Chinchillamagic

Helping you care for your chinnie

Genetics

The ebony gene

This is not factual, just the way I see the Ebony gene and how I breed it.
The most common description of the Ebony gene is that it is a “weakly dominant cumulative gene”. This means it shows in the heterozygous state, where there is one Ebony gene and one other gene, eg Std. It also darkens when paired with another Ebony, each generation will make it darker.
There are a few problems with this and many breeders have different opinions. Unlike the other dominant genes, where the gene will show if it is present, Ebony can be “carried”. A chinchilla like a Std can have one Standard gene and one Ebony gene but appear Standard in the phenotype (appearance). It will look grey. This is off course a characteristic of the recessive genes. Then again, it can show. A chinchilla with one Standard gene and one Ebony gene can be black. This is typical of a dominant gene.
There is also a difference in opinion about if it can exist in both the homozygous state, 2 Ebony genes or only in the heterozygous state, one Ebony gene and one other gene.
It is cumulative, it gets darker with each generation bred back to Ebony. There is just a huge drawback. They get smaller and lose fur quality. You end up with a pitch black Ebony that is a lot smaller, lost the shiny fur and the fur density is terrible. It appears scruffy.
To prevent this from happening experienced breeders breed back to Std. This is where the homo and hetero comes into play. Pairing an Ebony with an Ebony means each chinnie can give the Ebony gene to the baby. The gene pair is made up of 2 Ebony genes. You see it on the nose and ears, which are black. They also tend to be darker.
I do not pair any mutation that do not carry a Std gene with another mutation. I will not pair a homo Ebony with another Ebony because it doesn’t have a Std gene. I only kept one homo Ebony I bred, Vinny. He is paired with a Std girl, Gizelle. Because Vinny is a Homo Ebony (Ebony + Ebony) he can only contribute an Ebony gene to the baby. Since Gizelle is Std, she can only contribute a Std gene. All the babies will be Ebony + Std.
You can get a black baby from a pair like this. It depends on how dark the veiling of the Std is. We still struggle to get dark veiling. To breed Ebony I pair a Light Ebony or Medium Ebony with the same. Both parents have one Ebony and one Std gene. The babies born this morning is a good example. Ivan is Medium Ebony and Daffodil is Light Ebony. One girl is very dark and the other looks Std. The previous litter was exactly the same.
Ebony “matures”, it goes darker with age. The dark baby will go black. The Std baby can stay Std because each parent have a Std gene. In my experience Ebony just tend to carry easily. I am pretty sure the Std girl have one Ebony and one Std gene. She will go darker but not darker than medium Ebony.
The dark girl can be homo Ebony so I can’t pair her with Ebony. I will see this so no problem. The light girl I will keep. If I wanted to breed with the dark girl, I would pair her with Std. Breeders also breed Ebony the way you breed recessives. They will pair a homo Ebony with either an Ebony carrier or a hetero Ebony. There is one Std gene in the pair. I prefer not to.
To get Tan (brown) you pair Ebony with Beige. Exactly the same rules apply. I took some time and bred a few light and medium Tan girls. Instead of going for dark Ebony or Tan, I bred what I need to breed safely. When I do get Ebony or Tan now they can be light or dark. My Beige have better veiling than my Std so I get good Tan babies. They are just hetero Tan so they are big and strong.
Ebony tends to grow slower and they are sexually mature later. In SA they are still on the small side. The only way to get them as big as Std is to breed back to Std or Beige. This is what I am doing now. Both Ivan and Daffodil are big. Vinny and Gizelle’s babies will probably be big because Vinny is average size and Gizelle is bigger. My pairs that give me Tan is the same. Instead of pairing the dark ones to get darker babies, I paired for health. Fur quality is part of health.
By taking a year or 2 to do this, I establish a very healthy foundation for breeding Ebony and Tan. Instead of getting dark small chinnies now I will get dark and strong chinnies in a year or 2. There is no hurry.
Since I breed mainly for good strong pets, this suits me. It also means that they will be good breeders because there was Std in both parents.
It is very easy to breed dark Ebony or Tan, breeding them big and strong takes a bit of time and planning. Off course health is more important than looks.
Oh, I forgot. Ebony also darkens other colors. The biggest problem with Ebony is Std and Beige is that it destroys the White belly. It does the same with Violet, any chinnie with a white belly. This is not a good characteristic in Std or Beige. It is done on purpose to breed a Violet wrap, a Violet with a Violet belly. I don’t do this.
I believe Ebony is used to get darker veiling in Std. If you pair Ebony with Std and the baby doesn’t show the Ebony gene but carries it, the veiling will be darker. The problem with this is that the Ebony gene is still there and it will often show in the next generation. Instead of getting pure Std you will get a lot of light Ebony or you will get Std with off white bellies, or the line will be destroyed.
If you breed pure, you just can’t afford to get Ebony into them. You never know when it comes back and bite you in the ass. Imagine the embarrassment if you sell someone a pure Std and they get light Ebony babies. No, thank you. It takes many generations to improve veiling naturally. There is no hurry.

