Pigeon Genetics News Letter
Issue 11 July 1959
Edited quarterly by W. F. Hollander, Genetics Department, Iowa State University, Ames. Sponsored 1959 by Iowa State University Agricultural Experiment Station.
Considering all the additions, subtractions, and the flight to the suburbs, I think a complete revised mailing list should be issued, maybe for next January (if we survive).
Please observe that Iowa State College, after celebrating its centennial in 1958, has in 1959 had its name upgraded to Iowa State University of Science and Technology.
In the newspapers about April 13 are reports of research on atherosclerosis of pigeons (see PGNL 8 page 2). Doctors T. B. Clarkson, H. B. Lofland, R.W. Prichard, and M.G. Netsky at the Bowman Gray School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, found that Palmetto white Carneaux developed this condition while Show Racing Homers under the same conditions did not.
Dr. S. L. Sheinberg, geneticist at the U. S. D. A . Animal Husbandry Research Division, Beltsville, Maryland, says "I've been working on the problem of somatic mutations and using pigeons as my experimental animal. I have found considerable variation in the frequency of non-agglutinable blood cells using Phaseolus lunatus as my agglutinin and, with the range from about .01-.1." These were Racing Homers, he wonders about polyspermy mosaic complications.
C. J. Dominic of India (see PGNL 9 page 1) writes "I am doing research on pigeons (and on other birds) for nearly 3 years. I am mainly interested in the breeding and nesting habits, reproductive cycles etc. of birds. Recently I've submitted a thesis for a doctorate degree embodying the results of my investigations. Shortly I should be publishing some papers on these subjects."
L. A. T. Ballard, Division of Plant Industry, P.O. Box 109, City, Canberra, A. C. T., Australia, inquires what is a good book covering pigeon genetics. Can he get help closer to home?
Wendell Levi writes "at long last, I got a pair of white Laughers from Dr. Prichard. He raised this young pair in Bangkok.... The voice of these birds is most interesting."
The May 1959 issue of "Pigeons and Pigeons World" (see PGNL 7, page 5) features Fantails. On page 7 Richard Armstrong writes of "lace" (silky): "So far as I know Reg Arnold and myself are the only two still working at them." I wonder about the US. Of course several of us still have silky mongrels. Incidentally I have a "slightly silky" mutation, which appeared in a Dewlap by Homer hybrid cock, apparently as a mosaic. From this bird I have three generations of descendents, with clear evidence for dominant inheritance. These birds can fly alright, unless they get wet. I have made no matings to produce homozygotes yet.
Colin Osman writes that he "would like to experiment with Albino White Homers." Well, my Homer albino was out crossed to other breeds. In my experience the albino seem badly handicapped for flying because of poor vision, but they are far from blind. Perhaps stock could be obtained for breeders in New York (see PGNL. 6 page 1). I suggest trying to arrange to have eggs from pairs which have previously produced albinos sent by air mail (very well packed).
P. J. Bihm, is starting to put Polish Lynx stenciling on the English Show Homer. Blue bar, E. S. H. cock by white-barred blue Lynx hen produced "a few blues with bronze bars that are now turning pink, also one the same color as a Silver King, with bronze bars also, which are turning pink... Also, mated blue-black E. S. H. cock to white barred black Polish Lynx hen and got a few blacks with bronze checks that are turning yellowish or pink. Also got a spread black." These results are like those where Starlings etc. have been out crossed.
As suggested in PGNL 5 page 3, the stenciling factors can reveal or unmask checker etc. patterns which would otherwise be hidden by such epistatic factors as recessive red and S. Mickey Calgory agrees and points out that the stenciling in recessive reds may not show up well until after the first molt. (Oriental Frills.) However, he says. "Lavenders (ash-reds) in Frills practically show no clue to pattern especially after the first molt." That suggests a queer interaction; I wonder whether the Starling and Lynx type of stenciling, would be similarly suppressed with SBA.
David Bruce says "there are some local 'barless mealy' Racing Homers that don't wait two generations for the recessive barless to reappear. They are mated to various colored hens." Probably the same old mixup--the combination S BA mistaken for barless; see PGNL 3 page 1. The test is whether they produce S black progeny.
Ben Cichinski comments on his second and third-generation birds out of his Prague Highflyer by Vienna Tumbler cross. (See PGNL 10 page 3.) "It seems that the young crosses which are blue, white-barred resembled the Prague side of the family, and the darker ones with just traces of white barring have cobby-tight bodies, more pronounced eye ceres, and stouter beaks like the Vienna side of the family." A new linkage?
Joe Hochreiter has about 200 Modenas, some from imported W. F. Holmes stock. These include the at present rare grizzle Schietti, developed by Holmes from a cross. Also a color called "Black Bronze" Gazzi. These have the S factor, but show bronze checker pattern. A cock and hen of this color produced a black Gazzi cock, a bronze gazzi hen, a red gazzi,... and a sulfur tricolor gazzi hen." Some Argent back of this??
An inquiry from H. A. Campbell and Son, saying they bought the best black Modenas available, but the color is too dull, lacking sheen, and would a crossed to yellow help? I answered that it
was not propitious, but that oil seeds etc. might help. Or to get genetic factors for sheen, they could try to get grease quills, perhaps from the Hungarian. Other ideas, anyone?
Bob Smith is trying a few unorthodox Modena crosses. "I have a bronze cock, out of an Argent cock by blue gazzi hen, mated back to his mother... Not one gazzi in nine youngsters." Expectations are 50-50; this is really poor luck.... From another mating he got two web-footed squabs.
Dodd Young says a mating of Magnani by bronze Schietti cock produced a short-down yellowish-red son, with no definite flecking. Three similar youngsters also from a homozygous Magnani cock by "black bronze" Schietti hen. He is wondering whether these are the sandy type. My guess is that all are recessive red almond, (" De Roy" color) with minimal flecking. Of course by mutation they could possibly have sandy in place of almond factor, but still with recessive red.
George Neuerburg has a little article "Ever Try Trios?" In the May Los Angeles Pigeon Club Bulletin, page 8. He describes several different arrangements in which Runts, Jacobins, Lahores, and Parlor Tumblers have successfully bred as trios (excess hens).
John Tidwell wants nothing to do with trios and now has 43 individual breeding cages. Ted Smith reports "John handled a cream Tumbler cock in Perce Phillips' loft (Oakland, California) that was supposed to have come from a pair of mealies... Also, this year this cock mated to a Silver hen has produced five young mealies. John bet Perce a steak dinner and that if moved into a pen of Pygmy Pouters they would stop producing mealies." Also John says that if he loses this bet he will snatch me baldheaded. (You are years too late, John!)
Ted Smith asks "is there a correct way in stating the genetic formula of a pigeon, i.e., reduced dilute ash-red with smoky and grizzled, or should it be dilute ash-red, smoky, grizzled, reduced, or etc.? Would the best way be to list the color first and the modifying factors after, with commas like the latter example?" This is purely a matter of preference no rule (PGNL Page 4).
Ted ventures a solution to Graefe's brain teaser of auto-sexing white (PGNL 10 page 2): "Wouldn't one type of white be epistatic to faded and the sex could be seen by the ring on the beak of the hen squabs?" R. G. Silson suggests using down length.
Al Curtis has started a project to produce dilute auto-sexing Runts. He began by crossing silver (= dilute) Runt hens with his auto-sexing Mondains and King cocks. He says one F2 whiteish cock weighed in at two of a half pounds when three months old. Curtis has a very good opinion of short-down birds because of good skin color, and swears that under his conditions (wire-floored individual cages, Purina pellets, and San Antonio weather) there is no differential mortality, in the nest. He notes that a pair of his yellow Giant Homers produced 36 eggs and raised 28 of them marketable, in one year. (New world record?)
Manfred Gottfried is trying to convert his "Copper whites" (auto-sexing ash-red) to the T pattern. He reports slow progress as the T pattern birds have been poor breeders, so far.
H. H. Ford in the American Pigeon Journal for May 8, page 133 has a brief article on "sexing three-week-old squabs". The method is to compare vent sizes (bottoms-up view). He checked this on auto-sexing stock, and says the males consistently have the larger vents.
Ford also has some color problems. He wonders how come "black fowl feathers from long time white Giant Homers," and that is something to cackle about (see PGNL 4, page 4). Perhaps two fathers? Ford is hoping to develop Andalusian blue Kings, and wants advice on how to get acceptable skin color. Smoky might be the best solution, though not easy to work with. Search for one of those occasional smoky blue Kings or French Mondains, cross with an S indigo, mate these together, select and line-breed among the next generations. Simpler ideas, anyone?
Carl Graefe, Earl Klotz, and Frank Nuzzo are trying to get the combination of reduced, indigo, and dominant opal --just to see whether it will look interesting. They would like to check feather samples of George Schroeder's reduced indigo (PGNL 10 page 3).
Graefe and Silson are both skeptical of the accuracy of Schroeder's diagnosis of faded ash-red and faded brown (PGNL 10, page 4). Graefe says "two breaks in what is ordinarily very tight linkage, in two succeeding generations would figure out... dang improbable, unless there is a chance that there is a considerable differences in the tightness of linkage in different individuals." I have seen some feather samples from Schroeder, and they seem correctly diagnosed. He comments "I wonder if many other fellows have 250 pair all mated for some peculiar characteristic of color, size, shape, et cetera, as I have. By selling squabs I'm able to keep costs in bounds. Out of 2000 or 3000 squabs a year, there are only 50 or 100 interesting." On the other hand, feather samples from Silson of his supposed faded ash-red Racing Homers do not seem to have the faded factor.
There is nothing better than a breeding test in case of doubt. George Schroeder cites this case: an almond hen mated with a recessive yellow cock produced a recessive yellow son. "This I thought impossible," he says. So the son was mated with a brown bar hen, and this test yielded an almond. Evidently that "yellow" son was really not dilute, but almond recessive red. If the original yellow sire also had BA, maybe the "yellow" son got that too, in which case this would be the same situation is described by Graefe in PGNL 10 page 2. The breeding test can still tell that.
Marvin Emery reports a unique cross: "I used a fine white Jacobin cock with my last fertile Alinegro--you know, the Spanish breed, which is all white except for black primaries. From them, I got a vigorous male, white, but for a black patch on the hindneck. There was no sign of reverted feathers, crest or hood, but extra long feathers on nape and hindneck. The nape feathers sort of a flop over like in the so-called Lenardos.... He had moderate light red eye ceres. You know, all male Alinegros have wide bright red ceres and the female very pale ceres (auto-sex?). Two young males from son mated back to the mother are almost typical Alinegros with the black flights, another young one in the nest seems to be all white."
Emery also has this comment: "I note that Mr. Chow of Hong Kong writes in the Swedish paper "Svensk Duvavelsforenings Tidsskrift" 1955, number seven, page 50 that there is a Peking Mondain, a large pigeon (male weighs 910 g) that shows sex according to color. Cocks are black with white flights and hens are solid black?" In the Los Angeles Pigeon Club Bulletin for May, page 9, Mr. C. Chow, Hong Kong, China, has a photo of a black Peking Runt; several other colors are mentioned for the breed with the concluding phrase "and are sex-linked." Ambiguous, but intriguing. I hope Emery or his choice of substitute will inquire further and report.
L. F. Tharp hopes Atlanta will have less mosquitoes and pox than he had on the Gulf Coast. "Have 160 pigeons jammed in a 7' x 12' trailer loft. While I get in the loft built.... Had 15 squabs two to two and half weeks old. Put all of them and seven male parents in a 2' x 2.5' x 7' high cage in trailer just before towing. The males fed the squabs, losing only two (465-mile trip)."
Gerald Hobbs writes: "Today by courtesy of the American Giant Homer Association (June bulletin) and William Webber I find that there are right and left handed birds. Also the correct mating of this characteristics gives whip tail birds." Gerald says he'll look into the matter, but I must note the Webber also says the NPA helped with research service, and if that is true it is news to me.
Colin Osman and Dr. Stovin and others in England are looking into the problem of the inheritance of white flights in Racing Homers. As I noted in PGNL 8 page 4, eye ticks, white claws, et cetera, are probably all part of the same story; nobody has investigated the embryology of pigment migration in pigeons, and that may be the clue to the erratic expression of piebaldness. At any rate, we can gather statistics which may be of service, as Osmond et al. are doing; but the genetic factor(s) involved seem probably derived from the Turbit (Smerle), the homozygous pied condition.
George Neuerburg writes "last month (March) when Harold Moise visited the Simi Squab Ranch we saw two three-winged pigeons--the extra wings incomplete and oddly located... Of what value are they?" Genetically probably none; to an anatomist, exciting and puzzling; to a squab producer--well, I had the idea that George was an old newspaperman and knew the value of bizarre Ripley items for publicity. But he proceeds: "the oddities in physical form and/or color that most of us see from time to time bear little relation to the major interest of pigeon fanciers... Judging from the small proportion of pigeon keepers I meet who are interested in off colors and who talk pigeon genetics, I would say that they compromise a very small group. Others, are bored stiff by the subject or dodge the boys who chatter about faded, opals et cetera. Further, however sincere they may be, I have yet to meet more than one or two who I could believe even knew what they were talking about." De gustavus--! All I can say, George, is that the oddities of the past are the breeds of today, and the pigeon fancy may not always be dominated by the narrow minds. One of the main reasons most fanciers shy from genetics is that it is technical, and what they have major interest in is not mental exercise, but titillation.
Neuerburg reports "an ash-red (lavender) Show Homer cock with a black cheek patch on each side... He is out of a black self cock and a white hen." Another most unusual mosaic is reported by Derek Goodwin of the British Museum of Natural History: "about 12 months ago I caught a young feral pigeon in London. It was blue on one side, and a sort of 'dirty-looking' checker on the other, the division being down the center of the body. I gave it to some people in the country who have it still. The difference in the color of the two sides is still more striking now that it is adult plumage, but on handling it I saw the markings were unlike any others I had seen in detail. So thought I'd send you these feathers." This is apparently a mosaic for the S factor, on the left side of the bird; the feathers show a mingling of blue and S and stripes running lengthwise in the feathers.
Pigeon Genetics News Letter
Issue 12 October 1959
Edited quarterly by W. F. Hollander, Genetics Department, Iowa State University, Ames. Sponsored 1959 by Iowa State University Agricultural Experiment Station
This issue completes three years for our newsletter. For the next issue, a complete mailing list is to be included, but names of petrified persons will be dropped. When did you last write? Why not blow off steam now!
A. Nielson Hutton has sent me an example of a good illustrating-cut for mimeograph work. Unfortunately, we here do not yet have the facilities available for this. We have hopes, however.
Sam Shadeed, is going out of the "pigeon business". Most of you will recall that Sam imported many unique and lovely breeds and varieties from Damascus, Syria a few years ago. Notable were the Dewlap types and Lebanons. Of these I obtained the Mawardi (" Rose water") and the Miroite. (Shickli Ahmar) to try to analyze.
I would like to know who could tell me where these breeds are now being bred. Anyone else interested in some sort of a census or index of rare breeds? I imagine Macklin is. Breeds are both products of and raw material for genetic work, and should be readily available at need, nicht wahr?
Shadeed also poses me a question: "The Moos-Sulli which I imported from Syria used to tumble inside the coop. But their offsprings none of them tumble. Why?" Maybe an age effect, as in Parlor Tumblers?
