HAMILTON & DISTRICT BUDGERIGAR SOCIETY INC.


THE THEORY OF COLOR PRODUCTION

GOOD AND BAD MATINGS

These articles were taken from the book (The Cult of The Budgerigar-- By W. Watmough)
We all naturally praise those colour Matings which have provided us with the best results in the past or which have given great satisfaction to those of our friends who have told us how their best specimens have been bred, but I know of nothing in connection with Budgerigar culture about which one can be less dogmatic than this subject of Matings calculated to improve colour in the different varieties. There seems to be no royal road to success in all cases, yet there are some Matings which I think one can say without hesitation are definitely bad and other Matings which one can assert are definitely good. And those who have had experience can be emphatic about these proved good and proved bad crosses respectively because of their own experience of them, coupled with the experience of many other people who have pooled their knowledge for the benefit of breeders generally.

MANY POSSIBLE PAIRINGS

We can therefore, be positive as to these particular colour Matings - the proved good ones and the proved bad ones-in the light of actual practice, the outcome of trial and error as distinct from mere theory. But these extremely good and extremely bad crosses are few, compared with the very numerous ways in which Budgerigars can be mated. And it is when we come to those pairings about which opinions differ, and the results of which are often inconsistent, that he would say this or that cross is the best to produce or that colour.
In view of these facts it might well be said, how can you attempt to describe all the absolutely best crosses to produce the best coloured birds in the different colour varieties. This article shall most certainly not do so. All it will do is describe the best methods by observation of the results in the aviaries and in other successful establishments with which I am familiar with.

GENERAL PRINCIPLES

This article will describe a number of general principles relative to colour production in the hope that you will be able to apply them to your own requirements to their ultimate advantage. It will refer to Matings which we consider should be avoided and Matings, which in our own experience and the experience of the very successful breeders who have given us valuable information about their breeding results, have proved satisfactory when the birds used have been the right birds for the purpose.
How much more simple would this problem of colour production be if it were possible always to achieve the best results by mating birds of the same colour together-Cobalt to Cobalt, for example. There is apparently some kind of linkage between type and colour.
Inspection of Budgerigars in the aviaries and at the shows makes it clear that generally speaking, different colours differ from each other in type. Although individual Budgerigars provide exceptions to the rule, taking the birds as a whole there are differences in type between Greens and Cobalts, Cobalts and Blues, Lutinos and the marked varieties, Greys and Opalines, and so an.
We have an example in the Cobalts, and Blues bred in the nest from Cobalt x Skyblue, They often differ in shape. The Blues and Light Greens/blue produced from Light Green/blue x Blue frequently display a similar distinction and so do the Violets, Cobalts and Mauves from a pair consisting of a Violet and a Mauve. Numerous other cases could be cited.
This parent linkage is not confined to type. It often also applies to size. It is not unusual for birds of one colour to be smaller than birds of another colour when bred from the same parents. The advice which this article shall give will not only be devoted to improvement in the colour itself but to improving the colour simultaneously with the production of Budgerigars of better type in the respective varieties.

TYPE VARIABILITY

Those who study this engrossing subject and who read this article must also appreciate the fact that we have to essay to overcome that type variability in the different colours to which are referred above. In short our ambition is not only to improve the coloration of our birds but also to standardise the type throughout all our colour varieties; and the type which is our objective to improve the shape and markings also.
Writers on colour production also experiences difficulty in being dogmatic as to which are the best Matings to produce certain desired results because so much depends on the ancestry of the birds to be mated.
Each case has to be dealt with on its merits, and the skill of the breeder when deciding on his Matings therefore bears a more important relationship to success than can be theoretical exposition. And here we have another reason why we can but generalise when describing the best crosses to produce the various colours.

IMPORTANCE OF ANCESTRY

It is said that much depends on ancestry as to which are the best Matings to employ. This article will be more explicit.
Many fine Cobalts of the most desirable shade of colour have been bred from Mauve x Blue, but that fact would not justify the statement that Mauve x Blue will invariably produce good coloured Cobalts, as so much is dependant on the parentage of the Mauve and the Blue respectively.
It will describe an actual experience in an experienced breeders aviary to demonstrate the meaning more clearly.
Two pairs were mated, in each case a Mauve cock to a Blue hen. The cock in Pair no.1 had a Cobalt ancestor within the two previous generations of the more desirable colouring, and exactly the same remarks applied to the two hens. The result was that the youngsters bred from pair no. l all failed in colour, being of the bluey Cobalt shade, and the Cobalts from pair No.2 were all of the desired shade in colour.
Now what are we taught by these results? It is that the Mauve cock in pair No.1 had inherited from his Cobalt ancestor the undesirable Cobalt colour and the Mauve cock in Pair No.2 had inherited the more desirable shade. The Mauve x Blue cross is only quoted for the production of Cobalts as an illustration of the point we are endeavouring to make.

HEREDITARY COLOUR

What it all amounts to is this: A bird of any colour which is so genetically constituted that it can breed youngsters not only of its own colour but also of other colours will possess the ability to produce those other colours and its own colour good or bad in shade and depth according to the shade and depth of the colours of its progenitors. In another example, good Cobalts are frequently the outcome of mating Cobalt x Dark Green/blue, but you must not expect to see good coloured Cobalts among the offspring of this combination if the Cobalt parents or grandparents (we should possibly go even further back in the genealogical tree) of the Dark Green and the Cobalt were bad in colour; in fact, the danger will be present if the Cobalt ancestor of either of the members of the pair failed in colour.

The simple action of crossing the different colour varieties with the object of producing youngsters in accordance with the Mendelian expectations irrespective of the quality of their own colour and the colours of their parents and grandparents, will not alone necessarily give them those good coloured Budgerigars which it will be their desire to breed in order to win prizes.
It is obviously an utter impossibility for this article or any other writer in a book of this character to comment on the good or evil of each of the thousands of different colour Matings which can be made.

The fact that there is this multitude of combinations shows the scope which the breeder has available to him, although it is unnecessary to put into actual practice anything but a minority of these crosses in order to achieve success. Therefore, we feel that we can with safety confine our remarks to a number of colour Matings which have proved satisfactory in our aviary and in the aviaries of others who have generously enlightened me as to the manner in which their best colour production results have been achieved. When the breeder is actually deciding upon his Matings before the breeding season commences, much more important than the description of different crosses to give the various colours is the application with common sense of those principles described above relating to individual birds and their pedigrees.

We will stress the virtues of what is termed "dipping into the Green"- that is crossing the other colours with Light Greens in order to fix the type of the latter on other varieties. But today other colour varieties are quite as good -in fact, as a general rule, superior-to the Light Greens, and the slogan of "dipping into the Green" - has consequently outlived its usefulness.
There are still some excellent Light Greens in the land, but high-class Opalines, for example, are even more numerous as Greys and Grey Greens. In certain cases mating of a bird of another colour with a Light Green or a Dark Green can still he valuable.

E-Mail: berniehansen@sympatico.ca

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