Vinny, Gizelle and the 3 girls on the roof of their house.

Vinny, Gizelle and the 3 girls on the roof of their house.

The Recessive genes, a very basic explanation

The difference between the dominant genes (like Beige) and the recessive genes (like Violet) can be summarized like this.
It always work in a pair, one gene from the male and one from the female. The 2 genes combined makes a baby. With the dominant genes, the gene that is dominant will show. I will only use one example of each because there are more to it when you go into detail.
A gene is dominant if it is “stronger” than the other gene. Beige is dominant over Standard. If there is one Beige gene and one Standard gene, the Beige will dominate and the baby will be Beige. Because of this a dominant gene can’t be “carried” unseen. If the gene is there, it will show. If the chinchilla is not Beige there is no Beige gene. This is off course just for the basic mutations, not combinations like Beige and White. It just means that a dominant gene can’t be hidden, it doesn’t carry. If the chinchilla is not Beige, it can’t give a Beige gene to a new baby.
Most novices that gets caught and buys a rip-off is because of this. The breeder will convince them that the Standard baby is from a “Beige line” or a “White line” and they can expect Beige or White babies. With dominant genes this will not happen. If one parent doesn’t carry the dominant gene and it doesn’t show, the babies will not have it and it will not show in them.
The recessive genes are different. There are quite a few recessive mutations, like Violet, Sapphire, California Recessive White (CRW), etc. The rules that applies to recessive genes are the same for all recessive genes. It doesn’t change because of the mutation, if it is recessive it will work like this.
We know the genes work in pairs. Let’s say the recessive gene is Blue and the dominant gene is Red. What makes the gene recessive is that it is “weaker” than the other gene, it is dominated and will not show. The other gene will show. To enable the recessive gene to show, you must remove the dominant gene. If the dominant gene is there, one of the pair, it will show.
Violet is recessive to Standard, Standard dominates Violet. If one of the 2 genes in the pair is Standard and the other is Violet, the baby will be Standard, in appearance. The Violet gene can be there, you just won’t see it. It “carries”. This is what makes a Standard chinchilla a Violet Carrier (VC). You have the pair of genes, one is Standard and the other Violet. Standard dominates so the color is Grey. The Violet is there, it is the other gene in the pair. It is just dominated in color by the Standard so you can’t see the Violet.
To make the Violet show, we need 2 Violet genes. Back to Red and Blue. The pair of genes has one Red (dominant) and one Blue (Recessive) gene. This will make the baby Red. Pairing this baby (Red + Blue) with a Standard (Red + Red) will result in a Red chinchilla. The Red + Red can only give the new baby a Red gene. The Red + Blue can give a Red or a Blue. Because there is already a Red, it will be Red, even if the other gene is Blue. It can be a Red (Blue carrier) but the color will be Red.
Now we pair a Red + Blue and a Red + Blue. If either of them gives the Red gene, the baby will be Red, doesn’t matter what the other gene is. If it is Red + Red the baby is just Red. If it is Red + Blue, the baby is a Red (Blue carrier). If each pair gives the Blue gene, you get a Blue chinchilla, a “full” recessive that will show the Blue color. There is no Red to mask it.
