Thursday, June 19, 2008

How to tell agoutis from tans

On Sunday Yeungling, my Black Tan doe, delivered 6 healthy babies sired by Samson's Oscar. Since Oscar is albino, I had no idea what genes all that whiteness could be masking. Yeungling has one tan pattern and one self pattern gene, and Oscar would have to have at least one self pattern gene to produce any tan pattern babies with Yeungling. The likelihood of Oscar having another tan pattern gene is astronomical, since for some reason no one else seems to have ever tried mixing tans with angoras. So, I knew he most likely had either agouti or self pattern genes, possible one of each. Hopefully not 2 agouti genes, if so I would have no idea which babies carries the tan pattern gene, since agouti is dominant over tan pattern. So, when all 6 babies were patterned, my heart sank, since if Oscar had a self gene, likely he and Yeungling would have produced a self colored baby, and there were none. So I resigned myself to a litter of agoutis, and wondered how I would go about selecting a keeper.

Sure enough, yesterday I could detect the chestnut coming out in some of the babies. But much to my surprise and delight, not all of them! I waited another day, and sure enough, it looks like only 3 babies are agoutis, the other 3 are otters!!!!! YIPPEE!!!!! Otters with Oscar's magnificent genes will make quite a contribution to my Tan Angora project!

Here is an agouti baby, you can see the golden chestnut coloring coming up under the original black body color:

And here is an otter baby, you can see the orange coming out already in the tan markings, but the body color remains jet black except for some characteristic ticking along the flanks:

I know Chris will be very interested in these photos. :)

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