The Silver Laced Orpington Bantam is one of the most popular Orpingtons bred at Keithsorps and year after year proves a firm favourite with the garden hen keeper. It looks stunning when a complete flock consists of this colour with every bird matching in plumage but you can guarantee that the customers that choose to run a mixed flock of Orpington Bantam colours never leave out the Silver Laced.
The UK strain of Silver Laced Orpington Bantam was created in the late 90's by Bob Follows of Stour View Farm and as far as I am aware no different strains of Silver Laced Orpington Bantam have been introduced into this country since then.
The gene pool in the United Kingdom for Silver Laced bantam Orpingtons is very limited. As far as I am aware all the breeding birds available at the moment are descended from the original strain created by Bob Follows. The Silver Laced colour was introduced into the bantam Orpingtons by crossing a Black Orpington Bantam hen with a Silver Laced Wyandotte cockerel. Because the Wyandotte breed has a rose comb and yellow legs then this then took several years of selective breeding to eliminate these traits.
For 2016 I am going to outcross using a large fowl silver laced hen, This hen is small for her size and is only just bigger than a normal size bantam hen.
The lacing in orpingtons is made up of a combination of three genes.The pattern gene ( Pg ), the Columbian gene ( Co ) and a black melanised gene ( MI )
The pattern gene is responsible for creating the lacing by moving the black pigment in the feather into a ring around the feather shaft while the Columbian gene you would describe as a clarity gene, it helps to restrict the black pigment from the areas you want to clear which in this case is the centre of the feather. MI intensifies the black in the outer lace which gives the feather enough black pigment to make a solid lace around the feather.
Obtaining a crystal clear lacing can only be achieved by continual selection in every generation. Although the peppering in some of the feathers is minimal this is something that hopefully will improve. ⇓
THE SILVER IN THE SILVER LACED IS A SEX LINKED DOMINANT GENE
In poultry the sex of any chick is determined by the hen not the cockerel. The cockerel carries two Z chromosomes so he is ZZ. The hen carries one Z chromosome and one W chromosome so she is ZW.The cockerel must pass one of his Z chromosomes onto his offspring so any sex linked genes that are on that chromosome such as Silver, Bantam, Barring and Chocolate will be inherited. The hen can pass either her Z or her W chromosome on to her offspring. If she passes her Z chromosome on her chicks will be male and they will inherit all the sex linked genes that are on that Z chromosome but if she passes her W chromosome on, her chicks will be female and they will inherit none of the sex linked genes she is carrying. Genes that are sex linked can only be carried on the male chromosome.