by Cyril Rogers

It is now many years since examples of Olive Yellows have been seen on our show benches. Nevertheless, a few specimens are bred each year, generally in mixed collections. Good coloured Olive Yellows are very handsome birds, with their deep, rich, golden olive body colouring and are a variety well worth the attention of colour breeders. The reason for their loss of popularity some years ago, was the emergence of the grey yellow which is somewhat similar in colouring, although much duller and greyish green in shade and are far easier to produce. Having a double quantity of the dark character in their genetical make-up, they invariably lack size and as there is a prevailing demand for large birds these days, Olive Yellows only now appear occasionally and as I remarked before, usually in mixed, uncontrolled aviaries.

I think that breeders will realise there are many matings which can give varying percentages of Olive Greens and Olive Yellows, but of course, the desire to make the best use of materials on hand is paramount. The primary object of the matings we are about to discuss, is the production of Olive Yellow birds. Breeders know that by pairing 2 birds, each having a single dark character in their genetical make-up, they can produce 25% of birds having a double, dark character. It is this double dark character that is so essential in Olive Yellow breeding. If fanciers look round amongst their stocks I feel sure they will find many birds having the dark yellow character, both in the pure and split forms. In the production of Olive Yellows, it is best to have, if at all possible, pure dark yellow birds as stock, as it is the colours when mixed that make the resulting Olive Yellows a peculiar shade of colouring.

By mating 2 dark yellows together, the theoretical expectation is; 25% Light Yellows, 25% Olive Yellows and 50% Dark Yellows. I feel that I must point out here that a Dark Yellow budgerigar is not necessarily heavily suffused with green and some of them can be quite a nice rich yellow shade. At the same time, a heavily green suffused light yellow is not a Dark Yellow, although in some cases, they may look somewhat alike. It will have been seen that Olive Yellows can be produced in the very first generation by mating together 2 genuine Dark Yellow birds and the Dark Yellows produced from these matings can also be used in the following years for the production of further Olive Yellows. This can be achieved by pairing an Olive Yellow to a Dark Yellow. 50% of each colour can be expected from the crossing.

It is possible to find amongst various stocks, fine and well made Dark Yellows and if these are used to mate amongst themselves or to normal Normals split for Yellow, some excellent Olive Yellows can be expected. Strangely enough however, the majority of Olive Yellows are a little less in substance than the Dark Yellows that have produced them. This fact appears to be the same with nearly all the double quantity dark character birds. It is particularly noticeable amongst Olive Greens and Mauves.

Once the breeder has produced a few Olive Yellows, a certain amount of selection can then be carried out to produce birds of a fine quality, more substance and of a purer and richer colouring throughout. It is possible, by very careful selection of the parent birds over a number of seasons, to produce Olive Yellows that are of a very deep, rich, orange olive shade; a very attractive and handsome bird indeed. In addition, if the cinnamon character is added to the Dark Yellows and Olive Yellows, there is further scope for the production of a soft, rich yellow, both in the dark and olive forms.

I certainly hope that breeders will, during the course of this coming season, be successful in getting a few Olive Yellow specimens when they pair their Dark Yellows together and that in the course of time, they will be finding their way to the show benches. Here other breeders can have a look at just what can be expected from the Dark Yellow kinds.

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