We need variety.
In concluding this series I recap some of the points and make an opinion that using yellow can achieve yours goals as well as the correct use of buff feathering.
How often you dip into yellow depends on how you manage your stock. When selecting any birds for breeding you must handle the bird and feel the feather. The feather from your yellow cocks should be full of colour right to the tip. The yellow hens in some cases will show a slight frosting on the edge of the feather.
Avoid yellows with broad webbing and frosting, you may as well use a good quality buff. Feathers come in all shapes and forms, so you need to understand how your stock is breeding and what kind of feather is being produced. Only by handling your birds and examining the feather carefully will you begin to understand what feather is.
You must keep a balance in your birds between the broad soft feather and the long hard feather. Only by doing this will you breed birds of excellent Gloster type, good colour, and good quality feathering with plenty of polish. It is a constant battle, but it must be done to keep the Gloster as one of the most popular breeds of canary. The use of yellow feather depends on many things but above all it is a tool which can be used. Whether you use the yellow feather more often depends entirely upon the type and quality you are breeding.
Yellow bred buffs when paired together will produce some delightful birds and birds that can be used in preference to yellows, when paired back to “normal” buffs. Remember to produce “top class” Glosters you cannot pair yellow x buff every year or every other year for that matter, but it is not impossible if you have the quality yellows at your disposal showing excellent type with a balanced feather.
Most of the better birds on the show bench are traceable back to yellow feather over a few generations. We (Wallace & Storey) and Barrie Alexander did breed direct from yellow x yellow pairings on a few occasions and we bred some delightful Glosters that could be put back into the buffs, and the buffs in particular did well on the bench. The results were Glosters excelling in type, colour and quality of feather. These pairings cannot be achieved by every fancier, but it indicates how far we can go in the development of this delightful canary. Many good yellow cinnamons have appeared on the show bench, but not in great numbers – Barrie bred several every season and in recent years Rob and Ian Wright have exhibited a few.
I am of the opinion that your own home bred yellow hens are priceless. You cannot buy matching genes they take time to implant in your birds; you must be prepared to breed your own yellows. It takes time to establish good feather in top class Glosters, it cannot be bought, but it can be lost in one breeding season. If you think you have an abundance of yellows and/or yellow bred buffs think again, you can sell them easier than you can buy them. Hens are priceless.
Whether it be white ground Glosters or cinnamon the same principles apply to the feather being used; it needs to be understood and controlled.
If I was asked one thing with regards feather and its desired quality in Glosters, it is simply this. “You have never conquered it; don’t become complacent: and use all aspects of feather to reach the quality required”.
It would be a loss to the Gloster fancy if the use of yellow was marginalised. Yellow greens and cinnamons add to the fancy and give variety.
So the answer to my question in the introduction: “Do we need to use yellow feather in a stud of Gloster Fancies?” is open to debate. You can continue on a course of double buffing if you apply strict control over the type of buff feather being used, but we would lose so much with regards the balance of the feather and of course the beautiful exhibits we now have in the yellow classes. It is your choice but be aware of the nature of excessive buff feather.