Crested Bengalese:   John Ward


When you consider the Crest gene is dominant and with just one crested bird be it  a Cock, or Hen, you can start a stud of Crested Bengalese I am really very surprised they are not more popular. Some years ago it was thought that to breed Bengalese with Crests it was necessary to pair a visual crested bird to a Crest bred bird (this is a non crest bird thought to carry the crest gene) now that we know the Crest gene is dominant, and not as previously thought recessive, breeding Crests is a lot easier.

The fact that a Crested bird paired to a non Crested mate is able to produce Crested off-springs at a theoretical 50% Crested and 50% non Crested, should encourage any- one wanting to take up the challenge of breeding Crests the perfect way forward, even with a small stud of Bengalese the gene pool is large.Any-one wanting to breed crest can start with just one crested bird of any colour, this can then be paired to any coloured Non Crested mate.

If your crested bird is variegated the best advice would be to pair it to a variegated bird, pairing it to a self coloured bird will probably not produce variegated birds any-where near, the required colour standards.

If you are just interested in breeding a few crests to start with, the colour of the mate does not really matter, however, anyone wanting to breed Self coloured birds, would be advised to only pair Self, to Self, introducing variegated birds into a stud of Self’s, can, and most probably will, produce young with White feathers in the dark colour Self’s or dark feathers in the White varieties, and can be difficult to eradicate later in your breeding programme.

There are still a few serious and dedicated Bengalese breeders who have for years kept the Crested mutation going, it would be nice to think their efforts have not been in vain.One of the main reasons in my opinion that the Crested Bengalese are not as popular, or progressed, as much as they should have over the years, is perhaps due to the fact that when fanciers get round to selecting their breeding pairs, they pair their best birds first, and the Crests are in most cases paired to what’s left, invariably the lesser quality birds.

It is only when crests are paired to the better birds, we will see improvements in the General Standard and appearance of Crested pairs.This should then lead to them getting placed in the Specials, and who knows being “best in show” much more frequently than we see now.Because we now know that the crested birds only have a single gene for crest, and it is probable that the mythical Crest bred does not exist in Bengalese, there is no reason why introducing a Crested bird to your stud should have any detrimental effect, infact some Crested birds can improve the head quality on birds from the same brood not showing Crests. Plus for those of you who like to exhibit your birds they would give you an extra interest.

Some years ago it was suggested by some, that using Crest-to-Crest pairings would improve the quality of the Crest, they also implied that due to a double Crest gene Some of the young would have a lethal gene and would not survive, some even suggested that there would be birds bred with split heads, but as previously stated the fact that we now know there is only a single gene responsible for Crests, there is no likely-hood of that happening.What breeding Crest-to-Crest is likely to do, is cause the Crest that are bred from this pairing to have more than one centre, double or even triple crest that go from the top of the head right down the back of the neck, whilst other could have a crest that does not have a single point in the middle of the head but have a parting where the so- called crest is split down the middle, others have very small crest where the odd feather sticks up from the head or back of the neck.

There appears to be a number of different genes producing different types of Crests on Bengalese, only those birds producing Bengalese with the required type of crest should be used in your breeding programme, using double, triple, or birds with multiple centres will only produce you birds with the same undesired show faults.  The Gloster Canary Crest is often quoted as a good model to aim for, it is probable that we could not achieve exactly the same type of crest they have, because unlike the Gloster Canary the feathers at the front of Bengalese Finch Crest are shorter than those at the sides or back, but in general the Gloster Crest is a good example of the required standard.The Standard for Crested Bengalese calls for the Crest to be as “large and well defined as possible” radiating from “one single Central point” on the top of the head.

All Bengalese classes should be judged on Type, Condition, and Matching and Markings, with Type being paramount.But when judging Crest Classes, The General Show Standards, Size, shape, and quality of the crest, must be paramount.Birds that have Crests with more than one single centre point should be penalised.Awarding birds with multiple Crests “specials,”does not help the cause.Seeing birds with more than one crest winning specials could lead to exhibitors, and newcomers’, thinking it is OK to breed and exhibit these sub standard crested birds.

Matching for colour and pattern is also important particularly head colours, if for example the crested bird has a white head try to match the non crested bird in the pair,Birds that match for colour and pattern also improves the over-all look of your pair in the show cage.

It may not help you win a first place, but it might help sway the Judge when he has two pairs that are very similar in type and condition.The same applies to Self coloured birds, even siblings from the same nest can have completely different lace markings and colours on the lower breast and belly, a few minutes taken to match them can be the difference between first and nowhere.

It would be nice to see a few more Fanciers take up breeding Crested Bengalese; they are no more difficult to breed than the other Bengalese mutations and will offer a new challenge to fanciers old and new.Crested Bengalese comes in all the NBFA standard colours, Variegated and Self’s.And should be shown in pairs of the same colour, one crested, and one non-crested.


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