In Standard and Violet this means that a Violet has 2 Violet genes in the pair of genes, one from each parent. Because there is no Standard gene in the pair, the Violet shows. This means that you can’t breed a recessive chinchilla with only one parent that carries the recessive gene, you need 2. If you buy a Standard (Violet Carrier) and pair it with any other chinchilla that doesn’t carry a Violet gene, you will never get Violet. The Violet gene can be there, it will just not show.
If the Violet doesn’t show, the chinchilla is not Violet. It can be a carrier of the gene but it is still not Violet. Breeding recessives means you pair 2 chinchillas that each carries one recessive gene. Off course you can pair a Violet and a Violet. This will give you 100% Violet babies because there is no Standard gene in either parent.
This is where it gets complicated. I often write about the importance of the Standard gene. I will never in my life pair a Violet with a Violet or any recessive with another recessive. You need the Standard gene to keep them strong. Generations of not breeding with Standard also plays a role. I explained this a few times.
A Violet baby from a Violet + Violet pair will not be as strong as a Violet baby from a Std (VC) + Std (VC) or a Violet + Std (VC). The more generations you breed without the Standard gene, the weaker they get. You will see it in the fur and size, amongst other things. Off course you can get strong and healthy Violets from 2 Violets, it will just depend on how many generations it was without the Standard gene.
Breeding without the Standard gene increases infant mortality and fewer reach adulthood. They often die between 3-5 months of age. They just die, no signs or symptoms. Breeders won’t share the statistics publicly but it is there. If one does make it the only option you have is to pair it with Standard to get the babies stronger.
I don’t believe in shortcuts and can’t see the reason for pairing 2 recessives. The risk to the babies is just too high and unacceptable for me. It is a guarantee for instant Violet babies but even if they live you are back at square one. You start all over again, if they live. Even when pairing them with Standard, the babies will not be as strong as they can be. Pairing Violet with Standard gives you guaranteed Standard (VC) babies. You pair them (unrelated). It is acceptable to pair a Violet with a Standard (VC), it is how breeders do it.
I prefer to pair Standard (VC) with Standard (VC). Where a Violet + Std (VC) gives you 50% Violet babies, pairing to carriers only give you 25%. When you then do get Violet, it will be an awesome Violet. I don’t care about how many I can breed, there is no hurry and I don’t breed to “fill orders” or make money. I have all the time in the world. I am only now expecting the first litter from such a pair, after years of rather breeding carriers because it is safer.
This is a very slow way of breeding recessives but you eliminate all the risk by keeping them strong. A Violet from such a pair can safely be paired with a Std (VC) and you will have strong babies. If one of them is Violet, it goes back to Standard.
I believe in the importance of the Standard gene and my whole breeding program is based on this. No hurry, slow results but no weak babies. This also applies to the dominant mutations. They are paired with Standard. The Standard must be from pure Standard parents. A Standard born from a mutation parent is not pure. It doesn’t mean it is weak and you can’t breed with it. You can, depending on a few factors. What you can’t do with it is breed pure Standard. The offspring will never be pure, not in a million generations,. It will get close but never be 100%.
OK, so I didn’t keep it short. It would’ve been a lot longer though. This is the bare basics.

