I had a really strange litter in April. This was my only imperator pairing for the season as most of my girls are on break, and because we had a big move planned beginning of summer.
Sunkist (the dam) is a twice proven OT hypo harly het super stripe.
The sire is Spindrift, who was supposed to be a normal DH VPI T+ super stripe. The goal was to hopefully hit on a couple outcrossed visual SS kids for the project and to prove him out as 100% het SS.
As it turns out, Spindrift also proved to be motley, which was a bit of a shock as he displays zero motley traits. I was a bit flabbergasted looking at this litter being born.
The only rational explanation for the outcome is that Spindrift’s single copy of the super stripe gene obscured the motley - but even that is strange, as SS tends to accentuate incomplete dominant striping, not hide it. I don’t know how likely it is that the motley gene skipped being expressed in him, and was perhaps dormant (his father is a VPI T+ motley).
In addition to the motley surprise, the litter also came with some issues. We lost power in Texas’s big ice storm in February and weren’t able to get a generator up and running fast enough to prevent a severe temp drop. Prior to getting the generator up, my animals were temping (skin temp) in the 40’s. My collection pulled through OK, but Sunkist’s gestation was negatively impacted. All of the babies were born with kinking. The majority have some form of tail kinking. A few had severe spinal kinking and were euthanized. These are developmental issues due to improper temps during gestation, they are not genetic.
From this batch I chose 3 to hang onto. They have the barest of tail tip kinks and should not be impacted long term. The top one is the closest to what I’d consider a visual SS, but I am not 100% certain as it looks more closely like one of the het SS half sibling kids from Sunkist’s prior litter. I think the second and third are het SS, but it’s hard to tell what’s going on with the motley involved on that third one.
With any luck, I should better know what motley het SS looks like next season.
I will be looking for good pet only homes for the rest of the litter in a couple of months.