Tolbunts color and patterns often change as they mature into adults, and also as they age- click here for some examples.
Link to the working standard on the Polish Breeders Club website,
For the correct breed standard type I recommend getting an APA "American Standard of Perfection" book to learn about type, DQ's, faults, and ideals for polish and what the judges look for overall. Tolbunts are not in there yet. but hopefully will be around 2020.
A brief history of tolbunts in the USA:
Around the 1999/2000 there were 2 separate importations of a dozen tolbunt polish eggs- one on the east coast and one on the west coast. I have never been told how many of the eggs hatched from each group, who they belonged to, how many people in the start were working on them, or who did “what outcrosses” in the begining. Because of their limited numbers and already small gene pool it was decided (by who?) to out cross them to another breed. Russian Orloffs were chosen as the first outcross as it was believed they would help keep the color “correct” and they had similar body type- the leg color and the crest would have to be worked on with time and crosses back to pure tolbunts. The next round of outcrosses varies breeder to breeder- some breeders continued their projects with orloff crossing, houdan/orloff crossings, houdan crossings, and every color of polish you can think of was added into lines depending on breeder beliefs and/or available birds to work with.
The most popular polish color to breed in currently is gold lace- however with the limit amount of quality gold lace stock those have been crossed into other color varieties to improve their type for both their own program and tolbunt programs. Because the white crested black have very good crests and type they were crossed in at some point as well. I was recently told by a breeder who has had them for many years that crele polish were recommendd at one point as well!! (I thought the odd marked ones I saw on Ebay were a new cross and not around for several years. And if you are wondering- NO- it is no longer recommended to cross to creles)
So out-crossing has lead to off colors and type issues-
that can pop up generations down the road:
So with all these varieties and breeds crossed in it has helped with the tolbunt’s original issues of crooked toes, spines, early deaths, low fertility, low hatch rates and their general lower disease resistance. However it has also hurt the consistency of the variety breeding true at this point. How so you ask?
We now can see tons of off colors, several sub categories of ”OK” patterns, type that often varies breeder to breeder, crest size and shape ranges, and all these inconsistencies can show up in eggs hatched from the same flock depending on what their recessive genes are hiding. You can hatch eggs from the same pen of birds and get “correct colored” chicks, chicks that are too heavy in red, too heavy in black or too heavy in white. You can get blobbed, thick laced, thin laced, and mossy laced offspring. You can hatch out pure white, “blue tolbunts”, black mottled, splashed, “red tolbunts”, and the list goes on and on with off colors. Now throw in variances in crest sizes, leg/beak color, body type, tail set, general and weight issues.
Some people feel when they hatch out chicks and they do not all look the same that they did something wrong or that they were "cheated" by the breeder- this is just the 100's of recessive traits that can pop up doing so. I have yet to hatch out chicks from ANY breeder that have NO variances in markings and color.
Tolbunts are a work in progress and will be for sometime.
Are they showable?
You can show them, they are not recognized by APA and can not be judged any farther that variety. They can not take breed (but have before being the only polish at the show). Most shows IF you find tolbunts at them- it will be one or two breeders with them. This makes showing them and getting BV & RV very easy- even at every National show so far that they have been at.
I'm not knocking showing them- they need to be shown- and I do show mine (and they get BV & RV)!! BUT- when people try to tell you how good their birds are based off show wins- you might want to ask how many tolbunts were there, and how many breeders. Research the breed, learn to tell a POLISH with good type, learn what to look for in the tolbunt COLOR (it's not it's own breed), ask questions, go to Backyard Chicken and read the tolbunt polish thread, go to the Polish Breeders website and read the working color standard that is APA approved - learn what makes a good bird.
What color/pattern should they be?
Tolbunts should have the appearance of a red based mottled gold laced polish with imperfect lacing and more white being allowed on crest, tail, and wings.
The base color (about 50% of their total body coloring) ranges from a golden-bay (gold lace color) to a mahogany color, with reddish-bay to mahogany being preferred over the lighter golden bay. The golden bay is commonly seen due to the gold lace out-crosses and is not ideal, but also not really faulty and should be bred back to a redder based bird to have more correct offspring.
And ideally their bodies should have 25% of black (via lacing on the feathers) and 25% of white (via mottled spots), these percentages are often a bit off as they age though. With the aging process tolbunts, due to the mottling gene, become more white with every molt and they commonly have a molt around 18 months old that they become fairly heavy in white.
Along with getting whiter as they age, they also can start loosing some of their black lacing as the white spreads and can start to look closer to a white and red bird with more random black markings when they are over 2-3 years old.
They should NEVER have cuckoo barring, nor should any birds with
cuckoo barring be used in a tolbunt breeding program