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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I want to mix something into my powder blues to give them bigger heads,more substance and a more even pale colour.At the moment they look a bit narrow in the head,the colours in a litter vary quite a lot and the colour is streaky.Genetically,from the nfrs website they are a/a d/d + recessive silver.What should I add,I want to do just one out cross.Picture is one of my young bucks that I am growing on;

 

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half the trouble is having to use what you can get your hands on really Sarah, I would say use a pale self. Personally I would try for a Champagne or Buff or maybe even a Mink, trouble is no-one is really line breeding any of these varieties so any that you get will be a rainbow of colours genetically. I would avoid any dark selfs as you will darken your colour and actually thinking about it if you add Mink in it will mean that you will end up with Lilac rats rather than Powder Blue.

There is a theory that Powder Blues are linked to Pearl due to the pale undercoat and blue tips to the hair. Maybe you could contact Veronica Simmons for a Pearl kitten? PM me for her email addy.
 

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I agree with the above two posters. Champagne might work but only if you had a source of champagnes who were true breeding and didn't carry bunches of other recessives.
 

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Sarah, as promised earlier (after cooing over the puppies) I've had a quick look into the genetics of powder blue. Supposedly it is aa/dd plus another unidentified modifier that some sites call 'g' but only as a way to express it. The NFRS site also states that powder blue should be selected for the paler undercolour. From everything I have read the best outcross would seem to be a silver (pink eyed blue, the same as in mice) or a black (again, the colour used as an outcross in mice to get all the extremities coloured and even out coat colour pigment - this might mean selection back to the paler shade required for powder blue though). As with mice I'd say to avoid chocolate dilution completely (including other colours containing it such as champagne) as it will give a nasty cast to the blue coat. So really, go for the biggest silver you can find :p
 

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Rats have two common types of blue, English and Russian. The 'g' gene represents English Blue on American websites. English blue was originally designated as 'd' because it was the first blue discovered in rats. When Russian blue was discovered, in England that was designated 'rb' because English blue had 'd', and in America they redesignated English blue (and rightly so in my humble opinion) to 'g' and gave Russian blue 'd', as Russian blue behaves much more like the dilute gene in cats, rabbits and mice. This gave me such a headache when I was learning rat genetics because I learnt from an American website and then had to change.

As far as I'm aware, powder blue is English blue genetically, selected for a pale undercoat and paler top colour. Rat champagne is just a pink eyed black like mouse dove, so it wouldn't ruin your blues like a champagne outcross would ruin blue mice. It'd probably give your rats a nice soft, pale hue. I don't think you'd find a silver (pink eyed blue) in this country as it just looks like a very pale, cold champagne so no-ones breeds for it specifically. A good outcross might be Russian silver, which is a combination of both blue genes and is the softest silvery grey with a whitish undercolour. It's very, very pretty :)

Sarah xxx
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
P.S. Hope you don't mind but I resized the image as it was stretching the screen.
I'm more than grateful,all my pictures are whoppers :roll: Thanks for every ones input.I find it hard to relate to mixed bag litters when breeding for something and really wanted to avoid liquorish all sort litters.Out of whats been suggested what will be possible to actually get hold of.Possibly from Bradford if Cait goes and someone ,maybe Val is attending both days or Enfield when I was thinking of getting the show cages and having a go.I could get two although I want to be strict with myself and not end up with everything like I have in mice.
 

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If type is the main consideration then I would go for an agouti, it will take longer to get back the blue though as you will have to get rid of A. You could also consider a black carrying british blue, you would have to select back for the paler undercoat again. But at least you would get blue in the first outcross that way. Then of course you have the 2nd recessive to worry about (dumbo)....
 

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pink eyed blue (silver) does not actually show up in a rat, it looks exactly like champagne (pink eyed black) so unless you find a breeder that knows their genetics and is breeding PE with blue I don't think you will find one, I don't know of any in the UK, but you may find one that isn't NFRS registered, have no idea what the type on such a breeders rats will be like.

I wouldn't mix Russian Blue with British Blue either, you will get Russian Silver & you will wreck all the hard work you have done on Powder Blues, you will also get blotchy patchy top coats and bunching of colour on any resulting British Blues which takes ages to fix.

Unfortunately the rat fancy is unlike the mouse fancy in that very few breeders have a line that breeds true, I can think of only one or two who can completely predict that their rats will throw.

Rat breeders mix and match constantly and far too much in my opinion. Rats are not line-bred in the same way that mice are and so their genetics are much harder to predict over here & again you cannot always trust that they carry what their breeders say they do.

I've had Blues turn up in lines where is should not be possible and Siamese pop up in litters where it is not showing for 12 generations on a pedigree.

Julie is right in that a good agouti is always the best option if your goal is to improve type, however it will darken the colour initially, however as a mouse breeder you will be used to breeding by selection and should be able to get back to where you are again, it just takes longer in rats thats all :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I have two (perceived)faults in them.To my eye which is inexperienced,the heads look snipey and they seem over all smallish.Then streaks of dark colour mainly on their backs.This I thought was the result of moult but perhaps not then.
 

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After what has already been posted I am inclined to alter my opinion slightly. If it is hard to tell a silver (pink eyed blue) from a champagne (pink eyed black in rats?) and the addition of a different blue gene may ruin your powder blues, then the safest bet is to go for a black IMHO. Obviously you would prefer one that is line bred and will not carry other colours if at all possible. I might know just the person... will email you ;)
 

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I'd avoid chocolate like the plague if I were breeding blues; they get a horrible dirty tinge to the coat (so do blacks) - at least in mice anyway - and I see no reason that rats would be different. I agree that you'll have to then select for paleness again to keep 'powder' blue and not any other shade, but it seems the outcross least likely to cause problems in the long term.
 

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I still say to try Pearls, I think that Juliezoo on here has some.

Depends on how much contrast you already have with white basecoat and blue tips on the hair shaft, but if it were me I would try a Pearl outcross first.

I've bred British Blue & Lilacs, I've never bred for Powder Blue because they have never been standardised, but I remember that Carole Steel did and she definitely used Pearl in her line.
 

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Pearl is the mink gene 'm/m' plus pearl 'Pe/pe'. Pearl is a dominant lethal-homozygous, but it only shows if you have mink as well :)

I think Cait's right, a hefty black with a good head is the best bet even though it'll take longer to get back, although if you used a champagne at least it'd be easy to take any PE blues out of the nest.

Sarah xxx
 

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SarahY said:
if you used a champagne at least it'd be easy to take any PE blues out of the nest.
But wouldn't that just be the same as using a black but adding an unwanted PE dilution into the mix? Unless champagnes are bigger than blacks usually?
 

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I do have pearls and you would be very welcome to one. But you will then be adding mink which may worsen the patchiness. But it might help to lighten so could be worth a go. Becuase no one is really 100% on the genetics of these its going to be a bit hit and miss ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I am going to try two colours ,I'm not in a rush.I want to get a bigger shed,move out all my odds and sods of mice and have the box room for rats.I will take up your kind offer Julie of a pearl.Sex not important and if its a buck I don't mind an oldie or an older doe as long as she can manage just one more litter.Just as happy with a baby though,which ever you can spare.Bradford,Enfield or I can collect when you have one to spare :D
 
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