Rare Coturnix coturnix

9

Every so often one finds a unique bird in your flock. At present I am breeding four different breeds of Coturnix coturnix, one which is a White breed that was originally developed by the A & M Texas University as a dual purpose bird. The Americans claim their Jumbo Browns to be 450 – 500 g in body mass, but trying to locate such birds or breeders of these large birds appears to be very difficult – I do not know why the Americans want to hide these. Anyway, unlike our friends from abroad, I am not trying to breed the Coturnix coturnix bigger and bigger (if I wanted to breed big birds, I would have started with ostriches), but have put my mind on breeding two of my breeds to be about 280 – 300 g for the females and 220 – 250 for the males – a milestone I have already reached in New Zealand after two and a half years of intensive selection. Hence, I am presently selecting against too big birds in these breeds and made my primary selection criteria egg production, feed conversion, fecundity and body conformation. This is a good size eating bird, which is still an effective producer of both meat and eggs. But back to my unique bird – the A & M Texans are white, but almost always have a black or brown spot somewhere on the body. It is a breed I have had little experience with, but breeding more than 1200 Whites over the past two years, I have bred only three ALL WHITES with no other coloring at all. The first two did not make it on my selection criteria and color not being important to me, they only made it as far as the stock pot. This third all white I have will definitely make it to the breeding pens as he is a magnificent specimen and weighed in at 230 g on 33 days of age. This is my UNIQUE BIRD! (I presume there are other breeders in New Zealand with strains of the pure whites)