Articles

  • Zebra finch standards

    Indispensable reference document for breeders who select zebra finches.

    I carried out research work on the different zebra finch standards applied in France, Belgium, England, Italy and the Netherlands. Here are the standards on which the judges rely to decide between zebra finches in competitions. These documents will be very useful to you depending on the country where you are exhibiting.

     

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  • Prepare for the breeding season

    As you embark on a breeding season, here I give you some tips for preparing your zebra finches for the next few months.
    Our birds are certainly easy to breed, but perhaps these are details that will encourage reluctant couples to breed or produce more fertilized eggs. This article does not pretend to give the method to prepare your zebra finches for a breeding season but simply to inform about a possible organization for an optimal breeding season. This is the one I put in place.

    The selection of breeders was made at the end of the summer. The choice of couplings is of course essential, and always chosen according to the qualities to be improved and defects to be corrected in relation to the zebra finch sought, while trying to respect as much as possible the "rule" of chimmel couplings on intensive and vice versa. It will take the necessary time to form breeding pairs; many criteria must be taken into account depending on its objectives (show birds, working birds, carrier birds, etc.). It has happened that very good animals have not been mated because they have not found the perfect match. Better to be patient than to mate to “number”. Quality will always take precedence over quantity.

    Couple diamant mandarin isabelle popn1
     

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  • The orange chest mutation in classic colors

    Since we will be discussing the orange breast zebrafinch (PO) in this article, it is certainly interesting to dwell a bit on the history of this mutation first.
    The orange breast mutation (PO) is believed to have originated in Belgium. I consciously write "supposed" because the first orange breast (PO) was actually found at a bird merchant. In Dutch literature in particular, long before the discovery of the first orange breast (PO) in Belgium, zebra finches were described there with characteristics that we can now attribute to orange breast (PO) wearers.
    What we are certain of anyway is that the honor of the discovery of the orange breast (PO) goes to a certain Mr. De C. who in 1978 noticed a rather special gray male in a store. This male had an orange breast bar when normally it should have been black. Mr. DE C. bought this copy, but at the breeding nothing came out of what he had hoped for. At the end of 1978, Paul CH., President of the BZC at that time, acquired this male. There were good and bad surprises with this subject, because unfortunately this male did not live very long. Fortunately Paul CH. had been able to get some young people before. Orange breast (PO) is inherited autosomal recessively compared to the wild form. The orange factor must therefore be doubly present to become visible. He therefore crossed young people between them and quickly took out the first orange breasts (PO).

    Already the first orange breast breeder (PO) made the mistake of not combining and developing the orange breast (PO) with classic colors (gray, brown, pale back, masked) but he rushed directly on the combination of the orange breast with black breast (PN) and other mutations. From that moment on, every orange breast breeder’s dream was born to produce an all-orange zebra finch.
    Due to having burned the breeding stage in the classic colors, the following question remained :

    Are there any specific characteristics that we see in our classic orange breasts, are they just annoying derivatives of the presence of the black breast mutation (PN) or are these specific effects of the orange breast mutation ?

    What do I mean by that? Often the orange chest gray or orange chest brown reveal not well defined cheeks. Likewise, there is often an orange hem on the fenders. Also, the chest frequently flows upwards and the belly shows patterns. All these observed characteristics are quite disturbing.

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  • Pale back, masked and masked old type, three allelic versions

    Why are the mutations in zebrafinch of pale back, masked (new type) and masked old type combined with each other so difficult to predict !?
    Quite simply because we cannot speak at the genetic level of different mutations but rather of allelic versions of a single gene. The pale back, the masked and the old type mask are due to the same gene but which has three allelic versions.
    To understand well let's make the parallel with man, the color of the eyes for example, whatever our eye color, our iris color and coded by the same gene, but this gene has many different versions (alleles) which allow us to have the color panel that we know.

    Now that we know a little more about what complicates these crosses, let's take a look at how each allele behaves in relation to each other.
    Everything is a story of dominance and co-dominance or recessivity.

    A small table to illustrate all this :

    Allele / allele Pale back Masqued Masqued OT
    Pale back x Pale back Pale back
    Masqued Pale back x Masqued
    Masqued OT Pale back Masqued x

    *OT = Old type

    In this double entry table you can see that it allele dominates the other, the bird will therefore have the phenotype of the allele which dominates, be careful, it is not because the allele is dominated that it does not not influence. See pale back / OT mask, the back is more diluted because of the masked OT allele.

    From this result we can draw the first conclusions :

    • The pale back can be masked or OT masked.
    • The masked can be a masked OT split but cannot be a pale back wearer (pb dominates masked = pb / masked). *pb = pale back
    • The masked OT cannot carry a pale back, nor a masked person because the latter two dominate him.

