This is a 3 part series of articles on the use of yellow feather in a stud of Gloster Fancy Canaries.
In Part one I ask the question Is yellow feather necessary and what are the requirements to consider when using yellow?
Why use yellow feather ?
As we are aware feather in canaries falls between a narrow intensive yellow and a broader none-intensive buff. This difference does exist and we see this also in the colour between the two.
I have always been a strong advocate of the use of yellow – intensive – feather in a stud of Gloster Canaries. The balance has to be maintained and it gives added colour and strength to the feather structure. However we need to beware of the problems that can occur. Many beautiful examples of yellow Glosters have been benched over the years and it would be neglectful if we dismissed the use of yellow.
But; we need to realise that quality of feather comes from quality of feather and not from the use of yellow – intensive – feathering per se. Intensive feather gives us other aspects. It is understanding the type of feather you have in your stud that dictates the final quality.
Many successful breeders/exhibitors do not use yellow feather in there studs and the quality and intensity is not lacking. I have been in bird-rooms where no yellow is to be found: and the over quality is outstanding; but these breeders understand feather and use both sight and touch to make assessments of their stock. So why use yellow feather in a stud of Glosters when apparently it is not needed? I will give my reasons for using yellow feather.
To breed exhibition Gloster Canaries of the type required to do well on the show bench we invariably have to incorporate a programme of buff x buff pairings. This is done to keep the cobiness in the bird, i.e. thickness of neck and roundness of body, also the required shape of head and browiness over the eye. The Gloster Canary breeder cannot resort to the normal practice of yellow x buff pairing every year, because the required cobbiness will soon disappear and we will have a narrow head, free neck and tight feathered canary rather than the full round Gloster Fancy Canary.
But; the Gloster Fancy Canary breeder must be wary on two accounts.
1) That they do not buff x buff year after year without considering the quality of feather being used and the colour being displayed.
2) That when they choose their yellow feathered bird they choose wisely.
Buff x buff pairings will always do certain things to any stud of canaries if not controlled by selective breeding and we can list those as follows-
- Broaden the feather
- Soften the feather
- Loss of colour
All these occur due to the very nature of the feather.
The general appearance of the bird will be loose feathered, poor coloured and heavy browed. If these birds are handled they are woolly with no body or firmness about them. Such birds are of no use in the breeding room and not of the required type and quality: these birds being of little beauty. Above all, the Gloster Fancy Canary has to be well balanced showing type and quality.
A good mark for a Gloster Canary is to handle the bird and feel the feather; too soft and open indicates the feather is at an extreme edge of buff, and too long with no thickness indicates the opposite.
The fancier must look at feathers and understand the differences that can occur. We use two of our senses when pairing our birds, sight and touch, but when we judge a bird at a show we only use sight. So in our bird rooms we must use the sense of touch to its fullest advantage.
The Standard of Excellence as outlined in the International Gloster Breeders Association handbook gives us the guidance of what is required, and what is required is a small cobby bird showing fullness and roundness when viewed from all angles.
- The head should be round, blending into a full neck and a straight back.
- The eyebrow should not be too heavy whereby it covers the eye.
- Under the beak should be nicely filled in with a round chest finishing cleanly to the vent.
- The tail should be short and piped and the wings together finishing on the rump.
- The crest should have a central point and when viewed from above it should all but hide the beak, it should be leafy and round, with a nice drop.
- The Gloster Fancy should be nicely balanced on short legs, carrying the bird in a jaunty manner.
- The feather should be firm and held close to the body with no roughness. The colour should be natural and bright with the cocks showing a deeper and richer colour.