Wendell Levi reports on the Laughers: "we have the adult pair, four young flying, and one youngster in the nest." He wonders whether other color factors are hidden in these white birds. Well, some crossing would tell.
H. H. Ford leaves the squabbing world momentarily to ask "why couldn't a pigeon be developed with the green or purple sheen you see on the throats and necks of some pigeons, and on the necks of Mallard ducks?" The Green pigeon problem is discussed briefly in PGNL 4, page 2, but not specifically with regard to sheen. As Herr Moebes has reasoned in several articles, obtaining green and domestic pigeons by crossing with species of fruit pigeons having green plumage is very unlikely, as the hybrids would almost certainly be sterilize best. (Pigeons and
Pigeons World, 1957, volume 7, number six, page 2; Gelügel- Börse 17 July 1959, volume 80 number 14, page 4). He concludes that we must be satisfied with sheen such as we have seen in the black-wing (dark bronze) Archangel. The genetics of sheen is not well studied; I think it is associated without exception with the "grease-quill" effect. Introducing S into the dark bronze Archangel in my experience gives a very black glossy black without any bronze. Not quite green, but much sheen.
Frank Nuzzo writes that Carl Graefe and he "were discussing the possibility of the Snow Pigeon [of the Himalaya Mountains] (Columba leuconota) as the ancestor of the (Gazzi) Modena. This pigeon has three visible brown bars and a fourth concealed by the tips of the overlying feathers. (Modena breeders have third bar trouble.) Could the brown be Modena bronze? It also has a somewhat Gazzi pattern." They had looked at the painting in Baker's book "Indian Pigeons and Doves". Well, A. Ghigi of Italy also had the same thought after seeing live leuconota in C. O. Whitman's collection some 50 years ago. He crossed a female with a Gazzi Modena cock and raise three hybrids to maturity (one male, two females). Only one female laid eggs, but none was fertile. The male hybrid was fertile with females of three domestic breeds, and raised many quarter-bred progeny, which were fertile with one another. Ghigi says the hybrids showed the moorhead pattern, but the body and neck plumage were somewhat pigmented, not pure white. The courting behavior and cooing were unusual. He was sold on leuconota having played a role the origin of a number of domestic types.
Recently, I looked over some more literature on Indian pigeons. One was "Drafts for a Fauna indica. 1. The Columbidae, or pigeons and doves," by Edward Blyth, in the Annals and Magazines of Natural History, 1847, volume 19, pages 41-53, 98-108, and 179-186. Rock pigeons are described page 101-105, and on page 102 he says "the tame Indian pigeons are as clearly derived from the wild Columba intermedia as those of Europe are from C. livia." (C. intermedia has since been demoted to a subspecies of livia since it's only difference is in having a bluish rump.)
Another item I looked at was the book "The Nests and Eggs of Indian birds", by Allan O. Hume and E. W. Oates, 1890 (London: R. H. Porter). In volume 2, page 362 it is stated ".... There is in India a race of pigeons, one of the feather-footed ones (Papoosh), commonly known as Rajah of Putteealas breed, whose eggs (at least to judge from those of a pair I kept) are as distinctly of an ivory tint as those of the most characteristic egg of Turtur Tranquebaricus." Which reminds me of a blue check racing homer hen I had years ago, that laid buffy eggs. Her crossbred progeny laid only white eggs.
I have a letter from Larry Gamby, who is all fired up to put Modena tricolor (Bronze check) on Racing Homers. He had read an article on color inheritance in the Racing Pigeon Bulletin by James C. Foster. Foster said that "red" is dominant and that cocks have two genes for it and the hen only one. This made the matter so crystal clear that the project seemed child's play.
Frank Nuzzo says his attempts to get "Tippler red" (Brander) color on Homers have so far produced "a lot of very bronze grizzles". He has had more success with other projects: "Have a spread brown Modena, and Andalusian Modena, and a fair type almond King." He asked, what is the genotype of isabelle or isabelline color. "Is it a white bar yellow? If so this would have to be recessive yellow. Then the bars should be masked by the yellow." No, stenciling factor
apparently can unmask the bars. (See PGNL 11 page 2)
Speaking of white-barred yellow, Ben Cichinski, has a different situation: "I have a pair of dark dominant opal Prague-Vienna crosses, both have traces of whiteish wing bars. This pair has raised three yellow white barred youngsters. In all three young the white barring molted out and now they are solid colored yellow. This is the exact opposite of what happened with the dominant opal young that were more or less solid colored in juvenile plumage and white or whiteish barred in adult plumage." Apparently dominant opal does not behave like stenciling factors.
Dr. Shafer writes that he is now aiming "to produce a black spangled Bokhara Trumpeter", with Ice Pigeon as a source of spangling. His previous Bokhara crosses used Swallows and Spots.... He says. "Strangely enough the black Trumpeters, although crossbred and bred down from a Black Fairy Swallow cross, are going to be better than the reds and red mottles. A young black hen has just won best Trumpeter in the last two shows."
Merle W. Moore, inquires about how to breed "Saddleback American Giant Show Homers". I suggested crossing White Giants with Black Turbits as a start. Anyone have a simpler idea?
Amos Hudson says he is trying for almond Show Racers. "Also have andalusians, opals and faded that I am working with."
Gerhard Hasz writes "come and see my birds. I have lots of enigmas." One is a presumed spread ash indigo. Another is a presumed "DeRoy" almond, ash-red Giant Homer.
Joe Frazier says "This year I had a pair of indigo's that gave me quite an assortment. The cock is spread and the hen checked. They hatched two blue checks, a dilute spread indigo, an orange? check, a dilute indigo check, a homozygous indigo with webbed feet, two blacks, two andalusians. Two of these also had a frill on the breast and throat." I'd guess that "orange" was dilute homozygous indigo, a combination probably not previously concocted.
David Bruce has solved a puzzle. He had what appeared to be an almond with a lot of dark (faded) splotching, bred by L. F. Tharp. This bird, a cock, was supposed to be out of the faded ash-red cock to an ash-red German Beauty Homer hen. Bruce mated the almond to a blue hen and got five ash-red, and 2 dilute faded young. So he wasn't almond, but faded ash-red. (And his sire was apparently some other faded male.)
G. Fred Wirrer, writes me that he is working on auto-sexing kings, and hopes to develop something super.
George Neuerburg comments "auto-sex birds interested me a lot and I had a fair-sized flock of them for a couple of years. Objections to the unattractive colors and markings and difference in squab skin color between the sexes led me and others I know to abandon them." These are flaws that can be eliminated, and apparently have been in some strains, by the addition of the smoky factor, and perhaps others. Manfred Gottfried's "copper-whites" seem to be booming. He says:
"Somehow my loft has managed to hitch onto the stock market for June and July, so good that the numbers of squab's produced has run 55% ahead of the 10 year average for the first half of the
year. I am beginning to get some pretty good T pattern hens.... In breeding out to get T pattern I have had a lot of practice trying to tell the hemizygous from the heterozygote. I have got fairly good at it. Of course it is easy, if there is flecking, but I am still fooled at times. There are modifying factors that sometimes produces squab with darker or lighter coloring than it has any right to, and the beak varies considerably; even the down is not uniform. I was thoroughly puzzled by a squab today until I realized it was a recessive red--the first that has turned up in my loft.
"I suspect that some of the color variations are not even due to modifiers but simply to slight variations in the auto-sexing or ash-red genes. In the greenhouse I grow some Vinca rosea --it is pleasant to bring in the house in midwinter. It's genetics is apparently simple: there is a white type and a rose type, and the heterozygote is white with a rose center. However in practice the size and perhaps the intensity of the rose center can vary considerably. My guess is that a minor accident in the chemical process of reproduction accounts for these variations.
"Why shouldn't this be so? As a young man I used to have great faith in business bookkeeping, but I've grown more sophisticated now know that the best... bookkeeping numbers and facts approximate each other in business; how can they be expected to be do better in genetics?" Well, no doubt Mendel has given up whirling in his grave by now.
George Schroeder writes, "from my almond Flying Homer pen, getting pure white cocks normal in every respect (but short-or minus down). Instead of killing them as I did last year I'm going to test make them to blue checks to see if I get almonds or splashes." Carl Graefe says "if anyone should succeed in developing a family of almond where homozygous males are substantially normal, might make a strain of a auto-sexers out of them."
Schroeder sends feathers of his supposedly reduced indigo (PGNL 10, page 3; PGNL 11, page 4). No indigo visible--just reduced. Progeny test?
Ray Gilbert gloats "I have the best Parlors and English SF Tumblers I have ever owned; all with screwy almond combinations etc." But then he sobers up: "the whole business of biology is becoming strictly biochemical and biophysical to the point where many of us are lost in the woods. What's the next breakthrough now that they know about DNA, RNA, the helix structure, etc.?" Well, my crystal ball is a bit foggy, but I'd say the next big discovery should be on the biochemical basis of the spindle interaction, so that can rejuvenation of differentiated cells can be accomplished. Then we can grow pigeons in test tubes from feather germs. Ha!
A. Nielson Hutton enters the investigation of the color of that "barless" blue Racing Homer (PGNL 9 page 4). Colin Osman and Dr. Stovin arranged a breeding test of this bird, called the "Somerset cock", with a smoky blue w. f.. hen, and photos of the four progeny were published in the Racing Pigeon, April 18, page 226. Two were smoky blue checkers and two smoky blue bars. Hutton says "Colin Osman, let me see one of these youngsters; the moment I saw it I recognized that it carried opal. Colin would not have it, declaring that the bleaching was the result of the youngster being reared during a spell of severe weather. This is not so, because the webbing of the feathers was normally formed, not thinned out." Well, opal is a bit tricky all right; I'd judge by the bleaching in the tail in such borderline cases, not the wings.
Hutton also notes two more mixups: "A fancier wrote me saying he had bred a single-bar blue. I traveled some this distance to see this bird, but it was simply an opal bar with the upper bar bleached out. The second was an alleged case of a blue turning to a blue checker. Actually it was not a checker, but a heavily marked dapple (smutty) [sooty] usually described as a slatey blue checker."
August Fank, “The Grafton Printer”, has written to me and to the experiment station office occasionally about Homing Pigeons. Here are two excerpts: in 1957, he said. "I am in the midst of publishing the first edition of what I hope will be an annual list of the 1000 mile racing pigeons." He promised to send me a copy, but I never got it. He added "a good homing pigeon will home from any direction without training or exercise." He has been breeding since 1909, keeping careful records since 1929. "The problem is to systematize metal ability factors according to Mendel laws."
A year ago, Fank wrote me, "I have been trying to find a linked intelligence factor which can govern the homing ability. Before the war I advanced the theory that there is no such thing as homing instinct, and that migratory ability is by eyesight, primarily, and the ability to use "what they have between their ears".... After 50 years of keeping Racing Homing pigeons in different parts of this country and Europe on war duty, I find that most researchers are doing what has been done before.... In 1947 I wrote a short outline of Mendel's laws as a guide to study genetics. Since then I came to the conclusion that the study of Mendel, himself, was the actual key to factors relating to intelligence." Fank has also studied common pigeons. Incidentally, Life Magazine, September 28, has a feature article on "Wonders of the Bird Migration."
Robert G. Essex, writes "I always heard that ink-marked reds and silvers are cocks (ones with black ink). If so, then I have a young hen that doesn't know this, for she just laid."????
Herman Smith is getting new combinations--reduced indigo, milky indigo, reduce dilute indigo, et cetera. Mostly Fantail mixtures. Also has almond in nearly show-type Fantails. He got a faded mutant out of the almond crosses.
Harold Gordon says the S. F. Berlin Tumbler with tail-feather "thumb marks" (Star tail? PGNL 4, page 2) has bred, and that her "son mated with unrelated hen produced a youngster with all of its tail feathers" so marked. Harold also notes "when I enter the loft at night and flash a light into the eyes of the birds, some toss their heads, open their mouth as if to yawn, and blink their eyes. So far only Parlor Tumblers of dilute colors almond sub-colors and ribbontails, all pearl-eyed." Finally he also says he observes a sex difference in eye-cere redness now (see PGNL 11, page 4), though it one time he did have Ancient hens with brighter red cere. "In my Moreheads, those that have red eye ceres have it until they are 1 1/2 years old, and then it fades away (usually males)."
One mosaic to report at this time, from England-- Werner Moebes calls my attention to an item in "Fur and Feather" (Idle, Bradford, England), August 6, page 694: a Pygmy Pouter "bicolor or half sider, its coloration on one side of the body being mealy and on the other blue... Bred by Mr. H. N. Leighton."
Pigeon Genetics News Letter
Issue 13 January 1960
Edited quarterly by W. F. Hollander, Genetics Department, Iowa State University, Ames. Sponsored 1960 by Iowa State University Agricultural Experiment Station
The Question and Answer department conducted by Wendell M. Levi in the American Pigeon Journal has been steering interested amateurs hither for a long time. Wendell gets all sorts of questions on genetic matters. One which tickled me much was in the August issue, page 253: "has there been any attempts to crossbreed different doves or pigeons to bring back the Passenger Pigeon?"
In the November APJ, Wayne Grant writes about color-breeding puzzles in Rollers. He mated a pair of reds and got a black squab. Since the sire's parents were both red, while the dam was out of a black cock by red hen, he concludes "so that's where the black squab comes from, it's grandsire." H'mmm: he must've been in the same coop, too.
In the same (November) issue of APJ. there is an article by F. T. Finch on "Constitutional vigor in pigeons." With its blissful unawareness of Darwin and of Genetics, the piece might have been written a century or more ago.
Robert G. Essex (see PGNL 12 page 5) has sent me a "feed-blind" Racing Homer, from a family that has previously produced some others. Unlike "clumsy" this bird does not show uncertain head movements, and the pupils of the eyes remain widely open. I hope to get a breeding test.
The question by Merle Moore on how to breed "Saddleback" Giant Homers (PGNL 12 page 5) has received two better answers. John Tidwell suggested the use of Turbit-marked Show Racers, and George Neuerburg, saddle Racing Homers.
George Neuerburg wonders about the proper definition of the French word "miroite": "my French dictionary gives many meanings, but none of them come close to the color of the red Carneau or to pigeons for that matter.... 'glittering' and 'shiny' seem to be the closest." Well, Boitard and Corbie already employed the term in their book in 1824, and their illustration shows the "ribbontail" effect (red with white tail band and flight tips). The Syrian term "Shickli" seems to refer to the same thing as well as other stenciling.
Paul Steiger writes that the winter show (December 11-13) in Louisville was to have "an all-breeds rare color class.... will be judged for the rarest color only.... As to who will judge this class, I would say the first 'color expert' the walks in the door. (I hope Graefe walks in.)"
In the October Los Angeles Pigeon Club Bulletin, William Penson has an interesting article on Laughers, but no photos. (See PGNL 11 page 1.) Also in the same bulletin the formation of a Pacific Karakand Fantail-Tumbler club is announced, Boone Wray, Secretary.
W. McCrary writes that he is "still working on the argent-marked utility Giant Homer." Also other colors such as "orange", blue bar less, "yellow-dun." (khaki?)
