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Roy Stringer, the Association’s Vice President, Interviews our Past Presidents Clifton & Marion Wixon

 1)    What proportion of your stock is made up of Spangles?

       We carry a stud of about 250 birds of which 20% are Spangles.

2)   What is the proportion? – single factor to double factor?

       The ratio is around 3:1 being mainly Yellow Double Factors.

3)    Do you cross spangles with other varieties (cinnamon, opaline, pied, etc)?
Yes we use all normal varieties including Cinnamons, Opalines and Yellowfaces but we do not use the Pied variety.

4)   If yes, give examples and what is your opinion of the resulting combinations?

       We believe that you need to use Cinnamons and Opalines for their feather characteristics to maintain the quality of Budgerigar as you would with the Normal varieties.   We like to use Yellowfaces in the green series Spangles as we feel that it enhances the yellow colour within the bird, and in the blue series we have found that it tends to fix the Spangle markings rather than the markings deteriorating through successive moults.  Recently we have introduced the Australian Goldenface to our Spangles and have produced some very ni           ce Spangle Australian Goldenface Blues and Greys.  We have found them to be a very attractive combination, with our favourite colour being the Skyblue, when moulted through to it’s true colour becomes an iridescent green colour in appearance.

5)   If not, why not?

We do not cross the Pied variety to Spangles as the variety markings do not complement each other within their variety.

6)   What is your favourite pairing to produce Spangles?

     Marion’s favourite pairings to produce Spangles is by pairing a DF Spangle x non-Spangle, you produce 100% single factor (SF) Spangles.  We have generally found that the SF Spangles produced from this pairing displays better spangled markings from the back of the head, across the mantle/saddle, and over the wings.

       Clifton’s preferred pairing is a DF Spangle x SF Spangle to produce DF and SF Spangles, with the same advantages as Marion’s pairing i.e. better variety markings.

7)    Are there any pairings to avoid with Spangles?
Already answered in question 5.

8)   What colour/variety is the best Spangle you ever bred?

       Several Spangles come to mind. A Double Factor Yellow Spangle cock and hen for their show quality and several Spangle Grey Greens for their spangled markings and “bulls eye” spots.

       Perhaps the best Spangle we have ever bred, quality wise, is a Spangle Opaline Cobalt hen which we bred in 2002, she was a prolific breeder, and  produced all our best Spangles over a two year period, and has also done very well on the show bench for us this year.

9)    How do you feel that Spangles have progressed since you started breeding them?
Our first Spangle was acquired in 1985 from the late Alf Ormerod, a Spangle Opaline Light Green Hen.  We feel that in the early years Spangles were not used wisely by some breeders who paired them to anything and so the variety suffered.  But we would say that in recent years as a variety, the Spangle has excelled beyond all others both in quality and variety content.

10) In what respects do you think they have got better or worse?

       The Spangle variety has gone from strength to strength and have attained  good size and show quality, taking many best in shows throughout the country.   The down side is that we have no control over the spangle markings, with some spangles showing a dilution of wing markings and the absence of “bulls eye” spots.

11) What is the way forward with Spangles?
Through selective breeding to improve the Spangle variety we feel that by using Grey and Grey Green over other colours helps to maintain more stable variety markings through successive moults.

12) What successes have you had with Spangles?

       Over the years we have been fortunate to win several best in shows, major awards and Challenge Certificates with Spangles.

13) What are the main points you take into consideration when judging Spangles?  Do you treat them like any other variety? If so, what do you do about Spangles that are lacking mask spots or do not have the required ‘bullseye’ spots? How much attention do you pay to wing markings?

       Overall you are looking for a good quality Budgerigar and a good example of that variety, the same as you would judge any other variety.

       Generally, all Spangles have spots, it just depends on the degree of definition.  It is far easier to penalise a solid spotted Spangle than a “bulls eye” spot or slightly marked spot – there is no ruling on the proportion of spot that should be hollow or marked.

      The spangled wing markings are very important and should be judged to the colour standards as set down by The Budgerigar Society for this variety.

14) What office(s) do you or have you held with SBBA?

      Current positions held with Spangled Budgerigar Breeders’ Association;

      Clifton is Secretary and Marion is Vice Chair and Editor, and are both past Presidents.

15) Is there anything else you would like to say about Spangles?

      The Spangle variety has made terrific progress to date in what has been, in terms of budgerigar mutations, a very short time, you have only to look at the way the Spangle was quickly transformed from a minority variety to one that everyone wanted, and has now taken every top award.

      There has also been a lot of criticism of some of the Spangles on the show bench in the past – poor Spangled markings, lack of spots etc.  When we look back at the original Spangles on the show bench, some 20+ years ago, it is fair to say that we had the same faults then as we have now, and looking back at early photographs this can be confirmed.

      Today the Spangle variety is still very popular.  The numbers appearing on the show bench are proof of the truth of that.  Having reached the pinnacle of the Budgerigar fancy, there is no reason why it should slip down the popularity scale.  Let’s hope that it will remain at the top for many years to come.

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 The Spangled Review
Winter 2005

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