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The mere mention of the word "hybridization" tends to elicit a very negative reaction from many breeders and hobbyists.  Consequently, some breeders view the word "transmutation" (usually referencing the transmission of a color mutant gene from one species to another) as a more palatable alternative.  This semantic change could be deemed analogous to the response of people to "inbreeding" and the adoption of the term "closed flock".  Regardless of the definition, for many people hybridization is bad; end of story.  For those people there is little point in encouraging or discussing something that "pollutes" the gene pool of a desirable (pure) species or results in a nest full of offspring that can vary significantly in physical appearance and genetic composition.

I thought hybridization was worth a little effort, on my part, to determine the role hybridizing has played in various bird species.  The results of my reading were quite interesting.  Hybridization seems to be a matter of magnitude and definition, but in the end the objective is to generate a new line, variety or breed of bird that excels in some feature or features (traits) that makes it economically valuable or aesthetically pleasing.  That value may be based on a variety of expectations, such as: homing instinct and speed; size and color; egg production; meat production, and adaptability to or survivability in harsh climates.

The application of hybridization in animals (dairy; beef; poultry; sheep; goats, etc...) and in plants is well documented in history and has generated a tremendous volume of anecdotal information, scientific reports and myths.  The peachfaced lovebird is only one of a few "domestic / captive" bird species (primarily psittacines ?) that have not been subject to intense efforts to develop new breeds or strains.  Ridiculous ?  Look at the canary and the efforts that went into developing new varieties (lines / strains / breeds), some for song, some for looks and some... because people could.

As far as I am aware, mutant color gene transference (transmutation) has occurred only among the eye-ring species. That process can take anywhere from three to ten years (some suggest that statistically it might only take 4 generations to get pure birds) to set the color, morphology, and behaviors of the recipient bird species in the hybrid.  If one is going to pursue this avenue, a substantive quantity and quality of wild type birds should be available to ensure that the best hybrids are mated back to the best (standard) of the recipient species:  size, color and physical structure are very important at this juncture. At the end of the road, and under a practiced hand, the hybrid will come to resemble the recipient species in all but color.  The hybrid, no matter how good it looks or how closely it resembles the color recipient species, may sometimes produce an offspring (throwback) that looks more like the progenitor species.  This is particularly true if pet owners breed "new color variety" birds to each other.  The "throwback" is simply the penetrance and expression of the heterogeneity (sometimes hidden) of the crossbred.

Successful hybrid color penetrance and acceptability is based on the hybrid bird's genome comprising a greater percentage of the recipient species genome and only a relatively small percentage of the donor species genes.  The color impact is easily assessed, but the impact of associated genes are neither well known nor well documented.  It is not possible as yet, as far as I am aware, to extricate or isolate the complete chromosomal segment (associated genes and loci) transferred with the new hybrid color gene after hybridization has occurred.  It is because of these associated genes and the apparent inability to remove them from the hybrid genome, that people believe there is no reversal in the hybridization process, and that the potential for pet owners to breed these birds indiscriminately with "pure" species is high.  The result of this indiscriminate breeding is that the pure gene pool becomes rapidly "contaminated" by the "hybrid gene" presence, and progeny are produced with indistinct or blurred coloring.

The offspring, except for a rare occasion, would probably not be shown or exhibited at competitive events because of the demand for clarity and intensity of color; sharp delineation between colors; size and an unspoken expectation that the bird will be able to pass on certain "pure" and "desirable" traits.  So, what do you do with these poor representatives (hybrid) of the species ?  It is important to remember that for every successful hybrid, there is a long trail of birds that did not make the grade.  However, this is true in almost every captive species, whether they be chickens; pigeons; budgerigars; turkeys; canaries or finches. What separates the Lovebird ?

The following points are meant to get people thinking about species and hybridization concepts and the implications or trickle down from hybrids:

                What do we know about hybridization: Given the points above, it becomes clear that: