Understanding Gloster Feather
by Don Perez.
Are they called consort pairings or are they called corona pairings? We all know by now that one pairs a consort to a corona when pairing Glosters but are we pairing them to produce show-winning coronas or show-winning consorts? Did you think to yourself and say both? In The House Of Crests, most all pairings are considered corona pairings. Time to rethink our theories. Let’s learn why...
In the beginning, let’s just call them Gloster Pairings…
Based on the many years of research and successes in The House of Crests, there have been numerous facts that have been ascertained through application, observation and detailed study. The resulting facts are being offered as new documented theories as they relate to the pairings of Glosters. These new theories are the basis on which we provide solid clarification if not finally lay to rest the many popular yet erroneous theories found in the fancy.
The first fallacy is that the wide-headed consort can and may be used for the production of show-winning coronas.
These wide-headed consorts instead should be used in the attempt to produce a show-winning line of consorts, if that’s the direction one desires to go. I believe that the majority of wide-headed consorts are a totally different breed of Gloster. Those breeders who win primarily with their consorts tend to generally produce mediocre to terrible coronas from them. Especially those Gloster breeders who focus their energies on working strictly with clear to light variegated consorts and coronas. It is wise to never request show-winning consorts as the good ones will tend to be wide-headed, unless of “coarse” (oops!) course, this is the initial goal. Worthless corona and corona-producing consort young will be the result of any pairings from wide-headed consorts. When selecting the foundation for your own stud, always request matched pairs to be used for the production of a line of show-winning Gloster coronas!
Be aware of the fact that there are fanciers who, mainly because of their lack of knowledge on the subject of proper Gloster pairings and genetics in the birdroom, are year after year continually experimenting. Be aware of the winner on the show bench who after buying in birds wins for a couple years then through improper pairing of the young, ruins the line brought in and begins losing again forcing he or she to buy in again. It’s these same breeders who will mix Glosters coming from some so-called “lines” using an assortment of Glosters in various colors from several breeders in either America, Canada, United Kingdom and/or Europe in their attempt to develop a “line” of winners again. Fact is, they never had a line going to begin with! Some of these same breeders even sell the surplus young that are normally referred to as culls from these experiments to any newcomers that come their way. These same “fanciers” are aware that novices do not know any better when selecting a beginners’ breeding stud and so dispose of their rubbish to these poor unsuspecting souls! Selling the culls from these experiments to those who request their birds will help insure that any offspring the purchaser produces will never beat them in future shows without the purchaser first investing many years of future culling. The “champion” or winner of the breed who sells this type of cull does not know where that novice will appear with any young birds produced from what they sold them so has hedged his win well in advance of the show season! This practice only causes the newcomer to get discouraged causing another hopeful fancier to bite the dust, eventually causing the fancy to continue on its’ decline here in America. Rather than helping the newcomer, we continually have fanciers who regularly win at shows yet refuse to share the knowledge, theories and methods used to achieve these successes. Many have even died with these “secrets” being buried with them!
The second fallacy is that one should request top quality show-winning pairs when looking to purchase stock.
Usually under a knowledgeable and honest judge, the show-winning Gloster coronas are much smaller in size than what one would consider a stock Gloster corona to be. If the judge is selecting specimens in relation to size, according to the standard of perfection, which states “to the diminutive”, these winning corona Glosters would be considered smaller Gloster coronas then any stock coronas would be. One should rarely, if ever, pair two show-winning Glosters together. This practice will only result in smaller and smaller Glosters that will be lacking in type and/or substance. It amazes me how many fanciers who purchase matched pairs from me end up pairing together offspring that are more to the smaller side the following year only to come back a couple of years later looking for “muscle birds!” One should pair a medium or larger sized stock bird to a smaller show-winning bird in order to produce per nest of say four eggs, two stock birds and two show birds. Fanciers should also use the quantitative pairing method to produce the numbers needed to succeed. Properly matched pairings for success in producing a line of show-winning Gloster coronas should yield each season, stock corona-producing consort cocks, stock corona-producing consort hens, stock and show corona cocks and finally stock and show corona hens! And we are not even talking about all the color varieties yet!!
