My Way of Breeding Lacewings

by Colin Putt

The Lacewing is a sex-linked variety as is Ino, Opaline, Cinnamon and Slate. Therefore breeding results are predictable both for colour and sex. This makes the Lacewing an easier variety to improve than the recessive varieties such as Fallows or Greywing.

Basically the Lacewing conforms to either Green or Blue series (green being the yellow and blue being the white). Before moving on, I am aware that we can also have a yellow-face white which can appear cream in colour. With the lacewing we are looking for a pastel shaded bird with normal markings in cinnamon brown - a fundamental factor being a red eye with normal iris ring. Some say that the Lacewing is a "cinnamon ino" cross-over and not a variety in its own right. I refute this concept and to prove my own views that it is a separate variety from cinnamon-inos, I have been able to produce Lacewings from non-cinnamon families. In other words I have bred out the cinnamon that had been put in by others who strongly recommended using cinnamon as out-crosses.

Basically what the vast majority of Lacewing breeders were doing was creating Cinnamon Lacewings. Such lacewings show paler markings (soft beige) and less intense body colour as one would expect when using cinnamon with any variety. I do not use cinnamon-carrying birds and, where possible, use only outcrosses that do not in any way have a risk of carrying cinnamon. Hence normal hens as opposed normal looking cocks.

I have found by selective breeding, sometimes ruthlessly getting rid of a family, I have created to non-cinnamon lacewings that have darker markings and richer body colours, a much more impressive bird altogether. Maintaining colour contrast is all important in my opinion. For choice with the green series Lacewing I would be looking for a good example of dark or olive green which would put colour into the body. Light green can lighten the body colour too much and can, importantly, increase suffusion. Suffusion in the blue series can be very pronounced, so to allay this scourge I have found the use of grey has a positive effect in reducing suffusion. However, it must be used prudently as over-use can produce an off-white body colour. Use for one or two seasons only as otherwise, as with cinnamon, all the stud will carry grey.

I strongly discourage the use of Inos with Lacewings - the combination is not useful to either and confusion can creep in. Ino is dominant to Lacewing, hence in a nest of Inos appears a Lacewing - why? is the question - the Ino cock is split for lacewing. I am often asked by interested fanciers how one could start with Lacewings. Firstly, stock is not plentiful so getting birds is a challenge in itself. If no visuals were on offer I would certainly consider a split cock. I well remember giving a person a split cock - it was paired to a normal hen and four young were bred - 1 normal and 3 Lacewing hens. One would be good, but three! I try not to use Lacewing  Lacewing pairings for more than 1 generation as I have found no evidence of advancement. Colour and markings need to be selective factors in such pairings, only the best  best should be used. I would then use outcrosses in the second generation and maybe third before attempting a Lacewing  Lacewing, again only using the best (i.e., good type, colour and size)

The Lacewing complements a stud of normals so a fancier could successfully run a small stud as a challenge without threat to either. For anyone wanting a pastel coloured variety of outstanding beauty, the Lacewing is ideal.