Ameraucana Forum

The Official Ameraucana Forum => Breeding => Topic started by: Tailfeathers on June 18, 2019, 02:25:02 AM

Title: Fast Molt Gene
Post by: Tailfeathers on June 18, 2019, 02:25:02 AM
A few days ago I saw one of my Mahogany Orloff hens that looked terrible.  Today she's almost naked and looking like a porcupine.  Enough is enough.  I'm about as sure as sure can be that I just don't have any fast-molt genes in my flock and I'm tired of feeding & caring for birds that aren't giving me eggs for way too long.  So, after 12yrs of maintaining a closed-flock I've decided to bring the gene in from outside. 

Does anybody have any WBS Ameraucanas that have a FAST molt.  And I'm talking about something like the above.  My birds now molt so slow that you can hardly tell they even are.  So if I'm gonna go outside the flock and bring in new blood I want birds that molt like that Orloff.  If you have some, please let me know.

I'm guessing that second to that the best thing would be to make a good cross with another variety of Ameraucana.  So I'll be looking to the genetic experts to tell me what that would be.  I'm thinking maybe a Buff but it's just a guess.  Or what about crossing to a Bantam WBS?

Third I suppose would be to go with another breed.  Was initially thinking Leghorn so I get the molt, increased egg production and size.  Thoughts on that from the genetic experts?  Does anybody know of a blue-legged breed that would be a close fit with Type?

I've got some of my Red Project Easter Eggers from my Buckeye cross that I'm watching but I don't think they'll do the trick because none of my Buckeyes molt as fast as that Orloff which is what I'm looking for.

I don't know how many years I've got left it me to keep this up so I've decided to make the change now.  My plan is to make a 3rd line and then cross it into my other two for a 3rd & 4th line and then work back into just two lines over the next 4-5yrs.

Checking here first before I put the word out everyone on FB and also reach out to Paul Smith to see if he has any.
Title: Re: Fast Molt Gene
Post by: Mike Gilbert on June 18, 2019, 09:20:12 AM
Royce, I am not familiar with fast molt in any strains of large fowl Ameraucanas, as I have only bred Brown Reds for many years now.  They don't have it either.   Sorry I can't help!
Title: Re: Fast Molt Gene
Post by: Russ Blair on June 18, 2019, 09:29:30 AM
My LF Silvers would molt like your Orloff, and usually it was right when winter weather was rolling in. They would go from fully feathered to almost completely bald in a week. Staying within Wheaten variety would be the quickest fix of course. Using Buff I would think would be the best route but I haven’t ever raised them to know how they are.
Title: Re: Fast Molt Gene
Post by: Tailfeathers on August 11, 2019, 05:55:05 AM
Ok, as y'all can see I've had NO other responses on here.  Nothing on the FB page either.  Not going outside of that online.  I reached out to Paul Smith.  Found out 2 things.  1) He said he never saw it in all his years, and 2) he out of the WBS now altogether!  That's a bummer.  One more "Old Timer" who's gone from the Variety.  So when does one fairly new to the Fancy & Breed qualify as an Old Timer?  LOL

Paul put me in touch with a gal that he sold some birds to and said she also had birds from another "old strain".  Found out that those were from Wayne.  She told me she had 3 BWs that "exploded" when they molted. -So, since Paul never saw it I have to think they must've been from Wayne's lines/strain.  SO, does anybody know where Wayne's birds went when he sold 'em all off?  Mike, I know you stayed in touch with him & let us know he was selling his birds to head off in a RV so I'm hoping if anybody knows you will. 

Of course I'm kicking myself now for not getting some of those birds and asking him about it many years ago when I talked with him. But, in my defense I had no idea these birds molted so slowly.  That said, with the most recent pics that showed up on the FB page of the "red-laced BW" and the previous BW with the Wheaten tail I'm still concerned about getting any Meredith birds even if I can find some.  But I think I can ask enough questions to have a fair degree of confidence in what I'd be getting.

So now back to my OP:

Mike, What about trying a cross between LF & Bantam WBS?  Would that be better than a cross with another variety or breed?

Russ & Mike, if the above isn't the better option is it better to cross with those LF Silvers, the MRO, or something else.  And what did you think of the Leghorn idea? 

Or should I just sell 'em all off and get an RV?
Title: Re: Fast Molt Gene
Post by: Mike Gilbert on August 11, 2019, 03:50:02 PM
What about getting some from the lady who discovered fast molting in the BW's?    Any outcross is a long, long way back.   Not sure what MRO is?   I would not have any bantams that molt really fast.    Maybe somebody else would?   
Title: Re: Fast Molt Gene
Post by: John W Blehm on August 11, 2019, 10:27:53 PM
Over several decades I've noticed birds molting from time to time, but never paid much attention to it.

