Author Topic: Angel Feathers (aka boule or bull neck)  (Read 6036 times)

John W Blehm

  • Administrator
  • Ameraucana Guru
  • *****
  • Posts: 1831
    • Fowl Stuff
Angel Feathers (aka boule or bull neck)
« on: August 24, 2015, 09:47:23 PM »
Angel Feathers are the swept back looking (ducktail) feathers on female chicken's necks, just behind the muffs.  The belief is they are recessive. 
Several years ago I first found out about this when they started showing up in my LF silvers.  My only advice is to breed from those without it, if you can.  Sometimes a bird has so much going for it that you live with a fault like this, hoping to breed it out down the road.  The Standard is silent on the subject, as far as I know, but Angel Feathers isn't a desired trait for Ameraucanas.
I'm used to seeing Angel Feathers, like muffs, on both sides of a bird, but I have one or more LF buff pullets with it only on one side.  Here are 3 photos of a pullet.  She has Angel Feathers on her right side, but not left.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2015, 07:49:26 PM by John W Blehm »

Beth Curran

  • Lifetime Member
  • College
  • *****
  • Posts: 464
Re: Angel Feathers
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2015, 11:22:11 PM »
Interesting - I had this show up a lot when I had wheatens but never saw it on just one side like that.
Beth Curran

Tailfeathers

  • College
  • ****
  • Posts: 378
  • Breeder & Exhibitor of WBS Ameraucanas since 2008
Re: Angel Feathers
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2015, 01:51:35 AM »
John, where are you finding that the Mb gene is recessive?  I actually thought it was dominant but when I look at  sellers.kippenjungle.nl, if I'm reading it right, it's Incomplete Dominant?
God Bless,

R. E. Van Blaricome
Seek Ye first the Kingdom of God, and all His Righteousness
- then these things shall be added unto you (Matt. 6:33)

John W Blehm

  • Administrator
  • Ameraucana Guru
  • *****
  • Posts: 1831
    • Fowl Stuff
Re: Angel Feathers
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2015, 10:03:58 AM »
John, where are you finding that the Mb gene is recessive?  I actually thought it was dominant but when I look at  sellers.kippenjungle.nl, if I'm reading it right, it's Incomplete Dominant?

You're right.  My typing fingers weren't communicating properly with my brain evidently.  I was thinking how the angel feathers are similar to muffs, as they protrude with a swept back look, but said "The belief is they are recessive, like muffs/beard'.  They are like secondary muffs to me and a guy named Ray, that I quote below, said they may only appear when muffs are present.  So that was on my mind also as I typed.  Years ago I emailed Dan Demarest about this topic because he is the guy that knows this fellow, Ray, that was breeding for "Angel Feathers" as I recall.  Anyway Dan forwarded part of Ray's reply and he described them.
Quote
The feathers flare out just behind the ears similar to like a cobra head. This trait started in my white line

He also said:

Quote
My guess is that to get angle feathers, the bird has to carry two genes for beard/muffs.

I'll correct the original post, so anyone just reading it won't be lead astray.  Thanks for catching it.
I haven't found information that states whether angel wings are recessive or dominant, but in prior discussions there was a consensuses that they are recessive and to the best of my knowledge they are coming from breeder birds that don't show them.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2015, 10:45:10 AM by John W Blehm »

Holly Frosch

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 37
Re: Angel Feathers
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2015, 11:44:22 AM »
John - This is a timely post for me as this is my new least favorite thing to see on a brown red.  :-[

So far I've only seen it on a few pullets this year. I had been hoping it was something that would improve with maturity as I don't see it on the mature birds ... then came upon your post. We were growing several out to check egg color, but this will enable us to cull a bit sooner.

This one is culled due to shafting, anyhow:




Similar issue here where we've eliminated shafting, but have lost lacing along with it on some birds:




ETA: Thank you for pointing this out, btw - it will save us quite a bit of time and feed!
« Last Edit: September 30, 2015, 11:45:53 AM by Holly Frosch »

Mike Gilbert

  • Lifetime Member
  • Ameraucana Guru
  • *****
  • Posts: 1396
    • Red Stag Acres
Re: Angel Feathers
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2015, 11:53:57 AM »
Holly, I believe the breast lacing is recessive, so I would not be afraid to use a bird without it if everything else is correct.   My opinion on the angel feathers is this.   I don't care if it there or not, as the Standard is silent on the issue.   I'm not going to cull based on that one factor alone.   
Mike Gilbert
1st John 5:11-13

Holly Frosch

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 37
Re: Angel Feathers
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2015, 12:45:41 PM »
Thanks, Mike! Luckily the more extreme examples of this trait are found on birds that were culled for other reasons. I think on a solid-colored bird I wouldn't mind so much, but find it quite unattractive on a brown red.

We've used non-laced birds under heavily laced cocks with quite a bit of success this year. What I find troublesome are those that are otherwise well-laced, but are missing color in an area on their upper hackles. Some siblings are looking good, so I think we'll use those. Where John's post will come in handy is with a bunch of sisters that we have to choose from (the boys and I had trouble finding the off switch on the incubator this summer) - they are crosses to a nice black. Some of these girls are looking really great and they are fairly consistent, but we only want to keep a few. All else considered, I think this will make a decent deciding factor for some of them.

John W Blehm

  • Administrator
  • Ameraucana Guru
  • *****
  • Posts: 1831
    • Fowl Stuff
Re: Angel Feathers
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2015, 07:35:11 PM »
Here is a pullet that has excessive angel feathers.  I took this photo this evening.  She won't be a breeder in 2016.

Suki

  • Ameraucana Guru
  • *****
  • Posts: 829
Re: Angel Feathers
« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2015, 10:48:21 PM »
How soon does that show up John?  is it sex linked?

