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A New Word To Learn In Dutch Bantams

By Jean Robocker

There is a new word to learn for a Dutch Bantam Variety: SWAVER (in Dutch, swever). My trip to the NoordShow at Zuidlaren in The Netherlands was to study the genetics and proper breeding of the Geelpatrijs variety (the CREAM LIGHT BROWN). Not only did I see the Cream Light Brown in Dutch Bantams, but also in the breeds: Drentse Bantams, Duits Bantams, Aracauna Bantam, and in the large fowl, Leghorns, Drentse, Duits, Aracauna, DrentseBolstaart. The color was quite uniform in all of the breeds. Geelpatrijs is not a new variety, but was seen in Jungle Fowl-and in Dutch breeds in the early 1900s! Probably many, if not most of our CREAM LIGHT BROWN birds are SWAVERS. Put very simply, a Swaver is a CLB that has a parent that is a Light Brown or a Blue Light Brown ! And a CLB that has LB or BLB grandparents and great grandparents is also a Swaver, and may or may not show it. The name Swaver was coined by Dr. H. Gankema, a teacher of Chemistry, Physics at both High School and College Level, Geneticist and author, breeder of Dutch Bantams in a number of varieties, also Light Brown and Geelpatrijs Leghorns, and other breeds, including some waterflowl. He is a Poultry Judge. Dr. Gankema has raised up to 6-800 birds a year, just to study inheritance of color and patterns. At the present time he still raises exhibition birds in Dutch, CLB, Silver, and LB and CLB Leghorns, but still has other varieties and breeds in his flocks, including some rather old birds, he keeps "just because". I was able to spend an evening with Dr. Gankema discussing the CLB and also next day at the show, for some time, going over the birds to look at the plumage and the ways to identify swavers. To be entirely correct, swavers should not be shown, but certainly have great value as breeders to keep working on type, tails, backs, combs-whatever the CLBs might need for continual improvement as Dutch. But the goal should be to have "pure" CREAM LIGHTBROWNS, bred CLB x CLB and eliminate swavers from the exhibition birds, in time. Our name CREAM LIGHT BROWN comes from the name of the gene (igig) that produces the CLB color. In Holland, England, Germany, the name is YELLOW rather than CREAM. We still have the option to change this, but the name Cream associated with the ig-gene differentiates this variety from the GOLDEN (which has some resemblance) . In all other breeds, as well as Dutch Bantams, the Golden variety is made from a cross of LB and Silver, which dilutes the hackle to a silvery gold. The offspring of matings of the Goldens produces: Silvers, LBs and Goldens, and Golden females that look like Silver females (which CONTAMINATES the Silver birds, bringing an "attached" red gene, which ruins our Silver males for pure Silver exhibition birds, and is almost impossible to breed out!!!) Therefore the CREAM LIGHT BROWN is a wonderful color to breed as is breeds TRUE. If your CLBs (and some of mine) do not breed quite true, but give you a variation in hackle and saddle color (including some LBs), it is because they are Swavers! Choose only the males with CREAMIEST-YELLOW matching hackle and saddle-and CREAM right to the top of the head, for breeding and exhibition. And choose pullets and hens with yellow heads and bright creamy-yellow hackle for breeding and exhibition. Swaver females will have a brownish body color. CLB females will have no brown or reddish, on wings or body, but rather a greyish look, the black peppering on a greyish feather, instead of on a light brown feather. It will take us several generations to "set" the correct color for the CLB. But I can hardly wait to see 50+ correctly colored CREAM LIGHT BROWNS at a qualifying meet. It will dazzle the judges and "knock the socks off" the fancy!!! More about this variety later!


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