About Sharif Miraz Hossain
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I have developed a strain of turkeys that we are calling “Blue Red Bronze” they are a much richer red color overall than any Lilac or Red Slate lines I’ve seen.
They are bronze based with a single slate and red gene. Genotype (b+b+DdRr).
They have a rich solid red tail with thin blue barring throughout the length of the tail ending in a wide blue band with a creme tip,this color/pattern also extends into the smaller body feathers as well, while the wing feathers only have a slight barring pattern with a reddish coloration and just a hint of blue.
Several results are possible when breeding these: Blue Red Bronze, Bourbon Red, Lilac, Slated Buff, Red Slate, Bronze and Red Bronze.
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The Blue Palm actually comes in two different color forms, Slate Blue Palm and a Self Blue(aka Lavender) Palm. Due to the nature of the slate gene, when breeding slate blue palms together 3 color types will be produced, slate blue palm, self blue (Lavender) palm and royal palm.
One way to get 100% blue palms would be to breed a self blue palm tom to slate blue palm hens, or the opposite, slate blue palm tom to self blue palm hens, then only blue palms will result in both blue palm color types, with no royal palms being produced.
Self Blue (Lavender)Palms will breed true bred to the same. These are a bit paler blue than the single slate gene type.
Genotype for Slate Blue Palm: b1b1cgcgDdngng (toms) or ng-(hens) Genotype for Self Blue (Lavender) Palm: b1b1cgcgDDngng (toms) or ng- (hens)
Black winged bronze based with gray (aka palm),slate and narragansett genes. Approx. weights: Old toms 22 lbs and Old hens 12 lbs
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This color pattern is technically known as Black Winged Bronze and is the result of the action of a recessive genetic factor on the bronze pattern which is a recessive allele to both black and bronze patterns — B (black), b+ (normal wild bronze and b1 (black winged bronze). The “b1” allele is also what gives Royal Palm,Calico and Sweetgrass birds their solid slatey-black wings.
The Crimson Dawn Primaries are solid black, Lower secondaries are black overlaid with crimson-gold bronzing.Upper secondaries are black finely stippled with buff , tips pure white forming a line across the wing. The main tail is tan, irregularly penciled with black, tip possessing a band of rich crimson-gold bronzing ,bordered front and rear by a narrow black band and terminated by a broad band of pure white.
The hens tend to be a bit lighter colored than the tom because of more distinct white lacing on the tips of their body feathers.
The major visual effect is the predominance of a rose pink cast to the iridescence of the feathers in the sunlight, That’s why the originator “Tom Stodghill” dubbed them “Crimson Dawns.” His preferred weights for old birds were toms at 36 lbs and hens 20 lbs.
The poult pattern is similiar to the bronze except that the ground color is yellowish white instead of light brown, producing the appearance of a pale-colored bronze poult.
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The Black turkey originated in Europe as a direct descendant of the Mexican turkeys carried home with explorers in the 1500s. Black colored turkeys became popular in Spain where they were known as “Black Spanish”, and in England, especially in the Norfolk region where they were known as “Norfolk Blacks.” After being selected for meat production for more than two centuries, the Black Spanish turkey made the voyage back to the Americas with early European colonists. Once here, the variety was crossed with Eastern wild turkeys, which formed the basis for the Black turkey variety in America. This Black variety was commercially viable through the early part of the 20th century though not as popular as Bronze, White Holland, Narragansett, and Bourbon Red varieties. A 1937 Turkey World article states that Blacks were bred in large numbers along the East Coast including Maryland and Virginia, their popularity enhanced by selection for a calm disposition, rapid growth, and early maturation.
The Black was recognized by the American Poultry Association in 1874. The plumage of this variety is a lustrous, metallic black with a greenish sheen on top and a dull black undercolor. It is undesirable to have a brownish or bronze cast or any white. Poults will often have white or bronze in their feathers but molt into mature plumage. The beak is black, the wattle is red, changeable to bluish-white and the shanks and toes are pink in adults. Eye color is dark brown. Skin of the Black turkey is usually white, as in all turkey varieties, but some writers speak of a yellow tinge to the skin that is not seen in other varieties. This may be influenced by diet, as turkeys on range with access to green feed and corn tend to have a more yellow cast to the skin. The Standard weight is 23 pounds for young toms and 14 pounds for young hens, making the Blacks slightly smaller than the Bronze. Since, however, the Black has not been selected for production attributes for years, many birds may be smaller than the breed standard. Careful selection for good health, ability to mate naturally, and production attributes will return this variety to its former stature. While generally known as the Black turkey, the terms “Norfolk Black” and “Black Spanish” are also used in the United States when referring to this variety, though in the end all these terms refer to the same Black variety.
The Black turkey is in need of more stewards. A renewed interest in the biological fitness, survivability, and superior flavor has captured consumer interest and created a growing market niche. This personable, attractive bird can recover to its early 20th century status with the help of a few more conservation minded producers.