Ted Smith has more "Baldhead" trouble (see PGNL 3 page 1) in the Mookees: "the same story most of the time--white flights, low head cut. Good head cut, no white flights." Probably can be interpreted in terms of pigment cell migration during embryonic stages (see similar notes on Osman and Stovin, PGNL 11 page 5).
Ted notes than in his "Moo-Angels" there is a novelty-- the Archangel bronzing "seems to have 'slipped' from the neck into the wing coverts in the checker pattern." And speaking of angels, he asked me what is my favorite breed. Now Ted, why should I lavish partiality on a man-made contrivance, held together largely by an arbitrary name and tradition? But I must confess and there are a lot of good points about my porcupines.
Manfred Gottfried is puzzled about a youngster from an auto-sexing mating. The color, to judge from feathers he sends, is just in between the usual cock and hen colors. I am guessing it is in intersex, since about 10 years ago I had a bird just like this. The bird was killed when mature as it failed to breed, and only a small lumpy sex gland was found. Maybe the cause was some sort of chromosomal "unbalance".
Wilmer Miller continues to experiment with hand-feeding squabs from hatching. He reports that powdered milk and condensed milk solidified in the crop so that the.squabs starved, dying after 36 hours. "In great contrast I have just started Gerber's meat-based milk formula, which includes D3 and which seems to go through the squab well." A later note says the squab looked okay at 13 days. But then got some breathing difficulty and was dead the next day.
Del James complains "one pair of birds on the 23rd squab out of 24 eggs came up with the youngster having polydactyly on one rear toe with no others having had it." For a recessive gene segregating that certainly is a low ratio. However, the penetrance and expressivity of this gene are very unstable, so I feel confident that both parents are heterozygotes.
Herman Smith reports that he has become new owner of all of Jim Telford's birds (PGNL 10 page 1). Jim is out of the game again for a while.
R. J. MacArthur (see PGNL 8 page 5) writes me that he is now about set to begin a real experiment on the effects of "pumping"--to see how many actual eggs can be obtained with regular robbing, over a year or more. He plans to have highly favorable conditions, to prevent hens "breaking down".
Marvin Emery has been combing S. Jürgens book of standards ("Musterbeschreibungen") published in 1951. He asks what sort of sex linkage is involved in the "Thüringer Einfarbige", as indicated by this statement: "Hellgrundfarbig, gelbgrundfarbig (weingelb) und blaugrundfarbig als geschlechtsgebundene Täuberfarben." It makes no sense to me. Perhaps Moebes can explain it?
LeRoy Reed writes "I've been doing some crossing of doves and pigeons. Ringneck dove female and Turbit pigeon. I have several young, and I have a young from a ringnecked female and Budapest cross. I know of a man who has ringnecked and Chinese Owl crosses." Wendell Levi has a recent note from Dr. Monsour (PGNL 10 page 3) that states he has already raced two of his
hybrids (from Ringneck sire by Racing Homer damn) up to 100 miles. (See also PGNL 9 page 2).
Speaking of crosses, Reed Kinzer writes "I'm still sold on the close inbreeding principles.... So far well pleased in the results.... Both Fans and Turbits. Have just gotten back into Jacobins.... They're in for the same treatment. Our Keystone strain-cross Leghorn--which is a cross between two inbred lines--ended up in the top quartile in both N. Y. and Pennsylvania Random Sample Laying Contests this year so I can see no reason why the same program wouldn't work in the show-pen." He also has started with ringneck doves from George Kleinpell, a pair that produced "dilutes".
Ronald Gustafson says that he and a friend have half a dozen strains of Racing Homers from top US lofts. Their aim is to "Inbreed each strain and use these birds for our breeders. Then make two single crosses and a double cross and use these birds for racing only." This is a slavish imitation of the now time-honored system of producing hybrid corn. Why doublecross? Walker Van Riper, please comment from your experience with this.
The latest revision of nomenclature for pigeons and "doves" of the genus "Columba" is just out: "Taxonomy of the genus Columba", by Derek Goodwin, in the bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History), Zoology volume 6, number 1, pages 1-23, October 1959. Goodwin tries to construct a natural-relationship arrangement; a "tree diagram" is constructed on page 17, to summarize his conclusions. No connection with other genera is suggested. One comment by Goodwin intrigues me a bit: "sexual dimorphism in Columba is relatively slight but in most species is sufficient to enable skins or living birds to be correctly sexed on plumage color alone. In those species which are predominantly grey, males are purer, blue or grey than females."
Werner Moebes comments on Columba leuconota, and the origin of the Gazzi Modenas. (PGNL 12, page 2). He thinks the resemblance and pattern is coincidence rather than a sign of relationship, and cites other "look-alikes" clearly not related. He also quotes from F. Martinelli (1872) of Italy, who observed many imperfect Gazzi on farms. Martinelli made experimental crosses of self whites with dark Schietti and concluded this could be a source for the Gazzi.
Moebes has also sent me the September 12 issue of "Die Berieftaub" (Essen, Germany). On page 905 there is an article "Die Brieftaube im Altertum" (Carrier pigeons in antiquity), by M. U. Kasparek. This includes a photo of a regular crude pigeon figurine, designed as a whistle, found in a Roman burial ground near Wels in Upper Austria. Only domestic animals were used in such figurines. The date of the burial is estimated between 200 and 400 A.D. Then on page 913 there is a book review by Moebes of a book we must examine: "Das problem der verwilderten Haustauben in den Städten," by H. Bruns, 1959 (The problem of the feral domestic pigeons in the cities), Hamburg: Biologische Abhandlungen. In addition to what might be expected, Moebes says "Den Tauben-genetiker werden die auf Seite 7 veröffentlichten Untersuchungsergebnisse Reinkes ausserordentlich interessieren." I hope so.
Dr. Stovin comments on Hutton's remarks (PGNL 12 page 4) about smoky and opal: "I bred all the youngsters in question. At no time, had I any reason to reason to suspect recessive opal.... The tail bars were normal in appearance.... I already had some correspondence with Hutton, pointing out the normality of the tail bar.... What he claims to be recessive opal is a grizzled-like or faded-like... bases of the flight feathers. This occurred in two offspring only out of eight." This whitening effect is common in blues having white flights or a tendency to that; is apparently not related to opal.
George Schroeder reports "The three pure white almonds (PGNL 12 page 4) are showing their sex characteristics now-- 2 are definitely males, I think the third is also. The oldest still shows no color at all, the other two have tiny specks.... I have four whiteish from the fadellins now (PGNL 8 page 2).... having splotches of color, almost like a mosaic. None of my whiteish from the original faded have it to the same degree. Some of the fadellin hens however, lacked the intense markings and appear identical with hens from the original fadeds."
I have an inquiry from Harvey Ablon on about the color of a Racing Homer cock. He enclosed feathers. It was a rather light ash-red with some flecking, but the flecking did not seem really black. In one tail feather, there was a large strip lengthwise of darker ash. Perhaps this bird is both ash-red and opal, so the flecking (by loss of the BA effect) still leaves the opal effect. But Gerhard Hasz has sent me feathers of ordinary (?) ash-red birds with two or more shades of ash strips in the tail feathers, even in a hen. Unless these birds are really combinations with indigo I'm at a loss to explain.
John Tidwell reports "the Mosaic Homer cock so far has proved to be a dud. Mated to a mealy Racing Homer hen, he has failed to fill an egg out of five nests." I can't find any previous comment on this bird, John. Check his testes!
Wendell Levi has forwarded me a nice color photo of a mosaic of Racing Homer, mealy (ash-red bar) except for the left wing, which is nearly all blue bar. This bird was bred by Homer Hamilton of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and photo by Dr. R. W. Prichard. Said to be a cock, but no obvious flecks in photo, no pedigree.
Robert G. Essex, who sent me the "feed-blind" bird also has a probable mosaic: a black checker (T-pattern) cock. 1954 bred, molted in some "chocolate" shoulder feathers (humerals). Feathers enclosed show that by "chocolate" Essex means opal. The rest of the plumage shows no sign of opal.
James Foster writes: "I have what appears at casual sight to be two clean blue bars. Mated together, they produced clear mealy youngsters (three nests). The pair has been single-penned by themselves. So there can be no doubt as to the parentage. At casual glance the cock appears in every respect of normal blue bar. On closer inspection, however, he has a patch of reddish or brownish color limited almost exclusively to secondary flights of one side. The tail feathers and some of the flights are edged in white. This white edging is entirely foreign to this family (they are Scions). The parents of the cock are a red check cock in a mealy hen. Three brothers all are red checks, one with black markings in the tail." By sex linkage the cock in question should be ash-red, so it seems most likely that he is an extreme mosaic.
Pigeon Genetics News Letter
Issue 14 April 1960
Edited quarterly by W. F. Hollander, Genetics Department, Iowa State University, Ames. Sponsored 1960 by Iowa State University Agricultural Experiment Station
B. Peterson writes that a considerable number of pigeons from Europe "are coming to the US through two Hamburg, Pennsylvania, importers." Among them Berliner Lange Tumblers. Peterson also reveals that Clark Bordner is trying to develop ice color (powdered) in Show Racers.
Al Westling is rapidly progressing to ice (Powdered) blue LFCL Tumblers. He started from a cross with Damascene (PGNL 1 page 4). Now he says "I've been continually crossing back intermediate-powdered to the normal blues to put Tumbler heads and beaks on them. Next year I should be able to mate powdered to powdered and really do the trick." (Don't forget to keep records for ratios, Al! You may cinch a single-gene basis for powdering and have the honor of giving it a symbol.)
Al also writes "Peterson sent me an indigo barless hen a few years ago and I have had some rather interesting results putting this color into Tumblers. Last year I raised an indigo-powdered bar combination that certainly is beautiful. This year I am using an indigo part-Tumbler barless hen with a barless blue Tumbler cock to get all barless from one mating and if possible to increase the vigor which my strain of barless Tumblers seems to lack."
Senor Brage writes from Madrid that the only thing new is cookbooks, "for example: one by a Soler Mones, entitled '672 recipes to cook squabs because they... as you can see, pigeons are going to pot in this country." Let us hope the Spaniards will soon be fed up and turn to Genetics. Marvin Emery says that Brage has shipped 50 Spanish pigeons, mostly Catalonian Tumblers, to Clyde B. Nance, in Missouri.
Emery also notes "In the interests of those who read French that the now famous 1754 'R***' manuscript which was found in Paris in 1952 by Senor Brage will at last be published. The whole text will appear serially in the Belgium Journal LE SOL BELGE.... This manuscript,
signed only with the initial "R", gives the first known accounts of pigeons in the French literature of any importance. It predates Buffon's work by at least 17 years." Emery was instrumental in arranging this planned publication.
Speaking of French, that word miroite he has drawn several more comments. George Neuerburg says "a French friend, (pigeon fancier), called on me. I showed him the word miroite and his immediate response was 'that means mirror'.... in connection with pigeons.... it meant splashed." George adds "I have a dozen of the Lebanon or Syrian Carneau and they are selfs or solid red--I have not heard of the Ribbon-tail phase.... in connection with miroite." Well, George, I had the Shickli Lebanon's from Sam Shadeed (PGNL 12 page 1), and they are indeed frappant – or as Graefe puts it, really sophisticated ribbon-tails. No splashing.
Werner Moebes notes that in his "Bibliographie der Tauben", second edition, he had stated "Pigeon miroite rouge... Brent and Lyell already were trying to find out the meaning of that name, being to my opinion... the Lebanon pigeon with the 'mirror pattern' (Spiegelziechnung)." He is emphatic that miroite in this case it does not mean splashed. Brage adds "the French never use the word 'miroite' in connection with the Carneau.... The first to describe the Carneau was Robert Fontaine in R. de Boeve’s work, Roubaix, 1894, pages 41-42... In the same book, R. de Boeve himself, page 42-43, describes the Pigeon Miroite, which he bred, as a different breed than the Carneau. Following Boitard and Corbie's description, stating that the Miroite cannot be crossed with any other variety because the peculiar whiteish-gray spots in the tail and flights are lost." Marvin Emery cites Fontaine (1925) page 223 to the same effect. I do say that these are fairly typical Dewlaps, and the first crosses from my Shickli cock by blue hen look quite ordinary ash-red. An F1 hen out crossed to a blue gave ash-red sons and blue daughters, nothing else, so that indigo is not involved.
Ray Gilbert writes "I've cut to 16 pairs of Parlor Tumblers and five pairs of the English Short Faced Tumblers.... I raised 20 young short faces and 18 of them were cocks!.... I've never had so many droopy-winged Parlors or so many short faces without the droop," he is thinking of making breeding tests with this character. (I'm betting it is sex-linked.)
Ed Blaine complains "being out of touch with people like Goss has put a somewhat dull edge on my genetic inspiration." (Guess all of us need Irv around at times!) Ed does however have news: "I have a Giant Homer hen (silver bar) that lays tannish-colored eggs."
In the November 1959 Los Angeles Pigeon Club Bulletin, page 11, there is an article by a pigeon breeder in Czechoslovakia, V. Turecek. The idea put forth by Mr. Turecek is briefly that inbreeding depression can be remedied by a fasting period. After that, he says, the blood is all refreshed. His schedule is to reduce regions gradually to zero in five days, then only water for five days, then gradually increased rations to normal in five days. As Blaine puts it, this method of cleaning out defective genes would make Mendel move beneath the meadow. Turecek seems to be sold on the communist brand of Lamarckism (that environment governs heredity). Well, if a bird can come through the ordeal it probably had fair initial vigor, and loss of excess fat might be helpful.
Louis Grau writes "I have noticed in the monthly accession list of the Library of Congress that the Russians have published a great deal of work on pigeons, yet I have never come across a reference to Russian papers in any Western publication. How come?... I have sent for a
collection of Russian papers on pigeons just to find out." Part of the trouble has been the language, Lou. We'll be interested in what you learn.
I have a letter from a George A. Kastler, a High School student who has been setting up a science fair project on pigeons ("it includes pigeon genetics"). Should win a prize. Carl Graefe has been encouraging high school boys to do something like this, in Ohio, and says that one now has a project started there.
Wilmer Miller has had more success with hand feeding squabs from hatching (PGNL 13 page 2). Two are now weaned: "The older one may have a slightly hooked bill; the younger one which seemed the most normal earlier now wants to walk on the sides of his feet curling up his toes." George Neuerburg recently sent Miller some arrowroot flower obtained from a health food store in New Hampshire, to compare nutritional results. It's supposed to be "a demulcent that doctors prescribe for infants and that have trouble digesting cow's milk." George says he has had excellent results raising squabs from hatching on this (see Levi The Pigeon 1957 page 478).
Miller sent 2 pigeon by dove hybrids to Neuerburg to show the Los Angeles pigeon club. One was a silky. George comments on three pigeon by dove hybrids he had some 30 years ago, bred as follows: "a dealer had a pair of black African Owls in a store that needed some fresh air and exercise--he put them in an out-door pen full of ring-neck doves. The pigeons soon laid and in the nest was one pigeon and dove hybrid.... The other two came about in almost exactly the same way--another dealer had an out-door pen of ring-necked doves and odd pigeons; a Homer hen mated with a dove and raised the next pair that were both females--lavender or barless ash-red. I mated the hybrid cock in turn to both of these hens and each of them in turn to both pigeons and doves--many eggs resulted but none fertile." This story is astonishing, especially if those hybrid hens laid eggs. All I have known about were barren. And how could those hybrid hens have been ash-red?? More likely the sex-link recessive blond (dilute), from the dove sire.
