Thursday, December 9, 2010

What Goes Around, Becomes Round

Breeding A Round Stafford Crest

After the shows, I housed this Stafford with a couple of other males. Seems that a jealous fellow Stafford male took a feather or two from the center of his lovely crest.

The Stafford pictured above has a nice rounded crest that is not so long as to obstruct the eye. Its totally body length is right at the desired 5 inches.

Also in his cage is this likely suspect who really has little to envy!

From the side, however, his crest is getting a little too long. Pairing to a much shorter feather bird will back that length up a bit and keep the offspring at 5 inches and avoid them having too long of wings in proportion to the body.

It is well known that the proper pairing for a crested bird is a non-crested bird. And that we must avoid breeding two birds with the same fault and rather chose birds that complement each other.

But what would you expect to happen to the beautiful desired rounded crest if you breed it to a mate that looks like the non-crest standard? Breeding a non-crested bird shaped like the standard, will encourage an oval instead of round crested offspring.

To produce the desired rounded crest, the non-crested mate must be more rounded shape than the non-crest standard. I have shaded in the desired roundness that will produces offspring with more rounded crest.

The desired roundness of the non-crested bird includes the entire head and neck. Even the roundness of the back-skull is important to ensure the crest blends in, without any breaks in the back of the neck.


Evon In WI said...


Please clarify the correct length for the Stafford crest.
Looking at the standard it appears the crest should be a rounded crest that does NOT obstruct the eye.
Many of the staffords I have observed at shows have the eyes concealed like a gloster.
Is this a flaw in the breed?
Do these birds have a place in a breeding program?

Linda Hogan said...

Hi Evon

The standard states that the crest stop at the top of the eye so that the crest does not obstruct the eye.

I too have seen at the shows and in my own bird room, a variety of crest lengths and shapes from short oval to too long round. Length of feather is an important characteristic when selecting a breeding pair and breeding longer feathers ruins the type look of the bird whose wings will be too long and a bird that's total length measures 6 inches from head to tip of the tail rather than the desired 5 inches.

In just a few short years, the quality of Staffords have really improved but moving forward we must focus on its body type qualities which makes it the beautiful bird that it is and what it could be!!

Thanks for your comment Evon. As a former college professor, silence drives me crazy.

Evon in WI said...

Thank You Linda,for that post.

I admire the lovely staffords from your flock. Lucky you.
SOMEDAY I dream of getting a nice trio to work with.
Its snowy and cold here in WI but the birds are starting to think its
Not sure I can fool Mother Nature and have them wait.

Linda Hogan said...

My first Staffords, two pairs, came from Tom Ressel about three years ago. The offspring were reasonably good but lacked color.

The following year, I purchased a pair with great color but oval crest hen from Carl Biers to improve my color genes and one male from Tom for shorter feathering. To see that pair, check out the Bachelorate contest back around Feb 1 to 14th the first year of the blog. The purchased male from Carl was called Gator Heat and one purchased from Tom was called Sooner. Tom won that contest and his essay is a great teaching post.

That is all the stock I purchased. The rest is just understanding breeding.

Anonymous said...

I remember "the bachorette contest",because I lost.
It was fun as well as educational.
Sooner and Gator and their offspring have done well.
Over the years I have been able to track the breeding lines with my birds as well. I know just the lines to breed together to set-up that winning combo.
A lesson for any novice breeder;
Buy the best you can afford, keep records and most of all stay in touch with that breeder.
They can be you and your birds best friends.