The gray male, in qualities and defects
The first zebrafinch on display were far from the ones we now have on our farms. Birds filiform and small resembling in every point the majority of the birds that we currently find at the pet shop at the corner of the street.
Evolution does not know made in a day but it has been relatively fast. Here we will talk about gray zebrafinch, all simply because it is my specialty and that I begin to know it well.
We can observe that gray, which is a classic (called "classic" gray and basic mutations that are: brown, pale back and masked.), Presented in major exhibitions is not very far from the gray perfect. The type and size are for the most part excellent and the difference is mainly on the color.
To identify each descriptive term used in the rest of the article, you can use this diagram : Descriptive terms in zebrafinch.
1. Main defects of gray males
In recent years many defects have appeared in the gray that we have the leisure to see in our exhibitions. I will introduce you to some of them that are for me the most commonly encountered on display or in our farms.
a) The zebra behind the cheeks
For about two years, at least from what I personally noticed, we see traces of welts around the cheek. This defect is rather noticeable in gray cheeks, but fairly recent in gray males. There is still time to eradicate strains of gray before it is fully generalized to gray zebrafinch.
By the similarity to the present defect in the black cheeks, I do not think that we can assimilate it to a factor cheeks black. Indeed this defect appears even in the strains having no affiliation with a strain of black cheeks.
On the other hand we can think that this phenomenon is due to a high concentration of eumelanin (black), which is sought in gray for a very dark back and in the black cheeks for a very deep black color.
b) Tear spreading in the cheeks
Another defect, the tear that gives an impression of diffusion in the cheek by the presence of some black feathers in them, and a line under the eye. Generally in my breeding they are birds that have cheeks of a deep chestnut. I think that still has it, we can equate it with an excess of eumelanin in this area.
c) Overflow from the chest to the flanks
We go down a little on the body of the gray to stop at the junction between the welts, the chest bar and the flanks. In the photos below two faults are visible.
We can notice at the birth of the flanks that the welts seem to spread there giving gray feathers zebra in the middle of the flanks. The demarcation should be in the net ideal.
This defect often goes hand in hand with the second visible on the 2nd picture below :
The chest bar "flows" under the sides which forms a black border more or less thick. Sometimes this border is only a few millimeters in length but sometimes this border extends on all flanks.
Here compared to the defect of flanks presented above, it is added chestnut feathers carrying the white point or is at the base of the latter a black area. I also think that this defect is due to an excess of eumelanin in the flanks.
d) Black task under the beak
The default to note in this photo is the black spot under the beak, sometimes it is a white spot caused by the lack of the last welts. Anyway it is a defect to correct.
e) Lore rising above the eye
This defect is more and more noticed and frequent, it is the lore which goes back well above the eye, whereas it should stop at its lower extremity. This defect is commonly called the spot.
f) Traces of eumelanin in the lores
Another defect more and more common in gray, traces of melanin in the lore.
It comes in several forms, as in the photo above a line connecting the tear and the mustache (characteristic of certain black-sided female strain) or by some small black spots spread over the entire surface of the lore.
g) Zebra in the cheeks
Here, unlike the defect presented earlier in this article, it is not a black spot present in the cheek but zebra.
I have never seen it on show but in my breeding. Not knowing how to explain it, I dismissed the entire lineage. If you have experience with this defect, do not hesitate to share it with me.
h) Faults in tail design and rump color
In this photo we can see two flaws.
The tail checks are in disorder (here the bird is not in condition), according to some judges this defect has become very common among the grays.
Second fault, the rump is not pure white surrounded on each side of a black band, the white area is colored with black in the same way as the tail tiles.
2. The main qualities to look for
a) A successful type
The gray part of the classics the type and the maintenance must be irreproachable. It's for me, imperative qualities that the gray must have since we want to work with him in the direction of exhibitions.
The two birds in picture are identical, however a judge would choose the one below because much more proud, having a better hold than the one above.
Another important point is the alignment between the head, the back and the tail, which must form a straight line.
b) Back color
Let us also illustrate with these photos (above), the color of the back, if the goal is to make gray for the gray, privileged a bird without brown reflection in the back. Be careful, remember that the first year the back is "loaded" in phaeomelanin (brown). Here the gray presented still has pheomelanin on his back due to his young age.
It will be necessary to look for an slate gray color called "bluish" to hope for the best results in exhibition.
c) Drawing of the tail
Let's take a look at the design of the tail tiles, the standard require them aligned well which becomes less and less the case, if you have this quality in one of your gray and it does not have major defects keep it !
d) Structure and color of the head
In the photos below two points can be addressed: The structure and color of the head.
Let's start with the structure and shape of the head which must imperatively remain an important criterion, the color catching up more easily. You will therefore select first by the first point then by the second.
Observe the first picture below, you will notice that the two subjects have a totally different head structure. One of them (from the point of view of defect) is to eradicate from breeding, it is the one on the left which is pinched, in addition to the head pinched the same subject with a beak too long.
Now let's talk about the color, contrary to the 1st point mentioned the gray of better quality is the one on the left, the color of the head being more supported.
It should be noted however that the two subjects are not the same age and the one on the right is much older (+2 years).
Another point that we can note on the head: the hammering, the feathers must present darker traces similar to splinters provoked by a hammer blow on steel.
I hope this article will help you in your future acquisitions and in the selection of your gray male zebrafinch.