Postcard from G. F. LaGrange, "I am very interested in pigeon’s and Dove’s so Dr. Irwin tells me you have a "Pigeon News Letter" that is tops and I would sure like one." (Application rejected.)
Robert Doepping is aiming "to put Carneaux black in to Show Racers. Second, to put Andalusian blue into my Carneaux." Interesting exchange program.
W. Nolan Brown writes "Irvin Goss and I had a rather interesting discussion as to white color in pigeons. I believe that white is an absence of color--not a masking.... Breeding tests supposedly show the color hidden by white but a few years back I got a pair of white squabs from a blue bar cock and a cream bar hen." This is the beginner’s usual stumbling block--equating genes with phenotypes. White phenotype is absence of pigment, but not absence of genes.
David Bruce sends feathers from "off-color" progeny out of a pair of Trenton strain Racing Homers, blue bar by blue checker. "Most of these have been bar, but one checker." Typical recessive opals, and indicating the usual linkage with pattern. Lowell Pauley also sends opal feathers, "quite common in the Bastin strain; Racing Homer men called this color chocolate." I hope Racing Homer people someday will abandon this word for it, as well as "mosaique", "off-color", "penciled", etc., and settle on the name is opal!
W. H. Corbusier inquires about artificial incubation of pigeon eggs. He and Dr. Quisenberry at Texas A&M College "thus far have been able to hatch just one squab. Most died before hatching." (White Kings.) He didn't say how or whether the eggs were turned in the trays.
Frank Reinhart says "I have found to my surprise that most of the pigeon breeders records are kept in their heads. Somehow I do not trust my memory like they do and have therefore sought some type of record card." Personally I recommend a loose-leaf notebook, not cards, with a page or two for each mating, numbered in series. Blank pages, so all sorts of notes can be scribbled in.
John Stevens obtained a "sideburns" Homer/King mixture cock from me and crossed with Chinese Owl. Of nine young, one showed "a fragmentary frill in the median line of the anterior aspect of the neck, less than 1/2" in length. There has been no visible evidence of the neck frill or body frill of the Chinese Owl." Sideburns was visible in some progeny but only faintly. Back crosses to Chinese are in progress.
My second mutant type, "slightly silky" (PGNL 11 page 2) is progressing. I mated the original cock with a slightly silky daughter, and now have a squab that looks almost like ordinary silky. The flights are pretty nearly normal, though, so that it will probably be able to fly, in dry weather. I think this squab is the homozygote.
George Schroeder writes "my three normal-eyed white cocks out of almond Homers were pure white as young, all have tiny flecks of color now. The parents of these three have just raised a fourth all-white squab--in this case however the squab has one good eye and one pop-eye in which he is blind. The pop-eye waters profusely." He concludes that it is "reasonable to assume that the white or almost white cocks are pure for almond whether their eyes are good or bad." He adds "enjoyed reading about pigeons in "Living Birds of the World" by E. Thomas Gilliard, Doubleday & Co. Pages 197-199 list some peculiar species."
Dr. Stovin is puzzling over the behavior of recessive red in crosses (Racing Homers): "recessive red hen by brown grizzle cock in a separate breeding compartment gave several red checkers with grayish, slatey feathers. These were all cocks. The ash-red can only have come from the hen, and these offsprings must all be heterozygous for recessive red--hence the slatey flights. Two doses of recessive red and one of the ash-red still looks recessive red.... Can you tell me what two doses of ash-red and one of recessive red will look like?" No, I don't know for sure. The slatey or dusky tone of the heterozygote recessive red is a typical result indicating a slight dominant effect of recessive red. But this might have been expected since there is usually a bit of bronzing or kite in blue heterozygous recessive reds. Check the daughters of your mating.
Lloyd Champion says he only has English carriers now, and his son has Fantails. A golden opportunity to test sex-linkage of droop-wing in Fantail, Lloyd, by reciprocal crosses to carriers!
Werner Moebes comments re: PGNL 13 page 2, Thüringer Einfarbige--"geschlechtsgebundene Tauberfarben in my opinion humbug." He sends a photo of a "blue" hen winner at the sixth International Kleintier show in Saarbrücken, 1960 (page 4 in Deutscher Kleintierzüchter, 15 February). However, I'll make a bet that the hen wasn't blue--she looks dilute (silver) to me. Worth further investigation??
I made an error in translation in PGNL 13 page 3 on the Kasparek article: "a rather crude pigeon figurine, designed as a whistle" should read "a rather crude ceramic figurine of a pigeon."
Frank Nuzzo is challenging the rainbow with such a variety of colors as almond Kings, indigo Kings, Andalusian Modenas, and Show Racers in barless, indigo, milky, reduced, et cetera. Frank also has invented a revolving chart for lazy color breeders. You set it to the cock color and the hen color and presto, there are the progeny colors. So far it includes only ash-red, blue, and brown, but he threatens to enlarge it. A big color wheel like this is already being sold for budgerigar readers. Personally I think it is better to do it the hard way, with pencil, paper, and genes.
Carl Graefe comments "Re relation of bull eye in Ice to powdering effect, how about the Damascene, Forellen, and clean-leg Ice with orange eyes?.... I have an idea that if one could find a self Swallow, the eyes might still be dark."
In the January 1960 "Immunogenetics Letter", page 6, Martin LaBar and Don Shaw expound on "Lectin detection of erythrocytic agglutinogens in the family Columbidae." In simpler language, blood from different pigeons and doves reacts (clots) differently to bean juice. Martin has been making up some interesting hybrids by crossing pigeons that are part livia and part guinea to doves that are part risoria and part chinensis or senegalensis. Really mixed-bloods.
Gearhard Hasz writes that he is preparing a series of articles in German on color breeding, for the poultry paper Geflügel-Börse. His German is more complex than the genetics.... He also notes "I have produced red Tigers and red grizzles, black Tigers and black grizzles. What bothers me is that the red Tigers are obviously T-pattern. I thought I had a pretty sound theory about all Tigers being S." But not all Tigers are grizzle-factor in origin, and probably there are different alleles of grizzle.
No new mosaics this time.
Pigeon Genetics News Letter
Issue 15 July 1960
Edited quarterly by W. F. Hollander, Genetics Department, Iowa State University, Ames. Sponsored 1960 by Iowa State University Agricultural Experiment Station
Mr. H. F. Soph writes that for the last five years he has been raising Schmalkaldener Mohrenkopf pigeons, imported by L. E. Hummel. He got bored with just blacks and is trying to produce reds following a cross with red Nun. The crosses "were more like the Nun with the crest than the mane of the Scmalz (as we call them). The red flights disappeared and they were grouse- legged instead of muffed." I asked him about the validity of the sex distinction in the "Schmalz" (PGNL 4 page 5), but got no reply.
Also an inquiry from Jim Ladin Berger about producing blue Jacobins. He says "I have only one left.... I feel is necessary to start with a blue rather than silver because of the dominance of blue to silver. I would like your advice as to what to mate my blue cock with. Naturally, the color would have to be pure, with no other color mixed in for several generations." H'm m m m m.
The May 1960 Los Angeles Pigeon Club Bulletin reports an experiment in crossing Jacobin with Bokhara Trumpeter, by A. L. Grace. A photo shows a red cock "cross" (probably a back cross?) which resembles the Bokhara but has a bigger shell crest.
Dr. G. L. Clark has sent me a copy of his new book, "the Self and Barred Tumbler. A review of the origins and development of the Clean-Legged Long Face Tumbler." It was multigraphed and issued by the Long Faced Self and Barred Tumbler Club of England. He includes also a good deal of color genetics, much too complicated for most breeders, in my opinion. Clark got a bit tangled in some of the intricacies himself. It may be instructive to point some of these out. (1) He states that blue is "designated by a +". Rather, the genes or factors necessary for producing blue are so designated. (A red bird has a lot of them too!) (2) "Grizzle is dominant to checker-- the heterozygote can be recognized usually (a checkered grizzle)." Aside from the implied contradiction in the statement, it is incorrect. Grizzle and checker are not allelic; each has its own + allele for dominance relations. (3) "Tumbler white is dominant to all other colors." While it is true that the F1 crosses are generally rather whitened, it would be more correct to say that Tumbler white is the effect of a compound of grizzle, ash-red, and possibly other factors. (4) "Always deleting the bad colored birds makes the self dominant in its own color." I haven't seen this statement in a previous book or report, and don't consider it helpful. (5) Dr. Clark does not open the door to novelties--he omits all mention of barless, reduced, indigo and other coming colors.
Speaking of such novelties, the NPA bulletin for April has two articles: "On the origin of domestic genes. II. Indigo" by WFH), and "III. Reduced," by Carl Graefe, pages 25-27. At the end, Art Kehl footnotes "sure wish someone had the time to teach (him) how to understand pigeon genetics"! And others have occasionally commented that the NPA booklet on genetics is not self-sufficient for the purpose, at least when one gets to the use of letters. Well, Art, maybe you are trying to run before trying to toddle. Don't try to understand everything at once. The complexity of umpteen different colors can confuse anyone unless they are taken one or two at a time, in relation to standard blue.
Coy McKenzie read the indigo article just in time to solve a mystery for Fed Langridge, who thought he got an ash-red from a pair of indigo's an an individual coop. It was simply homozygous indigo (American Giant Homer Association, May June bulletin, page 5).
In the April bulletin of the Pacific Modena Club, reprinted in NPA May bulletin, page 29, there is a statement by John Fordon on how he breeds champion red Modenas. Excerpts: "The laws of genetics which apply to color also apply to body and type; and my matings have been figured out on paper percentage-wise, to hold the color and improve the other points.... Sex-linked genetics has been the basis of my matings." Having talked with Fordon, I'd say that the rich diet he gives his birds may also be a factor to consider. Sex-linkage (even if Fordon knew all about it) is by no means the bulk of Genetics or breeding.
Joe Hochreiter wants to know how Frank Nuzzo made "Andalusian" Modenas (PGNL 14 page 5).
Marvin Emery writes that the French "R" manuscript (PGNL 14 page 1) says nothing about either the miroite or the Carneau. "Carneau is not a French name but Picard" (near Belgium).
I thought the miroite subject had been exhausted (PGNL 14 page 2), but I ran into one more comment that may be worth mentioning. Prof A Ghigi in 1908 wrote: "Darwin had no knowledge of domestic pigeons with the white band on the tail. There are, however some races of Oriental origin which possess this character and having an established antiquity.... the miroite.... a strong pigeon with naked shanks, the head smooth, generally of a brick red color, and the tips of the remiges white. The white band of the tail is entire and sub-apical." ("On the polygenesis of domestic pigeons", in Italian.)
Manfred Gottfried writes more about the "In-between-color" bird from auto-sex stock (PGNL 13 page 2). "I have him mated to a faded hen since his behavior is typically male. Their first clutch of eggs was infertile."
A different kind of sex problem is noted by Wendell Levi in the Lau who ghers--shortage of hens. "Homer Hamilton, who raises these Laughers for Bob Prichard, told me when I was in Winston-Salem in March that he raised 17 cocks in a row from his pair." Same as Ray Gilbert's cock-eyed sex ratio (PGNL 14 page 2).
Wilmer Miller gives some incubator notes: (body temperature of the adult pigeon (108° F.) or slightly lower is lethal to the embryo. 100° or 101° is very good in hatching success. Turning the eggs is relatively unimportant. The Wisconsin incubator was set on top of another which vibrated slightly. Even without turning the eggs at all I had almost perfect hatching as long as the water didn't go dry (in the pan). In my California incubator there is no detectable vibration and I slipped up on water several times but still have had good hatches. However, I would recommend turning the eggs occasionally and keeping the humidity correct."
The George Neuerburg also comments on incubator management--he sets his at 93°, and turns the eggs twice a day!
Wilmer Miller says he raised a white dove and a ringneck from hatching with no defects. Fed Gerber's meat-based baby food (PGNL 3 page 2) for a week, then started pellets, and at nine days started grain.
George Neuerburg says "Re: getting my arrowroot flour, (PGNL 14 page 3), I bought it in North Hollywood, not New Hampshire! Easy to obtain."
R. G. Silson has a novel system. "Feed the old birds with Turkey starter plus the normal low-protein grains. The birds soon eat the crumbs if no other proteins sources available. Using this feed is possible to put the newly hatched squab's under any pair on eggs even if they have laid only a few hours."
In the German periodical "Geflügel-Börse" for June 3 (number 11) pages 5-6, Carl Naether has an illustrated article on care and breeding of wild species of pigeons and doves. He still advocates feeding plenty of mealworms--I should think equivalent sources of animal protein would be less expensive.
Marvin Emery says "Last fall I visited a local pigeon fancier who had at that time about 17 species of wild pigeons and doves. Among them was a pair of C. guinea. The owner didn't know what they were until I identified them along with a pair of C. fasciata (Band-tail pigeon). Both kinds were tame enough to allow me to stand within about 10 feet of them. His birds are in a large aviary about 30 x 100 or more feet, and the height must be 18 or 20 feet, with plenty of trees and shrubbery growing therein --just like in nature..... One author says in some African towns the speckled pigeons (C. guinea) live in the villages like, domestic pigeons and can even breed with them."
Derek Goodwin has published a new article "Sexual dimorphism in pigeons", in the bulletin of the British Ornithologists Club, volume 80 number three (March), pages 45-52. (Domestic pigeons are not included.) Goodwin reasons that the color sex differences in some species are intimidation factors, in other cases serve to attract the mate to the nest.
Roger Baker writes "I have two pairs of doves. One is a pair of ringnecks, and the other a pair of whites, in separate cages. The young ones I let fly outside, just as I do my pigeons. But I have noticed that the white young ones are much slower to develop than the ringnecks. I've raised a couple of white young ones out of the ringnecks and find that they seem to be weaker than the ringneck ones also. The whites seem to fly very crooked as if they can't see well out of one eye. But as they get older they seem to outgrow this weakness and in a few months can navigate just as well as the ringnecks. I have even seen some of my whites get away from a hawk without too much trouble."
A letter from a student at the University of Chicago, Eric Klinghammer, says "I have just become interested in pigeons and doves; my interest is primarily in their behavior, such as imprinting and general effects of early experience on adult behavior."
Joe Frazier reports "I had a Show King freak hatch and live for about a week. It had two rectums (both very active). Two tails, "one above and an oil gland between. U-2!
Joe also writes "I have tried to spread white in my Show Racers as I have with my Giant Homers, but this is not easy. Most of my adult stock of Show Racers hatch an occasional ‘white flight’ splashed or white on underside. When I mate the piebalds together I get youngsters with no white."
George Neuerburg wonders about the dangers of "quoting the ancient authorities" (top of page 1). I agree that some of these quotes may be ridiculous by present knowledge, others full of insight. Hope you can tell which. Maybe some are half-and-half?
Bob Clark writes "At present my main concern is production (over 300 pairs). Because of this my genetics work has mostly been confined to setting up sex-linked matings and taking full advantage of skin-lightning factors.... At last I'm beginning to get a few large Gazzi-patterned birds that meet all the requirements of good squabbers.... Has a dominant Gazzi pattern shown up yet?" (I don't know of any.)
