Bill&ChrisHeale.jpg (18547 bytes)Keeping the Spangle Gene Balanced
by Bill & Christine Heale



Our First Spangle

From the time we acquired our very first Spangle, an Opaline Grey Green cock in the mid 80’s our Spangle breeding results have seesawed in numbers of Spangles since those first breeding results.

Luck played a part in getting our first Spangle, as it was a first prize for a Judging Competition that had been donated by Marion and Clifton Wixon for Bristol Budgerigar & Foreign Bird Society, and Bill won the competition. Clifton and Marion must have been one of the very first breeders in our area to have this variety, which came from the Alf Ormerod line.

First Pairings

Our first pairing with this Spangle Opaline cock was with a quality Normal Light Green hen, which produced three rounds totalling 13 chicks of which 6 Spangles were produced. Of these 2 Normal Grey Green Spangle cocks were well marked and quality Budgerigars.

Second Year Pairings

The following year, pairing the original Spangle Opaline cock to a different hen we produced 50% of Spangles from this pair. The quality of both Spangles and Normal nest mates produced was still very pleasing.

Family Pairings

The following season, we kept the family related by pairing half-brother to half-sister, (Spangle x Normal), chicks produced were again very good – but this time we noticed how much more distinct and defined the markings and colour of the Normals and Spangles were compared to previously unrelated pairings. Again, 50% Spangles produced in each nest. After several generations of related Spangle pairings to Greys, Blues and Light Greens, we felt our Grey Greens and Greys produced the best marked Spangles so we concentrated on these colours.

Decline in Spangles Produced

There came a time in the mid 90’s when continuing with our favoured pairing of Spangle paired to Normals bred from Spangles, we noticed the percentage of Spangles produced from each round was decreasing each season. Not only was the Spangle numbers dropping but also the Spangles produced were becoming mis-marked. We have kept tail feathers that were dual coloured, for reference for this variety in our files.

The time to re-think our breeding programme came when one season after pairing 8 pairs of Spangle x Normal (Normals related to Spangles) – 38 chicks were produced with only 2 Spangles out of the 28.

Use of Outcrosses

The answer to our problem came the following season by pairing the Spangles to total outcrosses or to birds far related in our stud.


Our conclusion to the lack of Spangles produced in our stud was that it seems the Spangle gene in both the Spangle and Normals bred from (Spangle x Normal) was such that too many years of related pairing could bring the demise of visual Spangles being produced and also affect the markings.

We now pair Spangle x Normal related from Spangle for one year, then outcross the following season. This has given us much better results from Spangles being produced and also better Spangle markings. We do appreciate that breeding Double Factor Spangles to Normals will continue the line, but in our experience we have not bred a Double Factor of notable size to put with the very good Normals.

These notes are specifically from our own experience and stud of birds and we cannot state it will be the same for every Spangle breeder.

Spangle Review
Issue No. 23 ~ Spring 1999

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