Above: ‘Decent, thick feather’: this recessive pied was benched by A. & N. Michael

FRED WRIGHT admires an unusually good recessive pied budgerigar.

Most budgie people who know me will tell you I am a “normal man”. I like a few cinnamons but in the past I could take the specialist varieties or leave them. Maybe I have learned to appreciate more of the specialist varieties over the years.

Many years ago, recessive pieds were of a disastrous standard at the shows and were little more than pet birds. Over the years, experienced fanciers have improved them and the quality of the variety had risen for a few years, but then it dropped away.

It’s a long story, but I was once given two recessive pied brothers on the understanding I used them with decent hens and tried to improve them, though at the same time I should learn how much of a challenge they are. I did improve them over time and it was not without tears and frustration – yet I learned to love the variety.

I have bought some good recessives and done well with them at the shows. Eventually, I ended up with 70-plus visual recessives and splits, and realised I had too many. I could have cut back but I decided to sell the lot and walk away from them completely. My real problem was that I felt obligated to apologise for the birds in my flights that were of poor quality. Although they looked like normals, they were in fact my “splits”.

To be honest, I regretted selling the lot and have tried to pick up a couple of good ones again. However, these have never bred for me.

I always look at the recessive pieds
at the major shows including the Budgerigar Society (BS) Club Show. This individual (right) is one I admired last year. There is plenty of variegation in the body and the wings are not heavily marked, but it carries shoulder that gives it some width across the face and mask. Recessives are generally a finer-feathered bird; this blue carries that decent, thick feather so frequently missing on the modern recessive pieds.

Yes, there is slight marking in the cap. However, speaking as one who has bred them, I know how challenging it is to get any with a clear cap.

What is the future with recessives?

They are a difficult variety and, although they are easy to breed, improving the quality is the challenge. If as a fancy we are to see progress with it, we need fanciers with a quality stud to take it on, use good normals to breed some “splits” and, in turn, breed some decent recessives.

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