Whites, as these birds are called, can be bred in all the different body colours in the Blue series with deep and light suffusions. Whites of Light suffusion are rarely seen nowadays but the birds with a deep suffusion are quite often appearing in nests from Normal and Clearwing pairs that are carrying the White character. They are mostly shown in the Any Other Colour classes unless special classes are scheduled for them. The writer writes that in no case so far has he advocated the use of the Greywing as an out-cross. He has avoided this with deliberation, because Greywings are exceptional individuals and are capable of improving our older colour varieties in type, size or stamina, as no one can say they are superior to the Mauves, Cobalts, Blues, etc., for allround excellence, although they had greatly improved up to the late thirties, since when they have declined in number and quality.
On the other hand, I feel that the Greywing breeder can, when occasion demands, make crosses to the Normal coloured Greens, Mauves, Cobalts, Skyblues, Greys, Violets, etc., with advantage. The fancier will have to use his own discretion as to when he makes these crosses. If he finds his Greywings are commencing to fail in size or shape in any degree, then he should make an excursion to the Normal colours. By doing so, he will breed a number of Normal colours split Greywing, but these birds will be of assistance to him in his Greywing breeding endeavours. I can greatly simplify my advice on Greywing production by stating that in my experience and in the experience of others with whom I have been in consultation from time to time, generally speaking the remarks which I have made above in dealing with the Normal colours, and the descriptions which I have given of desirable and undesirable Normal colour Matings, apply in principle to the same colours in the Greywing family. For instance, I do not like to persist too long with the mating Greywing Blue x Greywing Blue. But the dangers with regard to loss of depth of colour in the Normal colour varieties to which I have called attention if certain crosses are made continuously do not arise in the same way with the Greywings, for the reason that one does not fear loss of depth of colour on the body as one fears it in the Normals, although as in the Normals so in the Greywings one must ever keep a watchful eye on size and type.
To illustrate, Greywing Cobalt x Greywing Cobalt is a much more desirable mating than Normal Cobalt x Normal Cobalt. The difficulty in breeding Greywings is maintaining the correct depth of markings, which to be ideal should be exactly midway between zero and black. Variation in depth of markings in the Greywing classes at our shows is repeated by a similar astonishing variation even in the same nest of chicks, when one often finds no two birds alike in this respect. One likes to mate correctly marked Greywings together, but if one continues the youngsters often become so dark in markings and body colour that they are bordering on the Normal in appearance. In the old days when we bred Greywings more extensively in the aviaries than we do now, I out-crossed dark-marked Greywings in the blue series to Whites, and almost all our Greywings (other than Greywing Greens) were eventually split for white. Consequently every season we bred a number of whites from our Greywing Whites. It did not matter much at that time because the whites were showable. It was before the era of the Cinnamon White of light suffusion and the Whitewing. Now however Whites bred from Greywings would be of little value, and therefore, if I were a breeder of Greywings nowadays I should avoid that White crossing in which we all induced nearly twenty-five years ago. To avoid the production of too many birds with markings so heavy that they approximate to the Normal, I should mate those with very darkwings to those with very light wings, and by selection and elimination hope to have at the end of each season a sufficiency of correctly mated birds to serve my purpose.
It will be clear from what I have just written that Greywings too light in markings for exhibition can, if of good type, be serviceable as breeders. However he crosses his birds, however good the material, the breeder of Greywings will always be having to fight variability in depth of wing markings. Only by judicious selection and skilful breeding generally and the able use of colour crosses at the right times, will the breeder be able to produce annually Greywings of the most desired coloration. In dealing below with particular Greywing Matings I shall not refer again to crosses with the marked Normal varieties, but it may be taken that what I have said above on this subject applies to all the colour varieties in which Greywings are cultivated.
WHITEWINGS and WHITES of Deep Suffusion
I do not propose to write about the breeding of whites of deep suffusion because now no one sets out with the deliberate intention of breeding these birds. Therefore, I will deal here only with the production of Whitewings. When the Whitewing first made its appearance at our shows the contrast between its deep body colour and almost pure white wings was much admired, as it still is, but the size and shape of the original specimens left a lot to be desired. It was obvious at the outset that extensive crossing with the with the Normals would be necessary. Thus there were many Matings of Normal x Whitewing, which brought into existence numerous Normals/Whitewing, as Whitewing is recessive to Normal.
These Normals/Whitewing laid the foundations of what are now the best strains of Whitewings. In fact, in my opinion, crossing to the Normal is still necessary, and I doubt if any fancier has available to him all the Whitewings (or Yellow-wings) of sufficiently high merit that he requires to complete his pairings with Whitewing x Whitewing or Whitewing x Yellow-wing, only. It is quite sound to mate Whitewing to Yellow-wing, thus obtaining Yellow-wings/Whitewing. Apart from such variations as the above, and providing the cock and hen to be put together are satisfactory as regards type and coloration, Whitewing X Whitewing is good. And so long as size and shape are maintained, no colour cross is necessary. But the owner need not hesitate to digress from this simple system as soon as he sees the need arising. And I am afraid the need is there now in all the Whitewing and Yellow-wing Green families with which I am acquainted.
When we bred Whitewings we found that there was great variation in the colouring of the youngsters, even from the same nest, particularly in the darker coloured birds, e.g., Mauves and Cobalts. Sometimes no two were alike, either as regards body colour or purity of wing. Some, in fact, differed but little from the old-time Whites of deep suffusion. The breeder's object is, of course, by selection to overcome this inconsistency and breed more and more Whitewings conforming to sow standard.
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