Looking At 'BABY PIGEONS' For Information!
American Pigeon Journal
The importance of an established genetic Standard can be keenly appreciated when we try to understand the relationship between the outward appearance (or phenotype) of a newly hatched squab and its eventual appearance as an adult pigeon. Many variables interfere with the understanding of this relationship.
It is important to keep in mind that in the effort to establish a few
basic guidelines, with respect to natal down and pigmentation; falling into
error is almost inevitable. With that thought foremost in mind, we might
give consideration to the features of a squabs down and areas of
pigmentation; as they relate to their adult appearance (or phenotype).
Among domestic pigeons, blue plumage tends to range in either direction from the accepted wildtype; i.e., some are very dark or "dirty" blue and others are very light or "icy" blue. These variations in adult plumage may be detected in the pigmentation of a hatchlings bill and/or feet. Squabs with blackened bills and feet always have dirty plumage and those with flesh colored bills and feet are always very light or icy blue. The bill ring is present in both types but in extremely dirty birds their entire bills (and feet) may be solid black; thereby, making the bill ring difficult to distinguish. [See photos below.] This type of pigment diffusion can often be detected in browns, ash-reds and other mutant types. As a general rule the darker the bill, the darker the feet (but not always).
Some mutant types such as brown and recessive red have a reddish bill ring on a light bill. Ash-reds often have a horn or brownish-black bill pigmentation. Brander bronze or kite display blackish-chocolate coloration on their bills and feet. Recessive white and reduced squabs completely lack a bill ring and display a pale-flesh bill and feet. Almond and faded squabs may or may not have totally pale-flesh bills depending on the birds genetic makeup (genotype) and sometimes appear similar to albinos.
Many pages can be written in an attempt to clarify the relationship between the phenotype of a new hatchling and its eventual adult phenotype. Too many genetic combinations alter the outward appearance of a squab (or adult) to make classification simple. However, it seems that there is much to be shared among pigeon fanciers on this matter. Study should not be limited to down length or bill color but should include every visible characteristic of the new hatchling. For example; erratic squabs roll their necks during the first few days of life and porcupine squabs have roughened, crusty appearance when hatched. Just how much knowledge can be gathered is anyone's guess. Hopefully this might spawn an interest in this area of general ignorance!
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