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Pigeon Genetics News Letter



Issue 21                                   January 1962


Edited quarterly by W. F. Hollander, Genetics Department, Iowa State University, Ames.  Sponsored by Iowa State University Agricultural Experiment Station.


Wonder what Sam Butler would say about dumbbell-shaped eggs, or eggs within eggs??  Werner Moebe sends an item from Deutsche Geflügel-Zeitung, issue number 24, August, 1961, page 387 --"double egg from a Coburg lark", by Dr. Prusas.  Looks like two eggs fused side to side.  (The hen survived!)


Early last October, thanks to the hospitable administration of doctors Goodman and Pritchard, I had the opportunity to visit their pigeon laboratory at the Bowman Gray school of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.  No other scientific laboratory can compare to it in number of pigeons--some 2000.  Most of the work concerns artherosclerosis, with white Carneau, Show Racers and crosses.  Dr. Pritchard also has Laughers and Fantails from Thailand (crested and grouse-footed).  Lots of interesting research going on which I hope we will hear more of soon.


H. H. Ford has abandoned his "Andalusian King" project, but says "This crossbreeding gets more fascinating by the year.  I mated two black Florentine hens to a yellow King utility bird and got a perfectly marked pair of squabs, one black and one red.  How come?"  And from a black Florentine hen by red King, "first squab is almost solid white with splashed beak, some black on top of his head, also down the center (only) of the back and ending in a black tail....  Crazy, man crazy!"


In Deutsche Geflügel-Zeitung, page 367, issue number 23, 1961, J. Schünemann writes about "Larked" (silver checker) Hessian Pouters.  Apparently this color variety was extinct by 1945, but accidentally re-created by Schünemann some years later.  He says he crossed a silver bar cock with a white hen.  "Already in the first clutch I found to my astonishment two larked squabs.  One had four white flights, the other self.  In the next four clutches were three more larked, one having a white flight, three blue bars, and one blue checker.  All of the larked birds were hens."  One larked was mated to a silver barless and gave a larked son.


George Neuerburg also lets accidents happen, and says "White pigeons throw the kwaziest colors!  An almost pure white English Show Homer cock mated to a pure white Schautaube (German Beauty Homer) of suppose pure-white ancestry produced--pure white, blue with bronze bars, ash-reds, black selfs, and recently a nest pair were white with color patches between Magpie and shield marking, one ash-red and the other blue with--white bars!  Oh yes, also one dark kite.  I'm waiting till they throw a green one."


Dodd Young writes in the November bulletin of the Pacific Modena Club about White Schietti.  Instead of the usual bull-eyed, he is trying to breed orange-eyed white.  "It will, however, take some time to establish a sound strain.  The Carneau breeders have done it...."  He is crossing




bull-eyed whites to yellows.  I wrote him that I don't think much of this cross; grizzle, ash-red, dilute, and Gazzi might be better.  He replied "As to Gazzi,....  they have brought with them a cracked eyes and stained beaks."  (But I didn't mean to cross with bull-eyed white!)


Jim Manship has some Modenas "white with black spangles or as Chet Johnson calls them "Dalmatians", with orange eyes.  The mother was a dun and the father pure white.  They threw red checks also.  I mated the male with a white hen and have raised white with black splashes and dun splashes or red splashes as well as blue bars and whites.  Individual pen, too!"  Wonder if the almond factor is the basis of the "Dalmatians".


Jim Manship and John Stombaugh want to have my advice on the best mating for Magnani to keep the color.  I'd say cross to bronze Schietti.  Anyone else have better ideas?


John Stombaugh is trying to develop almond Chinese Owls, the first cross being a black Owl hen by Almond C. L. Tumbler cock.  "Resulting progeny were a black with white flecked cock and a light almond hen (light yellow ground with a black and red flecking on neck and flights).  No sign of frill or pants.  Type was very similar to Budapest Tumblers with roundhead.  The hen was mated to a white Chinese Owl cock that showed very poor pants, medium frill on chest.  Raised four youngsters and every one almond...  One hen shows pretty fair pants, with good chest frill, poor cravat."  (Make a bet on this "hen" never lays eggs!)


John also reports "My barless blue Baldhead Rollers are coming slow, but good.  Have four this year, and they all roll....  It has been seven years of not too intensive work."  (PGNL 3 page 1).


John Schabell says he is trying to develop two somewhat inbred lines of Rollers, one with good head and eye features, the other with good feather and body type.  The object is to use these to produce uniform hybrids showing all the selected desired both features from each line.  His reasoning is that inbreeding should "make dominant" those features.  Wrong reasoning, John.  If inbreeding made features dominant, why just the desirable ones?  Anyway, dominance can't be "made".  Well, try and tell us what happens.


Svend Langhorne is puzzled.  "In a book on raising pigeons the German author Regenstein mentions the Bruce-Loewe breeding system, but very briefly.  (1) He says the cock ought to be mated to a hen which must be of the cock's maternal line (-------).  (2) The hen ought to be paired to a cock which must be of the hen's paternal line.  Now I should like to know which word is missing in the parentheses: and/or.  That is, must the condition be fulfilled both ways?  In case one way only, for instance (1), are the characteristics of the cock to be expected in the offspring, and in (2) are the young expected to resemble their mother?  Have any of your readers or yourself any experience as to the Bruce-Loewe system?"  Ah, these magic systems!  Hocus-pocus!  Regenstein's understanding of Genetics was not as deep as yours, Svend, and he knew better than to "explain" the Bruce-Loewe system!  Well, I think the missing word should have been "and", if the purpose of the system is to maintain a "balance" of maternal and paternal contributions in building up a stud or new line. But why necessarily have that purpose?  There are many other linebreeding systems and none is a panacea.  Without knowledge of the genes concerned, the breeder must grope.


Chester Johnson reports on his "Giant Gazzi" project, (PGNL 5 page 5).  Hen number one, excellent producer, strong and vigorous, was mated to her son.  Out of this mating a son was chosen again to mate with her.  This mating produced two sons and two daughters "all completely




 infertile".  Like begets like?!  Another project: auto-sexed faded dilute brown show-type Giant Homers.  The first faded dilute brown hen turned out to be barren.  Third project: Beet-red eye ceres for black Kings.  He mated a black Hungarian (red cere) cocks with a black King hens, two pairs.  So far pair number one gave seven squabs, all black, one with white around vent.  Pair number 2 gave eight squabs, all black, one with white vent and "boots" (hocks?).  "All eyes ceres are just a little smutty but not red."


Paul Steiden comments on the curved beak of the English Show Homer: "Giant Homer by English Show Homer produce all straight beaks."  He also notes "The good blacks in all breeds throughout the fair here almost always showed no white stripe on the outside of tail.  Perhaps more breeds have smoky than are realized."


L. F. Tharp comments on extra flight feathers (PGNL 20 page 2): "Stock which I had which raised polydactyls also had extra flights, sometimes in the same bird."  My own experience has not shown this correlation.  Moreover, I have never had a report of polydactyly in Racers, though extra flights are not so rare.


In Wendell Levi's Q. And A. Column of November A.P.J., page 409, double hind toe polydactyly is reported by C. B., Texas, in Modenas.  First time for the breed?  Possibly the "non-lethal" type introduced from Show Kings??  (Or was the introduction maybe the other way around???)


Dr. Stovin says that in October he "was presented with two wood pigeons in good condition when handled, both of which had only the two outer flights in each wing, the remaining feathers just through....  Their captor informed me that his son had seen perhaps a half dozen or more pigeons in similar plight this year....  Always in the same area....  Has seen similar cases in previous years....  Have you known of this mass molt in pigeons, or any explanation?"  No.


Three favorable reports on the use of artificial lighting to encourage winter breeding: Manfred Gottfried, about a 14-hour day; George Schroeder says "I have the heat lamps and lights back on....  I am convinced the production and health is much better when I use them.  Oregon fog and rain is too much for the birds in the wintertime without them I'm afraid."  Myron Berger writes "I go to work at midnight...  Turn on the lights at 8 a.m. and off at 11:30 p.m."  He feels that there is "increased activity in all phases of activities before laying....  The birds settle down for the night about 10 p.m."


Carl Graefe writes that at a local show in mid-November "Earl Klotz discovered a Racing Homer blue (bar) indigo, white flight.  Inquiry discloses that it's a genuine Bastin and that similar birds appear from time to time in the family."  I'd still like to see breeding test!


Dr. Stovin writes that the brown check Racing Homer hen without tail band (PGNL 19 page 3) must be indigo brown, since her mother was an indigo T-pattern (not pure Racer).  Color photos make me agree.


A. Nielson Hutton is the author of a current series of articles on breeding in the "American Racing Pigeon News".  (Possibly the same as published in the Danish "Brevduen"?  See PGNL 18 page 4.)  In the November issue he discusses the common colors in Racers, and even gives the modern symbols.  Will the racing fraternity bother??


Wilmer Millers mating of a dun Tumbler-Roller cock by dark silky ring dove produced another hybrid, black, not silky (PGNL 17 page 2).  Another news item from Miller: "speaking of




practically featherless birds (PGNL 16 page 2; 20 page 3), I seem to have one....  Has only a few facial feathers, small and peculiar primaries, and down that isn't "squab down".  Three previous sibs normal."  Apparently no inbreeding involved.  Dominant mutant??


Ray Gilbert has a problem with his Parlor Tumblers.  "I've always selected the singles and doubles for breeders, never favored the Parlor Rollers...  This year for a reason beyond my understanding practically all the youngsters are rollers of the more most fiendish sort; they roll all over the place in all directions and seemed to become worse and worse.  Several have destroyed themselves....  Churn themselves to pieces...  But many are far and away the healthiest looking I have ever owned!"  SOS, SOS!!


Mosaic notes: Gerhard Hasz says that an almond Giant Homer with "nothing but ash-red flecking", constitution almond and brown on one chromosome with the ash red on the other, crossed with a blue check hen has produced an almond squab with unmistakable blue flecking "and a red mosaic spot on one shoulder the size of a silver dollar."  Possibly this isn't a bipaternity mosaic but a crossover with two sorts of flecks expected.


Chet Johnson picked up a mosaic in his "Giant Gazzi" stock: "blue bar on one wing and blue check on the other.  After the molt became a blue check on one side and a slight checker on the other" photo would be welcome! 






Pigeon Genetics News Letter



Issue 22                                   April 1962


Edited quarterly by W. F. Hollander, Genetics Department, Iowa State University, Ames.  Sponsored by Iowa State University Agricultural Experiment Station.


Inquiry from John L. Randall; "In reading my Helmet standards, I run across a color called "Isabel".  What could this color be?"  ???  Just yellow?


Leslie Bolling asks about an imitation Isabel from crosses out of "reduced" Racing Homers he got from Carl Graefe with Genuine Homers.  This bird was at first practically white molted in a soft beige with distinct whiteish wing bars.  My guess is reduced opal recessive red, but it's a new combination of me.


Wendell Levi writes that the National Show in Long Beach was tremendous.  "The color classes in Show Racers and in Modenas were something to dream of."


In the December 1961 NPA News, page 5, a comment is cited from one Earl Deal who claims to be the originator of the Andalusian Blue King and ditto French Mondain.  This breeding accomplishment is a very easy one, so I hope no hassle will develop.  Transplanting a recessive condition from one breed to another might be more worth a citation.


Frank Nuzzo comments "In my Andalusian Mondains...  Bronze is more pronounced in the nest feathers.  After the molt, they lose just about all traces of bronzing."  The inhibiting effect of S on bronze?  The Carl Graefe comments "there were in this territory (Ohio) some years ago so-called Black Gazzi Modenas that were kitey.  What does that do the rule that S always suppresses bronzing?"  Bends it, maybe!


In "The Racing Pigeon" (London), December 16, 1961 page 891, a letter from a novice is printed about a young Racing Homer which "has 24 flights in each wing not counting the secondary




flights.  I have already killed one from the same pair with 23 main flights in each wing."  Egad!!!  I hope we will learn more about this.


Louis Grau writes about his attempts to make his Bagdadi act like Racing Homers: "I have several mature youngsters which have adjusted very well to the life of a flock of homing pigeons.  That is, they fly regularly with the flock and show little difference except for their size.  It takes a long while for them to become so adjusted.  Mostly after they leave the nest they care very little to come out of the loft for other than a walk around on the ground.  I lost most of the Bagdads on the first releases and also all the hybrids with homing pigeons were lost in early releases."


Dr. Hannaford Shafer writes "I wonder if some fancier in USA would cross the Laugher with a Trumpeter and see the result.  The import ban prevents my doing this experiment in Australia."  He is still working on getting good Bokharas out of Swallow crosses.  One is "a very large red cock, with good muffs but without a rose, which trumpets very well....  Many of my first double-crest of birds did not trumpet, so this is another case of proving the trumpeting gene is quite separate from the rose gene."  Other bi-products on the way: double-crested red Spots ("one of these hens trumpets."); a bronze ("fire-marked") dark blue double-crested pearl-eyed Trumpeter cock; and a red spangled Trumpeter.  "Listening to my Trumpeter's, I have divided them into single, double and triple-tonguers; if you are a flute or coronet player you will understand this term.  The repetition of the drum or tongue is much faster in some than others."  And finally, "I still see 'crochet head' in my red Fairy Swallows.  I feel other Swallow breeders must have similarly affected birds; it is of more of athetosis."  (I have seen slight tremor of this sort in a number of my own English-Trumpeter crosses.  It shows up best at night in the beam of a flash-light.)


Gerald Dooley has been puzzling over the reasons for sex-difference in crossing-over rates with opal and checker, and wonders how to experiment on it.  I'm stumped!


Donald Henderson is developing auto-sex colors and Racing Homers, to see how they will stand up in races.


Colin Osman writes, "Regarding the Bruce Low system of breeding (PGNL 21 page 2).  Bruce Low was an Englishman who, about the turn-of-the-century, divided a system for racehorse breeding which is almost as fantastic as eye sign.  There is a book on it....  Racing ability is I fear far too tough a problem for any of our amateur or professional pigeon geneticists to tackle....  Geneticists on the whole have supplied singularly little information of use in the breeding of ever-improving racers."  Galton had a point, there!  But I doubt that heterosis has been adequately exploited yet.


Gerhard Hasz calls attention to an article on the "Groninger Slenke" breed in Geflügel-Börse #2 for 19 January, page 5.  The author Jos.  Fischer, states that "we have in the course of the years discovered that one should not mate dilutes together as one gets up to 99% blind squabs."  At present the only colors in the breed are red and yellow (BA).  Hasz wonders if there may be such interaction of d and BA.  I can't see any genetic basis here except possibly a coincidental one.  The 99% figure is beyond any logical prediction--25% would be my top.


Hasz says he also has various "UFO" (unidentified flying objects) in his loft, and is anxiously awaiting the "emergence of others from capsule."  Some puzzling combinations among S, reduced, indigo, dominant opal, BA, and recessive red.  One normal-downed squab turned out to be a "yellow" male.  Another is "platinum gray".  "Heterozygous In - Od  -  S is a beautiful color.  Females, in my experience, differ from males by a darker head."




