The competition represents the culmination of his breeding season for the zebra finch breeder. This will be the best method to check if the new birds correspond to the standard, it will also be an opportunity to compare your own results with those of other breeders. The progression in his breeding necessarily involves the comparison of his birds with those of other breeders. The competitions therefore represent THE privileged moment which ends a whole year of breeding.
The first step for the breeder will be the selection of his zebra finches. Usually around July 15, the young zebra finches are sorted: you have to distinguish between farmed birds and show birds. The zebra finch is a "finished" bird and not a working bird: a carrier bird will (normally) not be judged, a female with cheek suckers will be sanctioned, etc. When possible, plan to prepare replacements: the breeder is not immune to a general condition problem that arises just before the competition. Ditto for the preparation of the stams (group of 4 identical birds), planning 5-6 birds seems reasonable to compensate for any unforeseen events.
In order for the zebra finch presented to have plumage in perfect condition, do not hesitate to tear off the damaged or broken feathers.
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.
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 :
In this article, you will find all the selection criteria to look for in an exhibition zebrafinch.
From the tip of the beak to the end of the tail of the zebrafinch : 11.5 cm.
Impression of strength - Short, stocky waist - Round head - Tight neck - Relatively broad and round chest.
The head, neck, back and tail should form a single line with minimal indentation in the nape and at the intersection of the tail at the height of the rump.
The curve formed by the rounding of the chest and the belly line should be regular from the throat to the anal region.
The back line cannot be crushed and the ventral line cannot be dropped.
All parts of the body should be in harmony with each other.
Well-rounded seen from all angles - Relatively wide front view - Must be in perfect harmony with the beak and body - Eyes placed approximately in the center of the head, very lively and dark in color unless the standard of the specified variety does not give it otherwise.
The first zebrafinch presented at the exhibition were far from those we now have in our farms. They were rather filiform and small in all respects resembling the majority of the birds that we currently find at the pet store on the corner.
The evolution does not know made in a day but it has been relatively fast. Here we will talk about the grey zebrafinch, all simply because it is my specialty, and I am starting to know it well.
We can observe that the greys, which are a classic (We call «classic» the greys and the basic mutations that are the brown, pale back and masked.), presented in the major exhibitions is no longer very far from the perfect grey. The type and size are for the most part excellent level and the difference is mainly on the color.
To locate each descriptive terms used in the rest of the article, you can use this diagram: Descriptive terms in zebrafinch.
1. The main defects of grey males
In recent years many defects have appeared in the gray we have the leisure to see in our exhibitions. I’m going to introduce a few of them that I think are most commonly encountered on display or on our farms.
a) The stripes behind the cheeks
For the last couple of years, at least from what I’ve personally noticed, we’ve been seeing signs of zebra around the cheek. This defect is rather noticeable in black cheek greys, but rather recent in grey males. It is still time to eradicate it from gray strains before it is fully generalized to grey zebrafinch.
Because of the similarity to the defect in black cheeks, I do not think it can be equated with a black cheek factor. Indeed, this defect appears even in strains having no affiliation with a strain of black cheeks.
On the other hand, we can think that this phenomenon is due to a high concentration of eumelanin (black), which is sought in gray for a dark back and in black cheeks for an intense black color.
b) Tear spreading in the cheeks
Another defect is the tear, which gives an impression of diffusion in the cheek by the presence of some black feathers in them, and of a line under the eye. Usually in my breeding these are birds that have deep chestnut cheeks. I think we still have it, we can equate it to an excess of eumelanin in this area.
The zebrafinch gray is from the wild type.
It corresponds to the original type of Mandarin diamond. It is therefore strictly speaking not a mutation.
However, the gray zebrafinch we know to this day, is very different from its Australian ancestor. Following a selection by the breeders, the type, size and color of it have changed a lot.
Since gray is the basis of the mutations existing in the gray series (black breast gray, white breast gray, pale back gray, etc.), the rearing of this one is essential for the perennity of all these mutations.
The gray zebrafinch will thus "regenerate" all these mutations.
3. Who is gray breeding for ?
The breeding of the gray zebrafinch is recommended for beginners and can also become very exciting for the more experienced.
Indeed, despite an attraction at first glance less spectacular than a zebrafinch with orange or pastel colors, its breeding is even more interesting.
To take beautiful photos of your zebrafinch, here is a photo box model to make yourself.
1. Materials needed
- White PVC panel, 5 mm thick.
- PVC U-shaped slides.
- PVC angles in L.
- 1 ultra-flat neon with switch.
- Trunnion Ø 10 or 12 grooved.
- Silicone glue.
2. Cutting the PVC panel
- The PVC panel is cut to form a cube with the following dimensions: Length 38 cm, depth 32 cm, height 32 cm.
- On a wall, a hole 6 cm in diameter (to be adjusted according to the lens of your camera) is made at the height of the future perch.
- On another wall, an opening 10 cm wide by 12 high is made for the sliding door which will allow the bird to be introduced into the box.
- Cut 1 door to close the hole which will be used to photograph the bird (example of dimensions for a 6 cm hole: 10 cm x 10 cm).
- Cut 1 door of 12 cm x 14 cm for the opening that will allow the bird to be introduced into the box.
- Cut a 10 cm x 10 cm square that will serve as a base for the perch.
3. Gluing the slides
- Cut and glue 2 guides (U-shaped angles) which allow the door to slide, which can block the Ø 6 cm opening.
- Cut and glue 2 slides (U-shaped angles) which allow the door to slide, which will be able to obstruct the opening 10 cm wide by 12 cm high.