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Pigeon Patterns

by

Frank Mosca

barless blue Lahorewild type (blue bar) racing homerblue check racing homerT-pattern check racing homer

barless           wild-type (bar)              Checker (Chequer)            T-pattern checker
I have shown all wild pigment (blue/black) series birds in order not to confuse the issue with color.
(Note in the T-pattern that the tail bar is clearly visible.  This is not normally true with Spread.)
Spread Indian Fantail

This Indian Fantail Cock is Spread.
Spread is not part of the pattern series.

Note the four basic patterns above - barless, wild-type (bar), checker and T-pattern checker.  These are listed from left to right in order of dominance with barless being at the bottom, i.e., barless is recessive to wild-type (bar) and checker and T-pattern checker are dominant to wild-type ((bar).  T-pattern checker is also dominant to checker.  There are some other alleles of checker (dark check and light check) which W.F. Hollander has described, but for practical purposes we can ignore them at the moment.  Barless is a fairly rare mutant in most domestic pigeon breeds and seems to be found mainly in birds of Central European ancestry.  Mating any homozygous bird of a lower pattern (i.e., to the left of another shown) to a homozygous bird of a higher pattern will produce all young of the higher pattern and those youngsters will be heterozygous for the lower pattern.  Since these patterns are not sex-linked, a mating of any two birds that heterozygous for the same patterns will produce 25% homozygous for the higher pattern; 50% heterozygous for and showing the higher pattern and heterozygous for the lower pattern; 25% homozygous for the lower pattern. For example:
Barred bird heterozygous for barless X  barred bird heterozygous for barless will breed:
                       25% homozygous bar; 50% bar heterozygous for barless,  25% homozygous barless

This mating would 75% barred birds and 25% barless birds. The barred bird may or may not be heterozygous for barless.  Sometimes these heterozygous barred birds can be distinquished.  If you know your family lines, a barred bird heterozygous for barless may sometimes be recognized by noting that the bar is less wide than normal - when compared to its relatives.  This is not a 100% accurate, but can often be helpful. In like manner, a checkered bird heterozygous for bar may sometimes be distinguished by a slightly narrower bar - compared to its related homozygous bar loftmates.

The most important things to remember:

1) All pigeons are one of these patterns.  A bird may not show its pattern because other modifiers prevent it, but the pattern is there.  For example: one may have a recessive white pigeon - nothing of the pattern shows, yet if such a bird is paired to a wild-type (blue bar) pigeon, the pattern hidden by the recessive white will be seen in the young (Yes, I know, unless the bird is a barless in which case, you'd have to breed the first generation youngsters together to check the grandkids.)

2) Pattern is NOT sex-linked.  Therefore, both cock and hen may be homozygous or heterozygous for any particular pattern.

3) Pattern is inherited INDEPENDENTLY of color.

4) SPREAD is NOT part of the pattern series and is found on a different chromosome.
 

At first, everyone thought that Spread, the mutation which gives us black, self brown, etc., was part of the pattern series, but this was found to be incorrect.  In fact, every Spread bird is also one of the patterns listed above.  Without another factor such as Toy Stencil to let the hidden pattern show through, we can't usually see it. Toy Stencil, however, is something which "punches out" the pattern underneath the Spread. A spangled black Wing-Pigeon, for example, is merely a spread checker bird.

(Do you realize, that no one, presently, has any idea exactly how Toy Stencil is able to differentiate the spread checker marking from what seems to be identical pigment in the rest of the wing?  W. F. Hollander has been trying to get some graduate biology or chemistry student to work on this for years.  It'd be a great Master or Doctoral thesis.)
Copyright 02/25/2000 by Frank Mosca.  All photo copyrights are held by the photographers.

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