• 8 questions to Jan Van Looy, veteran breeder

    1. Jan, why are zebrafinch ?

    We have always had birds at home.
    My father Lucien then started with the raising of zebrafinch and I started with the Glosters. With these canaries, I always managed to sell the best ! With zebrafinch, I had an illumination.
    R. Jef has been my technical adviser, when it comes to exhibitions that have been Gust U .. Gradually the exhibition results have gone up.
    We did not need more stimulating. So I knew a bird, a little bird even, but that fascinated me.

    Money is not the least motivation. If you do for the money, you have to get rid of the good birds and the quality of your stump drops.

    "So I knew a bird, a little bird even, but that fascinated me"

    2. How is a day at home with your zebrafinch ?

    Zebrafinch are scattered all over the house. The breeding room is in the cellar with 100% neon lighting. There is lighting from 9am until 10.30pm, winter and summer. Breeding starts in mid-December until the end of June, then the nests are removed.
    If the morning at the time of the departure to the school, it is still the darkness, the integral care begin from 16h. It takes one hour a day for care. Every day fresh water acidified slightly, necessary to raise good browns! (in my opinion) The 50 show birds. are in the garage, where they are also "trained". The young go to 4 aviaries in the garden. During the exposure period, care is more intensive.

    3. What are the important characteristics to become a top breeder ?

    A breeder at the top is distinguished from others by "the eye of the master". Everyone can raise zebrafinch, everyone can achieve a good level of breeding. Why so few manage to reach the top?
    What does a breeder see and what does a top breeder see in the same bird ? On the internet forums, fans disapprove pictures of birds of other amateurs. And that you have to analyze it. And yet, if you see the birds of these lovers, they are even worse than the bird they commented on. They will exhibit well with their birds. A class farmer finds more positive points in a zebrafinch than a middle class breeder, even though he may be an exellent healer. To him, you can quietly sell the best, after 2 to 3 years he has nothing left.

    "You must have visibility : The overall image, you must be able to see the image and the details" This, you can learn a little but it must be in you at the beginning.
    Another characteristic of a class farmer is that he knows how to calculate the risk of entering into his strain a zebrafinch with a fault, a risk that another will not try.

    Many of these breeders at the top select as soon as weaning young. If these are not yet beautiful in colors and drawings, the defects of form are already present and are without forgiveness. So for years, I have practically already sold my surplus birds to traders.
    Now I enjoy this severe selection: Tails drooping (I'm sick) still barely reach my stam. As an experienced breeder can / is / is prepared to trade the best birds. A good one for a good one ! I think of several very good breeders with whom I could exchange.

    4. What are, in increasing order of importance, your selection criteria for mating ?

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  • Talk about the intermediate heritage

    Parler de l heritage intermediaire 1

    If you ask at a meeting of zebrafinch lovers questions about the genealogy of the masked, pastel, or black cheeks, we are certain to receive the correct answer.
    But if we ask the genealogy question about the format (size), the shape of the head or the length of the beak, the answers will be multiple and different.
    Some will say intermediate, others dominant, etc.

    Nevertheless these characteristics follow the laws of Mendel. Many breeders do not believe this explanation, but it is true. It seems that laws no longer behave strictly as in other color mutations. A wider variation in format (size), shape of the head, etc ... seems normal.
    In nature, we find in zebrafinch the same variation in the format. And, in the process of domestication, this difference in variation has increased. Our cultivated zebrafinch are on average two centimeters wider than their ancestors in the wild.
    In articles, one always recommends a hard selection at the level of the format and the model taking into account the differences between the parts like the head, the body, etc.

    But the format and the model are directed by the genealogy. The body shapes are driven by factors.
    The question is: Is there a relationship between the different factors that governs the format, the model, the shape of the head and the beak ?

    In my opinion, these factors are independent of each other. Lesser quantities of zebrafinch are found in the correct size and type of beaks, and there are no good-sized zebrafinch; the right kind of beak alone, etc. This is not an advantage in breeding a good size and hard selection is the only way to improve these characteristics.

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  • Black breast chest orange gray

    Le diamant mandarin gris popn 1

    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).

    Le diamant mandarin gris popn 2

    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.

    Le diamant mandarin gris popn 3

    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.