Breeding recessives

I wrote about this often in the past and will do so many more times.
I already explained what recessive genes are. The recognized colors of concern to me is Violet and Sapphire. I will not discuss the colors or Royal Persian Angora on their own because the same rules apply to all recessives. I will use Violet when I have to use a color. I mentioned the other recessive colors earlier but for now they are not important in South Africa.
For the recessive gene to show the color the chinchilla must have 2 of the same genes. We know that each parent contributes one gene to the fetus. This implies that each parent must give a Violet gene. A Violet baby will then have 2 Violet genes. The obvious way to breed more Violet will be to pair 2 Violets. This is not a good idea. There is no Std gene in a Violet so the babies of 2 Violets will be weak. The recessive genes are already considered to be the weakest of all genes so you must keep them strong.
You can’t breed Violet with just one Violet. It doesn’t work like White or the other dominant genes where half the babies will be White. Pairing a White with a Std gives you 50% White babies. Pairing a Violet with a Std gives you 0% Violet babies. You will never get a Violet baby. What you will get is a carrier. VC=Violet Carrier. SC=Sapphire Carrier. If a chinnie is a carrier it will be indicated in brackets after the descriptive name, eg Standard (VC). This is a Standard Violet Carrier. You can’t see if it actually is a carrier because there is only 1 Violet gene and 1 Std gene. There must be 2 Violet genes to make the Violet show.
Breeding recessives takes a lot of time when you start and a lot of cages. It also takes careful planning and record keeping. There are 2 ways to breed Violet. By pairing a Violet to a Std you will get Std (VC). If one parent is Violet all the babies will be (VC). Most breeders world wide will pair a Violet with a Std (VC). This will give 50% Violet babies and 50% Std (VC) babies. Because the Std (VC) carries 1 Violet and 1 Std gene it is strong. By breeding the weaker Violet back to a Std (VC) you keep them strong.
The other way is slower but I believe the chinnie is stronger. This is personal choice and I have no problem with the fact that breeders pair Violet with Std (VC). I just prefer to pair Std (VC) with Std (VC). In theory this gives you only 25% Violet, 50% Std (VC) and 25% Std. Obviously you get a lot less Violets and you do not know if any of the Std kits are Std (VC). In practice I found that if there are 2 babies one will be Violet and one will be Std(VC). Off course the only way to prove if the Std is a Std (VC) you must pair it with another Std (VC).
It has become “fashion” to sell babies as carriers. I think breeders assume they sell better. If you do not see the parents you will never know if it is a carrier until you get babies from a pair of carriers. Buying a “carrier” is a risk if you can’t trust the breeder. From experience I can also tell you that if you do not specifically want to breed the color the carrier carries it is stupid to buy a carrier. The gene it carries influences the purity of whatever you are breeding. Violet influences other colors, especially White. Ebony also carries and is very difficult to get rid of. Ebony influences other colors and if you want to breed pure you must keep Ebony far away.
I pair Violet and Sapphire with pure Std. It gives me Std (VC) or Std (SC). I then make new pairs of unrelated Std (VC) and a year later I get Violet babies. It means that for every Violet I want to breed when I start out I must have 2 cages with a Violet+Std and a cage for their Std (VC) babies. It means it takes 3 cages to breed 1 Violet. Once you get going it goes faster but you still need a lot of cages. I spent a lot of time breeding Std (VC) and will only start getting Violet babies in a while. There is no hurry.
