The objective of this article is not to impose a management of breeding or to create a polemic, but to share my experience of the breeding, my observations as well as the difficulties that I meet since fifteen years of breeding this combination of mutations.
The black breast is a drawing mutation due to a different distribution of eumelanime in the plumage of the bird. The orange breast mutation is a color mutation: The eumelanin of the drawings is transformed into orange-brown phaeomelanin, which pulls towards the red-rust color for the best subjects. It does not seem to me intrusive to specify in detail in what what each mutation we know already, modifies the mutated bird.
The ideal competition male, in addition to a correct shape and size as a classic, must not have a black rejection in the chest, must have a parotid zone (the lore: between the beak and the cheek) white, a chest rising as high as possible under the beak, a strong extension of the cheeks (the cheeks meet at the back of the skull) without flow on the back (which for me represents a non-selection of the extension of the color), a gray back and not loaded with brown veil as is often the case, drawings on primary and secondary remiges (white + orange), a red / rust color as intensive as possible, a drawing of belly (orange sparks) the largest possible. To this must be added that the blank drawings must be marked with white ovals on an orange background; the drawings of the tail tiles are of course elongated.
The female and the male must be gray of back, shape and size correct, have a drawing of belly (the sparks) (to note that this drawing is not orange like on the males but draws rather towards the gray-brown ), back drawings (on the outer edge of the flight feathers), a chest that goes up very high, orange cheek drawings, marked blanks of dots and also orange. Should the female have cheeks and flanks as dark red as possible? I have no response. What is certain is that the first female PO had no orange cheeks and that the Dutch standard required cheekless females only a few years ago (now there are two standards accepted and judged differently: with drawing and without drawings ...: Type 1, type 2 in competitions). The female without drawn cheeks keeps tails of tails as orange as possible. Most of my breeding females do not have cheeks, it's a character I do not specifically select. I sometimes read on the internet that to get a good intensive male in color it is absolutely necessary a female with very orange cheeks, it is not true. We come out very good birds in color with females without cheeks if they are very gray. I mean by "very gray" birds whose eumelanin takes precedence over the phaeo. This does not mean that some characters should not be present (belly drawing, caudal susts, eyelids etc.). I can say that the female without cheek does not influence the intensity of the color on the males).
Some peculiarities are peculiar to the mutation combination. The orange breast seems to intensify the extension of the orange color of the drawings. There are often subjects with a complete extension of the cheeks behind the skull, and this with a chest that rises very high under the beak (compared to a pure black breast). This extension, when important, tends to color the lore. I do not agree with those who say that orange-lined birds are black-faced birds. This color appears as well on popn from popn without black face for several generations.
I do not select the orange color of the lore. Certainly it is a defect present in my birds but raising black face, I do not pay attention. In the competitions it depends a lot on the judges but in general, if the bird is good, they are not heavily penalized. Note that there are several kinds of orange lores, a photo does not show well. Orange lores rust like the chest and come to blend with the cheek (not good) or an orange veil, lighter than the cheek and still stands (it's better). But on big competitions, it is what will miss the beautiful bird to be classified in front of the best ones.
I do not know if this extention of color is responsible for the orange back in some males, but whereas for three years I pay attention to the demarcation head-back in my selection of breeders, I noticed that I did not leave of "orange backs" while it happened 7-8 times before.
Another peculiarity of the combination of mutation, the drawing of the belly. This drawing is characterized by orange sparks from the chest, which sometimes go down to the cloaca. I remember participating in the discussion of the French standard when it was re-read a few years ago. Those who wrote it did not want to make this character obligatory (because difficult to obtain? ...). However, it must be taken into account because it can influence the selection of breeders in the wrong direction.
Here is a non-exhaustive list of the difficulties encountered in raising POPN:
- The combination is "fashionable". Many novice breeders choose this color because it is sought after and this "sells" better than a classic gray. This causes a multitude of birds of very poor quality because little worked. People looking for popn birds want finished birds and do not often have a classic strain helpful to the work of the mutation suit. By only making popn X popn (with or without black-face) couplings, the quality of the birds tends to decrease as the generations go by. Another problem is the difficulty of recognizing mutated birds for an untrained eye. Many intermediate birds come out and can put the breeder, sometimes the judge, in doubt. A good PN carrier PO for example and vice versa can appear as a popn. In females it's worse; it is sometimes difficult to recognize a good carrier in po bad popn.
- The gray popn is very different from the brown popn and is more difficult to make, which is understandable with regard to the gray eumelanin in the gray ones. In the selection of the intensity of color, we come out a lot of birds with black discharges in the chest. They are often birds whose rust color is very good and whose back color is gray. Attention, they are very good working birds which, if they are well mated, will give very good birds of competition. Many breeders use popn browns to remove these discards. I agree with that when it is done sparingly. Browns in each generation give in my opinion gray with too creamy belly, back too veiled brown. In my breeding, I use brown females popn sometimes but I try never to put gray brown bearer on brown females. That's why I do not go out of pop brown males. Same goes on classic, I only use gray. I read on a site that it was not necessary to mate gray on brown because the gray would be too veiled of brown, and the brown ones would be too dull. This is true only in the long run. You can get beautiful gray with a mating with a brown female, and beautiful, very hot females with a brown mating or brown X-gray mating.
- Many popn encounters are small. I do not know if it is due to a bad selection or successive mating mutated X mutations. Without going back on classics, I do not think it's possible to improve the size of these birds.
Gray female carrier POPN (Black chest orange chest)