H. H. Ford notes that he has obtained a pair of Auto-sex Swiss Mondains from Mr. José De Murguiondo, "much larger than the auto-sex King." I had not known this was being developed; wonder what the man started with. Ford adds, "I have just about got the Midwest cleaned out of all Florentines" and is starting the American Florentine Club. Wants to dispose of about 16 Jewel Mondains and about 16 White Swiss Mondains "at a bargain in exchange for Florentines or Archangels (any color)."
George Schroeder writes "My white cock from almond by almond (PGNL 14 page 4) has finally shown one colored feather in his neck.... is learning to get by quite well with his one good eye. His blind eye has been punctured and is fairly normal in shape but gray in color.... During the last two months I have found three more squabs from almond to almond matings with one normal and one abnormal eye."
Ed Blaine says "my Silver hen is still producing tannish-colored eggs, and I would be interested in testing this factor if I knew where the hell to begin... Mate a son back to her and produce several daughters, then check their eggs?" Yes, and/or mate her to her sire if available; maybe other kinds of matings. It's probing blindly at best.
Coy McKenzie sends a notice from a Ph.D. doctoral thesis "Early experience as a variable in mate selection among pigeons," by C. C. Warriner, Jr., Psychology Department, University of Oklahoma (Norman, Oklahoma). Warriner used White Kings and Black Kings; the squabs were raised in equal number by each kind, and kept 40 days with only the parents or foster parents, and isolated until maturity. Males were found to prefer females of the parental or foster-parent type, but females didn't care.
John Tidwell, Ted Smith, and I are trying to learn more about "stir-crazy" behavior in small individual breeding coops. Which breeds show it most or least, et cetera. If anyone else has experience and comments, we'll be glad to learn.
I've been asked by Miller and others to tell about some of my breeding tests. One that is small but about ended is observations and crosses of the Bagdad Carrier. Original stock obtained several years ago from Sam Shadeed. These birds are nearly twice the weight of the average common pigeon (wild type), but the plumage is practically no different (tail feathers 1/8" to 1/4" longer). The best descriptive term for the body build is "rangy"--long bones, not very "beefy". I crossed the hen with a wild-type cock and raised eight young. They resemble Racing Homers in
general; hens are definitely smaller than the cocks. They are as smart and active as common pigeons, breed well. Have had about 25 F2 squabs, none of which look like pure Baghdads or like pure common pigeons-- all variably intermediate. A fairly consistent feature is the obvious eye ceres.
The F1 birds have had free flight since weaning but they don't fly out far. A few weeks ago I decided to get rid of some, so I took three hens and a cock 50 miles east. One hen returned, after about a week. Pretty good, with no training. The Bagdads themselves are strong flyers and very fast when young, but are lazy and soon to prefer to stay in the yard and breed. A local Racing man is training few youngsters with his Homers to see how they will react. I also have given stock to Lou Grau and several other breeders.
Another class of investigation that I have been doing a lot of off and on for years is testing for new linkages. For example, is the gene for albinism linked with the gene for extra outer toes? Or is silky linked with grizzled? Etc., etc. Someday I'll present accumulated results, all essentially saying "no linkage". Eventually, I'll find some! But it is slow work--wish some other breeders would have interest enough to tackle a few.
I have obtained the booklet by Bruns on "The problem of the feral domestic pigeon of the cities" (PGNL 13 page 3). Moebes thought the research of Reinke mentioned in it would be extremely interesting to pigeon genetics fans. Reinkes work is cited as follows: Reinke, EM, 1959 “Die verwilderten Haustauben in Hamburg,” Zietschrift Für angewandte Zoologie. He found that the feral pigeons showed various traits apparently obtained from the mixing of local varieties and breeds (crest, mustache, feathered feet, occasionally neck frill, extra tail feathers, et cetera.). In a different section of the cities the populations differed from one another somewhat. However, as in other cities, most of the birds were not far from the wild C. livia in size, and blue or black in color. Reinke attributes a good deal of the small size to poor nutrition.
Nutrition of course can cloud genetic control. Ted Smith writes "have fooled with pellets about 10 years now. My choice is a 10% protein laying-mash pellet made by Utah Poultry and Farmers Cooperative (fat 2.5%, added minerals 4%, fiber not over 10%, fortified with vitamins A, D3, cobalt, et cetera." I feed 50% cracked corn, 25% Milo, 25% pellets in winter.... My birds don't eat grit, as it seems the necessary ingredients are in the pellets." I've tried various kinds of poultry pellets with similar results. The birds generally don't want over 25% of them. At present I am using Turkey "developer" pellets (22% protein). As long as the pellets are reasonably fresh most pigeons like them.
Mosaic notes: George Neuerburg (March 1960) "saw an Exhibition Homer, I believe basically blue-bar with one mealy (ash-red) wing." John Tidwell reports a puzzling reddish-yellow self Muffed Tumbler belonging to John Shively of California. Possibly "pale", not a mosaic?
Pigeon Genetics News Letter
Issue 16 October 1960
With this issue we complete four years in PGNL. By this time, the need for an index occasionally is felt. Since we do not have the necessary time for compiling one now, and are unlikely to get to it, may we suggest the readers make marginal color-code marks of items most interesting to them, for their own ease in thumbing through.
Tharp asks "what happened Clark' s project to produce faded Strassers?" (PGNL 9 page 4). He switched (PGNL 15 page 4).
Ray Gilbert fails to see humor in cockeyed sex ratios (PGNL 15, page 2). He says "I'll be out of business if this keeps up. Parlor Tumblers 1959 bred -- 13 extra cocks; 1960 -- 27 cocks out of 31. English Short Face Tumblers 1959 bred -- 18 cocks out of 20; 1960 -- four cocks out of five young worth keeping. And my ESFT hens are getting awfully old." All colors seem affected. Have to try pills? Seriously, it would help to find out whether the females die early or whether there is no differential mortality.
Del James tells some background for the auto-sex Swiss Mondains (PGNL 15, page 4): "about four or five years ago, Howard Hall purchased some of my auto-sex French to use in auto-sexing his high production strain of White Swiss. He apparently had no difficulty in obtaining faded in his F1's nor in maintaining it in subsequent back crosses.... Also, I got John Kubena interested in auto-sexing some of his Swiss.... Has a few fairly good auto-sex of 7/8 Swiss blood.... In observing the results of his matings, I found the Swiss white be recessive.... All birds have been faded-black.... And carried grizzled." I suspect that the "grizzled" in this case is not from the G factor but just the interaction effect of faded and S. Sounds very peculiar if no recessive white segregated in the back crossing; should be 50%.
Del incidentally has produced auto-sex bull eyed white French Mondains. He sexes them in the nest by down length (see PGNL 11, page 3). George Schroeder is beginning to raise auto-sex recessive red in Giant Homers.
Manfred Gottfried's "in-between" color bird (from auto-sex Kings; PGNL 15, page 2) turns out to be fertile. "He is not an intersex. He has three young so far by an ordinary faded, and they are his get because all three of them have his peculiar markings." New allele?
Gearhard Hasz reports two faded youngsters out of a single mating of a "Sandy" cock (out of almond) by blue check hen, in Giant Homers. He thinks that this is a reliable pedigree. However, he also notes "a pair of blue bar Show Racers has a pair of blue check squabs. Even my birds are not above an occasional "Techtelmechtel" it seems." (Hasz and Whitman on page 1 agree?!)
In the August APJ, page 246, the Spanish breeds imported by C.B. Nance (PGNL 15, page 1) are described. The writer R. B. Beaver, says "another striking thing about some of the Catalonian Tumblers is that the cocks are so much larger than the hens that at a very early age, the squabs can be sexed."
As noted in PGNL 14, page 5, Louis Grau has been investigating the basis of the homing faculty. He has just received a substantial two-year grant from the National Science Foundation to aid in this study. As one item, he may compare Bagdadi Carriers with Racing Homers.
Plumage aberrations seem to be on the upswing. In addition to those noted in PGNL 14 page 4 and 15 page 5, here is the latest list:
(1) "porcupine" White Carneau at Palmetto Pigeon Plant, reported by Wendell Levi and Wilbert Bernshouse. (Not saved.)
(2) Silky Racing Homer hen, reported by Leon Whitney. "The bird could fly only with difficulty. I mated her to a normal, result is one of each... [next clutch] two silkies."
(3) Silky hybrid from pigeon by ring-dove, reported by Martin LaBar. "Neither parent showed the trait. The bird, H563S, is a male and is now in mating."
(4) Lee Tharp writes "a pair of barless indigo Show Racers from Carl Graefe produced two squabs which I would call "partial featherless". They have outer flights and tail feathers and about 5% of body feathers. They do have head feathers.... Might develop a strain for squabbing? They have bred the horns off cattle and the hair off dogs!"
(5) One of the recent F2 squabs from my Baghdadi by common cross (PGNL 15 page 4) had "epaulet" frills--a reversal of crop feathers at the shoulders. Unfortunately died of canker.
Web foot is also in the news. Ed Blaine sends a Giant Homer family record involving a cock with nearly complete web between outer and middle toes of left foot, less complete on right. The mother had slight indication of webs (about 1/8 inch), and of five sibs of the propositus, four had slight web. These included two hens, so that sex-linkage seems unlikely. Ed comments "some folly involved in seeing web foot in an all or none manner?" Yes, my experience agrees that all degrees can be found in a family.
Werner Moebes sends me a Deutsche Geflügel-Zeitung number 18 for 3 June (East Berlin), pages 303-304, with an article “Eine Taube mit Schwimmhäuten”(a pigeon with web feet); this was a red Magpie Pouter (Elsterkröpfer) cock from normal parents; nine other progeny were stated to be normal. Prof H. G. Herbst of Berlin plans to study the inheritance. Unlike the more common type of web foot, this bird's webs were between inner and middle toes.
Moebes also calls my attention to his abstract-review of a book by Dr. J. W. D. Korth, "Die Taubenzucht zum Vergnügen, et cetera." (Pigeon breeding for pleasure), published in Berlin 1855. Korth noted, among other surprising things, a web-foot (common?) hen. He mated it to a Mondain cock, but none of the many progeny showed web foot.
Ben A Gillette, inquires about a salvage job. "I have a pure Gits hen, hatched in 1948. She has a pedigree that would make any fancier drool. I have an outcross son out of her, 1959 hatch (a beautiful specimen). This year I mated him to the old hen and I have three youngsters, two cocks and one hen I think. I lost a couple of the youngsters from a weakness. What would you suggest I do to try to get as close to this old hen is possible and, of course, have birds that I could fly?" (I suggested pretzel breeding.)
W. McCrary is developing "Argent-marked Squabbers"--a "new breed", named the Poundina. Also "Have nine orange, four of which are good rich color and velvet." And "have three nice reduced, now Giant type."
Bob Smith is planning to test Argent Modenas with wild type, getting F1, F2 and back crosses.
Dodd Young writes of Modena colors. "I have one very nice even pale bluish lavender cock from England. Sears made the color in Modenas from Lahores some 10 years ago, and now they are of good type. The F1 from the cock I have to a black hen are black. Mr. Sears also has indigo in Modenas (none yet in US) He had them from Holmes who began grafting indigo to Modenas some years ago. I might add that he also has barless blue almost completed."
Robert Doepping sends feathers of a bronzed indigo cock: "I used a red Carneau cock and indigo bar Show Racer hen. I didn't lose too much in the head. Last Sunday the California Carneau had a lawn show. Everyone went wild over his color and station."
George Kleinpell has several news notes. "Have about 25 pairs of Turbit- marked Show Pen Racers in black, dun, blue, silver, red and yellow, using for feeders. Produced from Show Pens, Racing Homers and a dash of Turbit. They breed true to type and markings, occasionally a frilled specimen.... For the first time in 10-year experience with Turbits, produced a freak this year--split keel.... Now have a number of "blonde" ringneck doves (naked as youngsters). Am really keeping them for "song" and have improved the voice range and increased number of notes and call considerably. Best one resembles a Trumpeter in middle (up-scale) portion of its call and hits five notes on down-scale (ending) portion!"
Werner Moebes calls my attention to articles in Allgemeine Geflügel-Zeitung (Bochum, Germany). In the June 1 issue (number 16) pages 5-6 Moebes writes of "Die Taube, die Shakespeare kannte" (the Barbary pigeon), a very interesting historical study. Then in the issue of June 10 (number 17), page 5, Joseph Fisher writes on "Was muss der Taubenzüchter von der Mendelschen Vererbungstheorie wissen?" (What must a fancier know about Mendel's laws?) Fischer uses red and yellow as his examples of dominant and recessive types. He seems to know nothing of sex-linkage, but adds that "the yellow progeny from two heterozygous red males were 99% females." For an example of incomplete dominance he use size cross of French by Brunner Pouters (so far as I know an unproved example). He also says he knows of no example of interaction in pigeons to make a "new character", like walnut comb in chickens. So we now we know what fanciers should.
Earl Klotz apparently has a novel example of yellow that isn't. He mated an ash-red cock (homozygous, not carrying dilution, to a dilute faded hen. They produced a faded ash-red son with the wings more yellowish than red. This yellowish cock was in turn mated to a dun hen. "Got almost all intense youngsters, either ash-red or faded. The pair had only about four dilute youngsters in four years, and only one of these was a dilute faded. What happened to the laws of chance here?" Another case: "An ash-red cock carrying pale and an intense faded hen have a young orange-looking son." (Hope the sex is proved here!) Anyway, Earl sticks his neck out: "looks like dilute or pale becomes dominant over intense when ash-red and faded are combined, and also the faded does not show at all. The combination of faded and ash-red and not carrying pale or dilute a looks pink, not orange or yellow". By this new set-up, Earl says we have an unusual sex-linked mating--red cock by dilute faded hen gives red daughters and yellowish sons.
Possibly because of the Congo, Le Sol Belge seems to have set. At least, I'd like to see more on that "R." manuscript. (PGNL 14 page 1.)
Bertil Harrison writes "Perhaps you should know that we in Scandinavia have very good Chinese Frills. Some of our best fanciers, as Gunnar Nordqvist, Sweden, Dalgaard, Denmark, have with very good results crossed in Jacobins in the Chinese. The result shows first in third and fourth generations. The well-known breeder P. Pakker in Baarn, Netherlands, also has with good results crossed his Chinese with Jacobins.... The Chinese is said to have been originated through crossing Frills with Jacobins--as you know." (No, I know little of breed origins.)
Walter Newport says he hopes to develop a crested Fantail without the neck-shaking trait. In the crosses he intends to observe the segregation for the droopy wing condition.
George Schroeder comments on down lengths in auto-sex cocks: "whenever the whiteish cocks are from faded blacks there seems a capacity for more and longer down; perhaps this way one can build up with it the strength of the whiteish."
Dodd Young has been making a study of down lengths in his Magnani Modenas. He actually measures it. "Magnani cocks must be considered medium-down, not truly short-down. If one leaves out dilution for a moment, Magnani predominantly of a dominant color "i.e. black, red, blue) and cocks, have approximately twice the length of Magnani hens, but about one third the length of long-down black, red, blue etc. Have measured 140 Magnani's so far. When a dilute factor is present, both the Magnani cocks and hens have a very short down--in fact, almost a lack of it altogether. I can now predict with very good results whether a young Magnani from a non-sex-linked mating is a cock or a hen. Of course if the dilute factor is present, no prediction can be made." Dodd wonders whether all this can be explained on the basis of number of sex chromosomes. I would say yes, at least in part.
