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Breeding The Cream Light Brown Dutch Bantams

By Jean Robocker

The first week of January, 1999, attendance at the NoordShow in Zuidlaren, The Netherlands , the mission was to study the breeding of the CLB,. I have felt truly uncomfortable about crossing the CLBs and LBs for correct color, this was one major question I wanted answered.. . . . My very first introduction to this variety, was 13 years ago, Bob Bassett called the color "Champagne". And when I ordered chicks from him, he planned to include chicks from this breeding-pen. Of the 19 chicks, he sent, only 7 chicks survived the Infectious bronchitis they had when they arrived! (new experience!) Bob indicated when CLBs appeared in LB x LB breeding and then bred together, the color would breed true. Of my 7 survivors, there were 3 cockerels, 2 LB and a Red ShouIdered Black (mahogany genes added), and 4 pullets, 3 LB and l BLB. Totally new to Dutch Bantam varieties, I thought it would be fun to just raise Blue Light Browns-(a problem which exists with new would-be breeders of Dutch Bantams today!) In my first hatches of chicks, there appeared a pair of CLB and a pair of CBLBs! These were to me, the most beautiful of any Bantams of any breed, I had ever seen (and I still rate them at the top!) The first CLB pullet died young-no chicks, the CBLB pullet was not thrifty-no chicks from her either. So the next CLB chicks were out of LB hens. Only was able to keep a few birds at a time, and there was a lot of variation in the Cream hackle and saddle color of themales, when chicks were produced by CLBxLB. (And I was never really sure about the females, those with palest gold hackles were kept as CLBs.) Indeed some males had straw colored hackle and some had reddish heads tapering to creamishs ends of hackle or even the reverse, lighter at top, darker ends--certainly not uniform. Just learning the names of the varieties was a focus in those early years, and watching the chipmonk chicks turn into all colors and trying to spot the boys from the girls, as early as possible, wonderment at the first Splash chick that hatched--although I knew how I got it and had avoided producing them. Genetics, although I understood the charts with dominant and recessives, was not as high priority--and I took the advice of any Dutch breeder who offered it. Always, in the background was the Cream Light Brown, which by then I had discovered had a counterpart in Holland, the Geelpatrijs, and I still had plans to raise just Geelpatrijs and forget the other varieties. Reports from other Dutch Bantam breeders who raised the variety was not encouraging--some thought it a dull, uninteresting color, and most felt, it was necessary to cross with LB to keep the color nice and bright. On the trip to Holland in 1992, I saw many Geelpatrijs--GLORIOUS--and very unifrom in color, and glamourous in type!!! Language barrier was difficult, and my guides were Light Brown fanciers!!! I really didn't learn anything about their breeding--it didn't appear that any were outcrossed! In 1994, same guides, who emphasized Patrijs (Light Brown) and intimated that in the U.S., we should improve the LB before interest in any other variety. Years later, I now agree with that statement! Never have been really attracted to LB, but that is where the best birds are in The Netherlands, and these birds are what has given every other variety in Dutch Bantams, their goal for type, and while individual birds in other varieties of Dutch Bantams in Holland, have achieved good scores in judging, few have the outstanding scores that LBs achieve regularly at shows all over the Netherlands. (Yes, I'm back into LBs and have sorted out some very good birds-but not yet like Holland's)! In 1996, I spent more time learning about Light Browns. (Language barrier still exists, and the same guides.) And it was not until the 50th Anniversay Show at Klarenbeek, that I saw a number of correct -colored female Cream Light Browns. The YELLOW, bright and shining yellow off the females hackle was outstanding. My own CLB (Swavers) tended to get darker at a year or 2 of age, scarcely distinguished from the LB females-and I worried how a judge would be able to see the slight variation in a CLB from a LB female. No doubt any more-their hackles are Creamy yellow, not light gold and they do not darken with age! But in January of this year, my mission was-(on my own, this time), to learn how to breed Geelpatrijs! Met with Dr. Gankema, had his book in hand, and have added new information about the breeding of this variety! Our Cream Light Browns, to put it simply, should be bred selectively from best Cream Light Browns, discarding for breeding the off color individuals. It will take some time to breed uniform Cream Light Browns, but if we go for qualifying the variety with ABA/APA, there should be a quite uniform -in- color exhibit of 50+ CLBs, without the variation we now see with just a few birds exhibited at a show. We have lost some time in breeding correct CLBs by adding the LB genes, which, according to Dr. Gankema, become "attached" to the Cream genetic code of the birds. ( This is what has happened to some of our Silvers that have acquired "rust" or "gilt" on the back or wings. ) When producing Goldens, a proportion of the Silver females in the downline, will keep the "attached" LB gene influence, and what should be pure Black and White birds, are "almost" forever contaminated with color, other than black and white! With CLBs the contaminant is not as visual, but will be seen in the reddish or darker orange on the head, saddle of the male. And the females will have a brown cast to the body, especially on the wings coverts, instead of the grey-black back, wings and body. That the CLB females should bear. Female Crea, :ight Browns should have orange breast instead of the salmon color of the Light Brown females. And a dark brown feather line will be evident where the top of the wing folds against the body. It becomes visual at a glance, and these birds have been named Swavers by Dr. Gankema. A large proportion of our CLBs in the U.S. are undoubtely Swavers. That is not a really bad thing, by breeding to a good LB, there may have been a positive influence of better combs, tails, backs, etc, that we are looking for in breeding our "perfect" Dutch Bantam in any variety! Until we have a large flock of just CLB to choose the finer points, we may have little choice but to sometimes, outcross to another variety. But to breed exhibition Cream Light Browns, they should be bred together. And the next chapter of the story is: TO BREED EXHIBITION Dutch Bantams of the highest quality, they should be double mated-a breeding skill that I did not previously feel was necessary with the Dutch Bantam!


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