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  • Zebra finch genetic calculation software

    Small practical software allowing to have the probabilities of the results of a mating according to the mutation (s) of the respective parents. It can be put on USB sticks, no need for an internet connection to use it.

    Before that, we will obviously need to know the genotype of each parent. To help you determine the mutation or combination of mutations to which your zebrafinch belong, you can refer to: Illustrated glossary of mutations in zebrafinch.
    That said, I would say that this application is only an aid. The best thing will always be to understand how each mutation is transmitted. For this, I also advise you to have a good basis to consult the article: Zebrafinch genetics : Instructions.

     

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  • Application of zebrafinch Genetics

    Here is a site, also available in application, dedicated to the calculation of the genetics of zebrafinch. ZebraCalc allows you to have the probabilities of results depending on the mutations of the respective parents.

    Before that, we will obviously need to know the genotype of each parent. To help you determine the mutation or combination of mutations to which your zebrafinch belong, you can refer to: Illustrated glossary of mutations in zebrafinch.
    That said, I would say that this application is only an aid. The best thing will always be to understand how each mutation is transmitted. For this, I also advise you to have a good basis to consult the article: Zebrafinch genetics : Instructions.

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  • What do we mean by zebrafinch "English type"?

    The term English type for some zebrafinch is sometimes used, but what is meant by "English type" !?
    Can this type of bird (see video) qualify as an English type ?
    Where is it enough that the bird comes from England ? ... Or on the contrary, is it even more typical !?

    Young zebrafinch of English type in video :

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  • The crossing-over

    It was in 1960 that the first zebrafinch pale Brown back appeared in Belgium.
    Let us try to understand how such a combination of colours could have been born.

    It is known that the brown and pale back factors, related to sex, are located on X chromosomes, but different and at different locations (loci): (1) and (2).
    They are therefore not normally linked (otherwise all the browns would also be pale backs: which is not the case).
    How could they get linked on the same chromosome ? (3)

    Crossing over1 1

    When you mate a brown male with a pale grey back female (or vice versa), each time you get grey males, carriers of brown and pale backs. Each male therefore has two different X chromosomes: One carries the "brown" "no light back" genes, the other carries the "no brown" and "light back" genes. Being recessive, none of these genes can be expressed since they are in a single copy; being non-alleles, neither can dominate the other; It is therefore a natural grey colour that is expressed.

    How will these genes be transmitted by the male to his offspring ? To understand it, some explanations are necessary.

    Chromosomes are very long molecules (2 millionths of a mm thick, average 5 cm long in humans) that are normally entangled with each other in the nucleus of the cell. At the time of meiosis (cell division allowing, in males, the formation of spermatozoa from the mother cells of the testes), these chromosomes split into two rigorously identical chromatids linked together by a centromere.
    Each chromatid then spirals. Only then does the chromosome become visible under the optical microscope. The chromosomes group together and join two to two homologous pairs.

    During this phase, two chromatids of the two joined chromosomes can cross, break and then join together by exchanging more or less important segments. This is the phenomenon called spanning.
    The “brown” gene could thus be found linked to the “pale back” gene on the same X chromosome. A grey male with brown back and pale back can (but only this way) produce pale grey, grey, brown back and pale brown back females. (12.5% of each).

    With this crossing over, this same male could also have:

    • Crossed with a pale back female: 12.5% of pale grey back males split brown.
    • Crossed with a brown female: 12.5% of brown males split pale backs.

    By mating one or the other of these with their "pale brown back" sister, it is possible to obtain (in 3rd generation): 25% pale brown back males and 25% pale brown back females.

    L enjambement image 2

    CHROMATID

    A : Normal
    B : Spirally contracted
    C : Schematized

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  • Zebrafinch genetics : Instructions

    1. Introduction

    The breeding and competition of zebrafinch has grown considerably over the past fifteen years. In order to improve the size of the new mutations, breeders also have recourse to conventional "split" birds.
    Some manage to combine several mutations. All this made it essential to know a minimum of applied genetics. It is this minimum that I would like to present to novice breeders.
    This is not a complete course in genetics, but a simple presentation of the method I use preceded by some basics.

    2. The zebrafinch and its mutations

    A zebrafinch has a number of visible characters (size, shape, designs, color, sex) that constitute its phenotype. It can have, in addition to other unexpressed traits (it is said to be a split). The set of traits, expressed or not, is called the genotype.

    A young zebrafinch grows out of an egg cell, the result of the fusion of the nucleus of a father's sperm and the nucleus of the female's egg. The bird's genetic program is already there: A series of cell divisions and coded information will (or not) trigger the appearance of the characters. The encoded information is carried by genes located on long filaments contained in the nucleus: chromosomes.
    All chromosomes go in pairs: each chromosome therefore has its counterpart.