John Stombaugh writes "Am finally getting good almond-colored and marked Clean Legs (Tumblers), but only cocks. Haven't raised a single good hen in three years.... Best ones were out of what some would call a true almond hen (white ground color with a few flecks of black and red throughout) and a "high" color kite cock--a true bronze and black with a few white feathers."
Dr. Stovin writes "Have you any knowledge of the effect of adding S. to recessive opal? I have not seen any such bird described so this year mated a recessive opal cock to a black hen. So far as I am aware of the black hen did not carry the recessive opal factor, though in the light of subsequent happenings I am rather wondering. In the first nest appeared a light grayish youngster
with dark edging to each feather." Yes, opal is not so rare in Racers!
In the Geflügel-Börse number 12 page for (June 17) there is a photo of a red miroite Fantail (Spiegelschwanz). In issue number 16, page 7, under the title "Die heimischen Wildtaubenarten" (native wild species), a writer who signs himself only with the initial "P." tells of an unusual cross: a hand-reared (?) Wood pigeon kept with Coburg Larks mated with a Lark hen, but failed to fertilize any eggs. Later the hen was removed, and the cock did not mate for over a year. The birds were free-flying, and a cock foraged in the woods. Finally he brought a white Roller hen home; with her he produced "blue pied progeny." Another case is also cited of a breeder who tried to cross but was unsuccessful for 20 years. Finally he mated a Wood pigeon hen to a "red Lynx cock." From three clutches two young were produced, of "red blue" color with the white wing marking of the Wood pigeon.
Pigeon Genetics News Letter
Issue 17 January 1961
Edited quarterly by W. F. Hollander, Genetics Department, Iowa State University, Ames. Sponsored by Iowa State University Agricultural Experiment Station
We begin our fifth year with the mailing list approaching 100, but correspondence seems to be on the decline. I am unable to say why some stop writing; maybe they are offended at my rough-shod editing?? Or maybe they are overwhelmed by personal troubles? Mr. John R. Stevens, however, is explicit: "due to a series of unfortunate circumstances (theft and illness) my complete loft of Homer and Chinese Owls was removed or destroyed.... It does not seem likely that I will be able to continue.... As I will not be making contributions to your activity, I should like to request that my name be removed from your mailing list." Somehow, I wonder whether he will be satisfied to abandon our feather folly so easily. All of us have disasters.
Another case history: Svend Langhorn of Denmark. He was recommended by A. Nielson Hutton. Unfortunately, Langhorn failed to correspond. Now in the September 24 issue of Die Brieftaube (Düsseldorf, Germany, from Möbes I find a big article on "Genetics", page 979 by Langhorn, in German. The article is mostly propaganda, trying to educate Racing people to use Mendelism in breeding. Hope he has better luck than I have had!
Another educational effort appeared in the October issue of American Pigeon Journal, page 310, just opposite the intriguing photo of Ted Smith. The article is "Sex-linked factors in pigeons" by W. L. Cotta. Cotta never has corresponded with me, but he has obviously read literature on parakeets, since he uses their term "split" instead of heterozygotes. (Parakeet breeders can't handle big words except budgerigar?) Unfortunately, Cotta has a good many errors, so that no one will be able to say that his efforts paid off.
An example of the reluctance of breeders and fanciers generally to pay any heed to genetics is seen in The Racing Pigeon (London) for November 12, page 822. Here is a photo of an opal (T pattern) which won "best in show" at Birmingham two years in succession. And what is she labeled? A "mosaic".
Wonder if any sensational novelties will turn up at the National.
"Something new: barless blue Gazzi Modena--a photo in Algemeine Geflügel-Zeitung (Bochum, Germany), November 1, page 4 (issue sent by Möbes). By strange coincidence I chose this novelty as an example in "on the origin of domestic genes, IV. Barless", printed in NPA bulletin (National Pigeon News) for October, page 19-20.
Dodd Young has an interesting article on "The brown family of Modenas" in the November Los Angeles Pigeon Club Bulletin, pages 9-11. The approach he uses is to describe and discuss all the known combination effects involving the brown factor. Would such a treatment be profitable for other genes?
A letter from Rubin Smith, inquiring about a pair of purebred blue Chinese Owls which has produced six youngsters of a light tan color. All those old enough to sex were hens. My guess is that these are simply brown. For some unknown reason brown in African Owls in my experience is as light as Khaki, even without the dilution factor (d).
Mr. Castle Child, asks to get the PGNL because he thinks it will help him in his "effort to produce new and rare colors in the Show Racer." (Request not yet granted. The emphasis should be on help to me!!)
Some dove hybrid notes: Mr. Monsour (PGNL 13 page 2) is producing "dovegons" as a regular project now, and some of them from dove sire by Homer hen are females. The Shreveport Civitan Club, through Monsour’s enthusiasm, has joined with the Shreveport Racing Pigeon Club in a yearly fund-raising race for civic projects, and the raising of a "dovegeon" has been good for publicity.
Roger Baker is crossing doves with Rollers. Wilmer Miller reports "I have the first two progeny from a spread dilute (dun) cock mated to a dark silky dove. Both offspring are dark (not dilute) silky.... Independent support for hypothesis that blonde in doves is equivalent to dilute in pigeon."
Don Shaw writes "On September 1, thanks to Dr. Irwin's generosity, we established our own pigeon colony here in the medical school. We now have approximately 250 livia -guinea back cross hybrids. Do you know where we might obtain blood samples of a group of C. guinea?" H'mm--a good place at this time of year would be Africa, where they abound!
Ben Cichinski writes "have finally raised three white-barred yellows that did not molt out the white bars. One of the pairs that produced these also raised a solid red. What are my chances of getting white-barred reds, if I mate them brother and sister?" Probably zero in first generation. Better mate white-barred yellow by white-barred blue?
Ben also notes "getting some fair white-barred blues with the shorter, stouter white beaks of the Viennas, although the greater proportion of these are not as clear in white barring as the Prague Highflyer ancestors. But if the color and barring are clear, head, beak and cere are inferior. No happy medium!" Certainly sounds like linkage (PGNL 11 page 2, and 12 page 3).
Frank Dallas has successfully completed the transfer of white barring from the Swallow to the blue Modena. (No linkage?) Should be simple to go on and re-create the Argent, Frank, by adding T pattern.
Dr. G. L. Clark reports a silky mutant in his Tumblers.
Wilmer Miller has bred an apparently homozygous "slightly silky", resembling ordinary silky. My own case (PGNL 14 page 4) is now a breeding cock, and can fly a fair distance when he tries hard (about 40 feet.)
Lou Graue recalls that in California some years ago he had some Rollers with "the wing coverlet's closest to the body of a silky nature. All other feathers were normal. The feature appeared fairly regularly among the offspring." Gone??
George Neuerburg describes a rarity: "a Parlor Tumbler with a fleshy tube in the middle of the back to base of the neck, with three tail feathers and three smaller ones growing out of it." Also: "Web feet! Have had lots of 'em. The only one this year a Zitterhals, full web between outer and middle toe on one foot."
In PGNL 9 page 1 it was noted that Dr. Dellinger of the Arkansas University Museum has been getting up an exhibit on variation in pigeons. He found a good taxidermist, so is nearly ready.
Did you see the television program December 9, "The thread of life", put on by Bell Telephone Hour? The genetics was kind of dull, I'd say. Pigeons are omitted, as usual. Gerhard Hasz liked the fast-motion pictures of chromosomes in mitosis: "never thought I would ever get to see that!"
Hasz says he got mental indigestion from reading a new book "The Molecular Basis of Evolution", especially the part on "cistrons". (This is a new term for the genetic basis of pseudo-allelism.) He wonders whether almond, sandy, faded, et cetera, maybe pseudo-allelic. I know of no such phenomena in pigeons yet. Carl Graefe questions whether BA and b true alleles. I think they are, mainly because flecks in ash-red hens are typically brown, suggesting a single-step (mutation?) event, and this is unlikely with pseudo-alleles. Carl suggests "how about asking in PGNL whether anyone ever had an authenticated case of mutation from plus or b to BA?" (He doesn't trust people's word?) Well, Ray Gilbert had an unauthenticated (?) case in black Barb's as I recall some 20 years ago. And George Neuerburg says "out of a pair of blue splash Carriers, one of two in the nest is ash-red." (How can he authenticate?) George thinks that in some mysterious way, crossing brown or blue with white may generate ash-red. H'mmmmm.
Carl Graefe has also been ruminating over Earl Klotz' "reverse sex-linked matings" (PGNL 16 page 4); he says he has a faded and ash-red cock heterozygous for dilute that does not have the orange effect. However the arrangement of the genes is not the same as Klotz' was. Graefe's is dilute, faded and ash-red all linked on the same chromosome, so he suggests a new possible rule, that in males "a gene on the same chromosome with St is much more suppressed than one on the opposite chromosome."
Another crazy sex-linked effect is also noted by Graefe: since cocks heterozygous for dilute and pale look the same as homozygous dilute, then mating of a pale cock with a dilute hen gives dilute-appearing sons and pale daughters.
Bertil Harrison renews the problem of producing white-shield (whiteside) black. "We have bought a black white-shielded Dutch tumbler and paired him with yellow and red Vienna (whiteside) hens. All youngsters have become self colored black. F2 and backcrosses to the hens have given no result--red white shielded and blacks. The Flying Dutchman (original cock) has a poor white shield if one not give him "make up" (but he is a great and well-known prizewinner in his home country!)" Apparently recessive red is much more easily depigmented than black (PGNL 6, page 3-4). Maybe that Dutch cock had stenciling???? That is quite different from ordinary whiteside, genetically, easily expressed on black.
Chester Johnson writes "the giant Gazzi Modena is slowly progressing. By 1970 King weight in Gazzi color!" He also sends color photos of two squabs that fail to hatch, with double rear toes and open fissure between the eyelids and nostrils. They were out of a sire-daughter mating in show Silver Kings. This is not the same type of lethal polydactyly as is found in squabbing Kings; apparently the nostril defect is only found in the worst cases, most such polydactyls hatching and living well. Prevalent in show stock Kings. (PGNL 8 page 3).
Dr. G. L. Clark comments on my criticism (4) of a statement in his book (PGNL 15, page 1) about elimination of bad-colored birds will make the self dominant in its own color. "This statement is by the foremost yellow Tumbler breeder, J. Lister, who was incidentally mentioned in PGNL 6 page 3. It is I think a profound statement.... If we are working in only one color and we keep illuminating.... Eventually we must get more purity and stability...." While that's a horse of a different color; but will it work with indigo?
Herman Smith says "This year I have stimulated some interest in genetics in some of the younger fellows at the Illinois State fair." Also won some prizes with his grizzled Fantails.
Werner Moebes has an interesting article in Geflügel-Börse number 20 (October 21) page 9, on Conrad Gesner and the pigeons in his third book. Gesner was a Swiss, who brought out a huge book, in Latin, on "Historia animalium", of which part three deals with birds. The date was about 1557 --before Shakespeare's day. A German translation was published in 1582 by Heusslin. No breed names were used, although over 20 pages are devoted pigeons, with some illustrations. Various colors and the white-head (Monk) marking are noted, as well as crest, short beaks from Augsburg, feather-footed (Russian), and giant pigeons in Venice. Moebes also discusses a revised edition of Gesner by Georg Horst of Frankfurt in 1669, in which some breed names appear--Croppers (biggest of all pigeons), Fantails, Jacobins (Perucken), Bagdettes, Tumblers, et cetera. The Fantails and Tumblers are said to come from Holland--an intriguing item on breed origins and introductions.
Mosaic notes: (1) W. Nolan Brown recently obtained an ash-red cock "with a large patch of black on the left wing." No pedigree. (2) Harvey Ablon writes "An ash-red roller mated to his dilute ash-red mother raised 15 young, up popped a young the upper half of the body red, lower half black. It turned out to be a cock. I loaned it to a friend, who crossed it with Modenas... (Recently) he brought me an almost pure Modena hen with the upper portion of the body red and lower portion blue. He said he has three or four more." (Hope they aren't simply bronzes!) (3) Ablon also reports some Reehani crosses, blue or faded with buff spots--"a sort of splashing". "Although not mated together, all the young that are blue have those buff-colored spots but in different places than the parent birds. One of the younger birds lost all of the buff spots after the molt."
Pigeon Genetics News Letter
Issue 18 April 1961
Edited quarterly by W. F. Hollander, Genetics Department, Iowa State University, Ames. Sponsored by Iowa State University Agricultural Experiment Station
Mr. R.W. Davis is a fanatic o frilly feathers. Has silky and Frillback pigeons, frizzle fouls, Sebastopol geese, and is looking for other related oddities.
Marvin Emery calls attention to a breed described in the 1754 French "R... " manuscript (PGNL 14 page 1), the "Napolitan". These birds had a double row of flight and tail feathers. Probably extinct now?
Wendell Levi writes, "Have you by any chance seen the book published in 1959, William H. Allen, Jr., "How to Raise and Train Pigeons"? They sent me a copy after it was printed for correction. On page 25 there is an "Elsinor" Roller (Elster or Elstern?) On page 40 is a capped or crested "Mucky", and on page 17 is an "Scobian". Now I have a letter from a man asking me about Elsinors and Scobians , which are not mentioned in The Pigeon. There should be a law!" Quite a mucky situation.
A letter from Homer W. Lee, enclosing a color photo of a muffed Baldhead Tumbler, which he "developed from scratch." He is now interested in seeing what will result from a cross of Baldhead by Nun.
Speaking of odd sorts of pigeons, Herr Moebes inquires what are "Rootabaga pigeons"? (Title of a book by Sandberg, published in New York, 1923. Has anyone read it??)
Walter Newport so far has not had much luck developing his new variety of crested non-shaker Fantails (PGNL 16 page 4) from a cross of crested Tumbler. Maybe it would be easier to introduce crest into the Karakand Fantail, which is not a shaker? Another dream of his is to produce the world's smallest pigeon. (I should save some of the sparrow-sized squabs I got from Archangel and Tumbler crosses!)
Robert Doepping writes, "I have bred this year four pure white Show Racers, and also some nice almonds."
Myron Berger writes that he has many colors now in Giant Homers, but has not yet succeeded in getting almond in.
Frank Nuzzo says "I am now well supplied with milky, good blacks, barless, pale factor, and others in Show-pen Homers." He is also producing barless blue Schietti Modenas.
Carl Graefe writes "Had a letter from a man in Louisiana who has almond, indigo and other English show Homers. Wants to breeds some barless. Ambitious, what?" (Mr. P. J. Bihm , see PGNL 11 page 2.)
Graefe and I would like comments from anyone as to whether "Tiger" varieties of Jacobins and Bokhara trumpeters are grizzled-blacks or almond-blacks, and whether the almond factor exists in these breeds. (Almond types get more dark feathers with age; do Tigers progress in the opposite direction?)
