My intent is not to be hostile. But simply to say that if the birds don't fit the breed standard as young birds, they will never fit the standard as old birds. These birds are still "new" in some sense of the word. There are many judges out there that don't even know what the standard calls for when it comes to this breed and I have been to plenty of shows where a bird or birds are placed that don't meet their breed standard. It requires much education to get them recognized well enough where they do well at all shows. There are "breeders" out there that are doing a large disservice to the breed by breeding from birds that are 1. Not true to breed type or variety type. and 2. increasing numbers but not quality. If you look at most of the Metzer birds, they are both, and since the pictures are the same in the McMurray brochure it appears they do the same as well. Just this past Fall at the Crossroads National in Indy there was a man there selling birds (full grown young birds and old birds) that the vast majority of them had offcolored bills, feet, and poor coloring. He claimed that he took "great pride" in his breeder birds, and only bred Welsh Harlequins. But none of the birds he was selling fit their breed standard, and if he was selling them as Culls, they weren't advertised that way or priced as such.
Here on our place we have carefully selected each breeder bird to ensure they meet their breed standard. We cull birds with even slight off color because it preserves our true-to-form flock, and it is important to us to make sure each bird is breed specific. I've seen a lot of people that ask on here if their birds fit their breed's standard and then when told, no. They say, "thats okay I just want them to sell hatching eggs from, I don't show them."
It is likely from your birds that after several generations you will notice birds that hatch really lightly marked and don't get much darker over the period of successive molts. From experience these birds need to be culled or you end up with light males and even lighter females. If you would be interested in hatching eggs from our flock, we would be happy to send you some for the cost of shipping. This would give you some outside blood, and you don't normally see 99% of the time, see the light bills in our birds no matter age, so you could possibly raise them and then mix them into your breeding pens and see how it goes. (This offer is to sherylreno only!) We will have eggs for sale later this Spring if anyone else is interested.
Well to me that means they don't care to learn, and don't care about the breeds they are trying to "preserve".
I may come across as gruff because I type as I think, but I know from experience that once you have a strong foundation, it doesn't take much to build on it. If you start on a bad foundation, you will only have more and more trouble. There is VERY good Welsh Harlequin stock out there, you could easily replace that hen with the light bill and hopefully save lots of culling in the long run. I would love to be able to see your birds in a class with some of ours at the shows. Around us there are a few breeders now to give us competition these days. When we started we had the only ones in this area for a long time, and it was no fun winning BB and RB with no one else to compete against.