FADED

This article and even more information and more photographs on Fadeds appears in the BUDGERIGAR VARIETY BIBLE.
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The Revival of the Faded

By Mark Goodsell

My first experience with the Faded variety came about in December 1985 when I returned from Albury where I had been employed, to relieve my brother who had been caring fro my birds while I had been away. In one nest box a pair were hatching their third round which comprised nine fertile eggs. The third and forth chicks to hatch had pink eyes, and like everybody else I assumed that they were cinnamon hens. At this stage the cinnamon chicks held little significance as I was more concerned with getting all nine eggs to hatch..

As the chicks feathered up I was becoming aware that I had some "funny coloured" cinnamons among the clutch and a search thought he cock's ancestry was undertaken. The father of these 'pink-eyed' birds was what I refer to as a light greywing cobalt because the greywing was not as dark as the Standard requires. His mother was a normal cobalt bred in 1983 from a South Australian cock obtained from a local pet shop,and which passed at first glance for a pretty reasonable clearwing dark green. The father of the light greywing cobalt cock was also a pet shop greygreen which had previously been paired to a cinnamon opaline green hen. Not one of the 14 chicks they raised was cinnamon so obviously or very unlikely, the greygreen was not split for cinnamon.
It was apparent then, that I was dealing with a variety other than cinnamon, firstly because one of the young 'pinkeyes' was taking on the characteristics of a cock bird. Any knowledgeable breeder will inform you that if one wishes to breed sex-linked cocks then the mother must show the sex-linked gene, at least in the normals. The only other alternative since the hen was normal, was that a recessive gene must have come into play. As it happened the mother of the 'pink eyes' was a violet dark green split for light greywing and for blue , and she was the daughter of the South Australian bird and a violet opaline hen. Thus in a very short space of time I had found the source of the 'pink eyed' gene. Then followed a search for those descendants of this South Australian bird ( who carried a ring numbered BSSA 81-8933) which I still possessed and which may have been carrying the Faded gene.

All was not plain sailing from here, however, although it was assumed at the time that it would be, most of the chicks from the first two rounds had by now been disposed of, even before the third round hatched, Nevertheless I remember thinking that I could readily form two pairs and be well underway with this 'odd variety'.

As I was a member of the Budgerigar Council of Australia (Now the BCV) at the time, at their Albury-Wodonga Branch, I took these two 'odd' birds down there to show them to the more senior members of the club and to ask them for their opinions. Much interest was aroused, but no offers to buy the pair were received. The two senior judges present, Reg White and Sig Simonsen commented that they had never seen birds quite like these before and that I should persist in attempting to breed them in all the normal shades and varieties.

During 1986 I decided to pair the 1985 young (faded Olive? to his sister Faded light greywing mauve?) and to pair their mother, the violet dark green/ light greywing blue. Faded, to one of her violet sons reasoning that I had a 2/3 chance that he too would also be split Faded. This later proved to be the case.

I also tried to pair the light greywing cobalt back to his mother, the cobalt, but she liked to play football with anything white that appeared in the nest box. Anything hatched by the pair of young 'pink eyes' lasted a day or less and the young Faded hen died, much to my disappointment. The second pairing was more fruitful, however, and out of eight chicks two faded hens were produced. A mauve or violet mauve of good size and the other hen was a faded light greywing violet, a very attractive colour but somewhat smaller bird. Both hens were shown to a couple of BSA judges at an Illawarra branch meeting.

I was disappointed at their reaction which was contrary to the Objects of the Society in that the cultivation of new varieties were to be given priority.I was still determined, however, to find out what variety these birds were.
The answer came (I thought) when leafing through a book 'The World of Budgerigars' by the noted British author, Cyril Rogers, contained a description of the 'Faded variety, (pp 122-123) which had features similar to the birds I had been attempting to breed. I soon penned a letter, containing photographs to Mr Rogers via Gerald Binks, then Editor of Budgerigar World, telling him of my birds and asking for more information. A letter was promptly returned in which Mr Rogers said, "their eye colour and poor breeding results point to the fact that they are the Faded". This news and opinion was good enough for me so I have called my 'pink eyed' birds Faded ever since.