Frank Nuzzo has crossed a red Shickli (Miroite Lebanon) cock with a khaki (dilute brown) checker Show Racer. "Raised two red velvets and five yellow velvets. I believe that Shickli is a super-saturated ash-velvet carrying dilution." Graefe agrees, adding "The young F1 are very rich red and yellow with washed-out but not white tail bars. Indications are that "ribbon-tail" is an extreme form of "red velvet", with something added (or subtracted) that makes the tail bar white. What?" My crosses also agree. But the tail bar is not the main or only whitened part-- all the under color is white, in spite of the rich red surface color. Probably the "white-wing" factor in Archangel's is the same, lightning an ash-red base.
Incidentally, Clark Bordner has some Rzhev Star-tail Tumblers. Some of those closely resemble that Shickli Lebanon, others are not so clear in pattern. I found an interesting article on the origin of the Ribbontail, by HP Macklin in American Pigeon Journal 1953, page 268.
Carl Graefe wants information on flecking in ash-red birds: (1) Do any flecks occur in homozygous old ash-red cocks? (2) Do any flecks occur in Ribbontail (Shickli) hens? (3) Does anybody know of where to get one or more ash-red hens, of any breed, with blue or black flecks? He thinks such hens are important for breeding, in regard to the theoretical question of the relation between ash-red and brown. Anybody with comments write him.
Dr. Stovin asked for a prediction on outcome of a homozygous ash-red cock with a homozygous recessive red hen. Well, unless the cock is heterozygous for recessive red, and or the hen carrying ash-red, all the young should be ash-red, and the ash parts will probably be dusky (PGNL 7 page 3). The question of whether homozygous ash red cocks heterozygous for recessive red would have a dusky tone is unanswered; I'd guess yes.
Lots more comment on recessive red. Gerald Hobbs suggests "depth of color, when grease quills is not involved, seems to be a recessive trait. A pair of good-colored birds seldom produce poor-colored birds but a pair of poor-colored birds will on occasion produce good-colored reds. I have used some good-colored S and b mated to poor-colored e to produce some fine-colored e." (The love of rich is the root of all e?)
Coy McKenzie writes "The boys here in Norman I have been working on the recessive red and yellow in French Mondains. We have had several discussions and have studied our reference materials so everyone at least understands the genetic principles involved. We would like to find out the difference between the color in Carneau and that in other breeds." So would we all. Bronze base?
Wendell Levi says that at the Lafayett Louisiana, National Show last January he saw an odd-colored red (recessive?) French Mondain, new to him. George Schroeder sends me feather samples of odd-colored red Giant Homers, new to me--wing not very rich red, and rump and tail extremely dusky, almost blackish. He says that in each case one of the parents was indigo. Perhaps indigo with ee is a "poor" combination?
I have a letter from Ralph I. Hilton, who says "I am currently developing a family of what I call "shiny feather birds", in Birmingham Rollers." He also inquired whether treating pigeons with the drug colchicine would be a good way to produce color mutations. (I doubt it.)
A. Neilson Hutton tells me analogies with which he explains genetics to the uninitiated-- 2 sets of clothes, for genotype versus phenotype, and right and left fingers for pairs of chromosomes. But the phenotype that he desires in Racing Homers is not easy to select: longevity (along with vigor). "Several hens living to 22 years, fertile at 15 years; a cock hatched 1925 still alive." Heterozygous or homozygous??
Lou Graue sends me a resume of a recent study by Professor Rodolfo Margaria, University of Milan, Italy, and Associates, on brain waves in pigeons. "Homing pigeons differ from domestic ones in showing peculiar rhythmic after discharges recorded from the cerebellum following rotation." This was found to be inborn, and not related to training.
Harvey Ablon writes "those boys who wanted to get the African doves can find all they want in the Game Bird Breeders, Pheasant Fanciers and Aviculturists' Gazette.
I bumped into a couple of notes on wild species in the 1948 American pigeon journal. A Foulkes talks about Columba squamosa, C. leucocephala, and the Vioscas pigeon (page 267). E.C. Laing (page 297) states that a mourning dove mated to a racing Homer in Olean, New York, produced two squabs.
Reed Kinzer sends feathers of the "dilute" ring doves (PGNL 13 page 3). He is now using the name "rosy" for the color, and I think that is much preferable, as the feathers look more like ash-red. Should be a very interesting new mutant to analyze.
Wilmer Miller has a new 3/4 ring dove 1/4 pigeon. Nobody yet has investigated the chromosomes of such a bird. (Triploid?)
Bertil Harrison asks "Do you know... if the Roman Runt is an acromegalic giant, an English Shortfaced Tumbler a chondrodystrophic dwarf?" And Gerald Hobbs asks "Does dwarfism affect pigeons by shortening just the limbs is in the Dachshund or the entire skeletal frame? Wonder if "short short legs" would give blocky Kings and Giant Homers?" I'm afraid these terms give an illusion of simplicity that doesn't exist. For one thing, many mutations which are genetically distinct may look very much alike. Anyway, none of these size characters has been analyzed in pigeons. Who will start??
Svend Langhorn writes that a series of the 11 articles by A. Nielson Hutton on breeding and genetics has been published in the Danish Racing Homer paper "Brevduen", in four languages (Danish, German, French, English). In the 11th article is a two-page table of results to be expected from the 225 possible kinds of mating of the T-pattern, checker, etc. pattern; and the third page gives a table of all possible mating results for the colors ash-red, blue-black, and brown. Hutton does not use gene symbols.
Del James sends me the show standard for the "Texan pioneer", a new auto-sexing squabbing type he has distilled from King-French Gros Mondain crosses.
Mosaic notes: James Foster sends me a color transparency of a blue Homer cock son of an ash-red hen (PGNL 13 page 4). The bird now has some ash areas in the tail. Breeding test in individual coop with a blue hens has produced seven squabs so far, all ash-red. Presumably therefore this birds testes are homozygous ash-red in spite of the fact that the bird appears mostly blue. By the bipaternity theory, we can account for the paradox by assuming that the zygote was formed by an ash-red egg fertilized by a ash-red sperm, while other supernumerary sperm(s) not carrying ash-red produced cells which gave rise to much of the embryo also especially the pigment cells. Rara Avis!
The red and blue Modenas mentioned by Harvey Ablon (PGNL 17 page 4) unfortunately turned out to be bronze T-pattern, not mosaics.
Wendell Levi saw an interesting mosaic (hen?) in the loft of Charles E. Dill, in January. Hope to see color photo of it before long.
I ran into an interesting book mainly on zebra-horse hybrids recently, which also had some pigeon notes: JC Ewart, 1899, "The Penycuik Experiments" London, A&C Black). Here are some excerpts from pages XXII-XXX.
"I crossed a well-bred dark blue fantail, having all the characteristic bars of a rock pigeon, with a less well-bred fantail, also blue, with the exception of the crop, head and tail, in which there were a number of white feathers. On two separate occasions these blue fantails produced a well-formed absolutely white fantail. I believe this is an instance of partial reversion, the explanation being that the white offspring took after a white parent of their sire.... I next crossed a white fantail cock (which I believed to be inbred) with a blue pouter hen.... The crossbred bird-there was but one-is almost as white as the fantail, while in form it closely resembles the blue pouter. I see no evidence of reversion in this instance, nor yet of pre-potency of the male over the female. It is a case of each parent handing on its most fixed individual characters.... The white fantail cock... Was next to mated with a cross between an owl and archangel. The archangel hen was a very good example of the copper-colored variety.... The owl belonged to the powdered blue English variety....
"The owl-archangel cross is far more an owl than archangel.... Nothing either in color or form to suggest the archangel parent, and through evidently related to an owl it differs in having the head and beak elongated, in the length of the legs, the absence of a frill, and... the wing bars less distinct, and the wing coverts checkered with brown. In all its movements is nearer the blue rock than an owl.... there is a white crop and 12 tail feathers, the outer one of each side edged with white except at the tip. The head, tail and crop approached the European blue rock in color, but the breast and wings are tinged with brown. The fantail with which the owl-archangel hen was mated is absolutely white, has 30 feathers in its tail.... I was not a little surprised to find that both young birds were blue.... In one... the crop and wings agree with the Shetland rock pigeon; in the other the crop, except near the roots of the tail, is blue, and the wing coverts are checkered.... complete reversion... to the blue rock of India.... There are typical number (12) of tail feathers,.... but the feathers at each side of the middle line have their inner edges very slightly tilted upwards."
"... My "restored" blue rock looks as vigorous and compact as a wild bird... He is shy, active in his movements..... Reversion, in fact, seems to lead to a form of rejuvenescence -- due presumably to the ancestral units overcoming and controlling the more recently evolved and less stable units."
Pigeon Genetics News Letter
Issue 19 July 1961
Edited quarterly by W. F. Hollander, Genetics Department, Iowa State University, Ames. Sponsored by Iowa State University Agricultural Experiment Station.
Often I get a message like this: "my friend John Doe is a -- -- -- -- breeder and much interested in genetics. Please send him PGNL." Most of these enthusiasts washout soon, and don't heed my request to write a couple of times a year, to demonstrate their interest. So in the future, please tell your new prospects to write for themselves, or they won't get on the list.
Herman Smith's new almond Fantails and indigo Fantails now are "good enough to get a Fantail price for them". Also other colors, coming along, such as grizzle and reduced. Herman wants to know why some ash-red S birds are very light ("aluminum") and others dark almost like indigo. Well, usually in my experience the dark or dusky tone is found in birds heterozygous for e. Possibly homozygous S helps brighten?
R. G. Silson is testing his supposedly "faded ash-reds" (PGNL 9 page 2) out of Racing Homers, which I judged not to have the faded factor (PGNL 11 page 4). He says "An interesting point is that most of this family are spread. I've noticed previously that when spread and near selfs are in the same bird one gets lacing on the feather edges in reds, i.e., the "barless mealy" shows full red edging to the wing cohorts.... This also applies in both my heterozygous and homozygous "faded" reds." (What is "near self"??) I still think opal may be confounding the picture here rather than faded. Well, the various tests should tell.
H. H. Ford is looking for some of those rich red Strassers, and wants to know the whereabouts of Fred Schneider who breeds them. Also want some "top-quality" red and yellow Lahores (buy or swap). He adds: "By next year I'll have perfected to type my new breed, the Andalusian Blue King."
Norman Lindsay is trying to get a rich red into Gazzi Modenas. "I'm considering swiping it from the Hungarian. Some I saw at the National this year were an even deeper red than the Carneau, if that is possible." (I thought Fordon already had Modenas that red!)
Ted Smith writes "Have you any experience with Laughers? I've only seen them once and they strike me as a cross of dove and pigeon someplace along the line (voice and general physical appearance). Could this be possible?" Don't think so. Wendell Levy says "Our Laughers have prospered marvelously and we have a number of mated pairs.... We have finally got one of the Laugher cocks to mate to a blue barred Homer hen. So far not a fertile egg-- 6 laid." Try try again!
I have a letter from a friend in Austin, Texas, who recently visited Colombia. "The park in Medellin had many pigeon houses. The birds were large, white, or white with a bluish heads. I am informed that at the annual fair there was a fine exhibit of wild and domestic animals including numerous varieties of pigeons, arranged by Hermano Simone, Collegio de Cristo, Manizales, Columbia."
Myron Berger writes (June 12) "My breeding season is over for the year.... I am now going to mate a few pairs of different breeds together." (Fun for the slack season?). He has an "F1 from pheasant-Mark Suabian by blue barred Giant Homer... Very much like a commie except for bronze bars."
Lowell Pauli reports "I am still working with my almond Giants. I have several youngsters now that by all appearances indicate they will be the classical almond coloration I have been after. Have finally convinced myself that Graefe was correct when he advised me that the classic almond coloration (Tumbler etc.) was a combination of almond, T-pattern kite or bronze, recessive red, and possibly sooty, dirty, and/or smoky." Pauli also says "I noticed in the newsletter George Schroeder mentioned those odd-ball recessive reds I had given him (PGNL 18 page 3). One statement is in error. Neither of the parents was indigo. The cock was recessive yellow, the hen was one of George's, a black T-pattern."
Sven Langhorn writes "Today I have been shown a second round of youngsters the parents of which are both blue checker Racing Homers. In both rounds is one red checker and one blue checker.... Against the rules!" Illegitimate? Or possibly extreme opals?
Svend also has other problems: a black, white-flight cock by red checker is one, both Pensom Rollers produced "two identical youngsters, Andalusian blue with white primaries. Now I wonder if these are bound to be hens?" My guess, at this distance from Denmark, is that they are not indigo by the ash-red S combination, and therefore males. At least, indigo has not previously been noted in Pensom Rollers.
Finally, Svend asks "Do you know how whites saddle in racing pigeons is inherited? A certain strain gives good racers if at the same time the racer has: pearl eyes, white saddle, and feathered legs." If by white saddle the Turbit pattern is meant, I don't see how the bird could have pearl eyes. Anyway, the genetics of the white patterns is still largely unanalyzed.
I have a letter from another Racing Homer breeder, John Windstein, with color photos of an opal S specimen which he wants to multiply. "This bird came to be born as an accident as I mated a blind black son to his mother because after mating my other racers I had no mates for him or her." Out of Haveneth by Barker strains, one ancestor a "plum black with a mosaque tail." "I mated this sport of a youngster to a smoky blue mosaque hen which was raised from a Bastin red
check. The mother was a Sion blue check. I had hopes of raising some more with the black lacing on the wings, but I raised first 2 light blue checks, then a chocolate and a plum black with mosaque tail, then another chocolate and plum. Finally one like the father!" Much ado over opal. Incidentally, I never before heard of a blind male siring anything.
Bob Smith writes about his Argent Modenas. "I have been keeping a record of the nest plumage of the squabs to compare with the first adult plumage. It seems that my population is segregating for a checker and a checker-less [T?] pattern in the juveniles which goes when the red ground changes to white. I thought the squabs showing the largest amount of black in the nest would be arrow-spangled as adults but this is not so." Also, "I noticed your advice to Frank Dallas (PGNL 17 page 2). I have a white barred the cock which was "extracted" out of Argents.... This cock and others I have had all seem to show darker color in the wing coverts. This is not a checkering, probably sooty. I think that this also would have to be added, as well as the T-pattern you suggest, for Mr. Dallas to re-create the Argent. I have had the idea for some years that it is the lack of the sooty gene that makes so many red Argents poor in white ground color in the wing."
Rowe Giesen is planning to re-create white-flight Archangels. Also experimenting with sex-link crosses in English Trumpeters.
Gerhard Hasz in the May issue of American Pigeon Journal (page 165-166) evaluates Cotta's previous article on sex-linkage (PGNL 17 page 1). Hasz criticizes Cotta for listing as sex-linked factors ash-red, brown, faded, almond, pale, and dilute, but omitting reduced "and--of all things--blue." And all these years I've been trying to educate y'all that there ain't just one blue factor! There is no point in listing wild type factors, since they form collectively the reference point by which mutants are recognized.
Several notes on tail-band weakness: Ed Blaine has a blue checker young hen Giant Homer, out of blue checker parents; "no illness noted as squab developed", but tail mostly blue (band mostly missing). Graefe opines that the adult plumage will be normal--"the tail band seems to be rather sensitive to developmental suppression." Dr. Stovin has a brown check Racing hen "with almost non-existent tail bar, mated with a recessive opal bar cock. Result-- two perfectly normal blue bar infants!" Also he has a youngster of different origin, "normal-looking blue barred save for a bleached tail bar, similar to the brown check hen above. Apart from the tail the plumage is that of an ordinary blue bar." Maybe a very bluish opal? Or possibly a mosaic??
