THE ASH RED FAMILY -BY TOM CRANE.

The following article is from the club 1991 handbook but still relevant today.
Before I go into the colours, I must stress the importance of breeding from quality
stock, there is no point in having the perfect colour if the end result is not a Modena.
Obtain the best stock possible, preferably from a breeder concentrating on the colours
you require. I say colours for you will need at least two, the benefits will be threefold.
Firstly, you have this breeders’ years of work and know how into putting a family
together that gels. Secondly, you should obtain birds of quality and correct in colour.
Last and most important, they will reproduce like colour. To help a beginner when obtaining stock, most
breeders will put the birds in show pens and if asked will place them together in suitable pairs for you.
The Modena is a bird of curves, that is what you want, well rounded birds with width and depth, good
strong straight legs, nicely rounded head with good width between the eyes, neck arched with substance onto
a short back.
Do not consider birds that are long in the back, small or pinched in the head, high on the legs, cow
hocked, funnel shaped or double deckered underneath.
Now for the colours. I will start with the Red Chequer, as the name implies it needs to be a rich brick
red body colour, strongest in the neck and not losing it in the head, tail fading into a grey stone colour. Wings
again rich red, each feather marked and edged with a light stone and buff, making an overall chequer pattern,
not too lightly marked to be intense or too over marked to be open. When spreading the wings, I like to see
the red running well into the flights. Black flecks on flights or tail denotes a cock bird, hens sometimes carry
a brown flecking, this enables on to sex certain birds very early. The flecking sometimes spreads to the wings.
This overspread can spoil the birds appearance. Beak, dark horn or black in colour, eyes red or orange and
legs red.
The mealy needs to have an overall grey stone body; a shade lighter on the wings, head a plum shade
running into a red neck and chest. The wings carry two distinct red bars, eyes, beak, legs and flecking as in
red chequer. Common faults, weak in colour showing third bar and overmarked on wings.
The Red Chequer and Mealy are ideal colour partners and should produce good examples of both
colours when paired together. Pairing is to balance and for this reason, over marked mealies can be used in
the breeding programme as long as they are of good type and strong colour.
The Yellow Chequer requires a rich mustard yellow body, darker on neck and breast, rich even head
colour and not patchy. Tail, cream to light stone, wings light mustard, each feather edged with cream and
stone to give the desired chequered pattern; flecking as in red chequer but dilute in colour, beak, light horn or
flesh colour, eyes, red or orange, legs red.
Faults – over or undermarked in chequer pattern, grey or blue underbody light cheeks of grey or blue
shade. This can be caused by pairing to mealy.
The Cream has a light mustard body colour – again rich on neck and breast, a creamy mustard head.
The wings, flights and tail are cream to light stone with two distinct rich mustard coloured bars carried on the
wings. Beak, eyes, legs as in yellow chequer.
Faults – markings on the wings, extra bar showing, red or blue shading. The yellow chequer and cream
make ideal colour partners, at present the dilutes are way behind the reds and mealies but with careful thought
to pairing both for type and colour, plus a lot of patience, this can be rectified.

Tom Crane