In April 1993 I sent Mr Rogers a letter telling of progress since March 1990. I hoped that he would be pleased as I, since he was the last person in England to breed the Fadeds, now many long years ago.

In 1987 the Faded Olive(?) was paired to the Faded mauve (violet mauve).
They produced one chick which died at one day old. The hen died some four months later of egg peritonitis. Her sister, the Faded light greywing violet fared a little better. She was paired to a son of the South Australian cock which just happened to be split faded. They produced a Faded spangle violet sky cock, which bred up till late 1992 under favourable conditions.

It can be seen from the examples given above that the breeding of the first of my line of Fadeds was not an easy task as once anticipated, although it has been made easier in the past few years.

When using birds that are split for a variety, and one has little knowledge of their genetic make-up, a number of speculative pairings have to be called upon. Sometimes these will prove fruitful and at other times they are of little use whatsoever. I can assure the reader that up to 1989 this was my predicament.

In 1987 one such speculative pairing was made, a light greywing sky/opaline (brother of the light greywing cobalt) was paired to a runt of a cobalt hen which was possibly split Faded. This pairing provided two birds which have been instrumental in the continuation of the variety, a Faded cobalt cock was paired to a half Scoble hen and an opaline greygreen, a Lewis/Kakoschke cock, and father of the half Scoble hen, was paired to a Faded dark green hen. This was done firstly and most importantly to provide a vigourous outcross and secondly to introduce the grey and opaline genes. The Faded cobalt cock paired to the opaline greygreen hen (half Scoble) produced 16 young splits some of which were some of the more typier birds I have bred. More importantly the Lewis/Kakoschke bred opaline greygreen succeeded in fathering 6 splits from his Faded partner. It is not often that Faded hens will produce chicks in such quantity, if at all.

These outcrosses I feel have provided the rigour that was lacking in the previous strain of Fadeds. This however has been to some detriment of the body colour and to the depth of markings. Hopefully this may be corrected through the use of a non-Scoble, non-Kakoschke strain.


Just when you think that all is proceeding, will, nature brings you back down to earth with a THUD In my case it was psittacosis. From the end of 1989 many of my best birds as well as the Fadeds were lost. Of the 26 split fadeds bred in 1939 only 14 survived the following year. Others have died since. Though not observing proper quarantine measures, I had placed my flock in an unviable situation. The fact that it took from early 1990 until late 1992 for a Veterinary to accurately diagnose and treat the disease .has not helped matters either.

Luckily no Fadeds were paired in 1990, but in 1991 the Faded sky cock referred to earlier when paired to a dark green Faded hen (From the half Scoble hen) produced 11 birds. Of these the two Faded cocks and the two split Faded hens have been the ones to produce. One Faded cobalt hen (there were two normal green Fadeds) was tried but she produced only pea Sized clear eggs. Another pair of splits bred well also, both were grey dark green/blue Type 11. The hen was opaline while the cock was split opalinc. A large number of young were bred, of the surviving. Fadeds two are grey (possibly cobalt grey) and two are grey dark green.

The two greens and one of the greys are cock birds. All are opaline. These Faded opalines are all of a distinctive body colour as one would expect.
Tim body colour of the Faded opaline grey and greygreens is much lighter than their normal counterparts. The greys are the colour of heavily suffused whites, while the greygreens are of a mustard coloured shade. These features alone warrant the inclusion of the Faded as a separate variety in the National Standard. In addition, normal Faded cocks have much nore clearly defined markings than ordinary normal cocks, along with a darker violet cheek patch. Distinguishing features apart from plumage are pink feet and ino coloured beaks, which on leaving the nest, darken slightly with age.

During this past season the Fadeds have continued to breed well with one exception. Sufficiently well in fact for me to assert that the Faded variety is once again an entity and entitled as such to be a recognised variety on the SHOW scene.

By the end of the 1993 breeding season I should have sufficient stock available to enable a small number of breeders who would like to help re-develop this interesting and attractive variety.