Wests - America's Color Breed

By: Bob Christman
I like to think of Wests as America's color breed. The West has a pleasing conformation and presence and is a prolific breeder, all reasons why people are attracted to the breed. But I think the one trait above all others that attracts others to the breed is the variety of attractive markings and colors to be found in the Wests. When watching a group of baldheads being judged at the Pomona fair many years ago, what really attracted me most was the markings and colors. That infatuation with those markings and colors on a pleasant looking bird at the Pomona fair is what led me to re-enter the hobby.

Station is one trait in Wests that has continually been expounded on, and rightfully so, as being essential for a bird to have in order to be a winning West. A bird without good station does not deserve to be in the winner?s circle. But also essential for a bird to be in the winners circle is that it must also have good color and markings.

Color and markings should be weighed just as heavily as station. If a bird does not station it does not belong in the winners circle. If a bird has poor color or poor markings it does not belong in the winners circle.

Judging is the exercise of seeking out those birds that best exemplifies the standard for desired composition, color and markings of our breed. As a judge each every bird placed in front of us must be scrutinized just as diligently for color and markings as it is for station, conformation and condition.

I love color in our Wests. I truly appreciate a bird with outstanding color and markings. I also truly appreciate every breeder of our Wests that strives not only to build the perfect West but strives to paint it with the perfect color and markings.

Whether we raise blue velvets, blue checks, gray laces or any other color, each and every mating in our breeding plan should be aimed towards, not only building a better house, but also how to paint it with ever better markings and color.

As other breeds have been placing less emphasis on color the more Wests are being appreciated for their color and markings. We in the West fancy must be careful not to become indifferent to maintaining the color and markings as many other breeds have done.

 Bob Christman
Wests - America's Color Breed

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