to the United States.
At any rate, blue laced red Wyandottes come in three distinct lacing colors. The base plumage color of all three is a rich red. The blue lacing that outlines each feather is actually a shade of gray and can be either black/dark gray (sometimes called dark blue), medium gray (called blue or violet), or pale gray (splash).
Blue (violet) is the most stunning and therefore the most sought-after lacing color. However, a blue bred to a blue will produce only 50% blue laced red Wyandotte chicks. Another 25% will be black laced red Wyandottes and 25% will be splash laced red Wyandottes.
“What a lot of people call a blue laced red Wyandotte is really a splash laced red Wyandotte,” says Jeff Smith of Cackle Hatchery. “This leads to disappointments when chicks don’t grow up looking just like the photos floating around the internet.
“Because of the potential for customer dissatisfaction when expectations would not be meet, Cackle held off offering these Wyandotte varieties for many years. However, in 2017 we started breeding them and offering them for sale.”
Unlike blue bred to blue, which yields only 50% blues, splash bred to splash yields 100% true splash chicks. But, Jeff cautions, breeding splash to splash over successive generations will result in the lacing eventually becoming too light to the point of appearing white.
For anyone interested in breeding these laced red Wyandottes, here’s how the color genetics work out:
- Blue x Blue = 50% Blue, 25% Black, 25% Splash
- Blue x Black = 50% Blue, 50% Black
- Black x Black = 100% Black
- Blue x Splash = 50% Blue, 50% Splash
- Black x Splash = 100% Blue
- Splash x Splash = 100% Splash
When mating blue to blue, you can get some idea what the chicks will grow up to look like by the color of their down. The darkest chicks will be black laced. The palest chicks will be splash. Chicks with down that’s between the darkest and the palest will be blue laced.
And that’s today’s news from the Cackle Coop.
Gail Damerow, author, The Chicken Encyclopedia