The Grizzle Zebra Finch

Reprint of an article from 1977 and updated.     

 

Within the genus of the Zebra Finch there appeared to one of our breeders, Mr. Bruce Read a rather oddly coloured Grey hen which he discovered in a bird dealers establishment. Taking this bird home he decided to build a family around it to see what would be produced.

 

The matings he chose were as follows;-

 

1. Grey cock x Unusual coloured hen (a) =              

          2 Grey hens, 1 Grey cock (b).

 

2. Grey cock (b) x Unusual coloured hen (a) =         

          7 Grey hens, 3 Grey cocks (c).  … 3 nests.

 

3. Grey cock (c) x Unusual coloured hen (a) =

          1st nest   =      1 Grey Grizzle cock (d),   1 Grey Grizzle hen (e).

          2nd nest =       2 Grey Grizzle cocks (d), 1 Grey Grizzle hen (e).

 

This was the point that the GRIZZLE received its name, as birds were being produced with similar likeness and consistency. Mr. Bruce Read was of the opinion that from time to time similar birds had been around but no one had looked into the genetics of these birds.

 

The birds colouring is the same as the Grey bird except that all the feathers are flecked with White; head, bar, side flanking and just everything has this fleck; it gives the appearance of a pepper and salt effect. There appears now to be two distinct varieties, one being flecked as the original bird and the other a White Capped type. Through selective breeding the bird has now attained the size of the wild bird, being quite small to start off. Mr. Bruce read at first thought it might just only be a type of Pied bird but by his selective pairing he was not only able to prove that it was not Pied but would produce itself consistently and with the same colourings.

 

Over the years, he spent a lot of time to prove the issue, that the Grizzle was a separate mutation and not just a coloured bird. Some of the matings that he did to prove the point are as follows; it may help to show all steps necessary if you find an odd coloured bird that you might wish to try to see if you have found a mutation.

 

1st Experiment

 

Grey Grizzle cock (d) x Dilute Blue hen =

          1 Dilute Blue cock (f), 1 Marked White hen (g), 1 Grey cock.

          — indicates original cock was split Marked White.

2nd Experiment

Dilute Blue cock (f) x Dilute Blue hen (no relation to above) =

          1st nest =        1 Dilute Blue cock, 1 Dilute Blue hen (l), 1 Cream hen.

          2nd nest =       2 Dilute Blue cocks, 1 Dilute Blue hen (l).

          3rd nest =       2 Dilute Blue cocks, 1 Cream hen, 1 Grey hen.

          4th nest =        1 Fawn hen, 1 Grey cock, 1 Cream hen, 1 Silver hen (h).

          5th nest =        2 Silver cocks (j), 1 Silver hen (h).

                    — indicates original cock was also split Fawn.

3rd Experiment

Silver cock (j) x Silver hen (h) =

          1st nest =        1 Grey Grizzle hen, 2 Black Eyed White cocks.

          2nd nest=        1 Silver Grizzle cock, 1 Silver Grizzle hen, 1 White cock, 1Grey Grizzle hen.

          — indicates either or both original birds or Dilute Blue hen split White.

4th Experiment

Grey Grizzle cock (d) x Fawn hen =             

          1 Grey cock (k).

5th Experiment

Grey cock (k) x Grey Grizzle hen (e) =

          1st nest  =        1 Grey cock, 1 Fawn hen.

          2nd nest =        1 Grey cock, 1 Fawn hen.

6th Experiment

Dilute Blue cock (f) x Dilute Blue hen (l) =   

          Many Grizzle cocks and hens.

          — indicates both birds were split Grizzle.

 

7th Experiment

Grey Grizzle cock (d) x Marked White hen (g) =

          1st nest =        1 Grey cock, 1 Grey hen.

          2nd nest =       3 Grey cocks, 1 Grey hen.

          3rd nest =        2 Grey hens, 1 Grey Grizzle cock (m), 1 Grey Grizzle hen.

 

8th Experiment

Grey Grizzle cock (m) x Grey hen =

          2 Black Eyed White hens, 2 Marked White hens (n).

 

9th Experiment

Grey Grizzle cock (m) x Marked White hen (n) =     

          2 Grey Grizzle cocks, 1 Grey Grizzle hen.

 

10th Experiment

Grey cock x Silver hen (h) =

          1st nest =        1 Dilute Blue cock, 1 Grey cock (p).

          2nd nest =       2 Grey hens.

          3rd nest =        2 Grey cocks, 1 Grey hen.

11th Experiment

Grey cock x Silver Grizzle hen (h) =             

          1 Dilute Blue cock (q), 1 Dilute Blue hen.

12th Experiment

Dilute Blue cock (q) x Silver Grizzle hen (h) =

          1st nest =            1 Dilute Blue cock, 1 Cream hen.

          2nd nest =           1 Dilute Blue cock.

10 – 11 – 12th Experiments No Grizzles.

 

13th Experiment

Grey cock x Grey Grizzle hen (e) =               

          9 Grey hens, 1 Grey cock (r) …..3 nests

 

14th Experiment

Grey cock (r) x Grey Grizzle hen (e) =         

          2 Grey cocks (s).

 

15th Experiment

Grey cock (s) x Grey Grizzle hen (e) =

          1st nest =              2 Grey cocks (t), 1 Grey hen.

          2nd nest =             3 Grey cocks.

 

16th Experiment

Grey cock (t) x Grey Grizzle hen (e) =          

          4 Grey Grizzle cocks (u), 1 Grey grizzle hen (v).

 

17th Experiment

Grey Grizzle cock (u) x Grey Grizzle hen (v) =        

          2 White cocks, 1 Grizzle Pied cock.

 

From the Experiments he was able to come to some conclusions;-

           

            1). The original bird came through White due to the number of White birds that continually           appears with cross matings.  

 

            2). When pairing Grizzle to Grizzle the expected is 100% Grizzles.

 

            3). All Grizzle hens carry Light Cheek lobes of the particular colour variety.

 

To the eyes of the beholder a Grizzle Zebra is a beautiful bird, the Dilute Blue and Fawn grizzle are both beautiful specimens. In a mixed aviary Grizzles over a period of time soon become the dominant factor.

 

 

 

The Standard set out for GRIZZLE

 

COCK

 

To conform to the appropriate colour, but appearing to show white flecking on all feathers, thus creating a “salt and pepper” effect, ie Grizzle. Cheek lobes to be body colour with approximately 12% Cheek Lobe colour shown near Tear Drop.

 

HEN

 

As for Cock, except all Cock Markings replaced by body colour. Hens to show Cheek lobes of lighter body colour.

 

 

We hope that these matings will help the Future breeder in his endeavour to produce a new mutation or rather prove it.

 

Ellis W. Thornley

on behalf

Mr. Bruce Read.

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