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Formerly known as “Brown”
This is an old variety that was listed in receipts when transporting turkeys to markets in “turkey trots” during the late 1700s and early 1800s in Philadelphia. They carry the sex linked brown genes and thus were important at the beginning of this century for producing poults that could be sexed at hatching. Breedings of Auburn toms and bronze hens will produce bronze toms and auburn hens thus making it quite easy to sex poults by color at hatch. However, this did not become a serious market requirement and they never became very popular
Auburn describes a variation in the typical bronze plumage color in which bronze is replaced with a red-brown pigmentation. At day of age, the auburn poult resembles the bronze but with black stripes replaced with a red-brown coloration. In the adult bird, the bronze pigmentation is also replaced by a red-brown color.The barring present in the primary and secondary flight feathers is red-brown and white in contrast to the black and white typical in the bronze bird. Genotype (b+b+ee) for toms and (b+b+e-) for hens. A bronze base with recessive sex-linked brown modifying genes. Basically a “Brown Bronze”
Initially when this color pattern was first described it was noted as brown, but in 1990 Savage and Attamangkune decided that “auburn” was a more accurately descriptive name for this “brown color pattern”.
Weights: (33 lbs old toms and 18 lbs old hens)
Here’s what Asmundson had to say about the Brown gene;
“There are two alleles at the sex-linked brown locus. The dominant allele (E+) permits
expression of the bronze plumage color. The mutant allele (e) gives brown pigmentation
(Asmundson 1950). The brown phenotype in the day old poult has the same pattern as the bronze but the down color is reddish-brown. In the adult, the plumage pattern is the
same as that of the bronze except that brown pigment is present in place of the typical
black and bronze. Barring is still present but it consists of brown and white bars. The
brown color is often described as auburn.
More breeders are seriously needed.
Note the brown and white barring replacing black and white unlike in a typical bronze
The addition of the brown gene (e) on a bronze turns all areas normally black to brown.
Newly hatched Auburn poults
Note the red brown coloration with brown stripes replacing black.
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Artificial insemination (AI) is widely used to overcome low fertility in commercial turkeys, which results from unsuccessful mating as a consequence of large, heavily muscled birds being unable to physically complete the mating process. This is a serious and costly problem in the production of commercial turkey hatching eggs. In most commercial chicken production systems in the USA, it has not been necessary to implement AI programs because natural mating results in adequate fertility levels, but AI is routinely used in special breeding work and research. However, as managing commercial broiler breeders to maximize fertility becomes more challenging, the use of AI in commercial poultry operations outside the USA is becoming more common. Certainly, the use of AI in chickens, as in turkeys, can improve fertility; however, the cost of implementing AI on a large scale is often cost prohibitive.
Collecting semen from a chicken or turkey is done by stimulating the copulatory organ (the phallus) to protrude by massaging the abdomen and the back over the testes. This is followed quickly by pushing the tail forward with one hand and, at the same time, using the thumb and forefinger of the same hand to apply pressure in the area and to “milk” semen from the ducts of this organ. Semen flow response is quicker and easier to stimulate in chickens than in turkeys. The semen may be collected with an aspirator (turkeys) or in a small tube or any cup-like container. In turkeys, the volume averages ~0.35–0.5 mL, with a spermatozoon concentration of 6 to >8 billion/mL. In chickens, volume is 1–2 times that of turkeys, but the concentration is about one-half. Collected semen is usually pooled and diluted with an extender before use.
Chicken and turkey semen begins to lose fertilizing ability when stored >1 hr. Liquid cold (4°C) storage of turkey and chicken semen can be used to transport semen and maintain spermatozoal viability for ~6–12 hr. This short-term storage of semen is common in turkeys, while not as common in chickens. When using liquid cold storage for >1 hr, turkey semen must be diluted with a semen extender at least 1:1 and then agitated slowly (150 rpm) to facilitate oxygenation; chicken semen should be diluted and then cooled—agitation is not necessary. Chicken and turkey semen may be frozen, but reduced fertility limits usage to special breeding projects. Under experimental conditions, fertility levels of 90% have been obtained in hens inseminated at 3-day intervals with 400–500 million frozen-thawed chicken spermatozoa.
Several commercial semen extenders are available and are routinely used, particularly for turkeys. Extenders enable more precise control over inseminating dose and facilitate filling of tubes. Results may be comparable to those using undiluted semen when product directions are followed. Dilution should result in an insemination dose containing ~300 million viable spermatozoa for turkeys. However, the number of spermatozoa inseminated will range from 150–300 million viable cells depending on the age of the turkey hens inseminated. In chickens, the number of diluted semen inseminated will range from ~100–200 million sperm cells per insemination. Producers usually determine the spermatozoa concentration and dilute the semen to obtain the appropriate sperm cell concentration for either the turkey or chicken.
For insemination, when holding the hen upright, pressure is applied to the abdomen around the vent, particularly on the left side. This causes the cloaca to evert and the oviduct to protrude, so that a syringe or plastic straw can be inserted ~1 in. (2.5 cm) into the oviduct and the appropriate amount of semen delivered. As the semen is expelled by the inseminator, pressure around the vent is released, which assists the hen in retaining sperm in the vagina or oviduct. When inseminating undiluted turkey semen, the high sperm cell concentration allows for 0.025 mL (~2 billion spermatozoa) to be inseminated at regular intervals of 7–10 days, yielding optimal fertility. In chickens, because of the lower spermatozoon concentration and shorter duration of fertility, 0.05 mL of undiluted pooled semen, at intervals of 7 days, is required. The hen’s squatting behavior indicates receptivity and the time for the first insemination. For maximal fertility, inseminations may be started before the initial oviposition in turkeys, whereas this is not necessary in chickens. Fertility tends to decrease later in the season; therefore, it may be justified to inseminate more frequently or use more cells per insemination dose as hens age.
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