The picture shows a red pastel cock and a wildtype hen. I made this photo in my aviary in 1985. This Bourke's cock has a rose pastel colour in stead of the yellow pastel colour we are used to. Is is definitely not an opaline! The opaline characteristics are not present. There was not a split factor either. The whole plumage is rose coloured. Not only the belly and breast but the head, hind neck, back, rump and tail have the same beautiful rose colour. The wingcoverts are brown with rose margins. The only difference with the yellow pastel is the possession of red pigment in the back side.
This variety has been bred in the seventies. At that time the trend was to breed the pastel as yellow as possible. So this beautiful rose colour variety was neglected and was disappearing. In the last decade this colour variety appeared again, as a by-product of breeding the combination of the yellow pastel and the rose opaline. When the opaline factor have to be crossed out. Mate a opaline pastel, as red as possible with a wildtype cock. This gives wildtype hens, split for pastel. This hens can have a lot of red pigment. We can use this hens mating them with an opaline-pastel cock. The cocks of this combination can be red pastel, split for opaline. The third year we mate them with the mother. We can expect both hens and cocks. This red pastel is beautiful and useful colour variety. It will be possible to develop a really red pastel It is also very interesting for the enhancement of the red pigment in several combinations in the red series: the apricot spangle, the red opaline-pastel and the red isabel.
Description: It is easy to describe this colour variety. He is almost total rose coloured except the coverts on the wings, which are brown with rose margins. The blue in the flights is light blue. The frontal band has a minimal format. Eye catching is the white area around the eye.
Name giving: Red pastel. This name red is chosen because people can be confused by rose opaline. An big spreading of the red pigment is seen in this red pastel. The red pigment inherits intermediate. So selection is possible. It is visible because of the reduction of eumelanin. The name pastel refers to the eumelanin characteristic. The loss of eumelanin is equal in the whole plumage. The mutation factor is a reduction factor (M-r factor). The strong reduction of the melanin in the whole plumage is the characteristic of the pastel. Also are the loss of eumelanin pigment in the beak, the nails and legs.