The Patterns of Established Studs

When Beginners first come into the Budgerigar Fancy they must be rather confused as to the nature of the various studs they encounter or read about. Accordingly, it is useful to give an outline of the existing pattern of established studs in order to suggest a route which may help beginners through their early years in the Fancy.

Colour-specialist Studs

The first type is the colour-specialist. These are the studs of fanciers who have a high preference for a particular colour, and in an ideal world would keep no other. For example, there were and are, many fanciers whose preference would be the Light Green, particularly in its Normal form. They would like all their cocks and hens to be pure Normal Light Greens. However, in practice, this is seldom achievable for two main reasons.

First, outcrosses, (which are essential periodically in all studs), may be carrying other colours, for example, Blue, or other varieties such as Cinnamon or Opaline. And second, the recognition that another variety, such as the Opaline, may be needed to improve a certain feature, for example spot, mask or shoulder width. So, in the real world, Light Green Specialists include other colours or varieties within their stud, although the overwhelming colour is Light Green. The Blue series is similar, but because it is recessive to the Green or Grey forms there is less of a problem with regard to unexpected colour variations, although the problem with varieties such as the Cinnamon applies.

Variety Specialists

Type two is the variety specialist stud. In this situation the aim is to keep one variety and exclude all others. This specialization may take two forms. First, there is the type of specialist who maintains a particular variety, such as the Normal, but is not too concerned about the body colour. In this type of stud you will find Normal Greens, Blues, Greys and Grey Greens, but few if any Opalines or Cinnamons. Other variety specialists have studs of Cinnamons, Opaline Cinnamons and Opalines in various colours and combinations. Further examples or variety specialist would include Recessive Pieds, Clearwings, Lacewings, Fallows and other rare varieties.

The second group of variety specialism is that of the Lutino and Albino, which are unique in that variety and colour are inseparable. Such specialists are extremely reluctant to bring in any other variety or colour as an outcross although the need for size and feather makes this inevitable on occasions. Miss Kirkby-Mason had an outstanding Lutino stud where it was rare to see any other colour present. Nowadays, many fanciers keep Lutinos in addition to mainstream colours and varieties.

The Mixed Stud

The third type is the mixed stud. A beginner, perhaps with colour or variety in mind, once asked Alf Ormerod, “what sort of Budgerigars should I keep?” Alf’s reply was simple and direct, “Good uns” he said. That statement is indicative of the way the modern fancier is moving. While he might have certain preferences the over-riding factor is that of quality and the pursuit of the “Ideal”. To confine oneself to a particular colour or variety may be too much of a constraint, and despite one’s preferences, the route ahead may well be dictated by the birds rather than the fancier. For example, two prominent Lancashire partnerships, the Hallams and the Pilkingtons, told me that the bulk of their successes on the show bench have been with Grey Greens.

The studs of Harry Bryan, Alf Ormerod and Mrs Moss were typical mixed studs of the past, and I believe the majority of studs today are in that category. Several reasons are given for this trend. One is that judges, who have to judge all varieties, find it useful to keep a wide range of colours and varieties to help them in their judging. Another is that some fanciers keep abreast with market forces and therefore take on those types which are selling well such as the Spangle in the 1980’s. A more acceptable need for outcrosses in order to upgrade a stud or to improve a particular feature. This forces a fancier to buy birds which may match up to these physical needs, even though the colour or variety is not compatible with his preferences.

Personal Preference

To give an example from my own experience, my preference is the Normal Grey Green, but the predominant feature in my stud was the Normal Cinnamon Grey Green. Many years ago I acquired a Normal Grey Green cock. I then visited Paul and Joe Frigs for a hen but the only available suitable bird was a Normal Cinnamon Skyblue. This led the stud along a different trail to the one I had envisaged. Nowadays I have Normals, Cinnamons, Opalines, Opaline Cinnamons and Spangles in Grey Green, Light Green, Grey or Blue.

To some extent I am perhaps typical of many fanciers in my area, but experience has taught me that combining Normal, Cinnamon and Opaline is a very useful cocktail in the production of good quality Budgerigars. To sum up, I would advise Beginners to make quality their top priority and not to become obsessed with one particular colour – or variety, least not in their early years in the Fancy.

Original text Copyright 1997, Bernard Kellett

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