Breeding With Anthracites
by Stephen Fowler

L to R: Cobalt, Anthracite, single factor Anthracite

I bred about 40 anthracites last year & a few more this year getting into dominant pieds & spangles. If you breed a double factor (black) anthracite (DFA) to a normal sky, you will get all sky anthracites that may be blue or grey depending on whether your DFA was blue or grey to begin with. Sky  (SFA) anthracites look just like cobalts. DFA's can be blue or grey but look the same dark grey.

If you do the DFA to cobalt or mauve the results are confusing as you are adding the two dark factors (mauve & anthracite). The cobalt & mauve anthracites (SFA) look like mauves or greys even when then they are blue with no grey factor.

Adding mauve & violet to DFA's does not make them darker. Adding those factors to SFA's does darken the bird so the blue birds are visually grey.

I have some violet mauve SFA's that are so dark that they look like DFA's with blue cheek patches.
The lack of jet black in the bird is due to the buff nature of the feather, ie white tips to the feather barbs.

My first mating was
SFG (single factor grey) DFA X Sky DFV (double factor violet) see photo. I got Sky SFA SFV's the first year and Sky DFA DFV's the second. I was disappointed that the violet factor didn't operate on the DF anthracite but it was an amazing demonstration of how anthracite is totally dominant and epistatic to grey, violet and I suspect mauve also.

The violet when combined with the SFA is spectacular. It even photographs. The photo 3815 is of a cobalt violet anthracite and a sky violet anthracite.:)

Note the sky hen is a double factor violet (DFV) in the family photo but looks lighter than her daughter who is sky SFV SFA.

Pairing DFA's (visuals) with normals gives you only SFA's not splits. These things breed like spangles not fallows. My best DFA's have come from sky SFA X sky SFA breeding (25%) but I have got 100% Sky DFA's in some nests. So for me that means breeding two birds that look like cobalts and getting all grey chicks. Not a normal scenario.

Hope I am not confusing you & btw don't use green birds.

I have been breeding them for three or four years now.

The first DFA's were all grey (one was a DFG:() so I had to create my own Sky DFA's (visuals) to start experiments from sky SFA X sky SFA breeding.