My Way of Breeding Albino Budgerigars
A Personal View
by David S Game

Introdution

From the outset I would like to say that these are my experiences in breeding Albino Budgerigars, over a number of years, and not necessarily a definitive article on genetic make up. I leave this to people who have, or claim to have, a vast knowledge on the subject.

Early Beginnings

Like a lot of people first starting in the hobby I bred various different varieties and colours of birds. In fact I would try any that took my fancy. These included Inos, which are Albinos and Lutinos. When I became more experienced in the fancy, and whilst still a Beginner I decided to concentrate on more main stream colours such a Skyblues, Cobalts and Green series birds. I did however keep Dominant Pieds, which did intermix with these colours without any problems.

I tried Albinos again as a Novice and Intermediate, but I bred with these birds during the summer months and during the show season. I have always had a greater interest in breeding birds as opposed to showing them and this was a way of keeping that interest going during the ‘breeding down’ time. I eventually gave my Albinos away to a Beginner as I felt that I wasn’t doing justice to the variety.

In 2006, I bought a Visual Violet Cock and his brother a Violet Dark Green from Bob Francis, of Briton Ferry. These outcrosses were an excellent colour, but they appeared a little small as they were fine feathered, or what is known as yellow feathered, birds. To increase the size they were paired to course feathered, or what is known as buff feathered birds. The Visual Violet was paired to a big Opaline Light Green with a good pedigree. They were totally unsuitable colour wise. The Violet Dark Green was paired to a Cobalt hen.

When the Visual Violet’s chicks first hatched I could see that several of the young had red eyes. This meant that they were Ino hens and the cock must therefore be carrying the Ino gene. The same thing happened in the Dark Green’s nest. A newly hatched Ino chick clearly shows a red eye, this is not to be confused with the reddish eye of a Cinnamon chick. They are an entirely different eye colour. I will put a chart later in this article to try and show the colour expectations of Inos.

These two pairs bred a number of Albino and Lutino Hens and Cocks carrying the Ino gene, or as they are commonly known as splits. The young from one nest were then paired to the young from the other. Cousins are the closest I will ever go when pairing any birds. Any closer and I believe you are asking for genetic problems. All light factored birds were either sold or given away.

Moving Forward

I bought one other Ino into the stud, but all the birds that were crossed into this line came from my own birds. They were either Visual Violet or Cobalt, cocks and hens. I have the view that using the Grey gene into the Albino has a tendency to make the plumage dull and lack that shine.

Years ago I saw some very large buff Albinos that were being shown very successfully by a well known fancier; unfortunately to me they always looked as though they needed a good wash. They didn’t, it was just the way they were bred. Using grey outcrosses constantly you end up with a large percentage of double factored grey Albinos, many of which will look dirty..

My View

When I look at an Albino I do not see a white bird with red eyes. I see a Skyblue, Cobalt, Visual Violet or Grey which is masked by the Ino gene. Under certain florescent light the underlying colour is clear. I found this out purely by accident. So when you see an Albino with a light blue sheen you can say that is a Skyblue. Cobalt has a very slight dark blue sheen but is very white. Visual Violet has a very slight pinkish sheen, but again very white. Grey as I have already said shows a grey sheen, which can make the bird look dull and dirty, in some cases.

For many years Grey birds were of a far better show standard, generally, than the other colours and I think that is why they were used. Today, however, you are just as likely to see a good quality Cobalt or even Visual Violet on the show bench as you are to see a Grey.

Whatever colour you use as an outcross always use a good quality bird or you are just wasting your time. I would never use a Skyblue as an outcross, however good it was, as you are introducing that light blue sheen into the Albinos. It is hard enough to keep it out even with very selective breeding.

When you pair two Skyblues together all you ever breed is Skyblues in whatever variety they are, as you know. Therefore, by pairing two Albinos with a light blue sheen together all you ever breed is Albinos with a light blue sheen. You are breeding all Skyblue Albinos.

You can use these Skyblue Albinos but always to a dark factored bird. Wastage will still occur, in respect to the Skyblue colour but you are reducing it.

Unfortunately, the Albino gene is one that appears to want to make the bird smaller if you repeatedly put Albino to Albino. It is the same with a few other colours. Be very aware of this. Some studs are entirely Albino and do very well on the show bench, but over time the average size of a bird in that stud will reduce without outcrosses of a different colour. I will say that this is my opinion only and some people will disagree with this theory.

Albinos are very popular, at the moment, and getting hold of reasonable quality birds is almost impossible. They are certainly a colour on the up.

Breeding Expectations

Albino Cock x Albino Hen

= 100% Albino Chicks

Albino Cock x Normal Hen

= Normal/Albino Cocks & Albino Hens

Normal/Albino Cock x Albino Hen

= Albino Cocks, Normal/Albino Cocks, Albino Hens and Normal Hens

Normal Cock x Albino Hen

= Normal/Albino Cocks and Normal Hens

Normal/Albino Cock x Normal Hen

= Normal Cocks, Normal/Albino Cocks, Albino Hens and Normal Hens

Please note that you cannot visibly tell a Normal Cock from a Normal/Albino Cock. It only becomes evident when they are used for breeding.

In Conclusion

I hope you find my short note useful. It is not intended to be a definitive guide only a few personal observations.

David S Game

25th.November 2012