Lacewing Yellow: Mask: yellow, ornamented by six evenly spaced large round cinnamon throat spots, the outer two being partially covered at the base by cheek patches. Cheek patches: pale violet. General body color: back, rump, breast, flanks and underparts, yellow. Markings: on cheeks, back of head, neck, mantle and wings, cinnamon brown on a yellow ground. Eyes: clear red with light iris rings. Tail: long feathers, cinnamon brown. Note: the depth of yellow of the body color etc. varies according to the normal counterpart being masked by the Lacewing character, i.e. the richest yellow is carried by the Lacewing Olive Green and the lightest by the Lacewing Light Green.
Lacewing White: Mask: white, ornamented by six evenly spaced large round cinnamon throat spots, the outer two being partially covered at the base by the cheek patches. Cheek patches: pale violet. General body color: back, rump, breast, flanks and underparts, white. Markings: on cheeks, back of head, neck, mantle and wings, cinnamon brown on a white ground. Eyes: clear red with light iris rings. Tail: long feathers, cinnamon brown. Note: the shade of white of the body colour etc., varies only slightly in tone according to the normal counterpart being masked by the Lacewing character.
Lacewing Yellows and Lacewing Whites:
This variety was first noted by C.H. Rogers in 1948 from reports from a breeder who had discarded some of his red-eyed Yellow birds for having distinct cinnamon undulations and coloured tail feathers. Only one member or this family could be traced -- a Light Green cock, and paired to several Normal Green and Blue hens produced five red-eyed Yellow birds with cinnamon markings and coloured tails. From these five hens and some of their normally coloured brothers the Lacewing strain was formed. Since that time many hundreds of Lacewing Yellows and Whites have been bred having Opaline, Dominant Pied and Recessive Pied markings as well as those with the usual undulations. During this last while suggestions have been advanced in the Fancy Press that Lacewings are actually a combination of the Lutino and Cinnamon characters. Although a considerable number of matings involving these two characters have been made, only an odd example or so of birds having the Lacewing like appearance have been bred. This being so it may be that under certain circumstances it is possible to produce a similar type to the Lacewing. A great deal more experimental work will be needed before satisfactory conclusions are reached as to the relationship of these two differently evolved red-eyed kinds. The Budgerigar Society has included Lacewings in their Color Standards and formulated a scale of points which has undoubtedly encouraged breeders to include this variety in their studs. As far as I know lacewings had not yet gained a Best In Show Award, but this is something that could happen in the near future with their increased popularity as show birds.
Specialising in one of the Rare Varieties is made so much easier by having good stock, good family background and good records. So many fanciers make the big mistake of using far too many visual pairings, if you want to improve the variety of Lacewings you need to do the complete opposite and breed back to the pedigree of your Normal stock. The place to start is firstly to select a successful breeder in Lacewings, who is prepared to supply you with a pair of visuals of the best quality to suit your pocket. Preferably these should be a Normal Lacewing cock and an Opaline Lacewing hen and not necessarily related. Say we start with two visual Whites, we then look to our own stock of Normals (including Opalines) as this is where the pedigree comes in. Select the very best brother and sister or father and daughter to pair to your visuals.
Pair A: Normal White Lacewing cock to an Opaline Grey or Grey Green hen.
Pair B: Opaline White Lacewing hen to a Normal Grey or Grey Green cock.
As Lacewings are sex-linked the following year's pairings can be made that much easier. From Pair A you should have Split cocks and Visual hens. From Pair you should have Split cocks and Normal hens. Hopefully these youngsters should be of better quality than the initial Lacewings as a result of the influence of your good Normals or Opalines. Now select from A the best visual hen and pair to the best Split from B. Secondly, pair the best Split from A to the best Normal from B. This pairing will suggest wastage, as 25% Visual hens are expected along with 25% Split cocks, but as you are working to the pedigree of your Normals, cull inferior quality as you would do normally. As and when you feel the need to outcross do so by looking to your own related stocks of Normals. Apart from the obvious size, two other major features should be kept in mind, frontal width and shoulder. Look at any Rare and Recessive variety and you will see these two attributes difficult to maintain. As far as colour is concerned the use of the predominantly larger Greys and Greens will help on the size front. White Lacewings come in all forms of the Blue series as do the Yellows in the Green series and one should be careful and eliminate any blue or green suffusion. I never use any visual Blue birds to the Whites and discard any dark factor. Opaline and Cinnamon should be used in moderation, as you would with Normals, remember you are trying to improve in exactly the same way, so use them in the same way. Over use of the Opaline will affect the markings considerably and make them too heavy, if this happens introduce dark marked Cinnamonís, in this way the colour will not be affected too much for their colouring tends to be that much deeper than the Normal Cinnamonís.
Features I would look for:
The quality of Lacewings is generally not bad. Certainly very few are "pet" quality. So obtaining workable stock, although not easy as far as numbers, I would know I wasn't starting from "wild types". The most important factor would be getting the Lacewing factor. The challenge is then improving what you have, as with any variety. On a cautionary note, I would avoid using Inos, Pieds, Clearwings, Greywings, Dilutes, Spangles and Yellow-faces etc. Normal Green and Blue series birds being my choice with Opaline only being used sparingly. Opaline can look good on a Lacewing but being sex-linked it can easily take over. I would avoid Cinnamon wherever possible as it acts as a diffuser on the markings and body colour. At all times richness of body colour is important as well as clear markings, so for choice I like Dark Green or Olive factors, or in the blue series (White Lacewings) Dark Grey as this suppresses suffusion. Lacewings and Inos are subject to suffusion, a factor one must be very aware.
Keeping a pure variety:
Common sense and a clear vision are two essential ingredients for working with a chosen variety. We have learnt that one can only improve certain features one at a time which may mean a step back for others. For example, to achieve size may negatively affect colour/markings so the next step would be to concentrate all these until you match color markings with size and type. Then you start again. In an ideal situation, a stud of Lacewings would run alongside a superior stud of Normals so that the two could be complimentary, but from experience few have a superior stud of Normals. Prudent culling is essential once you have some Lacewings to work with as there are good and bad Lacewings, not just Lacewings. Think of Lacewings as primarily Budgerigars of exhibition type. With this concept you will move forward. A word of warning -- don't just keep outcrossing, use the young together so you develop a family which exhibit positive features in depth. Cousin to Cousin pairings have proved particularly useful as has Aunt/Uncle to Niece/Nephew. By thinking of a three year programme rather than a yearly programme will be very beneficial long-term. The challenge of any variety demands dedication. Unless you can give this, don't bother. The path to success is like the "Yellow Brick Road", full of pitfalls and diversions but the end can be reached providing you have dedication and purpose. Many fanciers have questioned why bother to battle on. A few moments of reflection in the birdroom gives you the answer. The sheer beauty of the Lacewing is pleasure itself.
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Hamilton & District Budgerigar Society Inc.