If I were to do an outcross it would be to LF blacks with a lot of homework first and a lot of patience in the end.   
Title: Re: Fast Molt Gene
Post by: Tailfeathers on August 12, 2019, 02:57:09 AM
Oh, i forgot to mention.  She sold off all her Ameraucanas and is just doing Araucanas now.  When I asked if she could give me their contact info she said she couldn't find anyone that wanted to exhibit so she just sold them off as pets and doesn't know where they went.

MRO is Mahogany Russian Orloff. They're yellow-legged, have a Cushion Comb, and the Type is quite a bit different.  If you Google it you'll see two pics that I took for my friend, Erhardt's, website.

I really appreciate you two getting back to me.  It's sounding like I'm really pretty much screwed unless I can find one of those WBS LF that fast molt.
Title: Re: Fast Molt Gene
Post by: Patti Jordan on August 15, 2019, 11:08:47 AM
I'd say my flock does not have the fast molt gene, as it's hard to tell they are molting except for all the feathers.   I had Wayne's birds at one time, purchased directly from him the last year he shipped, but can't say how much blood is still in my line.  There was a lady who had Wayne's line in southern AZ, I can reach out and ask if you'd like me too. 
Title: Re: Fast Molt Gene
Post by: Tailfeathers on August 16, 2019, 06:17:28 AM
Hi Patti,

I sent you a message on MeWe.  Would there be a good time we could talk again?
Title: Re: Fast Molt Gene
Post by: John W Blehm on November 05, 2019, 06:59:25 PM
One reason I wasn't quick to jump into this topic is just because molting (aka moulting) has been something that naturally occurs and I never had a reason to study it beyond that. 

I've studied the "Feathering Rate Genes (" (Kn>Ks>K>k+) a bit because of the slow feathering I've experienced with LF silver Ameraucanas.  It seemed logical to me that the "Fast Molt Gene" could be somehow associated with the fast/slow feathering gene, since they both control the rate of feather growth with one dealing with chicks and the other with mature birds.  From posts on The Classroom @ The Coop ( it appears one has nothing to do with the other.

KazJaps (
Some birds moult over a long period of time (ie staggered), others moult alot of feathers in a short period of time. But it doesn't look like the K locus has anything to do with moulting rates in adults.
I couldn't find any information on a Fast or Slow Molting gene, so a few months ago I asked "Does anyone know if there is/are a gene that regulates a fast/hard molt vs a slow/soft molt?" and haven't had a reply.

I'm still at the point where I understand chickens naturally molt in the late summer/fall, but I'm waiting to read a gene has been found that regulates the length of the molt cycle.  Hy-Line ( talks about a molt diet feed that is "low-energy, high-fiber...with no added salt or sodium bicarbonate" along with free access to water that doesn't contain "High sodium levels".  Maybe regulate their environment (feed, lights, etc.) to bring about a hard forced molt.

How to: Help your Hens through Moulting Season (
What Causes Moulting? The top three causes for moulting are:
* Lessening hours of daylight – the coming of winter
* Their egg laying cycle has finished – their organs need to rest
* Stress – something in their environment is depriving them of one or more essential elements

Title: Re: Fast Molt Gene
Post by: Tailfeathers on November 08, 2019, 05:15:49 AM
Thanks for the post, John.  As you know, I'm NOWHERE even close to being up on genetics as you and many others on here are.  But I am convinced that it must have to do with some gene(s) somewhere.  Why?  Precisely because of what you said.  All my birds are basically on the same food, water, & other environmental conditions. 

Patti adequately described my birds molting too.  If it were not for new feathers in the pen ever single night, you'd never know they were molting.  They literally take months.  Whereas that MRO I mentioned before, and a Black Langshan female I had that I didn't mention, both go from fully feathered to naked to porcupine to fully feathered in a month or less.  It's truly amazing to see them.

I still hold out hope that somebody has a Meredith line bird with the fast molt.  And should anyone ever see or hear of that PLEASE let me know and the owners know I'd love to talk with them.

Btw, just a heads up, I plan to make a post here sometime soon with pics of a young pullet that I recently sold.  Some may recall a few years ago that I posted pics of a REALLY ODD looking Wheaten that I described as "mottled" due to a lack of anything else I could think of to call it.  It was black and brown.  Well, I hatched another one this year.  It's about 3mos or so old and a gal wanted a "blue egg layer" so I sold it.  And then after I had committed selling it to her I got to thinking.  That bird, as you'll see had full black tail and wing feathers.

Now I'm wondering if I shouldn't have bred it and toe-punched the offspring to ID them just to see what their tails and wings turned out like.  So, for genetic gurus out there be looking for that post from me and thinking about the genetics part of it.  Who knows?  It's likely I imagine that I'll see that again,.