Basics of Breeding Salmon Faverolles - selecting for the breeding pen:
This article will be in 2 sections, the first section looking at the salmon colouring. If you are aspiring to show your faverolles then focusing on correct colour and markings will really make your faverolles stand out on the show bench. A rich cherry mahogany male faverolles will always attract the judges attention, as will as a beautiful rich salmon female. These classy birds will always win cards over any less well marked competition!
The second section will look at breeding tips aimed at type as well as other factors such as beard, muffling and toe conformation. These physical characteristics are as important if not more so than colour, after all a faverolles is a dual purpose bird and these features should be well represented in your stock.
Genetic Classification of Salmon Faverolles
Technically a salmon faverolles is Silver Wheaten with Mahogany. Mahogany gives the darker shoulders and changes the otherwise buff colour to a richer, darker salmon in the females.The colour genes are as follows : eWhe Wh (Dominant Wheaten) Ss (Dominant Silver or SS??) Mh (Mahogany). Silver allows black to leak through giving a "laced" look on the female, and darker areas on the tail and primary wing feathers. Salmon colour is restricted to the head, back and sides with the cream feathering on breast and undercarriage. On the male Silver gives a rich black breast. Mahogany gives a chestnut colour on the saddle and back of the male. Salmon Faverolles also carry what is called the "Ap" gene, basically this gene "suppresses" silver on the wing bows and back of the male allowing the beautiful rich Mahogany to come through, on the female this gives a lovely rich salmon on the back. Without this gene they would look more like a Silver Dorking in colouration. The Columbian gene (Co)- restricts black and red on the hackle in the male, this gives a straw hackle in the salmon male therefore Ap is over ridden by Co. One of my observations over the years is that the more "Ap" a male faverolles has darker and richer the back and wings but also the cleaner the hackle? This could be due however to other genes at work, diluting or intensifying Red or Silver/Gold. This is also of note when looking at continental faverolles, especially when considering the paler "Fonce" of the French and German types of Salmons as there is very distinct difference in colouration and therefore genetic classification.
There are other nuances in colour we can influence in the breeding pen and we will have a look at some of those later.
Cock breeding, pullet breeding for best salmon faverolles - a myth?
Certainly not a myth in some breeds, in fact essential breeding practice for experienced exhibitors of Partridge Wyandottes. With Partridge Wyandottes for example, a cock breeding pullet will have pencilling which is mossy looking and almost smudgy, so she would not be much good for the show bench, however in the breeding pen she will be likely to breed well marked exhibition males. The characteristics for double mating in either sex for partridge wyandottes are quite clear, whereas for faverolles the advantages of using the system of double mating are not so obvious in my mind. Indeed I am still waiting for someone to clarify what exactly is a faverolles "cock breeding" hen? Regardless it stands you in good stead to apply some simple breeding methodology in order for your birds to really shine on the show bench and catch a judges eye. I will take you through the simple system I have used over the last few years and hope this proves useful to you when selecting stock for breeding.
Depth and Evenness of colour in parent stock- Best Predictors for good colour in offspring
Probably the easiest and arguably the better way for developing a good "show" salmon colouring. Depth refers to salmon pigment and evenness is self-explanatory. A pale hen can still do well in the show pen if her salmon feathering is nice and even..indeed some judges do prefer a lighter salmon female, so odds are you enter a nice dark salmon hen only to find the judges preferences are polar opposite! So always make sure everything else is in place, and when selecting for show stock check the salmon colour is not patchy or speckled in places and that the shade of salmon is the same throughout. Salmon hens should have the same shade from neck to tail although it is permissible to have a slightly darker hackle in the female. Black ticking in the hackle however is classed as a fault in a hen, although permissible in the male, partridge-like striped hackles in the male are considered a fault.
1. Pale - wishy washy almost a pastel shade - probably the best results would be achieved when paired with a with a dark cockerel 3 with even colour on both saddle and shoulder. Light uneven coloured hens can translate to patchy straw shoulders on the male offspring unless a dark uniform coloured cockerel is used in the breeding pen.
2. Medium - nice pinky brown salmon ideal for the show pen. Good results when teamed with a medium cockerel or dark cockerel.These hens usually have a lovely contrast between their salmon back with a lovely creamy clean chest without any smudging or speckles in beard and front.
3. Dark - almost brown in pigment and usually this colour creeps round to to front of the chest and you will find a pinky tint to the some of the cream feathering. Usually considered a little too dark for the showpen. In the breeding pen would be good to use with a pale cockerel, watchout here is to check that the female hackle is clean without any black ticking as this fault can lead to an almost partridge hackle in the male.
1. Light - cherry back but straw coloured shoulders and wing bows. Ideally mate with hen 3 above, or 2 as long as her colouring is uniform throughout as faults such as patchiness will be less forgivable and more obvious in a lighter hen.
2. Medium - Good all rounder, useful in the show pen and also ideal for breeding, ideally with hen 2 or 3. Back should be a nice cherry red, and the wings a good chestnut colour and or fringed with gold. This colour cockerel will also develop more gold in his shoulders as his matures.
3. Dark - Rich cherry on the back, and this mahogany cherry follows through the shoulder and onto the wings. Undeniably the most attractive and sought after colour in the male faverolles, as long as everything else is in place and to the standard. A dark cherry backed male faverolles will always do very well on the show bench. Bit of caution here needed when pairing with a breeding hen, there is a tendency to breed very dark hens with black ticking and splotchy breasts, use males with a good clear hackle, very stripey hackles are a devil of a problem to breed out! Of course you can always fix this by using a pale hen the following year. I would use hen 1 to get a medium salmon in the pullets, or to breed darker male offspring hen 2 or hen 3.
More tips and photos...
Beards - Nice and black in the male, tiny bit of brown is OK..try not to use birds with too much white. Avoid any black in the female beard, although a small amount is OK and will breed out easily enough.
Breast - Nice, dense and black in the male, creamy and clean in the female.
Under-fluff - In the female should be slate grey, and run from neck to tail, pale everywhere else. This under fluff is black in the male faverolles.
In conclusion it does take time to understand how a strain of salmons faverolles works colourwise, so the best advice is to be patient and only breed from the best birds that you have, make sure you take records and photos if possible to track how well your birds do in the breeding pens.
This year I have focussed on developing a darker strain, and have been very pleased with the results, having a few nice hens and a good few cockerels to go on with breeding next year.