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Old 06-10-2017, 03:03 PM
 
9,228 posts, read 18,925,968 times
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Can this just be a weird coincidence? Other birds have babies that are all kinds of other colors (brown, grey, white, mottled). But chickens and turkeys are not so closely related to ducks and geese, and they all ended up with mostly-yellow babies. Of course it tends to be the domesticated ones that tend to be all yellow when babies, but even the wild ones are partly or mostly yellow. And yes, I know that there are some kinds of ducks, geese, chickens and turkeys that have babies with no yellow. But a whole lot of them, have yellow babies.


I tried doing some not-so-aggressive searches online, and the best I could find were discussion sites like this one where people are just wondering, but there was no definitive answer.


You would think there had to be some evolutionary benefit to being yellow when a helpless baby. But although some fowl might nest in dried (yellow) grass, it doesn't seem to be the most common choice. In most cases, yellow makes the babies stand out even more.


Then I thought, an evolutionary benefit would only be passed on if the animal lives to adulthood to reproduce. Grown-up ducks, chickens, turkeys, and geese all end up being colors other than yellow. So it would be that adult color that helps them be attractive to mates and hide from predators. So maybe it's just some weird pigment thing that feathers on birds with the most desirable adult colors start out growing as fluff/down that happens to be yellow on babies. But a grown up goose could be pure white or grey/black, but they both had yellow feathers as babies.


I just tend to notice and wonder about weird random stuff like this. In the past month, it's been baby season around her for Canada geese. I guess it just registered in my subconscious that they have a lot of yellow. Then I just had a weird dream last week in which I was making a joke about how an adult duck, adult chicken, and adult goose were hanging out together, reminiscing about their childhood and "when they were yellow." Of course in my dream, it was a hilarious joke. Yep, that's how my weird brain works. I don't remember ever consciously thinking about chicks, goslings and ducklings all being yellow, in my waking life. But my brain somehow paid attention, and ever since that dream, I'm wondering about it.


The funniest answer I got so far was from my niece, who thought about it for like 2 seconds and said "because they used to be egg yolk."
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Old 06-10-2017, 03:47 PM
 
Location: LI,NY zone 7a
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Your niece seems to be very intelligent. I mean, what else could it be?
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Old 06-10-2017, 06:18 PM
Status: "Funny. Like, a clown." (set 27 days ago)
 
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Interesting thought. My gut feeling tells me that the yellow downey color is the color of bright sunshine. I pondered somemore and also realized maybe the eyesight of Canada Geese and other yellow -baby-mommas is able to pick up yellow better than any other color and thus they can observe their young quicker than when they begin to turn earthtones. Just a hunch could be waaaay off.
Would have to reseach if maybe I.m onto something there. If you have a university nearby maybe ask the Biology Department or Zoology if they even exist anymore.
Loved your dream comment I thought it was hysterical, actually.
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Old 06-10-2017, 11:40 PM
 
Location: British Columbia ♥ 🍁 ♥
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A common factor is that they are all precocial birds and they are all ground nesters. There are many, many other precocial birds you didn't mention, but the precocials commonly all have some or a lot of yellow down feathers that already exists at the time of hatching. Another common factor with precocial baby birds is that they mostly have yellowish skin when they first hatch, or at the very least some yellow or orange skin around the eyes and at the corners of their beaks or bills, and on the legs and feet.

They all hatch out with some or all yellow precocial down feathers that covers their bodies. Each downy precocial feather is covered in a keratin sheath which looks like clear cellophane and dries and drops off within an hour or two of hatching, and the precocial babies are not helpless and blind and naked and needing to be fed the same way non-precocial (altricial) birds (and other altricial animals) are. They are usually ready within less than 24 hours to run and search for their own food. Many precocial birds are ready to walk or run and search for food within a couple of hours of drying out after hatching and shedding their keratin sheaths.

The yellow colouring is part of their natural earth colours camoflage that helps them blend in as they move around in their dappled light and earthy coloured surroundings. Yellow is not common only to precocial birds. Many types of precocial baby animals, not only birds, have yellow patterning on their bodies for camoflage when they're born and then they shed their yellow patterning as their juvenile feathers or fur grows out.

This doesn't say anything about the yellow down but here's a good explanatory article about precocial birds vs. altricial birds that you might find interesting. Precocial versus Altricial Development Maine Birds

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Old 06-11-2017, 09:16 AM
 
4,508 posts, read 2,120,950 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tracysherm View Post


I just tend to notice and wonder about weird random stuff like this. In the past month, it's been baby season around her for Canada geese. I guess it just registered in my subconscious that they have a lot of yellow. Then I just had a weird dream last week in which I was making a joke about how an adult duck, adult chicken, and adult goose were hanging out together, reminiscing about their childhood and "when they were yellow." Of course in my dream, it was a hilarious joke. Yep, that's how my weird brain works. I don't remember ever consciously thinking about chicks, goslings and ducklings all being yellow, in my waking life. But my brain somehow paid attention, and ever since that dream, I'm wondering about it.


The funniest answer I got so far was from my niece, who thought about it for like 2 seconds and said "because they used to be egg yolk."
That's the funniest and wisest thing I've read in a long time!


Speaking of egg yolks, my burning question is "who was the first person to eat an egg?" I don't know a single soul who would watch a hard thing coming out of the ass end of a chicken, grab it, and say, "Ohhhhh, I'm gonna crack this hard thing and eat what's inside." It simply defies all things sane.
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Old 06-11-2017, 09:56 AM
 
Location: British Columbia ♥ 🍁 ♥
7,214 posts, read 6,570,009 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MyNameIsBellaMia View Post
That's the funniest and wisest thing I've read in a long time!


Speaking of egg yolks, my burning question is "who was the first person to eat an egg?" I don't know a single soul who would watch a hard thing coming out of the ass end of a chicken, grab it, and say, "Ohhhhh, I'm gonna crack this hard thing and eat what's inside." It simply defies all things sane.

Have you never heard the expression "Monkey see, monkey do"?

The first person to eat eggs was a curious ape-woman who watched other wild animals stealing and eating raw ostrich eggs straight out of the shell, tried it herself and discovered it was delicious. Monkey see, monkey do.

What I want to know is who was the genius that figured out eggs and whatever their contents were could be boiled and cooked in the shell.


.
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