What is meant by suggesting the use of the quantitative pairing method and how is it done, one might ask. To start our “families” or line one must produce numbers from the initial pairs or trios purchased. Regardless of from whom one has acquired the initial stock, one must raise quantities of youngsters to ascertain what is being produced. One must find through test mating cocks to hens, that pre-potent cock that is passing on most all the fine characteristics one is looking for. With the Gloster there are many features one is trying to obtain as well as many faults they are trying to eliminate depending on the source of the original stock.
The real secret is all in a complete understanding of feather and of course working with quality stock out of as pure a line as one can acquire.
Let me attach some lines of information sent in reply to others who've asked about feather as it applies to the Gloster:
There is much to learn, which has yet to be offered for publication either here in North America and even the United Kingdom when it comes to understanding feather and proper pairings with our Glosters.
Many have attempted to clarify this by writing about their own experiences but the terminology, examples and/or illustrations accompanying their published material, as good as some of those writings may be, still do not clarify the issue of feather. Both the novice and established breeder are continually striving to improve their stud and thus must continually strive to absorb as much correct information on this subject as possible in order to be successful in their quest.
A question from one fancier here in America who e-mailed asked if a Gloster consort with a brow over its' eye was the type to use in the breeding program. It was assumed he was asking about a consort with a brow. It was suggested that he must read an article written many years ago by a good friend, completely addressing the subject of feather. The name of the article was: "Feather Quality, Breakfast of Champions". The sad fact is that because of the lack of visual examples accompanying the article, one is not able to match the terminology with a visual. Without seeing an actual bird or accurate example illustrating the exact feather mentioned, the fancier will usually misunderstand what the difference in feather texture is.
Many people do not understand feather in canaries and it is worse with the Gloster because many breeders have used buff-to-buff pairings for years without paying attention to the matchings of the buff feather color, richness or degree thereof, texture, length or width. It is very difficult to describe these differences in order to allow the reader to understand accurately without a visual. We must depend upon the author checking the end result of the finished printed piece for color consistency and quality during the printing process to accurately illustrate the accompanying text. Most fanciers are forced to actually see each of the various representatives of the breed in person and have it explained by a successful and knowledgeable breeder who has a complete understanding of the subject. Beginning this year when a fancier requests and purchases Glosters from The House Of Crests, a full description the feather of each bird they are receiving so they can see the differences in every bird contained in the shipment. This helps the fancier understand the reasoning behind why they are paired the way they are. It is best to answer questions on feather at a bird exhibition for it is there where one can usually find examples of most of the textures available.
As for that question about the use of a consort with a brow, it is assumed he was referring to the extent of brow on the consort. If it's a medium-feathered consort, it can be valuable. Sad to say, because of the years of pairing errors by breeders, most of the Glosters out there continually seem to come down with lumps or feather cysts. These lumps are as a result of long-feathered, buffed out Glosters being paired together. One can be given a basic route to go in the pairing of either browy or non-browy consorts based on long and short feather as a reason for the browiness or non-browiness as a starting point.
When pairing long-feathered consort cocks to short-feathered corona hens, I tend to use the consort cock with the most browiness. If I'm pairing long-feathered corona cocks (like the corona cocks you see on my site) to short-feathered consort hens, I tend to use the consort hen with the least amount of browiness but one that possesses an excellent rise over the head plus as much of a roundness of body (typiness) as possible and finally, the hen must be as short as possible. The same is the case if the sexes were reversed in either scenario. Always pair long to short feather to get a balance. Pairing two short-feathered Glosters together will result in most cases in producing narrow-bodied Glosters with poor, coronas that are much too short and consorts with pinched entrances in the head. Pairing two long-feathered Glosters together (which is what most Gloster breeders do with disastrous results to increase the length of the crest) will result in most cases in producing wide-bodied, profusely feathered, lump-producing, oversized Glosters, which will begin to look like poor examples of Columbus Fancies or small, coarse, very loose Old Variety Crested Canaries. The consorts will begin to get zippers and splits on the back and weskits (half-vests) on the chest, looseness in the flanks and heavy, coarse browiness. The coronas will begin to get zippers and splits on the back and weskits on the chest, looseness in the flanks and heavy crests with splits and bald-spots in the back of the neck above the zippers.
