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Discussion on Mottles: Part 3
Shield Mottle Subcategory


By: Bob Christman
JUDGING MOTTLES FOR MARKINGS.

PART 3 - SHIELD MOTTLE SUBCATEGORY.
General observations -- The only colors presently shown are red, gold and yellow. Someday when the shield mottle factor in Danish Highfliers is transferred into our Wests we will see black shield mottles shown.

Standard description for shield mottle markings: "Entire bird, including primaries, to be colored except the wingshield. Wingshield to be colored interspersed with whole white feathers throughout the wingshield. Quantity of white feathers to be about the same on both sides. Major faults: white in the tail or primaries."

What the standard description means to me -- Amount of white vs. color in the wingshield. The standard does not state what percentage of white to color or color to white is preferred or acceptable (an oversight by the standard committee). In this instance our judges need to use their discretion and refer to the other mottle descriptions as a guideline. In splashes there needs to be a least 20% colored feathers to produce a good splash marking and in mottles there needs to be at least 20% white feathers to produce a good mottle marking. A reasonable assumption would be to use these standard descriptions as the parameters for a good shield marking and that halfway between these two parameters would be the average or preferred marking. And indeed this seems to be the basic guideline most of our judges use. On this basis the wingshield marking should be 20% to 80% white, or reversed, should be 20% to 80% colored. The preferred percentage should be about fifty-fifty. The wingshield needs to be at least 20% white or at least 20% colored to be able to produce a good shield mottle marking.
Distribution of color. The white feathers should be distributed in a random but fairly even pattern throughout wingshield. In actuality few shield mottles have the white or color distributed through the whole wingshield. Most of the better shield mottles have white distributed through a two thirds to three quarters area.
Same both sides. If the bird has about 50% white feathers in the wingshield on one side, it should have about 50% white feathers in the wingshield on the opposite side and in roughly the same pattern. For example, it shouldn’t look like a light shield mottle on one side and a dark shield mottle on the other.
Faults. White in any areas outside the wingshield should be evaluated by degree of expression. If expressed slightly, it should be considered a minor fault. If expressed to such a degree that it is not representative of the color, it should be considered a major fault. White in the tail or primaries is a major fault.

As a judge what do I expect to see in a good shield mottle - The colored feathers should be all colored, no grizzling. The color should be deep and vibrant. The bird should have enough white and color in the wingshield so that there is an obvious contrast between the white and the color. There should be no large areas of white without color. There should not be any large areas of color without white. The white or color should be interspersed throughout the wingshield in a random but fairly even distribution. A shield mottle without a well marked wingshield should not be considered a good shield mottle. Head - I would not expect a forehead snip. If there is a snip I would expect it to be small. A large snip would be considered a major fault. Neck - I would expect no white in the neck. If the amount of white in the neck is not pluckable I would consider it a major fault. Upper body and chest - I would expect no white in the upper body and chest. If the amount of white in the upper body and chest is not pluckable I would consider it a major fault. Hocks - It is rare not to find white in the hocks. If the hocks are predominantly white I would consider it a major fault. Muffs – I would expect no white in the muffs. If there is more than a couple of white or grizzled feathers in the muffs I would consider it a major fault.

The overall effect should be where the white in contrast to the color jumps out at you. If there is not enough white it distracts from this effect. If the white is not spread evenly enough throughout the wingshield it distracts from this effect. If the color is not rich and vibrant it distracts from this effect.

If a bird has a poor wingshield mottle marking, has a large white snip, patches of white in the neck or body, white hocks , noticeable white in the muffs or has noticeable amount of grizzling it should be considered to have a major fault and be bounced down in its class.

Common faults - I think the most common faults found in the shield mottles is a white forehead snip, white in the underbelly, thighs and hocks and grizzled feathers in the wingshields. The grizzled feathers greatly distract from the desired impact of the mottle marking. Most grizzled feathers will eventually turn white with subsequent plucking. (I am continually plucking the grizzle feathers in my mottles, so that by the shows in the fall they have turned white. Some of the more stubborn grizzled feathers may need to be plucked several times before they turn all white.)

Bird 1. Yellow shield mottle hen. I would consider this bird an example of a poor shield mottle marking. The wingshield is almost all white with only a few colored feathers. The wingshield has much less than 20% colored feathers and no real mottle pattern. This is a major fault and the bird should be bumped down in its class. This bird also has so much white in the underbelly, thighs and hocks that it should also be considered a major fault. (Note: with a couple of rounds of plucking this bird could be turned into a whiteside.)

Bird 2. Red shield mottle hen bred by Jon McKinney. I would consider this bird an example of a good shield mottle marking. The white markings could be distributed more evenly. There is a large area of red with no white markings detracting from creating a better marking. The white in the underbelly and hocks is a minor fault. It is not expressed to the same degree as Bird 1.

Bird 3. Yellow shield mottle hen bred by Brian McCormick. I would consider this bird an example of very good shield mottle marking. The wingshield markings jump out at you. The small white snip is a minor fault. If it were too grow much larger it would be a major fault. The white in the underbelly and hocks is a minor fault. If there was any significant amount of more white it would be a major fault. This bird has very nice markings.

Bird 4. Black shield mottle cock manufactured by Adobe Photo. I would consider this bird an example of excellent shield mottle markings. The white is distributed in a random even marking. These are excellent markings that jump out at you. There should be a little more white in rear section of wingshield. Hopefully some day we will see black mottle shields upside along with the red, gold and yellow shield mottles.

Bird 5. Red shield mottle cock bred by Bruce Rodegerdts. I would consider this bird an example of excellent shield mottle markings. The white is distributed in a random even marking. These are excellent markings that jump out at you. There are a few of white feathers in the underbelly and thighs. This is a minor fault. This bird has beautiful markings, This may be the best marked shield mottle I have ever seen.

Bird 6. Yellow shield mottle hen bred by Brian McCormick. I would consider this bird an example of a poor shield mottle marking. The wingshield is almost all colored with only a few white feathers. The wingshield has much less than 20% white feathers and no real mottle pattern. This is a major fault and the bird should be bumped down in its class. This bird has good potential as a stock bird and probably would do well mated to a medium or light shield mottle. As it ages this bird may molt in a much better marking. Little white in the wingshield usually coincides with little or no white any where else.



 Bob Christman
Discussion on Mottles: Part 3
Shield Mottle Subcategory


 
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