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Millefleur Wyandotte cockerel

For a while I have been trying to marshal my thoughts on the effect of the mottled gene on mottling and what is actually involved in the millefleur pattern.

The current wisdom is the mottled gene when homozygous stops the growing feather producing pigment for a while, which causes the white tip.  Then the effect of the gene switches off and pigment is put in the feather and because melanin can be formed faster black is laid down first, in a particularly concentrated way which is why the initial band is matt black and doesn't develop a green sheen.  After the black the feather colour is laid down in the normal way.

Millefleur Wyandotte pullet.

In black mottled I'd agree. It also appears to be the case in Speckled Sussex and Spangled Game . I see a lot of mottled laced and the mottle gene has little impact on the pattern  Unexpectedly a lot of feathers don't develop matt black and the centre of the feather behind the white tip comes in almost pure gold with no matt black band ; even though it is a melanised bird..  It looks as if the effect of pattern gene in this case is overriding the usual effect of mottling. Pg organises the colour so effectively there is almost no melanin in the gold area that separates out.

Tricolour/mottled spangled Wyandotte cockerel (note matt black band between the green sheen of the spangled area and white mottle)


I. had always supposed millefleur to be spangled plus mottled, but looking at mottled spangled it obviously isn't. The birds I breed that come closest to millefleur initially  look like barred or black tailed buffs (Db through some probably have Co too) with no evidence of Ml. As they grow they develop little black teardrops which are quite unlike normal spangled.

A young millefleur type

In my flock which is mainly Eb I get to see a lot of variations of mottling.  On a normal spangled (Pg, Ml, Db) pattern the mottles form normally, get a matt band and the feather follows up with a big teardrop black spot and then gold



A young mottled spangled cockerel



An intermediate hen showing real spangles

An intermediate presumed het for Ml and Co showing her early barred pattern (but also some feathers that hint at lacing indicating Co)


A young mottled laced cockerel. (These are very attractive but not what i am aiming for so i sometimes  have birds like this for sale - if you are interested please phone me on  01403 268844 or email  . They are useful to introduce the mottle pattern into a flock of gold or blue laced.)



Breast markings



Side view.

My question is does the mottling gene have an effect to organise black and gold over and above the black band behind the mottle?  And what else is going on with its inability to overcome the effect of lacing?