Royal Persian Angora (RPA) works the same. It is also weak and must be bred back to Std. The only very big difference is that where you can’t see Violet in a carrier you can recognize a RPA carrier if you know them. The biggest problem with RPA is that although it makes the fur longer the chinnie loses fur density and color. To keep fur density good you pair RPA with Std. You can’t breed RPA with 1 RPA. You can only breed RPA carriers. Because RPA is still very rare in South Africa breeders sell RPA carriers as RPA. The RPA carrier will have obviously longer fur and this will make people think it is a RPA. It is not. To breed a “full” RPA you need the RPA gene in both parents. You need a RPA+RPA carrier or 2 RPA carriers. Many people will buy RPA carriers and think they are going to breed a lot of RPA. It is not this easy.
“Double” recessives mean the chinnie carries 2 different recessive genes. The best known is Blue Diamond. It carries a “double” Violet gene and a “double” Sapphire gene to give it the Blue Diamond color. To breed Blue Diamond you need to pair 2 chinnies that both carry the Violet and the Sapphire gene. A Blue Diamond + Std will give you a Std (VC)(SC), a Std that carries both genes. To get another Blue Diamond you must pair the Std (VC)(SC) with a Blue Diamond or another Std (VC)(SC). Pairing 2 Blue Diamonds will give you Blue Diamond but the babies will be weak because you didn’t breed back to Std to keep it strong. When pairing Blue Diamond with a Std (VC)(SC) you will only get Blue Diamond if the Std (VC)(SC) contributes both the Violet and the Sapphire genes. If it only contributes 1 you will get a Violet or a Sapphire.
I am still in 2 minds about this. I know breeders breed beautiful strong Blue Diamond, I am just worried that it is too many genes in one chinnie. I have everything to breed Blue Diamond, I just don’t want to at this stage because I am not yet convinced that they will be strong enough. The only way I will ever consider it will be to breed Std (VC)(SC) and pair 2 unrelated Std (VC)(SC). I haven’t decided to do it yet because I don’t see the need to breed a weaker chinnie just because I can sell it for a lot of money.
Until I am convinced that 2 recessive genes in 1 chinnie doesn’t make them weaker than recessive already is I will not breed chinnies with 2 recessive genes. I have Std (VC) (RPA carrier) chinnies and I have decided to breed out the double recessive gene. I will either breed Violet or RPA. At the moment Violet is more important for me and I will decide which way to go based on what babies I get. If the RPA is better I will lose the Violet and carry on with the RPA but if the Violet is better I will lose the RPA and carry on with the Violet. I won’t breed with both genes in 1 chinnie.
Breeding recessives is extremely rewarding when you work for longer than a year before you breed your first Violet. It is slow, you get a lot less Violet babies and you often can’t see what you have achieved until the next generation. You must plan 2 generations ahead.
There are not many recessives around in South Africa and only breeders dedicated to breeding them right and keeping them strong will have success. The best thing you can do if you want to breed recessives is to find a few other breeders doing the same and co-operate. It will save you a lot of cages because you can swap Std (VC). The difficult part is just to find another breeder that does it right because you must be sure that you get the same quality back. This means the other breeder must do exactly the same you do or it won’t work.
There will be more recessives in South Africa by now. I am curious to see what breeders will do with the “double” recessives like Blue Diamond. Time will tell because you will have to wait for new Blue Diamond babies to be born and then see how they do. If they don’t live 15-20+ years like pure mutations I will not be interested.