    There are two categories of chromosomes :

    - Sex chromosomes :
    • XX in the male
    • XY in the female

    - Autosome chromosomes.

    The gray zebrafinch living in Australia is the source of all of our farmed zebra finches. It has a whole set of genes distributed in its chromosomes.Whenever a new mutation has appeared, there has been a change in an original gene (and it has been shown to be hereditary). The original gene and the mutated gene are located in the same place called a locus on each of the homologous chromosomes.
    Both genes are alleles.

    Genetics of zebrafinch 4

    A bird is pure (homozygous) when all of its alleles carry identical information.
    A bird is heterozygous when at least one pair of alleles carries different information about the same trait.

    We currently know about twenty different mutations of the gray zebrafinch.

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  • Deworming your zebrafinch, natural method

    Simple to prepare, natural and without side or harmful effects ! A recipe that has proven itself among a large number of bird breeders.
    This method helps prevent infestation of your zebra finches from internal parasites (flat and round worms) and is also a blood purifier.

    1. Ingredients

    To have an effective dewormer, you have to combine garlic, thyme and sage. Garlic is the most active in this composition.

    - 3 cloves of garlic
    - 2 sprigs of thyme
    - 2 sage leaves

    Garlic can be mixed or cut. You can also cut the sage leaves. All mixed in a liter of water. Let macerate for 15 days to 1 month in a temperate place away from the sun.

    Ingredients vermifuge diamants mandarins methode naturelle

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  • The weaning of young zebrafinch

    The young zebrafinch are now about three weeks old; seeking to escape the lack of space, the oppressive heat of the brood or simply wanting to discover the world, they will begin to emerge from the nest.
    This outing is not definitive, as they still return for 2 to 3 days, but less and less often. Sometimes, when the young begin to grow up, one of them starts to fly out of the nest a few days before the expected release date, you can leave it out of the nest if conditions allow, the parents will continue to take care of it. If you need to put it back in the nest, place it gently preferably in the evening and keep your hand in front of the fly-off hole, until all the young have regained their calm.
    One morning when all the young are out, the nest will be removed and cleaned before a new laying or in preparation for the next breeding season. The nest will be restored when the young are weaned and thus separated from their parents.

    It is common for parents to start a new laying before the end of weaning the young. There are no rules on the matter: Sometimes the parents start hatching while taking care of the young that come out of the nest, sometimes they will pluck the young and stop taking care of them. It is up to the breeder to be attentive in his observations. At home, I prefer to remove the eggs laid on the ground to give them to another couple or to give them back to the couple after weaning when the timing allows.

    The weaning period corresponds to the period when the young bird will learn to feed itself and thus acquire its autonomy. It is therefore a delicate period when it will be important to observe the birds so as not to make the mistake of separating a young person from his parents too early. Usually a young zebrafinch will be weaned around 35 days of life. Again, the observation is strict; and no need to take risks, it is a matter of a few days.

    Le sevrage des diamant mandarin3

    The young chicks were fed by their parents who regurgitated the seeds and/or mash that is distributed daily at this time. Now they must learn to peel the seeds and eat them alone. The sooner the chicks are self-sufficient, the sooner they will be weaned.
    The parents themselves reduce the regurgitation of the pate.
    But if young people feel the need they will go looking for it alone, it is easy to access food that will serve as a transition. In addition, some breeders provide young birds with sprouted seeds: These «soft» seeds are easy to peel and ingest. For my part, as soon as I leave the nest, the birds have at their disposal some millet in clusters (red and yellow that I alternate every day).

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  • Genetic transmission of physical characteristics

    If you ask at a meeting of zebrafinch lovers a question about the genealogy of the masked, the pastel, or a black cheek, you are sure to receive the right answer.
    But if we ask the genealogy question about the format (size), the shape of the head or the length of the beak, the answers will be multiple and different.
    Some will say intermediaries, others dominant, etc.

    Nevertheless, these characteristics follow Laws of Mendel. Many breeders do not believe this explanation, but it is true. It seems that the laws no longer behave in a strict way as for the mutations of colours. A wider variation in the format (size), shape of the head, etc... seems normal.

    Law of independent assortment

    In nature, zebrafinch have the same variation in size. And, in the process of domestication, this difference in variation has increased. Our cultivated zebrafinch are on average two centimetres wider than their ancestors in nature.
    In the articles, we always recommend a hard selection at the level of format and model taking into account the differences between the parts such as the head, the body, etc.

    But the format and the model are driven by genealogy. The body shapes are driven by factors.
    The question that arises is: Is there a relationship between the different factors that govern the format, the model, the shape of the head and the beak ?

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