The shiro utsuri koi is a variety that takes several years to develop. Unless you buy large, it’s an exercise in patience like the showa variety. Some will pan out and some won’t. I have only five Omosako shiro utsuris in my collection. I feel three of the koi are good representations of the shiro utsuri and two are iffy. I have given away shiro utsuri koi that would change colors too much over the summer (like turn all white) and shiros that had stray beni spots. I know where some of these shiros are and would be interested to see if they look better after a few years. I’m not planning on buying any more shiro utsuris at this time since I’m hopeful that I’ll see positive changes in the koi I currently own.
Shiro utsuris are black fish with white markings (could have fooled me when you see how very white some shiro utsuis are…). When you purchase small shiro utsuris, the koi experts will say you are better off buying the tosai that is more on the white side and has a blueish tint to. In fact the white is probably the most important feature to look at in shiro utsuri koi. Lily has a lot of beautiful white but very little sumi, not much latent sumi, no motoguru – really should I keep her? I have seen though a curly black sumi pattern around her right eye when she was younger and who knows if she’ll surprise me. Miyu has a pattern of sumi that may never darken and no motoguru. Miyu will be a keeper because I like the look of her eyebrows and she has a pleasant personality. She’s an attractive counterpoint to the other koi in the pond.
The one problem I have with mixing in the shiro utsuri koi with the rest is that I’m always worried about extra unwanted beni developing. I read somewhere that if you check the black scales, you want to be sure that you don’t see any brown or a black that has a coppery look to it. Brown tone scale is supposed to be a marker that stray hi could possibly appear. I have checked all of my shiros and have seen only one small brown scale on Billy the Kid. They munch on a lot of algae all summer (free spirulina) with no beni showing up so maybe I don’t need to worry.
A friend of mine likes to look up oyagoi (parent koi) when he looks to purchase new koi. Three of my shiros are from the Panda Jr. line and one is from the Godzilla line. If you go to the Omosako koi farm website you can find all sorts of fun things like koi development photos, bloodline charts, and oyagoi. It’s kind of geeky but knowing the oyagoi might give you a hint of what features your koi will develop. Oyagoi are parent koi that are selected for specific features in hopes that the best features get passed along. I never looked at these before I purchased my koi but looking at some of these photos gives me some hope about development. Of course seeing how predominantly white Panda Jr is makes sense when I look at my white heavy shiro utsuris.
If you wanted to look at more koi farm pages you can follow these links:
You could also look at photos of reputable koi dealers who will indicate lineage of some of the koi they are selling. Koi dealers are a funny breed. They are able to look at koi and confidently say – “that’s a [insert breeder name here] koi.” You need to be looking at a lot of koi to be able to do that.
Finally, I have a 3.5 minute video that only koi kichi types might enjoy. I have always wanted the koi to eat out of my hand. My koi are always snobby and with the random raccoon that wanders our yard in the summer, it might not be a bad idea to discourage hand feeding. Anyways, either Jason Guevara or Gerald Ellison (our koi judges this past summer) told me to try Manda Fu. I bought a boatload of Manda Fu from Kodama and the koi just pooh-poohed it all summer. Well fast forward a few months and I decided to give it another try. I’m pleased to report that some of them will nibble from my fingers and most of them are not totally shocked to swim into or bump my hand. This is day 2 of the hand feeding training 😄 and that’s about it for this weekend 🎏