Genetics for dummies

Not saying anyone is dumb. If you never learned something you won’t know it and there is only one way to learn it. The problem is that people do not believe you. Don’t believe me, research it.
Compare a chinchilla to a parrot. You start off with a blank model of a bird. Every chinchilla have this and the blank model for a chinchilla is Std (Grey). You now add mutations to it to give it color. The dominant mutation colors (like Ebony, Beige, White etc) are the feathers. It gives the parrot it’s color. You need only one of these, one white feather will show and can’t be hidden.The recessive mutations (like Violet, Sapphire, RPA, etc) are the wings. You need 2 of these to make the parrot fly. If there is only one the parrot can’t fly and will hide the one wing in shame. It will carry the one wing hidden, making it a “Carrier”. If there are 2 the parrot will proudly display it’s wings, making it a complete bird. This also explains why there is always a possibility for Std with any chinchillas, no matter what the mutation is because the original model is Std. The stronger the mutation gene the less the chance is for Std. Not because it is not there, because the stronger mutation gene carries.
This is how genetics work. The reason I write about this again is that I was approached by someone wanting to buy a Violet chinchilla. I asked why and they said to breed Violet. I also know of someone who bought a Violet female and is now pretty much buggered because there are no Violet babies, as they expected.
Dominant genes are easy and as with the parrot you need only one. With one White or Beige you can breed many more. Only one parent need to be White or Beige or any other dominant gene. The other parent can be Std and half the babies (approximately) will be White or Beige.
With recessives it doesn’t work like this. You need 2 to make it work. I’ll use Violet again. You need 2 Violets to get a Violet baby. I wrote enough about breeding recessive so won’t repeat it. The point is one will not help you at all. You can either do inbreeding (which is not an option for me) by breeding a baby back to the parent or you will need either another one or someone with Violet to help you. This goes for ALL recessives. It becomes even more complicated when you have double recessive genes, like Blue Diamond or Violet RPA. To get Blue Diamond or Violet RPA again you need another chinchilla that also carries both genes. Then it is only the beginning. I have a big interest in Blue Diamond so will use it as example. If you have one Blue Diamond you can pair it with anything and if that anything is not another Blue Diamond you will never ever get Blue Diamond. To get Blue Diamond both the Violet and Sapphire genes from BOTH Blue Diamond parents must be carried over to the baby. If only one from either side didn’t carry you will NOT get Blue Diamond. You might get Violet or Sapphire but not Blue Diamond. The same with Violet RPA, which my good friend have. To get another Violet RPA both the Violet and RPA gene from both parents must carry. If only one doesn’t you will either get a Violet or a RPA (or Std). The Violet will be a RPA carrier and the RPA will be a Violet carrier but it will be a parrot with only one wing. It will be hidden.
This is the reason why recessives are more expensive and rare. It is also the reason why double recessives like Blue Diamond is even more expensive and rare. I do not believe in breeding 2 recessives together, making it even slower for me but also a lot safer, resulting in much stronger kits and very low infant mortality. Now imagine breeding Blue Diamond like this. If I want to breed Blue Diamond I must breed carriers that are Std Grey but carries both Violet and Sapphire. In my opinion this is the only safe way to ensure you breed with strong and healthy parents and get strong and healthy babies. Not as easy as it seems. If it was there would be as many Blue Diamonds or Goldbars as Whites. The people who breed Violet and Sapphire the right way knows this, that is why they are known for it. If this was not the case all I need to do is import 1 Blue Diamond, 1 Goldbar, 1 RPA, 1 whatever and I can breed thousands. Doesn’t work this way and it is better to invest the money in a good foundation, build on it with Std, Violet and Sapphire and then breed Blue Diamond. I don’t know yet if I will ever breed them because I am wary of a double recessive gene in the same chinchilla. If I can’t do it with Std carriers I will not do it.
There is a lot to be said about mutations still but I am still thinking on it. I want to write a good piece on mutation breeding that will explain everything. I especially want to look at Mutations that have both dominant and recessive genes, like a White Violet or Ultra Violet (Violet wrap). People are playing with genes they know nothing about in an attempt to breed something unique. Think of it this way. There are thousands of breeders worldwide, some have been breeding for 50 years. If they can’t do it why can you? The reason they don’t breed them is because the kits die or are never born, not because they are not trying. I promise you many people are trying. I also promise you they end up with a lot of stillborn kits and very weak chinnies that is a sin to sell or even to attempt to breed.
With the dominant genes this seems a lot safer and people have success with eg White and Ebony. With recessives it is playing with fire. I am happy to rather breed pure chinnies and not try to play God.

