Budgie parakeets > Budgie breeding for colour

Budgie breeding for colour

Budgie breeding for colourA short description of the various colour varieties evolved from the original green bird may not be without interest to those who have some knowledge of these birds, and it is hoped that the realisation of the wide range of colours may be an inducement to those who have no experience so far to take up this hobby of bird breeding, or "bird-fancying," as it is popularly termed; when you keep birds you become a "fancier," a strange title indeed.

The original green bird has, by selection and breeding, been split into its two component colours, blue and yellow.

We thus have three basic colours, GREEN, BLUE and YELLOW.

In each of these colours we have three shades: in the GREEN CLASS we have Light Green, Dark Green and Olive Green; in the BLUE CLASS we have Sky Blue, Cobalt and Mauve; and similarly in all other colour varieties we have these three shades: Light, Medium and Dark; the Light Green is the light shade in the Green Class; the Sky Blue is the light one in the Blue Class; the Olive is the dark shade in the Green Class; and the Mauve is the dark shade in the Blue Class.

Between these two extremes, we have the medium in the Green Class, erroneously known as "dark" green and in the Blue Class as the Cobalt; let us set these out as shown below.

Green ClassBlue ClassYellow Class
LightLight GreenSky BlueLight Yellow
MediumDark GreenCobaltDark Yellow
DarkOlive GreenMauveOlive Yellow

Without going into too much detail it is interesting to note that these colour varieties do not all breed true to colour; for example, if we mate an olive with a mauve, we get young, all of which are olive; if we mate a light green with a sky blue we get young, all of which are light green.

This is because the GREEN CLASS is DOMINANT to all other classes. It absorbs the other colours so to speak without allowing them to show themselves; green overrules all others; it is strong and thus dominates. The young green bred from the mating of light greens with sky blue, although green in colour, are, when suitably mated, i.e., with birds in the blue class, capable of breeding not only greens but a proportion of blues; these young greens bred from the mating of green and blues are termed blue-bred greens or green/blue (green "split" blue).

The visible colour comes first; next the sloping line and last the hidden colour. These green-blue birds. when mated together, i.e., green/blue with green/blue can breed a proportion of blues in addition to the expected greens.

If we mate a bird of the LIGHT SHADE with a bird off the DARK SHADE we get young, all of which are of MEDIUM SHADE; if we mate a light green with an olive we get young, all of which are DARK GREEN.

If we mate a light green with a mauve we get young, all of which are again of the MEDIUM SHADE, i.e., Dark Green. There are no cobalts as might be expected because the Green Class is DOMINANT to the Blue Class and thus the young are of the Green Class; they are the MEDIUM SHADE since Light (Light Green) mated with Dark (Mauve) gives ail Medium.

This is quite sufficient for the beginner to digest, and if he grasps this principle of the Green being dominant to all others and the arrangement of three colour depths in each class, he should have sufficient to allow him to work out simple matings; indeed, if he takes up the breeding of budgerigars for the show bench, the highest aim of any fancier, he will find that he needs little more than these simple rules mentioned above.

In the Blue Class the body colour is Blue, as one would expect; the sky Blue, the lightest shade, has body colour of sky blue; the cobalt is cobalt in colour, but the mauve is rather pinkish-grey in colour, somewhat disappointing to anyone who was intrigued by the attractive name; the bird certainly is not mauve and it is the dullest coloured bird in the Blue Class.

The mask and edging of the wing feathers in the case of these blue birds is pure white, the mask again ornamented with the black marginal spots. The sky blues and cobalts are glorious birds and most desirable for the beginner; the green, too, are beautiful and it would be advisable that the novice should confine himself to these two colour classes a few seasons before getting himself involved with a bigger variety.

It is hoped that this introduction to colour breeding will serve to promote sufficient interest to induce the reader to take up this art, for it truly is an art requiring much thought but, as the birds are so adaptable and easy to breed, no high degree of technical skill. There are some excellent textbooks on the subject, one or two of which deal very fully with the subject.

The beginner should decide which colour interests him most, study birds of this colour and, after he has gained some knowledge and then only, he should approach a reliable dealer to obtain the best stock available with which to make a beginning. To start with there is no need to purchase high class exibition stock, although, on the other hand, it is false economy to spend money, no matter how little, on rubbish.

The rubbish will eat just as much good food, will require the same amount of care and will breed rubbish whereas the good, sound stock will reproduce their kind. A reasonable price will have to be paid for one or two pairs of budgerigars, particularly in these post-war years when seed is expensive and numbers are reduced. Probably for a few years the price of stock will be high, but it cuts both ways and the breeder will get a high price for the young which he breeds each year.