If you’ve ever wanted to be a bird breeder, one of the “brass rings” you’re constantly looking for is the capacity to create mutants. In other words, by breeding two birds, you are attempting to create birds with unique colours or characteristics. Parakeet breeders are fully aware of this activity. They work for years to build magnificent birds and will travel long distances to show them off at events.
We were introduced to a really unusual little bird called the Blue Quaker some years ago. We’d never heard of them. We met them via a breeder who was getting rid of her green Quakers so she could focus on raising blues. Because they were so uncommon at the time, they sold for several times the price of a regular green Quaker. We did some investigation and learned that there are not just Blue Quakers, but also Yellow, White, Grey, and Cinnamons. They have also been bred to produce pearly and pied variants. All of them are relatively unusual, but as breeders continue to work on these various mutations, they are becoming more widely accessible.
Blue Quakers first appeared in the wild many years ago. The Duke of Bedford in England started breeding them from captive couples, according to historical documents, and all blue Quakers can be traced back to this stock line.
Four couples were brought into the United States in 1993, and breeders began a breeding campaign to enhance those numbers. They were quite scarce at the time and cost almost $5000. However, after many years and a successful breeding effort, the expenses have been reduced to $300-$500.
So, how does one go about making a Blue Quaker? On the surface, it seems to be quite easy, but it is not.
Normally, Quaker parrots are green. The green hue is created by mixing the blue colouring of the feather structure with the yellow colour of the feather itself. Select Quakers with a predominant blue gene and mate them with another Quaker with a lower yellow gene via selective breeding. Because each is controlled by a distinct gene, you may eventually generate a blue or even a yellow Quaker. Combining a weaker “blue” gene with a lighter “green” gene results in a cinnamon-colored Quaker.
Because of the commitment of breeders, there is now a wide range of colour variants and splits. These one-of-a-kind birds are now commonly accessible, particularly from breeders. And new variants, such as aqua-colored Quakers, are continually being developed. These are beginning to emerge at bird exhibitions and are receiving rave accolades from judges.
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