Harry Shaffer

  • Associate
  • ***
  • Posts: 81
Re: Angel Feathers
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2015, 06:30:43 PM »
John, thanks for posting this defect.  Someone stated it is an incomplete dominate trait and that is what or how it appears to be but I did not do any testing. 
« Last Edit: October 01, 2015, 06:33:22 PM by Harry Shaffer »

John W Blehm

  • Administrator
  • Ameraucana Guru
  • *****
  • Posts: 1831
    • Fowl Stuff
Re: Angel Feathers
« Reply #10 on: October 01, 2015, 07:13:16 PM »
I guess it starts to show as the birds mature.  I know years ago when it was discussed someone said they thought it was recessive, but I haven't paid that much attention to the genetics of it.  I've just tried to not breed from those that "have it bad". 
Since the "expression" of it varies so much I wonder if it is associated (comes along) with the gene for muffs/beard and some other gene(s) determine how much it expresses...just a thought.  The bird that only shows it on one side is really weird though.

Beth Curran

  • Lifetime Member
  • College
  • *****
  • Posts: 464
Re: Angel Feathers
« Reply #11 on: October 02, 2015, 10:38:11 AM »
Looking at these pics, it almost reminds me of the way frizzle feathers go different directions. But that's a totally different gene, right?
Beth Curran

Tailfeathers

  • College
  • ****
  • Posts: 378
  • Breeder & Exhibitor of WBS Ameraucanas since 2008
Re: Angel Feathers
« Reply #12 on: October 02, 2015, 10:01:01 PM »
You're welcome, John.  I'm happy that you took the post as I intended.  Some on other sites have not been so.  May I ask what variety that is in the two pics you posted?  I can't tell if Wheaten or Buff.  I can say I surely do hope that doesn't show up in my flock.  I've not seen it yet and definitely don't wanna.  But, having bred a closed flock for 8yrs now, I was shocked and surprised to have a recessive yellow-leg gene surface!  Ugh! (Hmm, emoticons don't seem to be working). 
« Last Edit: October 02, 2015, 10:02:54 PM by Tailfeathers »
God Bless,

R. E. Van Blaricome
Seek Ye first the Kingdom of God, and all His Righteousness
- then these things shall be added unto you (Matt. 6:33)

John W Blehm

  • Administrator
  • Ameraucana Guru
  • *****
  • Posts: 1831
    • Fowl Stuff
Re: Angel Feathers
« Reply #13 on: October 02, 2015, 10:40:04 PM »
You're welcome, John.  I'm happy that you took the post as I intended.  Some on other sites have not been so.  May I ask what variety that is in the two pics you posted?  I can't tell if Wheaten or Buff.  I can say I surely do hope that doesn't show up in my flock.  I've not seen it yet and definitely don't wanna.  But, having bred a closed flock for 8yrs now, I was shocked and surprised to have a recessive yellow-leg gene surface!  Ugh! (Hmm, emoticons don't seem to be working).

The gal with them on one side, in the top photo, is a buff.  The last one I posted is a buff, but had a wheaten grandparent as I recall.  I would have to check the toe punches and notes to know the particulars of the outcross, but I can tell by the dark feathers in her tail and other traits she is part wheaten. 
It may have been the outcross that caused these angel feathers to flare up like they did, but I think it is on some buffs that weren't part of any recent outcross.  Maybe the buffs had the trait, but the outcross made it worse...don't really know.  Many times with outcrosses unwanted traits that neither line showed can pop up.  Feathers on shanks is a common one with outcrosses. 

John W Blehm

  • Administrator
  • Ameraucana Guru
  • *****
  • Posts: 1831
    • Fowl Stuff
Re: Angel Feathers
« Reply #14 on: October 03, 2015, 04:29:36 PM »
I asked about this on The Classroom @ The Coop site's Genetics and Selective Breeding subforum.
The best information indicates it is pretty much the same trait found in domestic pigeons and known as a Head Crest (cr).  The gene is thought to be recessive and the expression is determined by modifying genes. 

Head Crest in the Domestic Pigeon
Quote
Shapiro et al. identified the gene EphB2 as a strong candidate for the head crest of numerous breeds. That gene according to their analysis is identical for the different types of crest like peak crest (usually symbolized cr) and shell crest (symbolized by Christie and Wriedt ru = Rundkappe). The different kinds of crests (see Figure 2) are assumed to follow from different modifiers. For the fancy that was not really a surprise but confirms, at least in part, the finding from practical breeding that the trait is a recessive and shows a variable expression. W.F. Hollander considered decaded ago peak and shell crest as variants of a general crest trait and replaced ru by cr.

Mutant Gene Responsible for Pigeons' Head Crests
Quote
Shapiro says the study is the first to pinpoint a gene mutation responsible for a pigeon trait, in this case, head crests.

"A head crest is a series of feathers on the back of the head and neck," Shapiro says. "Some are small and pointed. Others look like a shell behind the head; some people think they look like mullets. They can be as extreme as an Elizabethan collar."

The researchers found strong evidence that the EphB2 (Ephrin receptor B2) gene acts as an on-off switch to create a head crest when mutant, and no head crest when normal...They also showed that while the head crest trait becomes apparent in juvenile pigeons, the mutant gene affects pigeon embryos by reversing the direction of feather buds--from which feathers later grow--at a molecular level.

Other genetic factors determine what kind of head crest each pigeon develops: shell, peak, mane or hood.

Genomic Diversity and Evolution of the Head Crest in the Rock Pigeon
Quote
Feather bud polarity is reversed in the cr mutant. (A and B) Expression of the feather structural gene Ctnnb1 reveals the direction of outgrowth of early feather buds.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2015, 02:29:52 PM by John W Blehm »