Bob Clarke pokes at a weak spot in our color genetics: "Has anyone come up with a homozygous dominant opal yet?"  Well, David Bruce is working on the homozygous problem, and reports "I have been having a hell of a time describing the various shades.  (My New Years resolution should be to get rid of all faded and dilutes in dominant opal--I can't even tell what pattern they are.)  I still believe the ones I call "white" dominant opal's are homozygous.  However, there seem to be all gradations of color.  One of my latest wild guesses is that I can see a bluish color on the head and neck of homozygous dominant opal cocks and brownish on hens.  However, even the heterozygous dominant opal's may show the sex difference in color.  I can't be sure."


Harvey Ablon writes "in a nest of a Reehani-Roller cross, discovered a young one with large swirls of feather beginning at the breastbone and running to the vent."  Some sport!  Hope it is genetic.


Harvey is trying various combinations such as Owl by Archangel, Hyacinths by dominant opal Roller.  Has also produced faded Swing Pouter.


Herman Smith continues to develop rare colors in Fantails, including a fair ribbontail.  Also has produced almond Archangels, and is introducing indigo.  A pale (?)  S indigo looks almost like S BA.


A note from this lab: I have a blue-khaki African Owl mosaic cock (PGNL 10 page 6) mated with a dark silky ring dove.  Out of two fertile eggs so far, one died ready to pip and was abnormal--no rear toes, and a short lower beak.  Apparently a female hybrid.  I had a previous one like this some 18 years ago at Dr. Riddle's lab, from a Tippler cock by a ring dove hen.  Wilmer Miller reported a similar case to me in July 1959: "...  First fertile egg from a new mating of the pigeon male who had previously produced 12 normal when mated to a dark ringnecked....  this one died pipping, lacks hallux on both feet...  Right wing longer than normal, apparently with an extra bone length and joint involved.  The left wing may also be a little bit unusual.  I gave this bird to the Poultry Husbandry Department."  He wondered whether the hot wheather might cause the abnormality.  Now I doubt it.


Another home-grown item: I'm mated a wild-type common pigeon with a typy Show Silver King hen.  They produced a total of one progeny--a blue bar hen.  She was a good deal like a course Modena in appearance, intermediate between parent types in body build, size, and feather length.  I'd say this bit of evidence indicates that factors for King "type" are not a sex-linked.


Calling all Turbit breeders!  A reference in English before Moore's "Columbarium" (1735)!  "The Turbit pigeon or cortbeck" is mentioned in 1688: R. holme, "Armoury" II 244/2.  Also 1725, "Bradley's Family Dictionary", s.  v.  Pigeon, "Many sorts of pigeons such as Carriers, Jacobins, Turbits, Helmets,...." (I found this information under the Word Turbit in the Oxford English dictionary.  Guess we should look up some other terms to!)


An inquiry from B. W. Woodson, who wants "scientific information on White King by White Carneau cross, for squabs."  Shall I refer them to the New Jersey State Squab Production scientist??


George Neuerburg writes "Latest color phase in my lofts,---true, silver (blue) King's, bought from Willis Leach.  Out of a yellow cock; ancestry yellow King, yellow Florentine, and khaki self King....




In the mid-40s attempts were made to produce true silver Kings by crossing with silver Schietti Modenas---all silvers produced had khaki bars (dilute bronze?)  And golden Lark markings on the breast.  All that I saw or heard of were hens."  Seems to me B. Peterson had "good" true silver Kings long before that, and nobody wanted them.  What say, Bert?


Dr. G. L. Clarke writes "I have to raise the question whether the recessive red in a mealy has any expression.  In Tumblers the only difference between a dominant and recessive red appears to be one little e!"  He includes cross data indicating that "at least two thirds" of the mealies are heterozygous for e; however, he says "I have only seen three mealies with the ash parts darker or dusky, and all were cocks - BA little black flecks."  Further, the majority of recessive reds contain only one or two BA factors.  H'mm.  Birds of a feather get mated together??  My opinion still is that for desired show colors, the juxtaposition is not helpful in either case above.  As I commented in PGNL 20 page 4, the dusky tone in some ash-reds seems to need new investigation.


Lowell Pauli wants to know whether "reduced" is a "color modifier like dilution" or a color in itself.  Well, such pigeon-holing may seem helpful, but I doubt it.  Our knowledge of what mutants do, physiologically, is very poor yet.  For now I'd like to consider each mutant's effects in combinations without any hierarchy.  But Pauli of course doesn't want this answer.  What he's driving at is this: he has got the idea (from Levi?)  that there are only three colors--black, red, and brown.  Any mutant affecting quantity, like dilution, isn't it color gene, but a modifier....  But, unfortunately, "reduced" affects both.  So, like it's a problem, man!


Mosaic notes:


David Bruce’s dominant opal and blue mosaic (PGNL 20 page 5) did not change significantly in molting.  It has 2 1/2 blue rectrices, right elbow feathers, and spots on right wing and head and right throat blue; rest of feather is very light dominant opal --"possibly homozygous."  Breeding test will be interesting!  Ben Cichinski has a bluish bird with "golden dun" head and neck.   Bob Clarke has a faded blue hen with a few yellow feathers.  Parentage unknown.   Lee Snyder has obtained a pied black and recessive red Roller cock, parentage unknown.






Pigeon Genetics News Letter


Issue 23                                   July 1962


Edited quarterly by W. F. Hollander, Genetics Department, Iowa State University, Ames.  Sponsored by Iowa State University Agricultural Experiment Station.


Dr. Michael Monsour, sends a color photo of his "dovegeons" (PGNL 17 page 2) out of ring dove male by blue checker Racing Homer hen.  He also notes that he has produced a white hybrid from this mating.  I presume sex-linked recessive white from the sire, so a female hybrid.  He says the females so far matured (blond color) have been barren.


Martin LaBar writes "we are still trying to obtain livia by senegalensis hybrids.  Many fertile eggs, but no offspring as yet"


Check Wooldridge has some band tailed pigeons (Columba fasciata) and is trying to cross with Racing Homer.


I have an inquiry from Dr. S. C. Smith, Poultry Department, University of New Hampshire, about how to get a dozen or so pigeon embryos synchronized in development.  He wants to hold the eggs until he has enough, then put in an incubator.


RJ MacArthur has been disappointed in results with "pumping" (PGNL 13 page 2).  Taking eggs away as soon as the clutch is laid he finds fertility is only 40-50%.  Moreover, he "never had any female lay sooner than 11 days after she had laid the second egg of the previous clutch."  Average about 15 days.  Anybody know what's wrong?  My ring doves have laid as soon as seven days, but at present I have a problem with many of them laying single-egg clutches.  MacArthur wonders whether the number of eggs per clutch (say three) could be genetic, subject to selection.


George Schroeder writes that he is building a "controlled climate house" to hold 200 individual breeding pens.  Who’ll keep the records, George?!  He also reports that a "tailless" French Mondain "is still turning  out normal squabs."  I'll bet that if this bird as a cock, he isn't siring those squabs.  (Not genetics, just in ability to copulate!)




Fred Wirrer notes that his crosses of short-type Kings by longer squabbing stock produced short-type progeny.  He is keeping records to see how much weight Kings gain after 28 days.  Says he sees little "rhyme or reason" in the results so far.  Some gain very little.


John Tidwell says "from a perfectly marked black bald muff and a white-flighted blue muff hen I have a blue self muff--nary a white feather.  Then in two other matings of half bald-half self mated to each other I am getting more selfs than birds with white flights as the parents have....  White does not have the tendency to spread that I had been led to believe--or I am dealing with a different white?"  Probably!


Frank Nuzzo wonders what kind of white pattern would be produced in a cross of Nun by Bavette.  I'm too busy too; but that would be interesting.  Frank and Earl Klotz are both trying to put the "Tippler bronze" equals Brander color into Show Racers.  Slow job and no clear understanding yet.


George Neuerburg takes up Franks patriotic pigeon problem in last issue: "Bald Show Racers--why would a bull eye result?  I have bred many English Show Homers with more or less white feathers and pure whites--none had bull eyes!  Seems like some people just look for trouble-- me, I find it without looking."


George also notes a Swallow that is "brown with black bars", and an "Andalusian from Ash-red Show Homer by red pied Scandaroons."!?!


Bob Clarke notes "there are so many indigo birds in my flock I'm wondering if perhaps it is a lot more widespread than most realize.  Of course I have crossed white birds into my colored ones rather freely and quite a few indigo's have resulted from this."  (Maybe just dusky ash-red, not indigo??)  Bob also comments that a bronzy auto-sex cock mated to a recessive red hen has produced some intensely red squabs, whose beaks were not white.


W. McCrery crows that he has "great promise in recessive red color....  A rich Carneau color in Giant Homers."  Secret formula, Wyle?


A. Nielson Hutton's genetics article in the June 1962 issue of American Racing Pigeon News is on sooty, smoky and grizzle colors.  However, instead of the term sooty he uses three different names; "smutty", "pencil" and "dapple".  He claims that "it is a simple dominant".  Unfortunately the claim is not proved, and Hutton admits that the effect varies with the molt.


Here's an inquiry I received May 10 from Charles Robert Thompson, and I am puzzled: "Gentlemen: please send me your prices on your pigeons and for genes.  Is it possible for me to receive pure stock.  They are needed for very delicate hereditary projects."


Ted Smith poses a problem: "Have you noticed that in the ash-red series in all patterns that on the sides of the body there is red coloration, not ash.  In the blue-black series this doesn't seem to manifest itself at all.  Any reason?"  Must be, but I don't know what.


Robert Doepping also has a problem: "I'm fooling around with a few Barbs.  Out of a pair of blacks I've raised four reds and one yellow.  Out of a pair of duns I've got four yellows and two duns.  Why?"  H'mm: not quite a one-in-a-million shot, and maybe luck?  Bob also crows: "I've now bred my fourth generation Andalusian Carneau.  Almost perfect.  Metcalfe said she would beat most Carneau being shown today."



Carl Graefe comments "Just recently noticed that in all the reduced Homers I have the eyes are bull.  However, my reduced Rollers don't have the dark eyes."


I inquired from Graefe whether he thought he had ever got a homozygous dominant opal.  He replied: "I asked Earl Klotz about his experience.  He said something always happened to them.  So far this season have had the following experiences: (1) from a pair of indigo dominant opals, a pure white youngster, so low in vigor and vitality that I killed it at four weeks, when it didn't weigh as much as a normal two-week squab.  (2) from a dominant opal cock by ash-red dominant opal hen have a squab very abnormal, now 3 1/2 weeks, not heavier than a 10-day squab.  Splayed wings, short scanty feather, short crooked keel, bow-legged.  Color like a light lavender Lahore.  Both parents barred, but no indication of bar so far."


Earl Klotz reminds me of the possibly homozygous dominant opal cock mentioned in PGNL 8 page 5, with the "Tea rose" color.  "I no longer have him, but do have a pair out of him.  They occasionally have a squab which may be homozygous dominant Opal, but they seem defective so I haven't kept any."


David Bruce is also on the trail of homozygous dominant opal, and along the way marvels at the great range of variation among the heterozygotes.  Carl Graefe speculates that dominant opal may be "helped" in expression by some white.


Werner Moebe has deluged me recently with German articles.  One of these is by C. S. Th.  van Gink, in Deutscher Kleintier-Züchter number nine, pages 14-15, telling how he developed the "Voorburger Schildkröpfer".  This new variety looks like a Norwich for it but has the Turbit (saddle or shield) pattern.  He started with Norwich, Smerle, White Brünner, and a dash of saddle Fantail and English Pouter.  After some years with all sorts of pied young but no good shield pattern, he added some red Steiger by Samtschild crosses with good shield.  Eventually some good saddles appeared.  Finally, because he thought the "Blasen" (crop inflation) is primarily inherited from the mother, he crossed in a couple of brown silver Norwich and yellow Brünner with good Blasen.  All progeny again mismarked, but before long his desired combination came out and was successfully held.  Thirty years from start to finish.  I wonder how much lost time and lost motion would have been saved if van Gink had some understanding of genetics?


R. G. Silson is stirring up a British hornet's nest.  In "Fur and Feather" for May 31, page 702, and in "The Racing Pigeon" for July 7, page 249, he has given the back of his hand to such breeding "authorities" as W. Watmough regarding methods of producing champions.  Silson stresses the advantages of having a wide choice, especially with a large breeding base as opposed to the small stud.


Another item from Fur and Feather (April 26, page 539) is a discussion of the possibilities of improving pigeon colors by color feeding as with canaries (red pepper, et cetera).  Apparently nobody tried it, and the author is horrified at the very idea.


In the May 15 issue (number 10) of "Die Tauben welt" (Berlin), page 187, someone signing himself as "H. B."  writes about "Geschlechtsgebundene Vererbung der Farbe?"  (Is color sex-linked").  This is remarkable since the author is illiterate so far as genetics is concerned.  One definite statement which he allows himself to make is "in a cross of yellow with red, yellow is dominant."!!!


In the same issue, page 186, Moebes has an article "Was wissen wir über den Rollfaktor beim




Birmingham Roller?"  ("What is known about the tumbling factor in the Birmingham Roller").  The identical article was also published in "Allgemeine Geflügel-Zeitung" number 9 (March 20, page 5), with one difference: the author of "die Taubenwelt" omitted the bibliography.  This is a partly historical, partly scientific review, with considerable attention to the comments of Dr. Henry Kesteven (1895) who favored the "epilepsy" theory.  Moebes thinks tumbling may be more comparable to a hysterical attack.


In Geflügel-Börse number 6 (March 16) pages 3-5 appears an article on color breeding in Brünner Pouters by Dr. Morinsard of Holland, translated into German by Jos. Fischer.  The good Dr., (unlike "A.  B."  above) knows about sex chromosomes, and he says "Everybody knows that red is dominant to yellow."  But he is so oversold on sex chromosomes that he blames the hen if the sex ratio in her progeny is off, and he apparently thinks all color genes are sex-linked!  Ah, wilderness!


Fred Wirrer reports "Have plenty of fine homozygous ('Copper White') faded ash-red cocks now" in Kings.  He has had three meetings of heterozygous cocks (faded and ash-red linked) to faded ash red hens which raised 55 squabs to classification.  Two of the squabs were cross-over ash-red (not faded) hens.  Since crossing over can only be as scored in hens here, we can estimate the percentage of crossovers as about 8% -- higher than had previously been been considered likely.  More data will be welcome. 


Wilmer Miller has been testing to see whether "slight silky" is an allele of ordinary silky.  He mated a homozygous "slight" (PGNL 17 page 3) to silky, and next mated the silky progeny to normal.  So far he is obtained four squabs from this last mating, and one seems normal.  If so, no allelism!


Jack Wooldridge has two dun checker (true dilute) hens out of purebred Stassart Racing Homers.


I have a letter from a Racing Homer man, Robert Essex, to whom I gave some Bagdadi to breed, a couple of years ago.  "Sorry to report that they are unable to stand the racing test.  I lost one at a  mile, one at 3 miles, and the balance at 7 miles.  They were strong on wing but the Homers were faster."  Essex also offers me a young Homer with webs between middle and outer toes, and another lacking most primary flights.  "Both birds are inbred."


