Splash and Paint Silkies: 

A Guide to Chicken Genetics

by Manda H

Published May 23, 2023

Have you ever come across chickens with strikingly similar appearances, like Splash and Paint? At first glance you might think that Splash and Paint are the same color variation. I know when I first started getting into raising Silkies I did not know the difference. They look very similar, just with the Paint having larger spots.  Splashes are created due to the inclusion of the Blue Gene, whereas Paint does not contain blue genes. A blue gene is basically a corrupt black gene. They are similar, yet behave in different ways in genetics and future offspring. Confused yet? Let us explore a bit on chicken genetics to discuss what exactly is the difference between Splash and Paint.

Splash Silkie Chicks - Meyer Hatchery

Paint Silkies: A Unique Color Variety

The first thing to consider is that Paint is only a color variety for Silkies. Paint Silkies are produced by breeding a dominant white Silkie to a true black Silkie. Paint Silkies can produce chicks that are paint, black, or white. Paint does not breed true, meaning you cannot continue future generations to only include paint by using paint-colored parents. The following chart can help you create additional paints.  

  • Paint  X Paint = 50% paint, 25% white, 25% black
  • Black X Paint = 50% paint and 50% black
  • White X Paint = 50% paint and 50% white
  • Dominant White X Black = 100% paint
12 week old Blue Silkies - Meyer Hatchery

Paint vs. BBS: Clarifying the Distinction

You cannot get a Paint from a BBS, even in Silkies. It is important to understand that the White for the Silkie must be a dominant white in order for the Paint to be created. It is more common for white to be recessive, such as it would be if it was a white Silkie from stock stemming from the Blue/Black/Splash. Paint is created by crossing the Dominant White to a True Black only. Splash can contain slight varying splotches of blue and gray in with their coloring with a light blue background whereas Paint has a white background with the large splotches of black.

Splash: The Blue Color Variation

So where does Splash come from? Splash is a color variation when breeding chickens with the color variation of Blue. Many of our Blue Chickens here at Meyer Hatchery will have a “BBS” in front of their name. BBS stands for Blue, Black and Splash. You will see this option with our Blue Ameraucanas, Blue Orpington, Blue Andalusian,  Blue Birchen Maran, Blue Copper Maran and Blue Laced Red Wyandotte.

  • Splash  X Blue = 50% Blue, 25% Splash, 25% White
  • Black X Blue = 50% Blue and 50% Black
  • Blue X Blue = 25% Black, 50% Blue and 25% Splash
  • Black X Black = 100% Black
  • Splash X Splash= 100% Splash

The different colors do not have any effect on the colors of the eggs that the chicken will lay.  The American Poultry Association recognizes the Blue color variety in most of their recognized breeds. Paint, on the other hand, is not currently a recognized color for Silkie.  

We hope this information helps you to better understand the differences between Splash and Paint! Do you have any other color genetic questions that you would like answered? Let us know!

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