How genes work

This is very basic. I got a question about why both genes of a Violet chinchilla can’t be contributed to the baby, resulting in a Violet baby.
Genes works in pairs. Genes and alleles are the same thing. Chromosomes makes up an organism. On each chromosome there is a copy of each gene. Chromosomes also work in pairs. This means there is a pair of genes on each chromosome. When an embryo is formed each parent contributes one gene from a pair.
In English. Imagine a chinnie is a baby that is learning to walk. To walk the baby needs both legs. The baby can’t jump or she will fall over. This means she must take one step at a time. When a chinchilla contributes a gene to the new embryo it takes one step. Because it has a pair of genes (say left and right) it can only give one. It can take a left or a right step. Let’s take a heterobeige chinnie. The pair of genes are Std and Beige, one of each. Because it can only take one step at a time it can only give Std or Beige. The other parent will do the same.
If you pair 2 heterobeige chinnies this is what will happen. Daddy have Std (left leg) and beige (right leg). Mommy has Std (left leg) and beige (right leg). They mate and each takes a step. Daddy takes a left step and give the Std gene. Mommy also takes a left step and gives a Std gene too. The baby then have 2 Std genes and will be grey. If daddy takes a left step (Std) and mommy takes a right step (beige), the baby will have one Std and one Beige gene. The baby will be heterobeige because beige is dominant over Std. If daddy takes a right step and mommy takes a right step the baby will have 2 Beige genes and will be homobeige.
Because you need 2 genes to make a recessive show the colour there will be 2 of the same genes, eg Violet. The 2 Violet genes also form a pair. One Violet gene is the left leg and the other Violet gene is the right leg. Because the baby can only take one step at a time it can only be left or right. This means only one Violet gene can be contributed to the new embryo. The same applies to Sapphire.
But what about Blue Diamond? For Blue Diamond to be this colour it needs 2 Violet and 2 Sapphire genes. To achieve this there are 2 pairs of genes. Like an elephant with 4 legs. The front left leg is Violet and the back left leg is Sapphire. The front right leg is Violet and the back right leg is Sapphire. So the left pair have one of each gene and the right pair have one of each gene. If you cut off one leg it is not Blue Diamond anymore. This means the front legs are a pair, Violet. The back legs are a pair, Sapphire. Each pair can take one step. The front will give Violet and the back will give Sapphire. For it to show you just need to get the same “steps” from another chinnie. This applies to other double or triple recessives too as well as to a mix between dominant and recessive.
It is very basic and a biologist will explain it better. All we need to remember is that the baby can take just one step at a time. If you know which 2 genes forms the pair you will know only one of the 2 can be contributed. With a “human” baby with 2 legs it will only be one gene. With an “elephant” baby with 4 legs (2 pairs) it will be 2 genes. Adding a gene like White or TOV is like putting on shoes. There are still just 2 feet but now the foot just have a White shoe on and when the foot takes a step the shoe goes with. You can add shoes but you can’t make it take a step with both feet at the same time.
More than this becomes complicated, really complicated. It should also show you that the more feet and the more shoes, the bigger the possibility of a mistake. When I talk about a “pure” chinnie it is a chinnie with one Std leg and one other leg. If it is a pure Std it has 2 Std legs. It goes about more than this in Std but for mutations this is a good enough explanation. A Silver Mosaic that is “pure” will then have one Std leg and one White leg, same for a Wilson White. An Ebony Mosaic is not “pure” in this sense. It has one Ebony leg and one White leg. The same with a homo Ebony, it has 2 Ebony legs. Off course it is pure Ebony but not in the sense I mean it. For me any mutation must have a Std gene, except for recessives.
There is nothing wrong in breeding them. The parents must just be “pure”. To get Ebony Mosaic you pair a White with an Ebony. If the White carries one Std gene and one White, it is “pure”. If the Ebony carries one Ebony gene and one Std gene it is “pure”. It has strong legs to stand on. The White takes a step with the White leg and the Ebony takes a step with the Ebony leg. The result is an Ebony Mosaic. The Ebony Mosaic now have a White leg and an Ebony leg, which is not a problem yet. The problem comes in if you now pair this “wobbly” legs with another pair of “wobbly” legs, like with another Ebony. Because it doesn’t have a strong foundation it gets weaker with each generation. If you pair the Ebony Mosaic with Std you again have strong legs. If you don’t they will get more wobbly and you will end up with a small and weak chinnie in a generation or 2.
This is why I do not breed mutation on mutation. The recessive genes are the weakest of the lot. If you really know what you are doing and you know the pedigree of the parents it is possible to breed mutation on mutation as long as there is a strong Std gene present. For this reason you don’t pair Mosaic with Homo Ebony. Mosaic (sliver) have one Std and one White gene. Homo Ebony have 2 Ebony genes. The baby will limp because there is one strong and one weak leg. Pairing the same Mosaic with a Hetero Ebony is fine because Hetero Ebony have one Std and one Ebony leg. Because of the parents this baby will not limp but pairing it with another mutation will make it limp or weak in both legs. Because we can’t see them limping doesn’t mean it is not there.
It is not as if you cut off part of a leg. It worsens with more generations. Size will get smaller, fur less dense, the White will go off colour, etc. The only thing that improves wit this is Ebony. But what is the use of a pitch black Ebony that is small and have weak fur?
This is really very basic and just a simple way to try and explain it. In reality it is a lot more complicated.