Lou Groh has some interesting comments on homing: (1) His Bagdadi being trained to race have all been lost (PGNL 22 page 2).  He says there were a favorite target of hawks.  (2) Homers trained from squab age to walk home (wings clipped) try to go in a straight line, so that if a house or other obstacle confronts them they simply go up to it and wait!  (3) "I have just read an interesting paper: "Effect of acceleration on the cerebellar potentials in birds and its relation to sense of direction," by T.  Del Gualtierotti, B. Schreiber, D. Mainardi and D. Passerini, 1959, American Journal Physiology 197 (number two).  They report that cerebellar responses studied by means of a centrifuge showed spindle-like post-rotatory discharges as a peculiar response of nearly all the homing pigeons and all the migratory doves tested.  Only 6-8% of the domestic pigeons and no sedentary doves showed them.  Of the hybrids, nearly half showed them.  This work was sponsored by ONR so I wrote and got their detailed final report.  In an an addendum there were data on further genetic tests (F2 and backcrosses), not very conclusive."


Lou Groh also reports on anaesthesia for pigeons.  Nembutal was not very satisfactory because




the birds tended to get chilled before they recovered.  However, "Equithesin" at 2.5 cc per kilogram body weight proved very satisfactory.  This was injected into the breast muscle.


Another diversion: The National Animal Disease Laboratory here obtained four birds from me for  ornithosis reaction test.  All negative, but serum from two of their lab assistants, taken as "controls", tested positive!  Do people get it for pigeons?!


In "The Racing Pigeon" May 5, page 310, an English breeder reports a squab with four legs.  "It did not die."


In the Pacific Modena Club for May, Les Dodson writes "you name the color and I have it....  I will recommend them as the best cure for ulcers ever invented.  I can come home from the office all tied up in knots, and after a few minutes with the birds, I'm a happy healthy human being again.


Mosaic notes:


Carl Graefe sent me an almond Show Racer male youngster with one wing mostly black, some patches elsewhere.


John Tidwell reports a yellow Tumbler with blackish patch at nape of neck and similar colored spot on its one side of head.  Parents a dun self cock by yellow whiteside hen, individual pen.






Pigeon Genetics News Letter


Issue 24                                   October 1962


Edited quarterly by W. F. Hollander, Genetics Department, Iowa State University, Ames.  Sponsored by Iowa State University Agricultural Experiment Station.


Ted Smith complains "Mendel's laws and segregation don't seem to apply to my birds and I have to overcome this by patience.  Is it possible they are not law-abiding citizens?"  Also he says "On the reverse side is the genotype of a mating I have this year..."  The reverse side was blank--it figures!


Wendell Levi writes "I have signed a contract with a northern publisher for a book to be known as 'Pigeons Pictorially', 'Pigeons in Pictures', or something better."  This should be finished in 1963, and is supposed to have 600 color photos (mostly not yet taken).  Wendell is authorized to pay four dollars and give a credit byline for each accepted color transparency.  He wants as many different breeds as possible.  The photos should not be crude snapshots but close-ups, carefully posed so the bird is against a solid-color-contrast background and nearly fills the frame.  Fuzzy pictures will not do.  For further information write him.


Lots of letters on Modenas, this time.  Mrs. Gilligan thinks she has some which are milky, apparently not dilute, since not short-down.  Origin not known.  She also asks what color is "sunset"?  (So far as I know it is simply recessive red.)


I. N. Gullickson, asked how to get the almond ground color well spread over the body in Magnani.  The only suggestion I have is to try to get recessive red heterozygous, and avoid S.  He also says "This spring I hand-raised three homozygous almond cocks....  Born with pink eyes, short down, and eventually gained very poor eyesight."


Richard Hansel is trying to make his own "Andalusian" Modenas, starting with a cross of his one Schietti to Andalusian Giant Homer from Harland Wiegand.  However, he was having trouble figuring out the next step--his authority on such programs was Chapman' s "linebreeding"!


Paul Rogers writes "while at a show recently I was told by a prominent local Modena fancier that Almond is a pattern rather than a color.  Is it?"  That's a question also often asked about bronze,




stenciling, grizzle, smoky, et cetera, and in my opinion is like asking whether a mushroom is a fruit or vegetable.  In our present state of primitive genetics, classifying genes can be very deluding.  Let's not try to cram too many into too few categories!


George Dooley has a black Modena hen with webs between middle and outer toes, and is hoping to cross-test it in relation to grouse from Rollers.  Gerald also has figured out a blood-splitting problem--an ancestor 100 generations back "should" have contributed 1/2,535,301,200,456,458,802,993,406,410,752 th. Side-splitting, too.


Lou Grau found a web-foot Racing Homer squab: "this pair has never produced such a squab before and for that matter neither has any pair I have ever had."  (I'll bet they can do it again.)  Also he had a squab with abnormal flights and tail feathers--short and failing to unsheath.


Coy McKenzie comments on a Giant Homer hen with one "shriveled" flight feather.  "I thought it was just a temporary condition, but this is the fourth time I have pulled and they keep coming back just the same."


I don't think I've ever noted for PGNL that Carl Naether has a photo of an albino morning dove in his "Book of the Pigeon", fourth revised edition 1958, opposite page 183.  Anybody know whether Naether followed through with breeding tests?


In the July-August Los Angeles Pigeon Club Bulletin Bob Doepping has photos of his "Andalusian" Carneau hen.  "My next venture will be an almond Carneau," he says.


In the same issue a new creation, the "Cinetail", makes a debut.  Out of a feeder stock of African Owls ("half flying Homer for their stamina and feeding propensities and half African Owl to bring them down to size") Joe Byron selected a white, stork-tailed pattern.  "When open in-flight the tail looks like a Chinese fan.  According to my Chinese friend here in San Luis Obispo, the word fan is Cien in Chinese, so I named the variety Cien tails."


George Neuerburg writes about Laughers: "In the lots sent to Andrews from Thailand all were white except for one black self cock.  He claims he never raised anything from the black, but with some 40 birds in the pen and him not knowing what was mated and keeping no records I thought there might be some birds with that black blood in them.  This year, two of my pairs, white, have been throwing splashed youngsters and now one [more] are also doing it, one pair having one silver or blue almost perfectly Magpie marked!  I have been accused of crossing them, but they are bred in individual pens and I have an idea that crosses would lose the Laughs???"


George is also getting some "Andalusians" out of crosses between white and colored pure English Show Homers.  I have examined feathers and I'm pretty certain this is really indigo--a new source.  "The darkest is out of a blue cock and a white hen; nest mate almost pure white, previous nest-pair blue without a white feather.  Now in the nest from the same pair a single, heavily splashed about one half and one half black and white!  With the involved color ancestry of pairs like this I know that anything might appear.


Joe Frazier writes "I have produced orange- eyed whites in Giant Homers....  I get many with cracked eyes."  Same old cracked method of producing non-bull eyed white!



Mrs. M. R. Clark, is puzzled why male pigeons should be determined by an equal pair of sex chromosomes, and not an "X and Y" as in humans.  Nobody understands just how this set-up originated.  All we can say for sure is that birds, butterflies and moths have typically the two X yields a male, and one X yields a female determination, while mammals and most other kinds of insects typically are the opposite, but also having a "Y" in the male.


George Schroeder reports "Two dilutes mated together (dominant yellow and true Silver hen) gave a silver and a recessive yellow in the first nest, and a single ash-red in the second clutch...  An intense out of two dilutes!"  Let's used genotypes for this:




BA d     + 



  +      d 



=====   ===






?  d    e







     ?     d       e    BA   +  +
rec.   yellow _________  ====             ash red ________   ==== 
  --------------  e   -------------     +


Since neither parent has the normal "intense" allele of dilution, shall we say a mutation from d to  plus has occurred?  No, I'd prefer to blame it on the flock-pen effect!


About the tailless bird George reported earlier (PGNL 23 page 1), he writes it is a hen.


Carl Graefe took a fling this summer, to the Poultry Science meetings in Australia.  (Also recruiting for PGNL!)


Colin Osman writes from London "I now have a color breeding loft being looked after by a loft man."  One of his interests is the "quantitative side of the checkering factor," in Racing Homers.


Richard Brooks corrects me: he is a Racing Homer man, not Giants as listed in PGNL 22 page 1.  However, he does have some Show Racers, and wants to know how to get more flecking in almonds.  Wish I knew the answer.  Also he asks "is there anyone developing the almond coloring in African Owls?"


Bernard Kasierski asks whether S causes different results when homozygous than when heterozygous.  I don't know any difference.


David Bruce writes about his homozygous dominant opal; "Klotz and Graefe's replies (PGNL 23 page 3) confirm my suspicions.  From two matings of heterozygous dominant opals this summer I got two white dominant opals (and six heterozygous and one that apparently will be dilute).  Last summer I saved three putative homozygotes (two males and one female).  As I told you before all of these have crippled feet.  Mated a pair of these and they produced infertile eggs in February, March, April and May.



Got rid of the cock and mated a healthy blue bar to the hen and got in infertile eggs in June and July.  I'm going to try one more time....  This summer (from different parents) they are runts-- one of them somewhat clumsy, but not crippled."


Bob Smith reports that his blue bar wild (feral) stock "proved to be riddled with a recessive red."


Al Westling notes that he has "a lot of powdered blues which are rather good specimens" (Show L. F. Tumblers).  Also he is enthused about a reduced dilute cross-over, "pale cream with pink-orange neck," and wonders how to perpetuate it.  (Just get sons from it, Al!)


Bob Pritchard comments on anesthetics (PGNL 23 page 4-5): "muscle tremor under anesthesia is not chilling.  You might add that it is harmless.  We prefer ether anesthesia and find that pigeons are able to tolerate it very well.  By putting a few perforations in a 6 ounce frozen-juice can, and stuffing a small amount of gauze in the bottom, one makes a satisfactory mask.  After saturation of the gauze with the ether, the pigeon' s head is put in, and in a few moments he is satisfactorily in anesthetized.  If someone is interested in using Pentobarbital (Nembutal), we give it into the alar vein in a dose of 30 mg per kilogram of body weight.  The drug comes in a solution of 64 mg per milliliter, which we dilute with an equal volume of physiological saline."


Recently I received a complimentary copy of the 1961 book from behind the Iron Curtain--Dr. Istvan Peterfi's "Domestic pigeons and their breeding," in Hungarian, but printed in Romania.  Page 53 gives in diagram the results of a cross between Magpie and Shield (Turbit pattern), through F2 and back crosses.  (Whodunit?)  Several more pages on heredity, but no genes, no ratios!  Most of the book deals with breeds, with photos of many Romanian and Hungarian types.


In Allgemeine Geflügel-Zeitung (Reutlingen, Germany) for 16 July, 1962 (number 20) page 11, Werner Moebes calls my attention to an article "On the trail of the naked neck pigeon!"  By someone signing himself only as "H. K."  (There is apparently an inordinate amount of such reticence among German authors).  He didn't get any.


In the same journal for 26th of June (number 18), pages 15-16, Moebes has a concluding article "Die Taube in Folklore und Forschung."  This briefly surveys the old works of Aldrovandi, Willughby and van Vollenhoven in regard to origins of various breeds.


Moebes also has an article in Die Brieftaube (Düsseldorf, Germany), number 24, 9 June 1962, pages 584-588: "Die Taube im Leben der Völker" (The pigeon in the life of the nations).  This is a thorough analysis of ancient comments on pigeons, especially by Varro, Columella, Pliny, Averroes, and Gesner .  Pliny made an immortal analysis 2000 years ago: "From love of pigeons many people go nuts."


Incidentally, Moebes' entire pigeon library is listed for sale by Friedländer (book dealer in Berlin).


Mosaic notes: in the American Racing Pigeon News July-August 1962, pages 8-9, A. Nielson Hutton distinguishes between mosaic equals opal, and mosaic equals composite.  He gives photos of two of the latter--an ash-red and blue checker pied cock, and a red checker hen with a blue bib and seven blue tail feathers.  This hen he says was bred to red cock, "all of her sons being reds, and her daughters red and blue checker pieds." 


Svend Langhorn sends color photos of a young Racing Homer, ash-red except for the left wing shield entirely blue checker; out of blue checker cock by mealy the hen.


George Neuerburg sends a photo of a young mosaic Dragoon, black except mostly dun flights; out of a blue grizzle cock, white hen.






Pigeon Genetics News Letter



Issue 25                                   January 1963


Edited quarterly by W. F. Hollander, Genetics Department, Iowa State University, Ames.  Sponsored by Iowa State University Agricultural Experiment Station.


Happy New Year!  We begin the seventh year for PGNL, with about a hundred on our mailing list.  We may not make rapid progress in pigeon genetics, but we have fun at it; we are sure that learning comes as much from the birds as from the books, and that the most fascinating discoveries will soon be made.  Mãnana!


I have a beautiful Christmas card from Dr. Clarke, half-way round the world, with a picture of the New Zealand "Keruru", a white-breasted fruit pigeon (Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae).  Too bad the gorgeous fruit pigeons don't hybridize with domestics!


Derek Goodwin came over from London to New York for a visit last May.  He writes "In a rather crowded mixed aviary in the Bronx Zoo there was a male Morning Dove paired to a Wonga Pigeon (Leucosarcia melenoleuca) and a male Spotted Pigeon (Columba maculosa) paired to a female Crested Pigeon (Ocyphaps lophotes).  Both these ill-assorted couples were quite firmly paired and trying to build nests although they had no suitable facilities."


Reed Kinzer has sent me and Wilmer Miller half a dozen of his "rosy" Ringneck doves (new color, originally from George Kleinpell, PGNL 13 page 3, 16 page 3, and 18 page 3,).  My earlier guess that this is ash-red seems unlikely now, as the bases of the tail feathers are dunnish color.


Manfred Gottfried writes "A few days ago I was near Ames and thought of dropping in to see you but it was hardly practical since I was about 30,000 feet overhead."  Re: his auto-sex Kings (show-type) he notes "still thriving, producing well, and the only trouble I am having is in eliminating some unwelcome recessive red.  If I can carry them on a few years more they ought to be an unusually uniform stock.  No new blood has been introduced for quite a few years."


L. F. Tharp reports progress: "German Beauty Fadeds are now nearly as good as the purebreds.  English Show Homer Fadeds are a little further behind.  Show King Fadeds should be able to place midway in the silver or blue classes at District King meets (also faded ash-reds).  Dixie Cropper--still hard to hold crop along with head....  Now if there was some way to give pigeons a capsule or two of DNA we could probably get some new varieties in a hurry!"




Wendell Levi writes "Meet me in St. Louis!  Purina's two top photographers will take colored pictures every morning."  Incidentally, I have learned by experiments that most pigeons will pose beautifully on a pedestal in an open room if the room is darkened except for a single floodlight on the bird.  The flash doesn't usually bother them.


H. H. Ford wants to hear from all Florentine breeders, and says "I am concentrating on type and color improvement of the Florentine.  Also am supremely confident of two blue ribbons for my red Strassers this year."