Dr. G. L. Clarke writes "everyone still calls my brown tumblers dun!" But he crossed a brown cock with a yellow and got a black. He has also been keeping close records on iris features--redness, and definition of pupil. "It certainly looks as if the ill-defined pupil may be dominant."
R. G. Silson notes a young Racing Homer "with a completely white tail as against all the rest of its body colored. This family has never shown more than odd white flights in my breeding." Silson also in a letter to Ray Owen notes a couple of new practical (?) wrinkles: "neither original, but both have been checked by a fancier here who needed them for his own use. The first is feeding breeding pairs with turkey starter crumbs. Using this feed a pair just laid can be given six or more just hatched squabs and rear them successfully. A pair given 10 reared eight. A difference of a day or two and hatching does not seem to matter.... The second technique is to
have six to 10 hens in individual pens in one loft with a cock loose in the loft. When the hens are ready, they are liberated singly to be mated and then again shut up. A hens cannot see each other so will mate only with the cock. The eggs produced are incubated and reared under feeders. In one trial 45 youngsters were obtained from 60 eggs."
Derek Goodwin reports a hybrid from Stock Dove by Wood Pigeon, "a cock, very tame and in fine condition. In general colors it is intermediate, also in size, but nearer the Wood Pigeon mother in shape. The wing bars are only faintly indicated and there is no trace of white on the neck. It's irides are a darkish yellow, with a "blurred" pupil more like the Wood Pigeon. When it alights it throws up its tail a moment after, just as a Wood Pigeon does (and Stock Dove does not)."
I have a letter from an ornithologist, Radu Dimitrie, who has been making hybrids between various species and genera as a hobby, "though it is very difficult for me... And the necessary place for these crossbreedings is not the best one" he has obtained hybrids of the Wood Pigeon by domestic pigeon, Stock Dove by ringnecked dove, and more common crosses.
Dr. Whitney writes more about his silky Homers (PGNL 16 page 2): "I kept them to breed further. I now have another pair, one like the parents but the other must be homozygous, a real lace. It can't fly at all." Also, "a friend brought me a Homer with another kind of freak feathers. These show more quill, barbs close to the quills, cannot fly (porcupine?). I mated to him to a hen of the first kind." These Homers without the ability to fly may be useful in studying homing ability by walking. Louis Grau has been getting at that by using birds with clipped wings.
Walter Newport had news last January which I failed to include in the last PGNL. He crossed white Fantails reciprocally with his crested Tumblers. "I have five full grown offspring from two matings of male Fantails by female Tumblers. Of the five, none is drooped-wing and two definitely are hens (laid eggs). I have about 20 offspring of the cross where the Fantails are hens. One of these F1s is definitely drooped-wing and has been all her life. Her sire is not drooped-wing, no others of the 12 other offspring have drooped wings, although one son sometimes shows a tendency." Would it not seem that this offers a serious obstacle to the theory that the droop-wings are sex-linked?" Yes indeed!
Mosaic notes: Derek Goodwin says the S mosaic (PGNL 11 page 5) is a cock. The peculiar striped feathers persist.
George Neuerburg says "if the average pigeon keeper recognized mosaics and reported them they would not appear to be so rare. In a batch of Racing Homers recently acquired I got an ash-red cock with fair-sized areas of black on back and neck; and in a batch of Dragoons a grizzle cock with yellow patches on head and neck. Neither of the previous owners recognize them as mosaics--if anything they thought of them as being "mis-marked". Almost any time I can show English Show Homers, lavenders (ash-red) with large blue-black patches."
I have received more information and color photos of the mosaic bred by Charles E. Dill. It is a French Mondain hen, recessive red grizzle with apparently brown tail, mostly blue head and
left side of neck and crop and blackish patch in left secondaries and coverts. Sire "red and white", dam "white with brown flecks". Dill is planning to test with a recessive red.
Pigeon Genetics News Letter
Issue 20 October 1961
Edited quarterly by W. F. Hollander, Genetics Department, Iowa State University, Ames. Sponsored by Iowa State University Agricultural Experiment Station.
This issue completes our fifth year of PGNL. The effort seems to have been well received on the whole, and though our science may not be progressing in great leaps, we plan to pursue this primrose path in hopes of surprises around the bend.
For issue number 21 there will be a revised mailing list, with more pruning of deadwood.
Re: correspondents: I try to reply soon by mail to your inquiries and discussions. However, if you simply tell me of breeding results, et cetera, and need no answer, please do not feel slighted if I seem to show no appreciation. Your letters are the life-blood of this enterprise!
Reports this time very from tragedy to comedy. Stan Witomski lost an entire loft of rare color Racing Homers in one day to a weasel, but is making a comeback. Lou Graue says that his wing-clipped test of Racing Homers just sit around without moving for an average of 45 minutes at the release point before walking. No place like home!
Frank Nuzzo writes "am raising some nice birds despite mites, colds, etc..... Several "Andalusian" Modenas. My bronze Show-pen Homers are coming nicely. Expect two years more will give me good rich Tippler red [Brander] color. I have nice shiny blacks. I used smoky and dirty-looking blues on spread blacks."
Dr. Dellinger of Arkansas University Museum (PGNL 9 page 1) writes that the exhibit of the variation of pigeons under domestication is now completed and has attracted much favorable comment. The display includes a cote of wild type, a number of fancy and utility breeds, and several mutants such as silky, porcupine, polydactyly, and web-foot.
Brian G. Donelly writes from the University of Natal, South Africa about his experiments in
crossing male: Columba guinea with domestic pigeons. Most of the hybrids died in 10 days after hatching, but one female survived and has been able to raise backcross progeny with a Nun cock. Back crossing to a Columba guinea cock gave only infertile eggs.
Roger Baker crossed a red mottle Roller cock with a white ringneck dove and from four eggs raised three "dovegeons", all red and white. "They seem to get lighter with each molt" two still alive, both males. One backcross to its mother has given two sets of infertile eggs.
Frank Klinek, also is interested in crossing doves and pigeons. George Neuerburg comments "What is the difference between a dove and a pigeon? Having read Whitman and other writers on the subject, and having had some experience with hybrids of them, I still wonder what is a valid explanation." (Same difference as burro versus other hay-burners? Maybe someone else would care to join this taxonomic lay of the turtle?)
Charles Partin reports a yearling hen Pheasant pigeon with brittle flights and tail feathers. "She seemed normal until after the juvenile molt.... It is only a matter of a short time before the new feathers break off about an inch from where the shaft joins the body.... Before they break off I find the shaft is splitting open." He has crossed her to a Fantail and will check if inheritance seems involved.
In The Racing Pigeon (London), August 19, 1961, page 568, a letter is printed from H. J. LeRiche; he says "I am breeding a family of [Racing Homers] with 22 flights from very good blood", and hopes this will will enable the birds to outfly the numerous hawks in his region.
A breeder of Pygmy Pouters, Richard Parr, writes "I have been led to believe that a mutation can mask, eliminate, or blend or dilute colors but could not produce a color not previously present in the parent stock." (And water can only go downhill?) Also, "The statement has been made that the red Pigmy Pouter is actually a checkered pigeon--that the desired color results from selective breeding to eliminate the checkering. The coloring of some of my young birds seems to indicate that this is true." (Cheq-mate??)
Further comments on Laughers have come in (PGNL 19, page 2). George Neuerburg says "in one lot of Laughers I bought there were 14 cocks and four hens! (PGNL 15 page 2). Three matings of Laughers with other breeds went like one would expect with any breeds of pigeons. They breed! All the squabs tasted like any other I have eaten. Laugher by Catalonian Zouave -- one young almost perfectly Suabian marked (no white on head), other T-pattern; Laugher by yellow saddle Fantail-- one pure white, one recessive red splashed."
Dr. Pritchard says he is crossed a white Laugher hen with a black Roller, "primarily to see if I could produce a black Laugher, since the only one I saw in Thailand, which I brought back to this country, is still with Mr. Don Andrews in Los Angeles. The crosses has thus far produced eight birds, two of them sexually mature and both cocks. Their voice is not pure Laugher."
Going from Laugher to dolor, George Schroeder writes "Visiting friend Claude Smith (he raises Kings) I noticed he had one scalped youngster, and on discussing the matter found he never has such. Over the last 15 years we have known each other, he has developed a strain of very docile
show King's in most colors. My Giant Homers on the other hand seem, if anything, more vicious than ever. His Kings seem to have many among their number that will feed any youngster that gets down on the floor." (See Tharp's note, PGNL 8 page 3).
Lee Tharp writes of progress with his "mixed-bloodits": "Faded English Show Homer coming along quite well. The faded ash-red Show type Kings are little better at 7/8 Show type now." Also similar advance with German Beauty Homer. The Dixie Pouter project is slow: "have to keep the young several months to see whether crop develops. This loads up the loft with "maybes".... Do have some Kings which have "Exhibition Homer" heads, results of King-English Show Homer matings."
Fred Wirrer is trying to develop two distinct stocks of auto-sex Kings "for future crossing for increased vigor--if and when?" One stock is "Copper-white" (faded ash-red), derived from Gottfried's stock. Squab weights are of special-interest to Fred: "Over the past six months have been culling a number of squabs immediately after hatching to determine if pairs will raise heavier singles than normal double clutches. On basis of 21 such single clutches in several pairs of older established breeders I came up with an average of only 3% better weight for single clutches than double... Was surprised at variation of weights even within individual pairs."
Dr. Stovin writes "I have in one nest bred two youngsters (Racing Homers) which seemed to me examples of "food blindness". With much difficulty they did succeed in feeding themselves.... They always tried to pack downwards and backwards, pecking many times all around the grain, between its legs.... They preferred to go for corn that it fallen in cracks between boards, the preference was very clear.... Curious waddling gait, with a tendency to fall forward if they hurried.----Flying too gave the impression of being somewhat uncoordinated although it was quite practicable." Anything observably abnormal about the eyes, such as bulging cornea? My feed-blind Racing Homer (PGNL 13 page 1) is probably not the same as Stovin's, since there was no incoordination of walking or flying. My record so far for birds old enough to classify are as follows:
(1) original feed-blind cock by normal hen gave four normal F1 (two cocks, two hens).
(2) F1 by F1 gave three normal, one feed-blind.
(3) original cock by F1 gave four normal, two feed-blind.
Walter Newport also has a kind of feed-blindness in a [Fantail?] cock: "He is perfectly normal and his eyesight seems to be fine in every way except when he eats.... He looks at a kernel of corn, then cocks his head to one side and strikes out blindly for the kernel.... It is not a question of blindness in one eye.... Extremely far-sighted?"
Lee Tharp writes "The partial featherless birds (PGNL 16 page 2) finally developed feathers enough to cover themselves, although one died. The one which lived feathered out during the first molt, although it still seems to lack all the body feathers it should have."
Frank Nuzzo crossed a lavender Lahore with a blue barless Homer. "One youngster so far--spread black, a few white ticks on head and rump and has feather legs."
Carl Graefe comments on piebald genetics. "I once raised one pair of Lahore - marked squabs from pied Rollers. Mutation?.... Is "Weisslatz" (Bavette) a special case of modification of baldhead? Or shield?.... The sporadic appearance of the white bib (gehertz) Pouter marking in
breeds far from Pouters is interesting. In English carriers Pouter-marked birds from crosses of color by white are quite common." To all of this I have one answer: I don't know. How about the Canchois? And also note the comments in the Levi (1957) page 316 on the "geganselt" marking in Ancients as a cross of "Spitzige" by self white.
When anyone thinks he has mastered the breeding of piebald and white, he should try something like Walter Newport's mixtures: "a coal black Fantail cock with a bit of white on its back is mated to a deep red hen with a white back and some white tail feathers.... Produced many offspring. The greatest single color in them is black. One hen is pure white with only one black feather in her back. Other youngsters have been black and white speckled, blue check and dark slightly chocolate-colored." He asked whether "the white gene might be more recessive than either the black or the red"? The dominance or recessiveness should not be stated between these various mutant types; rather, the relation of each to wild type.
Lee Snyder wants to produce white Frillbacks with the superior fluting of the Austrian (colored) variety. "I suspect the whites are derived from the colored and are homozygous grizzle--red grizzled feathers are often observed in the whites." Yes, I have considerable cross data showing the whites to be homozygous grizzle ash-red. Might get what you want directly from grizzle ash-red Austrians without a cross.
A tougher problem is presented by Rowe Giesen: "A friend of mine is trying to produce a self red Frillback. He outcrossed blue Frillbacks with red English Trumpeters. All the offspring were grizzled red." Ideas, anyone??
Harold Gordon writes "I still am trying to 'finish up' my 'Ribbontail' Parlor Tumblers.... Raised one this year that seems to have two thin bands showing." Enclosed feathers shows light cross band near middle of tail feather, which reappeared in adult plumage.
Dr. Golley comments on my opinion of the cause of dusky tone in ash-reds (PGNL 19 page 1): "Never have I had a dark 'indigo-like' ash-reds when crossing them with my recessive red Frills; mine were always light-colored." Well, then we need more investigation.
Here from my "loft" are several genetic problems of medium difficulty for those readers who enjoy vicarious genetics:
(1) A pair of the "t" polydactyly stock, and each with one extra outer toe on 1 foot only, is breeding an an individual coop. Out of four squabs, one has perfectly normal feet. Both of the parents came from heterozygous normals.
(2) I set up a linkage test between "sideburns" (suggested symbol Sb) and pink-eyed dilute (symbol pd), as follows: pink-eyed hen by sideburns cock produced a sideburns son, and he was mated back to his dam. This test mating has produced six squabs from six eggs, of which one is sideburns, three are pink-eyed, and two are normal. Should I break up the mating?
(3) Because of unexpected mortality and poor planning, I have nearly lost the "scraggly" factor. In fact, there is only one bird left known to be carrying it (a heterozygous cock). Shall I just let it die out, "good riddance of a bad gene"--or shall I try to salvage the stock? If the latter, what sort of procedure?
Mosaic notes: Dr. Golley says "Though I never considered them as such I had a number recessive red Oriental Frills with a black feathers in them.... Also an occasional yellow with dun or black feathers and ash reds with black feathers."
Lou Graue records "a new mosaic, ash-red check male with a blue tail except for two white or ash tail feathers. This is only the second one I have ever had out of nearly 2000 homing pigeons I've raised in the last 15 years. As I would not agree with George Neuerburg but they're not so rare, at least in my stock."
Dr. Stovin also raised one (sex?) but lost it on a training flight--"red grizzle with two blue bar tail feathers and a patch of blue feathers on the right shoulder."
David Bruce is aiming to get homozygous dominant opal, something not yet nailed down. In the process he got a mosaic dominant opal and blue. (Detailed description not in yet.)
Bud Stanek crossed a splashed red Fantail hen (solid red tail) with an almond Roller cock and got an almond son with a large part of the left wing dark (faded and black).
Me--I have raised a young recessive red mongrel with five black feathers on the left shoulder. Both parents ash-red, cock heterozygous.
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