At the very first glance, the Gloster Fancy Canary registers as something pleasantly different. The trademark cap, also called the crest or corona, of feathers looks like the canary rendition of the Beatle haircut! The Gloster is also one of the very few miniature breeds of canary. The true enthusiast takes great pride in these diminutive birds.
As with all other crested canaries, the Gloster Fancy is maintained in two phases: the corona and the consort. The corona bird possesses the cap. The consort is plain-headed, just like a common canary. Two crested birds can not be mated together. If this were done, twenty-five percent of the young, on the average, would die in the shell. Crested birds are paired up with the plain-headed consorts. This guarantees full fertility. Half of the nest will have caps, as the crest is a dominant trait.
Canaries are most often seen in two feather types. The hard feathers are brightly colored, sleek birds. The soft feather is of a more subdued color. This soft sort of plumage is also fluffier, giving a more full-bodied appearance. As a rule, canary breeders mate a soft-feathered bird with a hard-feathered. The Gloster Fancy, nearly always a soft-feathered bird, is the exception to the rule. Most often, two soft-feathered Gloster Fancies are paired together. This is called `double buffing.’ This produces canaries of a particularly broad-chested appearance.
Feather lumps are one of the unwanted side effects of double buffing. Sometimes, often in the best birds, a feather will become ingrown. This results in a lump that looks very much like a tumor. Your vet can easily remove the feather lump. Sorry to say, it most often recurs. This is not a life-threatening condition and is easily remedied. It is really not a reason to shy away from this wonderful breed of canary.
The Gloster Fancy is one of the type canary breeds. This means that it is judged at the shows mainly on the basis of body shape and feather quality. Singing ability is completely ignored. As may be expected, the small size of the bird and the shape of the cap are very important. The judge will also be looking for a broad chest and round head. Consorts are also shown.
Pure white, pure yellow, green, blue, brown (called cinnamon by the type canary breeder) and variegated birds are raised and exhibited. The exact color, as far as showing is concerned, is not very important. Pet buyers generally prefer the pure whites, pure yellows, and lightly variegated birds. Very appealing are white or yellow birds with green or brown caps.
The Gloster Fancy is an extremely easy bird to breed. Glosters are very good parents. Indeed, they are often used to feed the young of the more high-strung canary breeds, Frills and Yorkshires. The Yorkshire is one of the giant canary breeds. It is an amusing sight to see the perplexed Gloster hen standing on the tips of her toes to feed a baby Yorkshire that is bigger than she is! Care and feeding are the same as for any other canary breed. The Gloster Fancy is never color fed. The only drawback to the breed is that Glosters are very poor singers. I raised many fertile males that never sang a note.