Werner Moebes sends me an important article on the origin of the Strasser, by J. Hoffman in the Oestereichischer Kleintierzüchter [Austrian small stock breeder], volume 17, numbers 9 and 10, pages 132, 148 September-October 1962.  Hoffman states that the Gazzi Modena and the Florentine were ancestral, taken to Austria by 1866 when Austrian rule over northern Italy ceased.  The name Strasser probably came from the word Strasse (Street), not from Pstros; the latter was first used about 1902, meaning "pied".  The Bavarian Strassers had white flights, and were the origin of the Kanik.


Marvin Emery comments "I believe the so-called new colors today in Modenas etc. are not really new, they are colors and patterns that have reappeared."  He cites some of the 121 colors occurring in Homing Pigeons of Europe as given by Giachetti in his 1894 book, pages 313-317.  Some are pretty difficult to recognize (translation by R. B. Brage): "opal; yellow with red, chestnut, salmon red or blue-amethyst bars; solid peach-blossom color; lion color; turtle-dove color; solid purpleish blue"; etc.  The new thing under the sun is genetic identification.  We can make many times 121 combinations with the mutants we already know.


Harvey Ablon is introducing new colors into Rollers--faded, indigo, reduced, et cetera.  He says the peculiar Reehani -Roller cross with whirled breast feathers (PGNL 22 page 3) died before maturity.


Lowell Pauli reports that an almond Giant Homer cock has "feathers growing directly beside the eyeball, both sides, behind the eyelid."  "His sire almond 939-60 had the same conditions, his dam dun check 1718-60 also had it, but after repeated plucking of these eye feathers they no longer show them.  These birds were from completely different strains of Giants.  I'm betting we'll get more feather-eyed Giants."  Sure sounds like a new genetic character, probably not the same as the similar one reported in Runts (PGNL five page 2)?  Notice all Giant Homer breeders!  Please don't kill such birds--let me get them for test!




Phil Roof also reports an eyelid anomaly in a Blondinette hen: "buttonhole", both eyelids.  Parents both normal.  (There is included a picture of Frill head.  The front part of the eyelid is extended in a line directly towards the beak.  The net result reminds me of the shape of a spoon with a very short handle.)


Claire McKenzie writes "My present project concerns bumble foot.  I had always supposed that it was caused by poor loft conditions, but I'm not so sure after this last season.  I raised 4 youngsters that develop swelling and fever in the pad by four months.  They were all from the same pair and the other youngsters in the loft were normal.  The mother of these youngsters had bumble foot by five months and I killed her nest mate at three months because his feet were bleeding.  Hereditary or infection of some sort??"


I am puzzled about another old foot problem--crusted soles.  Some of my birds, usually related,  have bad cases; seems to be long-enduring if not permanent.  Examination of the crusts microscopically shows no evidence of scaly-leg mites or other pathogens, but resemblance to papilloma (wart) structure.


Paul Steiden notes "I crossed the Dragoons with both a Barb and then a German Beauty and noticed the young all lose the trait to hold their beak up in the air as Dragoons do.  Simple recessive?"  Maybe so, but gotta get F2 etc. ratios to decide.  Paul also reports a recessive red English Show Homer, "the first I've seen", out of blue check cock by cream bar hen.


Mrs. Gilligan writes "Michael Hollis, a junior fancier in Auckland (New Zealand) has a pair of black Gazzi Modenas, brother and sister.  They have produced this season 2 black gazzi, one normal bronze barred blue gazzi, and one barless blue gazzi."  How's that for beginners luck!


Jim Manship startled himself: in trying to get yellow Gazzi Modena cocks he crossed a yellow hen with a blue cock, and crossed a blue son with a yellow hen.  Result: a nice red Gazzi.


Phil Roof also is bothered: "My recessive-red Turbit project seems hopeless.  They get better "Whiteside" with each generation!"


Brian Doige, is puzzled about recessive red variation too.  He writes "My Rollers are a "self" red, including the tail, rump and flights which are the same shade as a rest of their feathers.  In several wild, feral birds the flights are red but the rump and tail are bluish.  It is distinct from ash-red.  Could it be that these birds have genes for ash-red as well as recessive red?"  I doubt it –



just as likely the other way round.  Dr. G. L. Clark has been working up for review on "Defects of color in recessive red's."  Lots of puzzles, nobody makes good tests!


Dr. Clark also writes "After reading Fur and Feather recently on Powder Blue Fantails, I haven't the faintest idea what a powder blue is genetically.  Have you?"  I don't know about Powder Blue in Fans-- Powder Silver however equals milky.  Powder blue as in the ice pigeon hen Damascene is probably a single-gene effect with partial dominance (PGNL 14 page 1).  I'd suggest naming it "ice".


Malcolm Ellis is interested in the genetic basis for variation in the checker patterns.  For example, "a youngster from a pair of rather dark checkered birds is almost black checked, far darker than any other bird in the loft."


More comments on white this time.  Amos Hudson asks "If a youngster that is not piebald is produced from a white by a sound-colored bird, will this youngster definitely carry white?  Some matings I have tried in the past seem to indicate the affirmative."  (I agree.)  Also he says "I have noticed I have better frequency of whites produced if I used a dilute mated to a white instead of an intense mated to a white.  Is there an explanation for this?"  (Yes, I'd say pure luck.)


Phil Roof in addition to his comment above on red Turbits with whitesides tells this: "to improve the looks of my feeders, several years ago I crossed a Show Racer white cock by an ordinary white Racing hen.  Both had bull eyes.  You should see the array of colors resulting: pure whites, white and blue splashed, bronzy grizzled Turbit-marked birds, white with blue tail, near Magpie-marked blue check, light print grizzles, et cetera.  These light prints mated to blues gave all young grizzled of the more common coloration."  Well Phil, at least you got no self-colored out of that original cross!  My guess is that in spite of their pure white appearance, both birds were pied grizzled genetically.


George Neuerburg thinks I was unfair in dismissing Schroeder's "intense out of two dilutes" as flock-pen effect.  (PGNL 24 page 3).  "How can you be so sure that the birds in question were not bred in an individual pen?  In one of my individual pens a pair of dilutes produced like a machine two in a nest each time and all intense and all hens."  Details please, George!  I'm all ears, and at a loss for a theory.


Art Kehl writes "My children are getting some Genetics in school so maybe their old man will be able to learn something from them."  No reflection on you, Art, but I'll bet that school Genetics won't help much!


Bud Stanek and John Strombaugh are shooting for almond Chinese Owls; Paul Steiden and, John Strombaugh, Amos Hudson, and Lowell Pauli write of progress with almond Giant Homers.  Frederick M. Lynch, is making his own almond Fantails.


Paul Rogers corrects an error in last PGNL--"I raise at present Parlor Tumblers, Roller performing, and Pensom Rollers.  When I do any theorizing I check with the colors in Modenas--I think their colors are a little clearer."  Then he asks "If a mating of a bar and check must produce checks etc., how can a red check and a black self produce an ash barless?"  Wish I had a dollar for every time I've been asked that.  The answer once more: this "ash barless" ain't the same kind of barless as in blue barless!  It is the combination effect of S with BA (spread ash-red).  Anyone who wants to test, such a bird by blue will produce some blacks.




R. J. McArthur says R. G. Silson told him he had a family of Racing Homers, "originating from a three-egg clutch hen which he has mated for five generations to her sons, in hopes of obtaining more three-egg females, but has had no success."  Also another line "originated from a three-egg clutch hen and he mated the offspring of this hen brother and sister for quite some time without getting any three-egg females therefrom."  Who said inbreeding boosts production?!  Herman Smith writes of a Pouter hen which had two three-egg clutches, and also two clutches of one normal and one double-yolk.


Marvin Emery notes "My pigeons are always wilder during the molt, even though they are tame pets."


Herman Smith asks if I have ever seen and milky and indigo combination.  Not yet!


Mrs. Gilligan asked whether back articles from my series "On the origin of the domestic genes" in the NPA news can be obtained.  I don't know--maybe Art Kehl has back issues at a price.  (No great loss anyway.)






Pigeon Genetics News Letter


Issue 26                                   April 1963


Edited quarterly by W. F. Hollander, Genetics Department, Iowa State University, Ames.  Sponsored by Iowa State University Agricultural Experiment Station.


Leslie Bolling comments: "I don't know if they know what they're doing but it seems to me that people in other countries can handle color better than we."  Apartheid?


Malcolm Ellis writes "I find PGNL very interesting....  However, I get the impression that perhaps a more concerted effort in one direction at a time might prove a little more effective."  Okay, this time the direction is St. Louis.


At least 23 of us PGNL folks attended the National Pigeon Show in St. Louis.  We had too little time for talk-fests, but I was very pleased to meet some correspondents for the first time, as well as old acquaintances.  Here are those I know were there: Roger Baker, who brought along a pigeon by dove hybrid he raised; followed by a list of attendees.


Here are a few of the brain-teasers we battered around, mostly unsolved: Eric Buri showed some nice red Lahores that had solid red flights, but he claimed they were just highly selected ash-reds, not recessive reds.  Joe Hochreiter showed some tigered Modenas; why did he call them "Dalmatians"?  Somebody ask what was the genetic difference in the color types referred to in German as "geschuppt" and "gehämmert", or are they the same (checkered)?


Irvin Goss commented that in his Show Racer-Giant Homer crosses, squabs with very dense or thick-looking down tend to develop rich sheen.  Gearhard Hasz exhibited several handsome enigma color-combination types of Giant Homers, such as smoky dominant opal indigo.  Al Westling had a dilute reduced LFCL Tumbler.  Ted Smith had his Moo-Angels (Mookie type, Archangel bronzing).  Lynn Hummel showed a number of Tiger Swallows, including blues; he also commented that plucking doesn't always make whitening--a white Maltese when plucked grew in a black tail feather!




Several of us discuss the relation of grease quills to sheen.  Investigation of red Strassers and Hungarians on exhibit with beautiful sheen revealed no grease quills.  On the other hand, the Archangels all had them (and so did Moo-Angels).


Frank Dallas gave me this pedigree chart on his project to produce Argent Gazzi Modenas the hard way (PGNL 17 page 2): (there follows a pedigree covering five generations showing crosses of Swallows to Modenas.  The end result was a red Gazzi and a blue barless Gazzi.  None of the intermediate birds in this pedigree were either red or barless.)


There was a bit of discussion of Hungarians.  B. Petersen thinks he has seen dominant opal examples (none were on show).  Irvin Goss says that in F2 from his Hungarian by Giant Homer crosses the pattern "broke up".  However, Chet Johnson found that in F2 from Black King by black Hungarian there were the following: black with white spot between legs, 12; solid blacks, about 10; Hungarian-marked blacks, 2.  In other words, here the pattern did not break up.  Kind of a poor fit for 3:1 ratio however! 


John Tidwell commented that he crossed a black Baldhead to a yellow self hen, object to produce recessive red or yellow Baldheads.  However, he never got this combination in F2.  The question was whether it was hard luck or evidence of linkage.  I think it is worth further test, and John has sent me birds to do it.  However, Al Westling pointed out that in the November 62 APJ, page 284, John Fordon claimed to have combined them.


Dr. Fordon attributed much of his success to something like the Bruce-Lowe system of line breeding: "Based on the genetic thinking that young hens carry about 70% of the genes of their father and 30% from their mother, and that sex-linked control of all physical characteristics, including color, are reversed in each succeeding generation, I kept hens out of the first cross, cocks from the second cross, and continued along that line of thinking throughout the process."  (Alas, poor Gregor!)  During the course of the project, he got at least two hens "that were very close to being show-quality beards."  This brings up a question of how are Bald and Beard patterns related.  Is the Beard a heterozygous effect?


And that reminds me: H. P. Macklin quotes from Wittig (1905 book) on the Markische Magpie Tumbler, in APJ for December 62, page 324: "as with all muffed magpie Tumblers, the Markische also throws white selfs, also colored with white flights, which when paired together design-wise will produce fine magpied."


Marianne Graham writes "I have a project going on the development of tail-marked Fantails out of "pure" White stock.  The old white pair throws a very good bird with from one fourth to one half of the tail feathers black.  At present I am mating daughter to father and son to mother and brother to sister."


George Neuerburg reports "in one of my large pens of Scandaroons (never a bird of any other breed in it) a yellow pied cock mated to a dun pied hen produced one "off" color in each of three




nests: first an ash-yellow, second a black check (not T patterned), and the third time a yellow pied and a dun check.  All three of the odd ones were "selfs", that is, no white feathers."  George also comments "I've heard of people who believe nothing that they hear and only half of what they see; of course that is anyone's privilege....  But rest assured that when I say it IT IS SO!"  (Wish I could rest assured that what I say is so!)


George comments re: the origins of the Strasser (PGNL 25 page 2) "the best collection of references is Dr. Wallace Pearson's "Review of collected papers" etc."  Unfortunately I never heard of Pearson before, and would like to know the complete publication data: meanwhile Werner Moebes has come out with a thorough review on the history of the Strasser in Oesterreichischr Kleintieareseeüchter (Vienna), volume 18, number one, January 1963 pages 6-8.  (No disagreement with Hoffman, no mention of Pearson.)


Moebes also calls attention to an important article on the origins and history of Trumpeters, by Matthias Holler in Deutsch Geflügel- Zeitung (Reutlingen, Germany), December 6, 1962, pages 6-8.  Holler considers the Laugher, which is called "Sanhadschi" in Arabic, one of the two original types of Trumpeter, and that the Altonburger derived from Laugher crosses.


Dr. Hannaford Shafer writes "I have a Norwich Cropper cock which intermittently  Trumpets when about to feed its young.  This bird actually shakes in body, flights and tail when he gets going."


Malcolm Ellis has some interesting notes.  First, "taxidermist: we have a man down here who is a superb craftsman, particularly on birds" second, "In 1950 my partner, Mr. Loren Saunders, and I raised a youngster from a Racing Homer hen and a Turbit cock, most of the general appearance of the Turbit but slightly longer of face.  The little devil not only homes consistently well, but won first club diploma and eighth Combine diploma from the 160 miles station, over more than 100 lofts and 1000 birds."  (Wasn't the Antwerp Smerle a Turbit cross?)


Ellis also comments on his success with rejuvenation of old barren hens and sterile cocks (Racing Homers).  He says "The bird is first brought through the molt with care...  Settled as soon as possible so that it can have open loft and fly freely about the yard and over the countryside, if that is possible....  About 30 days prior to introduction to a mate, one capsule of 50 mg of vitamin E concentrate every day, alternating with a number 2 capsule of Vionate.  At 15 days before mating I purge the birds with a number 2 capsule of Epsom salts."  The hens get crushed dicalcium phosphate along with the Vionate.  He mates old cocks with young hens, and old hens with young cocks.  He clips vent feathers.  If the hen lays a deformed egg or fails to lay, he usually fosters a clutch.  "Often the process of raising a youngster seems to start the process of laying."


Ben A. Gillette (PGNL 16 page 3) writes "I just killed the old Gits hen.  She was still laying a few fertile eggs at 15 years old.  I have quite a family from her"


David Bruce reports three rounds of infertile eggs from "a putative homozygous dominant opal cock with a proven fertile blue hen."  (PGNL 24 page 3)  Must not be old-age here!


