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The Recipe For Success

by Roger Carr

Thirty five years ago my father did something that was to profoundly affect the majority of my life. The something he did was to erect a small aviary against his garage and buy me three pairs of budgerigars. Amongst those budgerigars was a Lutino hen, and it was that bird which set me in pursuit of the Ideal.

In those days Lutinos tended to be all color with narrow heads and razor sharp beaks, but there again, this was not unusual as all budgerigars tended to be that way. Many a time I had visitors who would say "Oh, I see you keep canaries as well as budgerigars" to which I would answer "No, the yellow birds are Lutinos, a variety of budgerigars with red eyes".

Since those days the variety has been developed beyond recognition. The true facts are that birds which won for Champions in those days would not even feature in the cards for beginners today. It is often said that color is not as good as it was. This is true. The Lutinos of earlier days owed their color to the fact that they were all fine yellow feathered birds unlike the buff and semi-buff birds of today. Even now it is possible to produce color of equal or better quality than that of the past, but the sacrifice that usually has to be made is the appearance in size. I stress the appearance of size, as the structure of a yellow feathered bird can be identical to that of a buff but the normal visual appearance is that the buff is a bigger bird. It is therefore the quest for the appearance of size that has led to the deterioration in color. The emphasis for all varieties is clearly placed on size, shape, deportment and size and shape of head. With 65% of the total points allocated to these attributes it was obvious that the 35% allocated for color would always become secondary.

In all other respects the bird has been greatly improved. Even the yellow feathered birds are substantially larger with broader heads and greater depth of face. However the head qualities of most Lutinos are still well behind their light green counterparts. Perhaps the reason for this is because the contrast that exists between the yellow face and body color of light green is readily noticeable and therefore any improvement is easily assessed, where as the correspondence lines on a Lutino are not easily identified although they still exist.

One area in which Lutinos invariably seem deficient is frontal rise. Here again the way in which the variety has been enlarged could have a bearing on this attribute. The majority of outcrossings invariably involve a large Lutino cock to an even larger, broad headed, Opaline hen. The result is large buff feathered Lutino hens with broad faces but no frontal rise. When these birds are paired the first priority is to improve color and before frontal rise is considered the stud is normally involved in a further quest for size.

Over the years there have been many well known breeders of Lutinos, the recipe for success is easy. Once you have size just add color, width of face and frontal rise. Or is it once you have color add size, width of face and frontal rise? Or is it....? Never mind, work it out for yourself. That way you will get real satisfaction from the little so and so's.

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