Under Color in Barnevelders
RR 4 Box 251
Middleburg, PA 17842
with permission from
SPPA Bulletin, 2000, 5(1):8
In the Winter Bulletin Steve Wolenec raised the question about pale under color in Barnvelders. In birds with a pattern, under color tend to be darker in areas where their plumage is darkest. If you breed enough birds you should get some individuals that are both darker and lighter than the norm. By selecting and breeding from individuals with darker under color you can move the average toward a darker shade.
Two important things to remember, in Barnvelders males should have a darker under color than females, and in any breed unless you have a problem with a lot of white showing at the break between the body and tail, donŐt worry too much about under color. Type makes the breed. Color makes the variety. Under color decides the day only when all other points are equal.
Whenever possible, breed exactly to the Standard, but the color and the pattern you can see must take precedence over under color that you can't see.
I don't have much experience with Barnvelders, but my work with Partridge Rocks, Wyandottes, and Chanticlers convinced me that birds with the darkest under color often lacked a distinct pattern, possessed dull color, and tended to have dark legs. European breeders have very little trouble producing bright yellow or clear white legs on dark fowl largely because they don't insist on dark undercolor. Keep everything in balance and don't get carried away with any one point.
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