George Kleinpell writes of the origin of the "rosy" color variety of ring doves (PGNL 25 page 1): "they are quite common around Cleveland.  The first one I ever saw was a hen hatched by a pair of normal (dark fawn) colored ringnecks in my own loft...  She was naked as a youngster.  I subsequently learned from a loft visitor that a nearby breeder (Jerry Vokaty) had many of these




'rosy' doves, so I contacted him and acquired a cock.  Jerry has about 50 of them, but is not sure how they are originated.  He does admit to buying out a loft full of doves and some of them were rosy-colored.  By selective breeding, including some crossing with both whites and normals, then inbreeding these crosses, he gradually built up a large stud which now breeds true to the color.  In my experience with them, I've noted that invariably the cocks are slightly lighter in color than the hens.  Last year one of my pairs of "rosies" hatched a white...  It was albino-eyed and not robust."


Wilmer Miller and I have now crossed rosy with the blond and dark (wild) colors, and out of over a dozen F1 none was rosy.  Furthermore, rosy cock by dark hen have given blond daughters.  So we conclude that rosy is an autosomal recessive.


Paul Molnar, studying at Hiram College, writes: "I have produced a Satinette with black lacing red feathers.  Three birds were involved: and Owl hen, blue with bars; a yellow Tumbler hen, and a male Satinette.  First I mated the Tumbler to the Satinette, wanting to put a little color in the Satinette.  Produced a hen with brown -red feather laced in black.  Also some almost pink and some very beautiful light blues.  Then I mated the Satinette to the Owl and produced a red lace and black.  I now had two and they turned out to be a pair and I mated them.  One of the young from this pair before I lost him had a beautiful cardinal red color laced in black and was without doubt the most beautiful pigeon I have ever seen."  The good die young?  Hope he can get another.


Chet Johnson sends feathers from a pair of Show Antwerps.  Both are a peculiar dull indigo.  So far as I know this is the first notice of indigo in that breed, although George Neuerburg found it in English Show Homers (PGNL 24 page 2).  Chet says this pair has produced recessive reds.


Mrs. Gilligan sends feathers from her milky Modenas (PGNL 24 page 1).  How those genes get around!


George Kleinpell has introduced dominant opal into his Turbits, and sends a photo of a beautiful "white-barred" blue cock, 5/8 Turbit, 1/4 Bluette, and 1/8 Roller (source of dominant opal); it looks like pure Turbit.


Gerhard Hasz writes "My premeditated mongrels of ice-blue hue are beginning to pay dividends in gratification.  I have a nice pen full of stock birds the color of two-foot thick ice" (Show Racers and Giant Homers).


Joseph Quinn writes "I raise rolling Rollers in various colors....  The code of Roller breeding is to mix everything so every hatch is a color surprise.  I have almond, indigo (Andalusian form), reduced, ice, et cetera."  Also producing almond Danzig Highflyer.


John Schabell ball notes orange eye color in some Rollers.  Wonder when that was introduced?


Ray Gilbert sighs "the Parlors are still rolling themselves to pieces.  I never mate two rollers, or even a roller to a single or double generally, but I surely get the youngsters that spin themselves to death.  I have six or seven now that spent half the day and all night, or vice versa, banging on the walls."  (PGNL 21 page 4; 23 page 3).


Manfred Gottfried reports "I have tabulated the autosex (King) squabs in my records from the beginning of 1957 to about the first of last December (squabs from eggs since then have not been weighed yet).  During this period there were 802 hen squabs versus 653 cock squabs.  There



might be some distortion in the first three years because when matings are mixed the number of homozygous cocks is small.  However for the last three years the loft has been almost entirely autosexing, completely so for the last two, and here the bias in favor of hens is if anything stronger: 1960, 119 cocks, 155 hens; 1961, 142 cocks, 170 hens; 1962, 131 cocks, 156 hens.


"The number of squabs that died after they had been sexed or were culled was 48 cocks and 48 hens (these figures are not included in the totals above).  There were also 159 squabs which died without been sexed, mostly in the first 24 hours after hatching.  Also 114 eggs in which squabs died after starting to pip.  These might account for part of the lopsided sex ratio, but I should not think it would account for all.  Once hatched there is no evidence of the cocks being sickly or weaker."


He has recorded the live weight of the auto-sex squabs at killing age as follows:


weight (ounces) 20 and under 21  22 23 24 25 26 27 28 and over
653 cocks 43 29 32 73 130 113 113 57 63
802 hens  76 56 72 136 201 101 89 34 37


From this I figured a median weight for cocks is 25 ounces, and for hens 24 ounces, or about 5% difference. 


Several comments have come in about "crusty soles" (PGNL 25 page 3).  Chet Johnson says "Bumble feet- for Coy McKenzie-it's hereditary all right.  When the footpad and toes come in with a tiny fine-grained pattern and or a chalky appearance, there is no bumble foot, but with the large coarse grain or/and with the wart-like growth, then it comes.  The feet picked up manure, crust over, crack open and bleed."


George Neuerburg says "Crusty feet-quite common around here in Fantails, seldom seen in other breeds.  My opinion-a low-grade infection contracted by birds that stay on the floor mostly and in less than clean lofts.  Oil or kerosene soaking followed by good washing with soap and water is effective."


Mrs. Gilligan notes "Three closely related Modena cocks of ours are affected with crusted soles.  Other members of the family not affected.  Tumblers and Owls in same loft not affected."  She finds Vaseline the best treatment.


Back to colors.  George Neuerburg sends feathers from a bull-eyed "café au lait" Zitterhals, definitely not khaki, bred from a pair of reds, and wants my opinion.  I'd say recessive red with some other factor weakening the red.  (Maybe ice??)


Carl Graefe and I have argued about whether "splashed" or Tigered Jacobins and Bokhara Trumpeters were grizzle or almond, basically.  At the National I was surprised to see a Bokhara that was very clearly almond.  On the other hand, Carl is about convinced now that almond does not occur in the Jac.


We have also argued about the possible reason that a number of recessive red varieties also carry ash-red; for example, in Carneau and Swallows, one rarely sees ash-red, but crosses of recessive reds bring it out.  Wonder if that is ever true in Nuns, Komorner Tumblers, Strassers, Hungarians, Barbs, Scandaroons, and Magpies???


August Herwig wonders about the cause of "stringy" back and tail feather, which he got in five




youngsters from a mating of a Champion Red Carneau with his granddaughter.  I presume this is the common feather defect in rich red and yellow Carneau and some other breeds of those colors.  Herwig says the parent birds do not show the defect.  Anybody got ideas?


Herwig and Wooldridge asked about right-or left-handed pigeons.  I never heard of it before; who knows?


Donald Henderson wrote me last Fall about the flying ability of his Homer by Mondain (auto-sex Texans) crosses.  He obtained two F2 birds, auto-sex cocks; lost one at 6 miles, the other made 65 miles.  Three backcross faded ash-reds (3/4 Homer) were trained, and all made 65 miles, one in very good time.


Bud Stanek asks about a "muddy yellow bar" with red eyes as a squab, out of a pair of blue bar Chinese Owls.  My guess is khaki (dilute brown).


Mosaic notes:

(1) Gerhard Hasz says "at the Louisville show last December I saw an old Racing Homer hen, a checker...  Couldn't make up my mind whether she was a blue or an ash-red.  All of the primaries on both wings were ash, two tail feathers were ash as well as large areas of the rest of the body.  No flecking that I noticed."

(2) George Neuerburg reports that the black and dun Dragoon (PGNL 24 page 5) has laid eggs.  Hope she's mated to a dilute, George!

(3) Arvil Stone crossed a recessive red Trenton strain Racer cock with a recessive opal hen, and last December got a squab mostly black, but with a good deal of apparently recessive red mixed in the tail.

(4) Arvil Stone encloses feathers from his brother Dal's mosaic Racing Homer cock, mostly ash-red with a blue tail.






Pigeon Genetics News Letter


Issue 27                                   July 1963


Edited quarterly by W. F. Hollander, Genetics Department, Iowa State University, Ames.  Sponsored by Iowa State University Agricultural Experiment Station.


With this issue is enclosed a sample form for recording unusual colors especially mosaics.  By coloring in the diagram and perhaps fastening sample feathers to the sheet, a useful report is made.  More forms are available if anyone desires them.  (Arvil Stone has made up a form like this for his own use.)


Joe Frazier has a peculiar problem: "I brought in several birds of a different line (strain) a couple of years ago.  When I mate one of my strain to one of the other--infertile eggs.  When I mate the birds to their own strain, they are fertile.  Did you ever hear of two different strains being incompatible?"  No, not that I recall, Joe.  Sounds scientifically important.


Joe asks me to diagram a case for him: a dun out of a yellow check by yellow self.  Well, with no more information than that, I'll have to make some assumptions: that the self does not carry BA (ash-red factor), and the check bird does not carry e (recessive red factor).  Also I'll assume the checker is a hen.  The self bird evidently carries S (spread factor) hypostatic.



Sire: d, e, and S all homozygous       d  +     +      ? S
  --->   ----   ___   ___
Dam: d linked to BA, heterozygous checker       e  C +



Ed Blaine complains, after tangling with some genotypic formulas, "As dumb as I am, I should have more bliss!"




I regret to report that both Fred Wirrer and Manfred Gottfried have concluded their efforts with auto-sexing show-type Kings and sold out - Wirrer to Dr. James V. Dindot and Gottfried to R. J. MacArthur.  External pressures rather than loss of interest!


Contrariwise, Barb Clarke writes that he has quit his job to go into squabbing full-time.


Gerhard Hasz concludes a recent discussion with "Long live the King, the Homer, and the mongrel!"


Jacco Wooldridge still has not managed to get fertile eggs in crossing with the Bandtail pigeon (PGNL 23 page 1).  However, he has produced some Tippler by Racing Homer hybrids, all grizzles, which he has been training to race.


Sidney Laufer writes, "As a result of my hobby I have become a student of genetics....  I have been working with several inbred lines [Racing Homers], and have had some fantastic results."  (He doesn't say whether good or bad, but I'll bet bad.)


Percy L. Fenner, asks about Dr. Fordon's recipe (PGNL 26 page 2) of the 70% inheritance from sire to daughter.  "Is he correct?  If so, where do we go from there?"  (He is trying to re-create the Turbitteen.).


Jim Landenberger, says that Ed Garry of Kansas City, "breeds strict Bruce-Lowe theory and has knocked the pins out from under everyone.  In Denver he sat down a fabulous show team that swept every class he entered.  The rest of the Jacobobin Club members are scared to death."


So I decided to check on Bruce Lowe.  Our University library has his book: C. Bruce Lowe, 1895, "Breeding Racehorses by the Figure System."  Edited by W. Allison, New York: W. R. Jenkins, publisher.  Needless to say, Lowe never heard of chromosomes or genes.  His main point is that winners can be bred by proper matching of different strains, which involves detailed analysis of pedigree origins.  He does not state that a female gets 70% of her inheritance from her sire, though he does credit the sire with more influence on a daughter than her dam has.  "The Law of Sex", which he bases this idea on, he attributes to an earlier writer, Starkweather, who is concerned with predicting human sex.  There are all sorts of escape clauses in it.  My opinion is that Fordon and Garry have succeeded by intelligent linebreeding (pretzel system) rather than by any merits of the "Law of Sex".


Stan Witomski reports on his rare-colored Racing Homers: brown-almond, dilute-opal, brown-opal, dominant opal, et cetera.  He thinks he has a homozygous dominant opal cock which is fertile (see Bruce, PGNL 26 page 3).  In his browns, Stan says the false - pearl eye color is now not the rule--more red and bull.  One brown squab was unique in having black beak and skin; also some dilute squabs were not light-skinned.  These indicate inadequacy of these genes to lighten  skin color in some combinations (e.g. with "dirty" factor?).


Dr. Stovin inquires about my progress with the "food-blind" type (PGNL 20 page 3).  Well, I have considerably increased the tests, the results confirming diagnosis of simple autosomal recessive.  One of the F2 youngsters is feed-blind recessive red, which shows easy recombination of these two genes.  So far I have saved 7 feed-blind birds for further test.  I find that it is possible to identify feed-blind squab's at a month of age by examination with a flashlight at night--the pupil does not contract with sudden bright light.  This, however, is also true of "clumsy" birds.




The NPA genetics booklet is out.  A revised edition is contemplated (hopefully).


Phil Roof reports "The split-cere Blondinette hen (PGNL 25 page 3) was mated to a normal cock, not closely related to the best of my knowledge.  Result: two squabs both with split ceres.  In all my years of experience which now I hate to admit adds up to around 40, this is the only case of this type of cere.  However, Bill Meyer tells me he has seen it several times before."  Phil has shipped me the hen and one of these squabs for tests.


Another item from Phil Roof: Silver Turbit hen by Blue barless LFCL Tumbler produced two F1, "happy medium in beak and skull, no crest, no frill.  Both have white rumps, white "bald" heads, and a bit of white in primaries of each wing" (1 to 3 white flights).


Speaking of crosses, Myron Berger has been making them wholesale, and says "the results are something to behold.  Dun Barb mated to a Black Nun gave grizzle [?!], dun, black, and one that seemed to be a ash-red [?!], but that was quite dark.  Maltese by Giant Homer produced no oil gland.  White English Trumpeter by White Moorhead Tumbler proved that the beak tuft is recessive and comes back in 1/4 of the F2....  I am using a Almond Roller to produce Almond color in English Trumpeters.  The Roller hen carries crest factor recessive plus groused legged.  This has helped a lot.  The first cross with a recessive red cock gave me Almond F1 but very red in the ground color.  They have good crests and fair muffs (about 3 inches).  No beak tuft."


Myron is also breeding Giant Homers in almond color (from Lowell Pauli's stock).  He says "I am having trouble getting them dark.  Have one pair mated together, but they are raising dilutes--silver and yellow, also one recessive red."  Arvil Stone is having trouble getting his almond Racing Homers dark enough also.  Well, I think the answer is to bring in T-pattern and bronzing (kite).  They will at least help redden.


In this connection I might note that two red self LFCL Tumblers given me by John Tidwell have proved in outcrosses to be free of ash-red, and at least one is homozygous for T-pattern.  The outcross squabs are bronzed especially on the breast, somewhat like Archangels.  I think it would be easy to establish Archangel (dark bronze) color in Tumblers.  Of course recessive red heterozygous may augment bronzing.


Dr. Counsilman reports that in his Carriers the young squabs heterozygous for recessive red have always had a "red" beak ring instead of the usual black ring.  "All of my birds had been mated and all youngsters have been raised in individual breeding cages.  Accurate records have been kept.  In mating the brothers and sisters together, of the black cock by red hen mating, the expected percentage of recessive reds was of course 25%.  Over a period of several years it came out quite close.  Of the black offspring about 2/3 showed the red beak color while the balance had the black beak ring.  The blacks that showed the red ring, mated to blacks of identical breeding but having the black beak ring produced no reds.  However, approximately half of their offspring had the red beak ring.  The blacks with the red beak rings, mated to reds, produced about 50% red squabs."  He wonders whether the same would be found in non-smoky breeds.


