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Go Back   Talk Budgies Forums > Budgie Talk > Budgie Breeding > Mutations and Genetics


Mutations and Genetics Learn about budgie genetics and the wide variety of mutations.

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Old 05-31-2014, 04:32 AM
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Default Breeding for health - What to look out for mutation wise?

As my main goal in breeding is always health (both mental and physical), I've been wondering about budgie mutations and what affect they might have on a bird if not combined correctly. All my breeding experiences so far are with cockatiels and they have a few mutations that are prone to certain problems so I'm interested to know if budgies have those too...

Ino and other red eyed mutations (such as fallow) in cockatiels have big problems, especially with their eyes, for example glaucoma and blindness. They often also tend to be smaller and may have bald spots on the top of their heads and under the wings. Some are reported to get ill more easily and many times they die a bit younger than others. This is why visual to visual pairings on these mutations aren't usually recommended unless the birds are better than average quality. Does this apply to ino/fallow budgies?

In many species the repeated breeding of visual to visual recessive genes also seems to affect the quality, size and often longevity of the offspring. In cockatiels this is most common with whitefaces (which is essentially the same as blue mutation in budgies) and visual to visual pairings for many generations soon start to show in crest size and overall size of the bird. I would guess that eventually there will be negative effects using visual to visual recessives for several generations in budgies too, as it is so common in the animal kingdom, but I'd be interested to know how this might show and what to look for?

Then there are some mutations that for some reason are harder to breed. This includes my favorite, the sex-linked yellowcheek, but I think that gene isn't one cockatiels share with budgies - unlike most of the others. But are there budgie mutations that somehow seem to be harder to work with? Death in shell (DIS), baby deaths, incubation problems or odd behavior etc. that would be associated with a certain mutation more than the others?

Overall what are the things I can most easily get wrong with budgies? Are there any common diseases that could be passed on to the offspring? Somehow I have a feeling some cancers might be more common in certain family lines, is this true?

It's very hard to find information about these things as birds aren't studied the same way than for example cats or dogs. All I have found on this subject so far is that opaline to opaline can affect the quality of the color, but is it only for that reason or are there other problems with opalines too?

When it comes to healthy body types, I find it always best to try to get is as close as possible to birds in the wild, but as I still enjoy different mutations and want to breed them responsibly, I'd like to know what are the do's and don't's of mutation breeding.

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Old 05-31-2014, 06:18 AM
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As far as general mutations go, I'm not aware of their being any issues you need to worry about. Feather dusters are an example of what you're talking about but it's not something the everyday breeder needs to be concerned about. There are some diseases that can be passed from parents to chick but they are not mutation linked. Obviously if a bird develops tumors you wouldn't want to breed that particular budgie but it's not something you can predict.

There are sex-linked mutations, dominant, co-dominant, recessive etc. So there is definitely a method to getting the colours and types you want.

Check out this site for more information

https://www.cutelittlebirdiesaviary.c...lor-guide.html
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Old 05-31-2014, 02:23 PM
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I've been breeding cockatiels for nearly 10 years so genetics are familiar to me. But besides inheritance patterns of certain colors, other information is very hard to come by and as cockatiels have many problems so clearly linked to certain mutations I found it odd that I didn't find similar problems when reading about budgies. But thanks, this answers my questions and explains why I didn't find anything!

By cancer and other inheritable diseases I didn't mean they were linked to mutations, but I wasn't very clear about that I guess. But are there some common problems (that aren't linked to mutations) one should watch out for?

Cancer may have been a bad example as I have no intention on ever breeding a bird who is sick in any way, but is it still a safer bet not to breed a bird if for example his mother/father had a tumor or is there any evidence that it would increase the risk at all? Here budgies have certainly more tumors than any other species but is it more likely because of a bad diet and lack of excercise or something inherited?

I'm lucky to have found birds that seem healthy and their parents/grandparents have lived quite long which is always a good sign, but as I'm buying pairs for them I wonder how well I should find out the birds backrounds. I'm a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to my breeding stock. And it all feels so new to me as it has been so long after I had to learn all this with my cockatiels and I'm quite lost about where to look if I want to learn more than just the basics.
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Old 05-31-2014, 06:05 PM
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There really isn't much to list. Show breeders of course will be very particular about what traits they do and don't breed but a lot of the things that they breed out, a hobby breeder might actually want. Like flecking in an opaline bird (markings that look like freckles on the head) and suffusion (colour showing through in a bird that's supposed to be clear).

You wouldn't want to breed a bird with splayed hips and pass that genetic trait on but that's something so obvious you wouldn't think to.

Cross wing is genetic but it doesn't actually affect flying ability so you could still breed a cross winged bird. I just paired a hen with fairly severe cross wing with a cock that had nice wide and low wing carriage. The result was chicks with extremely mild cross wing. Since they aren't show birds, it won't matter to them or their owners.

A lot of deformities in budgies are due to bad diet or injury. As a species they are very healthy. Disease seems to be the main enemy of the budgie breeder rather than poor genetics.
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Old 06-01-2014, 07:10 AM
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Thank you again for your fast and helpful answer!

Basically this means that if I continue doing what I'm already doing with my 'tiels, I can't go very wrong and should be able to have healthy, lovely looking chicks in the colors I want... which is absolutely fantastic!
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Old 06-01-2014, 07:19 AM
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Yes! Sounds like a great plan best of luck with breeding
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Old 06-01-2014, 07:55 AM
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You could totally breed like to like mutations without worrying about any genetic issues with regard to that particular mutation. It would save you a lot of time when it comes to breeding for colours as compared to tiels. But obviously , the wild type colour is always the best when you do want to increase size and overall health .
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