    Le diamant mandarin gris popn 4

    Gray female carrier POPN (Black chest orange chest)

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  • How to create a strain according to its objectives

    1. Set your goals

    First of all, I think it is necessary to target and define its objectives : Choice of mutations to select, study of the characteristics of or mutation(s) chosen, knowledge of the type of genetic transmission, create a network of breeder succeptible to work on similar goals to have topics of departures. Breeders will have to trust your project and your insight. They will also be concerned about the future of their ceded birds.
    Conditions sinequanone to then begin the construction of a strain and begin a selection to tend towards your objects defined as any project.

    Finally, define your idea of the bird you want to get. Not to mention the characteristics of the mutation or combination in which you project yourself.

    2. Tips for getting started

    Choose the starting zebra finch with as few defects as possible. Make sure you do not start with birds with an uncertain genotype.
    Example: If you have a project to build a strain of gray, check if they would not carry a mutation to hereditary recessive (as black breast, black cheeks).

    Question the breeder giving you your first specimens, asked to see the parents to be better fixed. Observe the different qualities and points of improvement of each one with the zebra finch that you want to achieve.
    Observe the harmony and all the birds of the breeder, a homogeneity will make you appear a good job of the breeder.

    3. What is a stump

    It is necessary to represent the stump of a tree, its trunk and its branches. Composed of ancestors, descendants, sisters, brothers, etc. Different methods exist depending on the type of genetic transfer of the mutation or combination raised to advance a strain.

    4. Importance of zebra finch known as "Work"

    In a strain there will be zebra finch called "work": Intensive, most typed, short, long .. These working birds will have more often and in particular one or more strengths.
    It is they who will allow you to reach your goals, do not neglect them.

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  • The state of mind of a breeder

    Through several media, we sometimes read affirmations or the establishment of what could be called "recipes of cooking" concerning the elevation of our zebrafinch.

    I think that of a general nature these can mislead us and even prevent us from really advancing. It is therefore always a shame to want to freeze certain unfounded and constructive rules in this way.

    What is the state of mind of a true breeder, worthy of the name?

    We have a great passion, it's often what I'm told when I introduce it to neophyte friends.
    It takes a lot of time, investment sometimes on our life .. If we want beautiful results in breeding. We each have a vision sometimes different from the bird we seek to achieve through our patience and perseverance that can sometimes be counted in years.

    A passion where there are no recipes all made as there are settings. Making the experience, the observation of the breeders the main base.
    We will agree that this happens primarily in the breeding room, in front of the birds and that the results are not fast food way! Impatient or adept of "I want / I" abstain.

    A breeder, a true .. With a great patience and cultivating the humility, will be the most often discrete and will avoid most often to affirm knowing that the genetics, the selection has innumerable facets and that there is always in to learn.

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  • Breeding and selection of gray zebrafinch

    1. Introduction

    The zebrafinch gray comes from the wild type. It corresponds to the original type of the mandarin diamond.
    It is therefore not strictly speaking a mutation. However, the gray zebrafinch we know so far, is very different from its Australian ancestor. Following a selection by the breeders, the type, the size and the color of it have evolved a lot.

    2. Interest

    Since gray is the basis of the existing mutations in the gray series (gray breast black, gray chest white, gray dôs pale, etc), the breeding of it is essential for the survival of all these mutations. The zebrafinch gray will thus "regenerate" all these mutations.

    3. Who is grazing for ?

    The breeding of gray zebrafinch is recommended for beginners and can also become very exciting for the more experienced.
    Indeed, despite an attraction at first glance less spectacular than a zebrafinch with orange or pastel colors his breeding is even more interesting.

    Femelle grise

    4. Breeding

    as a general rule, the reproduction of gray does not pose any particular problem, laying, brooding and feeding will take place without any problem.

    The coupling to practice is gray x gray. Care should be taken never to introduce a mutant or mutant zebrafinch to keep a pure strain.
    For differences between male and female it may be wise to build two strains: One that will bring together the birds with the qualities required to make good male and one that will meet the qualities of females.
    The youngsters will need a period of time to complete their development, they will be kept a few months before making a selection to be exposed or / and the next breeding season.

    5. Selection

    The selection of the grays will be done on the type, the size, the drawings and the color of each part of the bird (back, belly, cheeks, flanks,

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