Lowell Pauli asked for a comment on a serious problem: "Have 17 pairs mated this year (Giant Homers) and have yet to raise a single squab.  This is after their second and third round of eggs.




 All eggs have been fertile except for just a few, but fail to hatch.  The squabs picks the shell and in some cases almost get out but died.  They appear to pick a large hole in one spot.  If I try to help the squabs out they appear to have failed to absorb the yolk and soon die.  No deformities.  In the same pens three pairs have hatched and raised in their second round of squabs, completely normal."  Sounded like goiter effects, so I suggested feeding a pinhead-size crystal of potassium iodide to each bird (one dose only).  Lowell treated three pens and reported "all hens on squabs, all eggs being laid since I doped the birds.  One pen I purposely did not give the potassium iodide, and as yet at they have not raised as squab."  Iodized salt in the grit should prevent such costly losses.


Donald Henderson adds further flying records of his faded-ash-red Racing Homer by Mondain crosses (PGNL 26 page 6): the F2 homozygous cock made 100 miles in 24 hours; 150 miles took him nearly a month to return.  Of the backcross birds (3/4 Homer), one was lost at 100 miles, another made it in the day but not fast; this bird later made 150 miles and 200 miles in good time.  "Retired this bird to use as breeder" with blue check hen.


Dr. Counsilman comments "My experience crossing Carriers with other breeds has been discouraging.  The Carrier is probably in a class by itself as far as resistance to grading up is concerned."  (I still think that F1 Carrier by Turbit out to be superior to Homers for racing.)  He also mentions an article which I haven't seen by Ray Gilbert in the Los Angeles Pigeon Club Bulletin (date?): "Gilbert contended that inbreeding would gradually produce a strain of birds that were 100% homozygous.  Rather an ambitious program."  Yep, nobody is gone the necessary 20 generations of brother by sister mating yet!


Gerald Hobbs says he was at St. Louis too.  Says he has been reading "Practical Poultry Breeding", book by geneticist D. C. Warren.  "It will probably take the squabbers 30 years or better to get to the point of the poultry breeders."  (Oh?--I thought a lot of them had gone bust already!  But I agree it will take some time to equal high disease problems found in chickens!)  Gerald wonders why inbreeding programs with chickens use brother by sister instead of parent by offspring.  I'd guess that usually the parent is shot by the time the next year arrives.  Anyone have the time to select for longevity in chickens?


George Neuerburg comments on shipping: "Air charges are based on cubic displacement if this is more than the scale weight.  I have not shipped pigeon by rail in years.  Regular freight flights take any number of shipments of any live things that capacity permits.  Pigeons, dogs or other livestock can be taken on passenger planes only when the owner is a passenger and only one item to the flight."


George also says "Right versus left-handed pigeons--the late H. O. Keesling preached best results from right by left matings...  The "hand" side was determined by which side the cock dipped under the hen in copulation but I never learned how the hen was classified!"


Norman Lindsay and Malcolm Ellis heard a different story on right versus left-handed diagnosis.  This is also commented on in the American Racing Pigeon News for May 1963, page 29.  The idea is to see which of the two middle tail feathers is on top.  (I'd say pure chance--and I can make either one of upper.)


Carl Graefe says it is time that more sex-linked genes were brought to light.  Any suspicions, please write in pronto!  He notes also "Am still getting types of almond Rollers that are unique in my experience.  Also getting some unusual reduced phenotypes."



Frank Nuzzo has been studying milky, and is trying to produce "lavender" in Show Racers. He says the spread ash and milky is more of a cream color than lavender; the spread milky is nearer to lavender "but it is still not even and smooth as in the Lahore.  My test of a lavender Lahore proved her not to be ash.  Her sons were black, out of barless blue."  Well, I have seen proof that some lavender Lahores also carry BA.


Norman Lindsay is trying to develop blue barless Modenas out of barless blue Tumbler crosses from John Tidwell, and also lavenders (out of Lahore crosses).  "I have two black cocks of excellent type in color from John Jensen that are supposed to be out of lavenders."


Mrs. Gilligan writes "Re: the milky Modenas--the other financier Mr. Boswell who has two (both cocks) definitely bred them from bronze.  These two cocks have never given him a milky when mated to unrelated birds.  Unfortunately, the history of our Modenas is not too clear but we have been told the stock originally came from England", in part by way of Australia.  "However the Australian Modenas are of a distinctly different type, being much longer in feather and somehow not as firm and compact in structure.  I have written to Mr. John Sears [England] to try and find the Modena name for the milkys."  She later writes "It would seem that there is no accepted name so we have decided to call the barred form "powdered sulfur"" and the checkered etc. "cameo".


Mr. Sears writes that he has introduced "lavender" into Modenas from the Lahore.  He also has been bringing in the other color factors to Modenas--barless, grizzle, indigo, "gold" (equals pale, from Gimpels).  He also is trying to introduce Archangel ("Gimpel") coloring, crossing with red self Schietti and selecting from the F2.


Sears has some interesting comments on white Modenas with orange eyes: "In the Modena white, in England, is the dominant white; mine always produce, apart from pied young birds a number of  red checkered, yellow checkered (rarely), reddish, yellowish and light print blue and occasionally silver grizzles.  The difficulty in white has been to eliminate the bull eye, and we have only been able to do this by continued crossing with colored and not mating two whites together-- one  always has to be pied [Gazzi].  The birds that have eventually molted pure white have always had a lot of grizzling of reddish color on the head in the tail but then in nearly every case molt into pure white.  Those with slight blue showing in the tail and neck will also sometimes molt pure white but not so often.  Up to this year, any young one which was pure white in the nest feather has always had bull eyes.  This year, however, I have a pair of whites mated together for the first time--both were grizzly red in head and tail as squab's.  The result in the first two nests has been one grizzly red and three pure white in the nest feathering, two with orange eyes and one with slightly broken eye."  ("Dominant white" equal pied grizzle ash-red??)


Malcolm Ellis has two F1 youngsters from a cross of a Racing Homer blue barred hen with a white Muff Tumbler cock.  "They are white with black grizzle tails, some with  black grizzle flights, and with browned feathers on necks and heads, salt and pepper pattern.  How can I have a bird with both black and brown feathers, not Mosaic?"  My guess is that the "brown" here is a bronze-grizzling effect in baby feathers and will molt out.


A lot more study of grizzle types is needed, including the apparently non-grizzled Bronze Tippler (Brander).  Frank Nuzzo has been trying to put this color on Show Racers and says "the better the Bronze color the more type reverts to Tippler."




George Neuerburg supplements a comment in PGNL 26 page 3: "Wallace Pearson, published a large collection of reprints (translations) of every foreign text on Strassers that he could find....  No attempt was made to edit the mixture or come up with some general conclusions."


More comments on the relationship of recessive red (etc.) and white effects: George Schroeder opines "Mating a recessive yellow to recessive yellow or silver seems to eventually bring out white which grows as the generations go along, even from strains not having white feathers for 10 or more generations?!"  (?!)....  Ted Smith emphasizes a comment from Al Westling: "I have one mating of red Beards that are producing ee offspring.  The oldest has already started to molt and looks as if it will be a whiteside or gay mottle as well as Beard.  I raised a couple from the same cock on a different hen last year, so it appears that although I have recessive red in my red Beards now, I also have the Whiteside factor with it.  Perhaps they cannot be separated."  (?!).....  Dr. Clark generalizes, "the White in recessive red increases with age and is masked when crossed...  And is therefore mottle or Whiteside white and not Baldhead or Beard white, which are unchanged by molt....  The Baldhead or Beard white finds difficulty of expression in a recessive red, and there is evidence that it may be masked....  If the Beard pattern is heterozygous Bald, is mottle heterozygous whiteside?"  (?!)


Joe Quinn is developing almond Danzigs, the start being from Roller crosses of Richard Curry.  Harvey Ablon is developing indigo Danzig's.


John Schabell says "it is not too difficult to get a homozygous almond cock that will live and breed in Rollers.  I have one that is boss of the coop."


Marian Graham thinks the tail-mark tendency from pure white Fantails (PGNL 26 page 2) "is coming from the hen and not Gerald Champ's cock....  Also in the hen only of the parents of this bird.  I have two youngsters in the nest from the mother-son mating with about 3/4 color in the tail and no body markings."


Dr. Counsilman ponders a relationship of a self white and splashing in Carriers in Barbs.  He notes the apparent absence of splashed purebred Barbs.  "Possibly pied, in the carrier, may be the intermediate expression of color, and several sets of genes involved?"  More data needed!!


Mosaic notes:

George Neuerburg reports that his black-and-dun Dragoon (PGNL 24 page 5) is a hen; mated to a mosaic Dragoon cock ("the palest or lightest silver grizzle with yellow patches on head and neck"), hatched two squabs, "a black and a dun with "stippling" of color on white wing shields."  So she breeds as a black?!  Should produce like regular sex-linked mating then? 

Lowell Pauli sends diagram of pattern of blue checker-dun checker cock (PGNL 25 page 5).  Shot-gun pattern.  Pedigree: sire dun T-pattern, dam brown bar.

Paul Rogers notes an African Owl (sex?), black with some red patching on head etc.

Joe Quinn has a recessive red hen with white flights and tail (Danzig) and three black feathers on head, shoulder, and breast.

Bob Clark's faded blue hen with some yellow feathers (PGNL 22 page 4) has molted with "little if any difference in the amount of yellow.  If anything it is spreading very slightly."  Also he reports another Mosaic: rather washy yellow Giant Homer with a good-sized dun T-pattern patches in left wing shield and left breast.  This bird is a hen; molting in some whitesides.  Sire  white with a few scattered ash feathers; dam probably dilute indigo T-pattern.

In APJ for May page 139 a young Racing Homer cock is described, ash-red bar with one wing blue bar, some of tail blue.  Sire blue check; dam white, Platinekx strain.





Pigeon Genetics News Letter



Issue 28                                   October 1963


Edited quarterly by W. F. Hollander, Genetics Department, Iowa State College, Ames.  Sponsored by Iowa State University Agricultural Experiment Station.


I am sad to report the recent death of an active correspondent in England, Dr. G. H. T. Stovin.  And I see little evidence of "new blood" for PGNL in Europe.


In August I had opportunity to read the big French book "Le Pigeon cet inconnu" by Louis Mannant (PGNL 25 page 5), in Wendell Levi's library.  Mannant gives attention to Genetics all right--he thinks almost everything is sex-linked, and Mendelism is just a minor aspect of heredity, the rest being magic.  Will young French pigeon fans get metal indigestion from such tripe?  On the contrary--they will probably feel enchanted.  Shades of Moliere!


Another new book from Wendell's library is "Cresterea Porumbeilor", by Dr. Peterfi, a Rumanian version of his previous Hungarian treatise on pigeon breeds (PGNL 24 page 4).  This book, as before, talks about heredity and has nothing about genes.  But are the iron-curtain countries further behind than France?


Paul Steiden writes, "Was just reading a new paperback booklet "Raising Purebred Pigeons" by Paul R. Meister and ran across the following on a page titled "It can be": "That, by mating old hens with young cocks, more hens than cocks will be produced.  Reverse the process to raise more cocks."  Can it be?"  H'mmmm --more magic?  Maybe the USA is trailing after all, not Europe?


Every now and then I marvel at the knowledge (?)  displayed by anonymous writers.  Here's an item from the March 1961 American Racing Pigeon News, page 33, discussing Show Racers: "Admitted as a known fact, the third round produces splashes even though the parents are solid color."  More magic!


Robert Trane comments on his Show Racers, "I do not know if anyone has established the hereditary factor for splash, white flight or pied but it has been my observation it's a simple recessive."  (Simple?)


Coy McKenzie writes that he has "decided to concentrate on blue bars and whites.  This will allow for some investigation into the genetic composition of whites."  (Giant Homers.)


I have a letter from the E. F. Green, saying "I would like to put white bars and lace design, such




as the Polish Lynx, into the Giant Homer.  Should I use Lynx cocks or hens?"  (Yes.  Simple?)


Jim Manship says "I have often wondered how many colors a hen or a cock can transmit to its offspring.  Are hens in all colors limited to the amount of different colors they can pass on to their offspring?"  Now Jim, you are confoosing the problem.  Genes are transmitted, not colors.


Well, Jim isn't the only victim of semantics.  Arvil Stone writes "My friend Paul Bradford tells me that opal is a condition and not a gene.  Is that correct?"  Of course it is correct.  (But does that mean the opal color condition has no genetic control?)


Malcolm Ellis says "Birds with the ash-red factor (Racing Homers) vary a great deal in the color of their flights.  My question is whether the genetic determinant is specific for this condition or more general and related to other color phenomena.  The darker colored primaries stand up better to the punishment of the races.  Often a bird with light ash white flights has to be retired from the race team because of unusual wear of the primaries.  A bird with dark ash or even red or normal blue-black primaries has a better chance of completing the entire schedule.  This could be very important to a fancier who specializes in the long-distance races."  Well, homozygous ash-red and hens tend to be the lighter ones, but some other factors seem to be able to darken BA somewhat--"dirty", smoky, heterozygous recessive red?  Better, don't let the flights get wet (no baths!), as wet feathers are softened and more readily whip to shreds.  Melanin pigment may act as a sort of binder?  (Not a water-proofer.)


Earl Klotz reports on crosses from the Brander: "Every bird I got out of them was a grizzle.  Therefore I believe they are homozygous grizzle."  Earl has also been continuing attempts to produce homozygous dominant opal (PGNL 24 page 3): "I have three which I believe are homozygous, one cock from last year and two young birds.  All three are quite defective.  I had four other youngsters this year that seemed to be homozygous but they died.  They were also very defective.  Having a real good year--lost only 29 out of 204 squabs hatched.  Most from accidents--crushed or knocked out of the nest.  But couldn't pull the four homozygous dominant opal through."


Bob Smith reports on his progress in testing Argent Modenas with wild type (blue bar common pigeon stock): "I have hatched 28 F1; 19 from Argent cocks by blue bar hens, and nine from blue bar cocks by Argent hens (in separate lofts).  In the first cross there were seven males and seven females sexed plus five dark check squabs not sexed.  Four males and three females were medium to dark checks with bronze in the wings.  Two males and two females had laced wings with tan ground color.  Two females were blue bars, and one cock was recessive red!  Proof that I didn't clean up my tester stock as much as I thought I had.  It might be wise for me to try some Argent by recessive red crosses also.


"From the Barred cocks by Argent hens there were four males and five females; seven of these were medium to very dark checkers (T-pattern) and all with bronze in the bar region which tended to molt out later (i.e., birds molted darker).  One CT cock had no sign of bronze and one hen was not checkered but a very heavy lace on a tan ground which molted lighter.


"I was about to believe that the lace came from the males as a dominant until the laced female showed up in the Blue cock by Argent hen pen.  And even yet I'm not sure but what such heavy lace as she had might not be something different from the lace that came out of the other crosses.