Lethal factor in white and TOV chinchillas

I think I wrote about this a while ago but had to explain it yesterday. Looks like there is some misunderstanding. LETHAL FACTOR doesn’t mean your chinnie will die. It works like follows and I will have to explain from the start.
For a chinnie to become a chinnie you need 2 parents. When they mate the father gives a sperm and the mother an egg. The sperm represents a gene from the father and the egg a gene from the mother. When the sperm fertilize the egg an embryo starts to grow. the embryo now have 2 genes, one from the father and one from the mother. This means any chinnie has 2 genes, one from each parent.
If the 2 genes are the same it is called homozygous, like 2 grey genes will make a grey chinnie. If the 2 genes are different it is called heterozygous, like a grey and a beige gene will make a hetero beige chinnie or a grey and a white gene will make a Mosaic chinnie. The reason there is a lethal factor is that the White gene and the TOV gene can’t exist in the homozygous state, meaning if both the father and the mother each give a white gene there can’t be a living baby.
Think of it this way. The father must give the right leg and the mother must give the left leg. In a white chinnie there is 1 white gene and 1 other gene, let’s make it grey (standard). We know that each chinnie gives one gene. The white gene is a right leg and the grey gene is a left leg. If we take 2 white chinnies, each with a right leg gene and a left leg gene and we let them mate the following can happen. One can give a right leg and one can give a left leg, then there is no problem. If both give a right leg (white) the baby ends up with 2 right legs and can’t function. This is the lethal factor, in very simple terms.
In reality it works like this. Over the years people tried to get a “recipe” to breed more white chinnies and get less of the other color. By pairing 2 whites they argued that the chance of getting white is double because each parent can give white. When they looked at the results over a period of time they realized that they didn’t get more white babies because they lost more babies and less babies were born.
The dangers to the mother is not as great as some people make you believe but they are very real and no matter how small the danger is, it is not necessary. When 2 white genes meet (egg and sperm) a few things can happen. Often nothing will happen, the egg will not be fertilized and no embryo will develop. If the egg is fertilized the embryo will most often not develop very far, die and get re-absorbed by the mother. You will never even know. The danger starts when the embryo grows bigger. If it gets to the size where the bigger bones developed, like the pelvis bone and it then dies and get re-absorbed the big pelvis bone (or any other big bone) will not be re-absorbed. This bone will then stay in the uterus forever, leaving the female infertile in that uterus. Because she has a 2 horned uterus she can still get pregnant on the other side and again you will never know because there can be a baby born from the other uterus.
If the fetus is not re-absorbed it can become mummified. This means it dries up and will also stay there forever, also leaving her infertile. This is not dangerous to the mother.
The real danger to her comes in when the fetus dies and is aborted. An abortion is the unnatural expeltion of a fetus. This means it was caused by something that interrupted the normal growth of the fetus. Any abortion is always dangerous because it can not only hurt her reproductive organs, it can also cause infection that can kill her. Internal bleeding is a real risk. The fetus can keep growing and be carried to term, meaning she will give normal birth to it. It will be still born. If it actually do live when born the baby will die very soon, it can’t survive.
This is the LETHAL FACTOR and the risks. The chance of it happening when pairing 2 white chinnies is 25%. It is not worth the risk to the mother and because you know the dangers it is also immoral.