Producing Visual Violets
by Cyril Rogers

Of all the beautifully coloured forms of budgerigars the visual violet range must be the most brilliant and they can be had in all the different varieties giving a lovely array of colour shades. Although this is so, the actual number of visual violet coloured birds seen on the show benches is quite limited. The question is frequently asked as to the reason for this lack of support at exhibitions and the answer is, I think, quite simple. First of all it must be the way in which visual violet birds have to be produced and secondly it is extremely difficult to breed them with the same substance as normals and of course there is only a very limited stock of birds that will produce all visual violets.

Both of these aspects may not appeal at the present time to many breeders of exhibition birds and therefore the majority of these beautiful visual violet birds are to be found in the aviaries of colour breeders who may not be exhibitors. This does not mean that there are not some excellent visual violet specimens produced. I feel certain that if breeders of normals examine the production of visual violets in some depth they may well consider adding this lovely colour shade to their studs.

To know how to produce visual violets the breeder must be aware of the manner of inheritance of the violet character which causes certain blue series birds to have a vivid rich violet colour in their plumage. The character is not a colour on its own and can only be expressed visually when combined with the blue and dark characters. When carried by other combinations of characters it does not show as violet but as an altered shade of those colour characters. To put it simply, the violet colour is only visible when a bird carries the violet character with a cobalt shade. Therefore, if a blue bird has the violet character in its make-up it appears as a different, darker and brighter blue shade.

When carried by a light green the visual colour is again darker and brighter and so on through all the different colours and varieties. It has been said at times "is there any point in using green coloured birds in violet crosses?" This reduces the possibility of violet carrying blue birds by 50%. There are, I think, two strong points in the favour of periodic green crosses. Firstly, the green birds invariably have more transmittable show properties and secondly the crossing of green and blue gives a better depth of colour all round in both shades.


Having got these items clarified I will now turn to the important point of the inheritance of the violet character. There are a number of matings of blue series birds that will give varying percentages of visual violets. This is of course in addition to the other violet carrying blue birds, the violet sky-blues and the violet mauves. A fact that often puzzles new breeders of violets is that when two visual violets are paired together they do not produce all visual violet young. The reason for this is that violet is not a colour on its own and can only be expressed as visual violet when carried by cobalt coloured birds. When the result is seen from that angle it becomes clear as it is well known amongst breeders that the crossing of two cobalts gives 25% sky-blues, 25% mauves and only 50% cobalts. In addition to this the violet character can be carried in either a single or double quantity which has a definite bearing on the number of visual violets produced from any mating.

The blue coloured birds which have the violet character are; violet (single character) sky-blue, violet (double character) sky-blue, violet (single character) cobalt, the visual violet, violet (double character) cobalt, the visual violet, violet (single character) mauve and violet (double character) mauve. Both single and double character birds have the same visual colouring. It will be seen from the six different kinds of violet carrying birds there can be a number of combinations visual and non-visual. Being a dominant the character will still give violet carrying birds when paired to normal blue series in addition to all other varieties of blue birds. The following lists of expectations will, I hope, make the inheritance of the violet character easy to understand. Not being sex-linked the sex of the birds having the violet character has no bearing on the calculation of expectations.

Violet Matings

It will be seen that although 50% to 100% of the progeny will inherit the violet character none of them will actually show the visual violet colour in their plumage even though they have a double quantity of violet. It must always be remembered that until the dark character is introduced the violet character reveals itself as a true violet shade as will be indicated in the next list of expectations.

From this batch of mating expectations it will be seen that a good percentage of visual violets will result. It is also interesting to note that in the following list of expectations the crosses of birds not having the violet colour visible often produce a large percentage of actual visual violet birds than when visual violet birds are used.

These 21 mating expectations will give the breeder a considerable choice of matings involving the violet character in its normal blue series forms. Introducing other colour characters, some of which I will discuss later, can produce some very interesting and often beautiful violet birds.

Using Greens

Earlier I mentioned that there can be all the green series birds having the violet character in their genetic make-up and like the blue series can be had in birds with both single or double quantities. By making half of the birds in the list of expectations given green, the results from using the green/blue series can be calculated.

As a guide I will give two examples of how this operates taking first mating No 1 and substituting light green/blue in place of normal sky-blue. This gives the expectation of 25% light green/blues, 25% sky-blues, 25% violet light green/blues and 25% violet light green (SC) sky-blues. In mating No 6 by substituting dark green/blue type II in place of normal cobalt the expectation is normal sky-blues, light green/blues, violet (SC) sky-blues, violet (SC) light green/blues, normal cobalts, dark green/blues, violet (SC) cobalts and violet dark green/blues. Because the dark green/blue used is a type II bird the percentage of cobalts and violet (SC) cobalts will be 43% with the sky-blues and violet sky-blues only 7%. With the green coloured birds the light green/blues and violet (SC) light green/blues will be 43% and the dark green/blues and violet (SC) dark green/blues will be 7%.

These expectations will, I hope, help breeders to make pairings to breed violet character birds and also to recognise the colour of their young from matings already made. It should be noted however that the single and double character birds cannot be visually identified, test pairing can only do this. By adding the violet character to other than the normal forms some very delightfully coloured birds can be produced. There can be all the violet kinds in single and double quantity in opalines, cinnamons, whites, greywings, clearings, pieds, fallows and spangles.

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