"It looks as if the Argent lace of exhibition quality is heterozygous from these males throwing some lace and some checks (and at least one cock was split for check and bar).  Anyway lace showed up in the F1 and so is dominant, excluding the rather remote possibility that my barred stock (feral) was carrying lace as a recessive.  I wonder if it is possible that homozygous lace is so narrow and light as to be almost Whitesides and so culled by Argent fanciers and never bred."  Nice going, Bob.  Maybe it would help to break up the data into progenies from the individual pairs? 


Ray Gilbert stopped briefly here this summer, and we revised the NPA Genetics booklet - not drastically, but we hope adequately.  (Should be in print again in 1964?)  Ray and his daughter admired the "rosy" ring doves (PGNL 26, page 3).  We are now getting linkage test of rosy with silky.


Gerald Dooley and I are beginning a renewed study of web foot here (PGNL 16, page 2 and 5; 17, page 3; 23, page 4; 24, page 2".  We have several sources--Racing Homers, English Trumpeter, Modena, and Rollers, all webbed between middle and outer toes.


Ed Blaine comments "one Racer hen here lays eggs that are shaped like a candy Easter egg-flat on one side.  They haven't failed to hatched thus far."


I have an inquiry from L. A. Pilgram, asking how to use artificial insemination to help breed from Fantail pairs that lay infertile eggs.  (I'm again it!)  He also asked for the best method of producing "black bars on powdered silver."  Ice?


Dick Hansel, has been introducing indigo ("Andalusian") into Modenas (PGNL 24, page 1), and has them 3/4 Modenas now.  Still having some trouble getting Modena type back.  He asks whether the blacks he gets could carry indigo yet, hidden.


Malcolm Ellis is intrigued by sex difference in recessive opal color.  Anybody else notice it?


Lowell Pauli reports a new faded mutation (feathers checked by me): "The bird was bred from two blue bars, grandparents all blue bars, some dilutes further back.  The only other birds in the loft were a pair of blue bars.  The fellow that raised this bird had never heard of faded or fadellin, much less ever seen one."


Fred Schnorr, is trying to build up Syrian Shikli Ahmar (miroite red Lebanon) and is desirous of locating good specimens.  One of mine has started laying double-yoked eggs, and others have produced recessive red, dilute, coloboma of the iris, and "split tail" without oil gland.


Richard Burger has been chummy with Graefe, Peterson, Klotz, and Nuzzo.  He says "Have found you don't dare admire a certain bird in any of these fellows lofts -or you end up taking it home with you!"  In addition to Show Racers in various colors, he breeds "the near extinct Show Cumulet.  First used a White Roller cross, and last year introduced a White Domestic Flight to improve white eye, neck and short legs.  This year's results were very gratifying."  He also asks me "to give a 'plug' for the new pigeon magazine Pigeon Reporter.  They accept and print any type or style of news and pictures.  These boys are on the ball."  Boys?


Wendell Levi says deadline for photos for his new color-picture book will be in January.  He plans to be at the next National Show with photographers again.  If you have or know of an outstanding bird that you think deserves a chance at immortality, that's it!



Walter Newport writes "I am making haste slowly putting a crest on Fantail pigeons (PGNL 18, page 1).  I have a number of crested birds whose tails are wider than the wild type but have not yet approached the complete fan of the Fantail.  On the other hand, I have been able to produce birds with tails substantially as fanned as the Fantails but so far none of these have had crests."  Linkage?


Not satisfied with the ease of this experiment, Newport says "I have decided to add one more ingredient to the crested Fantail - White King size."  Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble!


Phil Roof crossed a "light print grizzle" Racing Homer with a Turbit-Blondinette black pied cock and got a black and white mottle.  This bird was then mated to a true silver Turbit hen, and produced two "bronze grizzles, one perfectly Turbit marked, the other same except tail marked.  Now the small feathers in the wing shield are molting to white.  What do I have here?"  I'd say that is typical molt change of a "print-type" grizzle, possibly influenced by white pattern (pied), but maybe not.  (No relation to recessive red white-sides problem?)


Leslie Bolling has been introducing reduced into Fantails, Archangels, and Rollers.  "I am on my third generation in my Rollers.  It seems to me that in dealing with reduced there is some factor that weakens the bird.  Really these reduced colors confuse me-I get some of the queerest colors and markings.  Some are pretty but many are not.  Most of what I have had died in less than 60 days.  I have had quite a few hatched this summer that as tiny squabs were going to be white, all except one died at two to eight days of age while dark nest mates do just fine."  The "white" one that lived turned out to be reduced brown spread, "almost white with just a light shade of brown."


J. W. Counsilman notes, "My best-colored yellow Carriers mated to barred birds have produced a few T-pattern offspring.  Perhaps the scarcity of good yellow carriers is due to the rarity of T pattern in this variety."  He also comments, "A rather peculiar thing-a large percentage of the reds produced out of blacks will have several white tail feathers and/or white primary or secondary feathers.  Blacks from the same matings never show the white feathers.  There is no white in the immediate ancestry."


Ted Smith, Al Westling, Ray Gilbert, and Walter Newport are keeping an eye on "dropped wing" or droop wing.  Ted says "Some of my individual pens are only 20" x 22" x 15" high, and some of my birds aren't let out for six months at a time.  Haven't noticed any drop wings as a result of this small-compartment breeding."  Walter Newport says "In the various crossings I have had between Tumblers and Fantails droop wings seem to appear in some offspring and not in others without much rhyme or reason."  (PGNL 19, page 4)


Paul Rogers writes "One of my Parlor Tumbler roller-performing cocks came from a man who has a trait running through his birds-a definite crook of the middle toe of some birds, as if the first joint closest to the foot is unable to straighten completely.  This cock, showing the trait, was mated to an unrelated hen.  F1 had normal feet.  In an attempt to keep desired qualities in the original cock, a pair of F1 were mated.  F2 show the crooked toe in a ratio of one to three or one in four, four being raised.  This is quite inconclusive, but I assume the factor to be a simple recessive non-sex-linked."


Wyle McCrary was astonished to get "intense squabs out of two dilutes."  Mystery apparently solved: "father must be a faded, but he appears to be a yellow, the first recessive red I've ever seen that showed the fading."  Bob Clarke also notes that homozygous faded recessive red cocks resemble yellow.



Robert Pettit, wants to know about the inheritance of Modena bronze.  Also he is trying to make sense of red in Modenas.  Part of his trouble is Fordon's article on improving red Modenas, in APJ 1962, page 128: "Many of the poor colored reds are the result of crosses with black or blue and both of these are dominant to red."  (Pettit tried these crosses and got red progeny, so he wondered how red could be recessive.)  Also, Fordon's definition of dominant and recessive would make Mendel turn over and over: "dominant means difficult to eliminate and recessive means difficult to hold."


Carl Graefe writes, "think there is probably rather close linkage between Faded and a major size gene.  From two StF//+ cocks, large, father and son, I get big StF daughters, small non-faded daughters....  Does anyone know whether any pied genes are sex-linked?"  (Not to my knowledge.)


Graefe also comments on almond: "After 25 years with almond Rollers, starting with one 'almond splash,' am now getting some birds too dark.  Peculiarly enough, the dilute sibs of these dark almonds are still very light....  Now have in the nest two pure white almond Homers with eyes that look normal.  Parents BASt hen by BASt//BA  cock, very dark for almonds.  Not much piedness in the line as a think they are BASt//BA St.  All the St//St males I ever got before were pop-eyed and blind."


Mosaic notes: Graefe reports a young almond Roller hen with all 10 primaries and one secondary of one wing not almond.  "This wing is one full primary flights ahead of the other wing in molt."


Jim Manship reports a Magnani Modena male youngster (out of bronze tri cock by Magnani hen) with about half of the left wing shield bronze (not almond).


Lowell Pauli reports a young hen he bred from a blue bar cock and blue T-pattern hen: "light checker on the left wing, dark T-pattern check on the right wing, also neck and back."  (This bird should be tested with a blue bar cock!  Also should be photographed!)


Leslie Boling notes a pair of black Rollers from Bill Pensom have produced two young mosaics: one is black badge white flight, white tail, white rump with red feathers in it.  Another has red patch on the head.


Gearhard Hasz noted a blue checker Racing Homer at the Indiana State fair: "One wing shield was not checkered but streaked with black.  The owner said the bird's dam was marked that way."


Bob Clarke has a new mosaic, parents unknown: "Typical faded brown check hen except for a patch of 'bronzing' on the right wing coverts and secondary flights, also a dark spot at the throat extending below and behind the eye on both sides.  Across the top of the head a band of pale sulfur (or yellow?)  from one eye to the other.  A 3-color mosaic?"


Del Stone has a mated pair of mosaic Racing Homers (cock described in PGNL 26, page 6).  The hen is a striking three-color case: S is one and ash-red with a couple of black feathers.  Parentage not stated.  "In her young there is a pronounced tendency for the males to have black feathers among the ash-red, while the females have brown among the ash-red."  What a family!






Pigeon Genetics News Letter


Issue 29                                   January 1964


Edited quarterly by W. F. Hollander, Genetics Department, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.  Sponsored by Iowa State University Agricultural Experiment Station.


Enclosed is the revised mailing list.  (Temporary!)  PGNL has been going now for seven full years, and my loose-leaf binder for all the issues is getting about to the comfortable full-point.  Perhaps in the next issue we can pause to examine accomplishments, failures, and possibilities for the future.  Your comments and criticism will be welcomed.  Shoot before the breeding season swamps you!


The American Racing Pigeon News kindly printed in the November 1963 issue a request from me for information about web-toed Homers.  I expected perhaps a dozen replies but there have been over 30, representing about 40 birds, mostly hatched since 1960.  Some excellent race records among them, including one that homed (swam?) in a bad storm.


George Neuerburg says that web foot is rare now, but "30 or 40 years ago I got a lot of them--some with webs between all three front toes."


Art Kehl comments "We have a family of Rollers that throw a good percentage of web feet."  Which toes, Art?  Between middle and inner toes is what I want to get (least common, apparently).


Rollers again: George Neuerburg notes "Quite a few years ago some blue (opal?)  white bar Prague Tumblers came into this area and were passed around as white barred Rollers--and then disappeared.  Just recently a few showed up and again the hucksters are calling them white-barred Rollers."  Could this be a source of Orange-eyed "Rollers"?


Carl Graefe and Frank Dallas have been looking for brown flecks in ash-red Roller hens, without success.  In Homers such flecks are not rare.  They wonder if this has any relation the rarity of b (brown) in the breed.


Carl also asks about the statement in the textbook "General Genetics" by Srb and Owen , page 259, that blue cocks of genotype Bb show brown flecks.  "Is it so, or is B a misprint for BA?"  Not a misprint, but an error.


Another text-book boo-boo: in the North West Giant Homer Association bulletin for December 1963, Dick Halverson notes that he read in Sinnott and Dunn, page 223, about Dr. Riddle's theory that "reproductive overwork" (pumping) leads to excess a production of female squabs.  This was the 1925 edition; since then the theory has been dropped for pigeons, even by Riddle.  Well, maybe Halverson can resuscitate it.


Svend Langhorne agrees with Meissner (PGNL 28 page 1) that young hens by old cocks will produce an excess of cocks.  "Experience proves that this is true.  Just like it is a proven fact in




Belgian that widow hens deteriorate: a racing pigeon hen having given good racers in the offspring will cease to give more first-class youngsters when she has been a widow for more than two seasons.  Although her genes must be the same."  Svend, experience is worth a lot, but post hoc reasoning without statistical validity can lead to these "proven facts" which are probably hallucinations.  Statisticians are more cautious


Earl Klotz has sent me the three surviving possibly homozygous dominant opal Show Racers (PGNL 28 page 2).  The birds are rather puny, and the wings tend to splay a bit.  I killed one for study: though mature, he had very small testes.  No other internal defects found.  The second one died, 1962 male; heart, gizzard and testes small.


Arvil Stone asks "If dominant opal homozygous are defective, why aren't recessive opal homozygous birds defective also?"  Different color of horse!


Ted Smith has sent me color photos and feathers of his perfected dominant opal Mookees.  (PGNL 7 page 2).  Five years!


R. L. Sears asks "Do you know if there is a recessive Magnani?"  No, so far we have no proven recessive mutant which develops flecking in pigeons.


Carl Graefe reports "Got two fadeds this season, mutants from almonds."


John Schabell is working on almond Birmingham Rollers.  "A friend of mine brought over an St  St that he had been flying.  Although not rolling he kept up with the kit.  Eyes are bull but even pupil, as in my St St cock."  (PGNL 27, page 6).


John also comments "I have fairly well concluded that bronze is not known as such in Pensom Rollers.  What we know as bronze is really CT +//e.  Some birds just show this e effect in the wings while others are called bronze kite as they radiate this e effect all over and are truly beautiful."


I'm not sure how much e has to do with this; at least, I have +//e CT birds that showed none of the kite effect (Homer stock).  Incidentally, I produced a nice kite Tumbler out of John Tidwell stock, as follows: Red self cock by Black Baldhead hen produced black partial baldhead daughter which I then mated back to her sire.  My opinion now is that the red self carries CT and some bronzing factor as such, probably same as in Archangel.


Harvey Ablon says he has perfected indigo Swing Powders.


Myron Berger reports good progress in producing almond Giant Homers and English Trumpeters (PGNL 27, page 3).  He is also working on the Helmet breed.  "We are revising the Helmet standard and are going to have a black, recessive red, and blue, and their dilutes as colors plus AOC.  I would like to know the genetics of Isabel color and how it is bred for.  It is our idea that it is ash yellow and therefore we are going to include it in AOC."  My guess now is that Isabel is the same as "ribbontail" here--ash-red with bronze.  (PGNL 22, page 1).  Probably red and yellow Helmets carry ash-red and bronze.  Myron--you like to cross so why not test a red Helmet with a blue bar (wild type)?


Dr. Golley is working on white-barred red and yellow Blondinettes (another type of Isabel?).




Al Westling writes "I have a reduced blue this year it is a first-class show specimen (LFCL).  And

now at last some other fanciers seem interested in my "pastels"....  I now have a second dilute reduced hen from the same cock that produced the first one last year."  (PGNL 24, page 4).


Ed Blaine has been in raptures about a reduced S hen (Giant Homer) he bred this year, delicately laced.


George L. Peterson and ask where auto-sexing Giant Homers are obtainable.  Can anybody out that way help him??


L. F. Tharp has developed auto-sex German Beauty Homers and Kings (including auto-sex ash-reds).  His "Dixie Pouter" project (PGNL 20, page 3) still needs a little progress.  "If Mendel's laws worked on schedule some F2 and F3 should recover full crop," but none appeared.  "You should see the gay splashes from pied Swing Pouter by pied English Show Homer hen.  They are long-legged Giant Homers, rascally energetic, wing clappers."  Tharp asks whether he will see me at the National show.  Nope, I don't expect to make it, sorry.


Jack Wooldridge reports "The Racing Homer by Flying Tippler hybrids, all grizzles, homed well up to 50 miles, one of them flew 25 miles in 20 minutes.  After 50 miles I lost four out of five (one returned later).  One flew 150 miles, returning early the second day.  This bird was lost at 208 miles, but several straight-bred Homers were lost too."