And we've not even touched upon long-wide and long-narrow feather or short-wide and short-narrow feather in intense and non-intense colored Glosters yet!! Most people are not aware of the secrets of the feather, regardless of the breed of canary and that is why you see so many buying from all over the place and winning for a year or two then their losing streak kicks in forcing them into selling the rubbish and buying from all over the place - all over again!! Why, because of their lack of study when it comes to feather and what to do with it in their own birdroom. Most breeders understand the very basics, like yellow and buff and short and long and wide and narrow, yet they cannot identify all these feathers on their very own birds!! When yellow is mentioned, it does not apply to the amount of clarity or extent of pigment in the feather either. (There is even one person in the fancy here in the States who is now quite politically connected and is even judging who over some time ago requested Glosters from me. After this persons' first breeding season, she asked to return a yellow-ground green consort that was sold to her the previous year, per her request of wanting a yellow! It was probably the most valuable bird I had sold that year, yet she still wanted to return it! She did however keep the young and they became the foundation of her winning line at the time! Someone else that same day at the show where we met to return this bird wanted a yellow-ground, knowing the value of such a Gloster bought it right there in my hotel room and it never made it back to my birdroom!)
There are Gloster fanciers around the world who write about how impressive The House Of Crests Glosters look after seeing the many examples on the web site. They comment on how much richness of color they have yet still the length of feather on the corona is tremendous! That, my good fancier, is by design! Take a look at many of the Glosters on sites or on the show bench and pay particular attention to the mealed-out or washed-out look of these examples of the breed. Have you noticed all the coarse feathering of Glosters these days? It is not a recent phenomenon for it has been apparent in the breed since the early 70's. It simply has not improved on the majority of Glosters seen. No wonder so many people get discouraged and find another breed to work with after only a few years of having Glosters.
It would be wise for everyone, in order to understand feather in Type Canaries and especially Gloster Canaries, to refer to a yellow-ground canary as an intensive and a buff-ground as non-intensive as is done with Colorbred Canaries. More on this in my next article on Feather
Glosters are always paired corona (crested) to consort (non-crest) as a rule in this birdroom. However one reads of many, in a desire to produce winning consorts, pairing consort to consort.
There are two facts you must ponder when considering consort-to-consort pairings.
Fact number one; the offspring are almost worthless for use in any future production of show-winning coronas. ALWAYS!!
Fact number two; the reason why the Gloster breed was developed and exists today is because of the corona (crest).
To me the corona is the pinnacle or should I say, the "crown" of the breed!!
Why raise the Gloster to begin with if not for the production of a canary with a corona on it? And if you decide you want to raise Glosters for the corona, then raise them to produce the most perfect coronas that you possibly can! Look around. See what’s out there. I’ve said it time and time again and as I attend show after show to see what fanciers are producing today, I find I am forced to say it again; mediocrity is everywhere! If you’re going to do it, do it right!
Pairing buff to buff consorts together for one or more years in order to increase the length and thereby increasing the droopiness of the crest in future consort to corona pairings to produce coronas like the ones you see illustrated on my web site, as has been suggested by some fanciers, is a fallacy and should be avoided at all costs! This will set not only your consorts back but your coronas as well and very possibly to a point beyond any return! Careful!
This is why the focus of all efforts year after year should be and is on the perfection of the corona on the Gloster and all consorts should be bred for their corona-producing gene pool in order to consistently stamp out the super-quality coronas, a small sampling of which you can see on The House Of Crests site.I close with one last important item that will improve discussion, evaluation, purchasing and pairing of our Glosters. That is that it would be wise for everyone, in order to understand feather in Type Canaries and especially Gloster Canaries, to refer to a yellow-ground Gloster Canary as an intensive and a buff-ground Gloster Canary as a non-intensive, as is done with Colorbred Canaries.