The lavender feather colour:
Lavender or self blue chicken feathers are a uniform light grey across all of the birds plumage. The lavender itself is actually black but with a reduced amount of pigment showing it looks a soft and even shade of blue.
Lavender is such a hard colour to produce and being a recessive gene it requires inbreeding to propagate correctly and this can leave chickens with poor feather quality and a number of other health issues as well. Among some breeders the lavender gene has received the nickname " the tail shredder gene" because of the ragged nature of the feathers.
Below: A lavender Silkie hen.
It is possible with careful selection and breeding to avoid or correct the fragile feathering component of the lavender genes.
Lavender or self blue Silkies:
The lavender colour does not exist in Silkies naturally, but has to be introduced by way of another breed. Years of work and development were needed, crossing back to Silkies to improve type and keep the colour.
Noted breeders have been working on lavender Silkies for many years to improve type on these uniquely coloured Silkies. The lavender colour, also called self-blue, is a steel blue colour, very even all over the entire bird, with no lacing in the feathers.
Below: Here are some examples of some of lavender Silkies:
Above is a first place winner and below is a pair of lavender Silkies.
Lavender Silkies have been shown since the early the 2000's. Lavender is a recessive colour and requires two copies of the lavender gene to express itself. However it breeds true, so 2 lavender birds will produce lavender chicks.
The thing with lavender coloured Silkies is that they are weak genetically. Many people have a hard time keeping them alive since they seem to be more fragile than other colours.
Below: The more even the colour the better.
Lavender is very light Gray is also called self blue. I had some and did not find them much more fragile than my other Silkies. I love the colour but it comes with poor feather quality and for a Silkie I personally think it's a bad idea. Feathers on Silkies are already tattered and mixing lavender feather issues can make a mess.
What is a self blue? And does self blue Breed true?
Yes. Self blue does breed true. Self blue is a recessive colour so when bred to anything else you don’t get self blue, just splits.
You can breed them to blacks since they are a dilute of black, but the first generation will all be blacks split to lavender. Then when bred back to a lavender they produce 50% more lavenders.
Below: A young Lavender Silkie grower.
When breeding Self blue birds it is important to keep records of mating and offspring.
Can you breed lavender and blue chickens together?
You can, in as much as they will produce viable offspring. The blue and lavender genes are not compatible colour wise and the result will not be what you expect.
Breeeding Lavender birds with partridge feathers types produces the colour Isabel and mixing it with any red gound colour ruduces it to a bright straw colour.
It is possible for black chickens to carry the lavender gene and not show it all as black is dominant.