George Neuerburg says "Every time I see or hear mention of 'grizzle' I wonder if it is meant the true grizzle--most common in Dragoons--or a 'spattering' of white and some other color???"  Yes, I agree, a distinction is desirable and more needs to be known about the genetic difference.  Especially the grizzle that whitens a lot of the first molt (" light print" and "tiger"?).


George also observes that absence of oil gland is usually associated with "split tail".  He has observed the absence in Maltese commonly, less frequently in Runts, Pouters, and Magpies.  In my experience extra tail feathers also generally go along with split tail.  Wonder whether the Danzig Highflyer has a tail gland??


H. H. Ford says he is "secretary and clearing center" for the American Florentine Club (no dues, no bulletins yet).  He wants any information on available Florentines, especially recently imported stock.  The breed seems to be rare now.  He also would like to correspond on design ideas for nests, pens, et cetera.


Mrs. Gilligan crossed a black African Owl hen with a red bar English Owl cock and obtained an ash F1 cock with much flecking.  "Am I correct in assuming this is also called 'grenaldin'?"  Never heard the word.  The hybrid looks like an African in head and frill.


I crossed the mosaic African Owl cock from John Tidwell (PGNL 10, page 6) with a Chinese Owl hen since I'd never heard of this breed cross before.  The hybrids were intermediate in frill.  I also crossed the African cock with a red self LFCL Tumbler hen.  The hybrids are intermediate, no frill, very inquisitive, not shy.


Mrs. Gilligan wonders what experiment she could do with milky Modenas.  A linkage test with gazzi would be informative: first get milky gazzi, then mate this with double heterozygote for one.  (Maybe 20 squabs adequate?)




Malcolm Ellis writes "Re: Joe Frazier's incompatible blood lines (PGNL 27, page 1) I have had a couple of cases of similar nature when I have tried to cross two particular lines, unrelated but highly inbred (Racing Homers).  In both lines fertility was good, but when crossed, all eggs showed fertilization with termination about the eighth or 10th day.  I blamed a lethal combination."


Ellis also comments: "A. Nielson Hutton in American Racing Pigeon News, June, 1962, refers to 'smutty' and 'dapple' as the same character.  This does not ring true with my limited observation.  I have several pairs that bred true to the dapple form, with color limited to the median line of feather, with no general smuttiness whatsoever.  I also have a couple of pairs that produce youngsters that have the general smuttiness, but never the intense color along the median.  When crossed, the two families produce young with the pure dapple, pure smutty and a combination of both.  My guess would be that there are two genes involved."  (PGNL 23, page 2)


Robert Nisbett is working on the genetics of white in Racing Homers.  Bill Speed is also interested in white patterns and at present is crossing Fantail varieties (saddle, tail-marked, self).


            Mosaic notes:


Jack Wooldridge has a Racing Homer hen hatched March 1963, already flown to 300 miles, that is red checker with mostly blue tail.  Sire mealy, dam blue dark checker.


Blue-brown mosaic African Owl cock (PGNL 10, page 6) has produced both blue and brown daughters.







Pigeon Genetics News Letter



Issue 30                                  April 1964


Edited quarterly by W. F. Hollander, Genetics Department, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.  Sponsored by Iowa State University Agricultural Experiment Station.


Several suggestions were sent in for improving PGNL.  George Schroeder says "I feel our group has tremendous potential if each willing to have at least one individual pair breeding pen and if direction can be given on records that should be kept.  Result: a flood of meaningful data?"  And Lou Graue writes "I will repeat my suggestion made several times before, that some simple research problems in pigeon genetics be outlined in sufficient detail so that anyone interested can do so.  The results, possibly done by more than one fancier, could be reported in PGNL."  What you guys trying to do--make this game strenuous??  I'm game, but will wait for each correspondent to ask what he can contribute.  Also I feel that emphasis on individual breeding cages is good, but they are not always vital if the project are unmistakable for other reasons.  (I've even heard of pedigree goofs with individual pens!)


Malcolm Ellis suggests an index would be helpful.  He says "I have made marginal notes but these are limited to just items I've searched out or found of particular interest at first reading."  Well, keep your fingers crossed.  We might do it yet.


Myron Berger describes a couple of hybrids from an ash-yellow English Pouter hen and a dark bronze Archangel: "rather tall, slim body, very dark blue with the bronze showing in the flights and a crescent on the breast.  Slight globe and a few feathers on the legs.  We are going to mate them together and see what comes out."  Well, if this was a sex-linked cross, the hybrids are both hens.  And that would indicate that "tallness" is not sex-linked.


Mrs. Gilligan reports a hybrid from a black Schietti Modena hen by dun Pygmy Pouter cock.  "Progeny a dun gazzi-marked hen.  More like a Modena than anything else.  Mis-marked, some white flights.  The tail while not on the high angle of a Modena is still definitely up-tilted."  "Up-tilt" not sex-linked!


Joseph Quinn answers my query whether Danzig Highfliers have an oil gland: "Mine do not."


Paul Rogers comments re: orange-eyed Rollers (PGNL 29 page 1): "I checked with Bill Pensom and it is his opinion that no outcross was recently used.  He says that Rollers have had orange




eyes for possibly 400-500 years."  Also, "Concerning George Neuerburg's comment on hucksters reviving Prague Tumblers as white-barred Rollers, a local Los Angeles financier bred his own white bars from an outcross on Starlings.  He put the roll back in them too!  Huckster I have never heard him called."  (This type of white bars is "stencil", not the dominant opal apparently found in the Prague.).


Lee Snyder submitted a report on his study of "achromatosis" (whitening) of pigeon feathers from plucking et cetera to the Westinghouse Science-talent Search.  Out of over 3000 contestants, he was one of 40 winning a trip to Washington, DC and other honors, this February.


Ed Blaine notes another Giant Homer hen laying tan-colored eggs.  She is a great grand-daughter of the previous one (PGNL 14, page 2).  George Neuerburg says "Don't worry why a black hen lays a white egg--get the egg!"


Lowell Pauli says the faded "mutation" he reported for PGNL 28, page 3 apparently was not.  "Gregg, the owner of the bird, is new to pigeons.  He assured me he only had blue bars and one grizzle.  The other day I had the opportunity to go through his loft.  The "grizzle" is a faded or a fadellin.  Next time I'll look personally before I stick my neck out."  (I learn by making mistakes too,!)


Carl Graefe is still searching for ash-red hens with blue flecks.  No luck yet.  He wonders whether X-ray treatment would increase flecking in BA//BA a males as it apparently does in BA//plus.  My guess is it would not.


Frank Nuzzo comments on feral common pigeons, including some in high hollow tree trunks.  "With ash-red dominant to blue, I would expect to see more reds in wild flocks.  Maybe they are more attractive to Hawks?"  Maybe, but a dominant gene can't increase in the population without some selection in its favor.  On the other hand, George Neuerburg says "Local pigeon trapper reports surprising incidents of unusual color phases (opal, indigo, etc.) among the street pigeons--he traps some 400-500 a week."


Several newspaper and magazine clippings have been sent me on pigeon droppings being a source of Cryptococcus disease of man.  Another scare to promote extermination of street pigeons.  It is debunked by a mycologist writing in Science, February 7, page 525.


Several reports of paratyphoid outbreaks, and we have had one at our laboratory.  Ringneck doves seem much more susceptible than pigeons; they often drop dead in good flesh.  We think most of our contagion was in dust, and several pigeons died of massive lung abscessing.  Joe Quinn lost most of his youngsters, but thinks cod-liver oil and Epsom salts were of some benefit.  He adds: "Particular strains of my Rollers and most Danzigs appear immune."


Joe Frazier has sent me a sib pair of young Giant Homers, one with webs between outer and middle toes, the other with web between the rear and inner toes of one foot.  Also a Blue King cock with double rear toes.  How about that!


Lou Grau is interested in homing ability of crosses and other breeds: "There have been several reports in the literature of difference between stocks of homing pigeons, but no one has yet investigated the relative ability of crosses."




Malcolm Ellis coincidently writes me of such experiments: "There were a number of us trying various crosses in 1948 through 1951 in the Los Angeles area.  Also eight straight-bred stocks.  All were conditioned with our race team and forced to fly at least 30 minutes morning and evening.


"It was our experience that all the varieties tried showed some degree of homing ability.  We were able to home every variety from single tosses at distances of 10 and 12 miles, with little apparent difference in their speed.  In order of maximum distances accomplished by the straight-bred varieties they were: (1) Turbit, 100 miles; (2) Carrier, 100 miles (two days); (3) Antwerp, 100 miles (three days); (4) feral field pigeons, 65 miles; (5) Tippler, 23 miles; (6) Roller, 12 miles; (7) Tumbler, 12 miles; (8) small white Kings, 12 miles.


"I have had several Turbits return after two years after being presented to other fanciers living over 50 miles away.  In every case they returned within five or six hours of the time they gained their freedom.


"On the crosses, I don't have any facts on the experience of others, except most were lost very quickly.  My own results were as follows: (1) Homer by Turbit--equal to straight Homer up to 200 miles.  Faltered  abruptly at 250 miles.  (2) Turbit by Tippler--home well up to 50 miles, then faulted completely.  (3) Homer by Antwerp--home well but slowly up to 250 miles, then nothing.  (4) Antwerp by Turbit--about as effective as Homer by Antwerp (5) Homer by Carrier--about as effective as Homer by Antwerp.  (6) Antwerp by Carrier--home well, but very slow.


"It is my impression that all the flying varieties have the ability to home with varying degrees of effectivity and with varying 'memory spans', from the Turbit that will continue to home for months after being moved to a new loft, to the Roller that will seldom home if held over three or four days at a new location.  Actually I'm not convinced that the Turbit has any less desire or memory span than the Racing Homer.


"The wing beat of the Turbit is in a ratio of about 3:2 compared with the Racing Homer.  His wing is about 10% to 15% shorter than the Racing Homer, relative to their weights.  The Turbit simply does not have the capacity to store enough energy to continue over the competitive distances flown today.  Our research indicated that the Racing Homer lost about 8% of his body weight in a 100 mile flight.  The Turbit under the same conditions lost almost 14%.  The Carrier and the Antwerp return with almost their same weight, but were out overnight and obviously watered and fed in route."


Dick Burger comments on right-and left-handed tails (PGNL 27, page 4): "In your hand you can reverse one to the other.  But, upon being released to fly, the bird quickly folds his tail feathers back to their original position.  Evidence very conclusive: right remains right, et cetera."


Dr. G. L. Clark reports "In 1959 I bred silky from a pair of mealy Tumblers from L. W. Goad.  It was a hen, used for breeding, and has produced eight young no silkies.  In 1960 the same pair produced another silky and in 1962 the father by daughter produced one silky out of four squabs.  I presume not three mutations?  But a recessive factor?"  This is very interesting to me.  I hope the type will be carried on in study.  I would suggest a distinctive name, say "lacy"?  Or "fretty"?


Dr. Clark also writes "Mrs. Gilligan agrees with me that she meant gridelin, not grenaldin (PGNL 29, page 3).  Gridelin is a color standardized by the Central Tumbler Club, a pale smoke color

with a cast of violet.  F. McFarland who originated the color in 1949 said it is the barless dilute of




mealy.  Al Westling says it is the spread form of ash-red, in many breeds it is called Lavender.  As the genetics seems uncertain and as there don't seem to be any more of them I think I will delete all reference in future editions of my book."  Names die hard!  Most fanciers won't want call this merely "spread ash", even if true.


Dr. Clark continues, "Still trying to find a recessive red without BA."  The pair given to me by John Tidwell is just that, and they carry CT.  I have been using these to test possibility of linkage between recessive red and bald head factor (PGNL 26, page 2).  So far the evidence favors linkage, but I need larger numbers.


Several comments on Damascenes.  Richard Littleton, wants to know if it should be called powder blue, and is it dominant or recessive.  Gerhard Hasz used it in making "ice" Giant Homers, and Al Westling used it to make "ice" Tumblers.  Clark Bordner writes "My Show pen Racer by Damascene crosses are progressing....  The F2 and backcrosses to Damascene are just about as light as a poor Damascene."  Joe Quinn comments, "Ice from Damascene crosses invariably show partial dominance (bright blue, a little ice in the neck.).  Ice Pigeon crosses show very little in F1 indicating it is possibly a recessive."


Joe Quinn also suggests that there may be three basic kinds of grizzle (PGNL 29, page 3): (1) "typical grizzle"; (2) "grizzle neutral" as in Modenas and many self colors where the only expression is in lightness near the shaft of primaries.  Can be shown to be grizzle by producing homozygous form in matings with typical grizzle.  (3) "grizzle limited", as in the pepper head condition in Rollers, mottles, et cetera.  Well, maybe, but the names of 2 and 3 don't sound appropriate.


Clair Tepfer, writes about grizzle in Show Racers.  He doesn't think they should be classed AOC.


Clyde Summerhays, reports a spread ash mottle cock Homer which sired an ash-red son, but this ash-red molted mottle also.  Something new?


Herman Smith writes "I crossed by accident a black Roller with a Syrian Flapper.  F1 black hen doesn't flap very much."  Flapper??  Never heard of this name.  Herman also notes many unusual color combinations in his Fantails, Archangels, and Suabians.  "I tried to sell some almond Fans but got so little response that it seemed hopeless.  Don't want to make money--just help pay for some feed!  I use over a hundred pairs of feeder pigeons."


Leslie Bolling is looking for three dark bronze Archangel hens.  He is also working to produce reduced Fantails and reduced Rollers.


L. F. Tharp reports that his selected Auto-sexing blue King's "no longer have the reddish barring.  The use of blue Kings and their development made the ground color more intense in the bars more sharply defined in the females."  Tharp also says he now has ash-red faded dilute together.


W. Nolan Brown paid me a visit recently.  He commented that some cross-breds from Strasser by Giant Homer were considerably larger than either parent breed.  Heterosis?


Dr. Hannaford Shafer writes "In Modenas I have come across some blacks with red-spangled wing coverts (fire-marked) in their nest feathers," which usually molted out mainly black.  Gerald




Dooley here also obtained such a pair of Schietti, which retained the fire markings.  (Origin of the stock not very clear.).  Mating these together, Gerald has obtained various colors, including a dun gazzi with extreme bronzing in nest feathers.


Dr. Schafer's project of putting Swallow spangling on the Bokhara Trumpeter is progressing.  "They are of the Trommeltauben type, rather than the heavier bull- necked Bokhara, and are much tighter in feather."  Also he notes "I had a most interesting letter from Mr. Clair Hetland with a colored photo of his champion young Black Bokhara hen, a magnificent specimen.  He tells me it is bred from a Black Trumpeter cock mated to a black quarter-Jacobin hen....  The long feathered gene in the Jacobin may be the reason?"


Michael Maginnis writes "Everybody talks about the color of pigeons as if it were all pigmental.  No mention of iridescence or structural color effects.  Couldn't the iridescence color be intensified to beautiful effect?  Surely this is a genetic character entirely different from those controlling pigmental markings."  Well, the Archangel is a start.


Mosaic notes:

            Lowell Pauli sends a photo of his Giant Homer hen (PGNL 28, page 5)--just backwards of his description.  It's left wing is T-pattern, right is medium checker blue.




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