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.