There are lots of great little stories about individual Koi, for example the story of Dainichi’s 2007 All Champion Grand Champion, Sakura, a Koi that nobody wanted as a 2 year old.  Indeed, as she ended up being an important Dainichi parent Koi she could well fit the title ‘miracle mother’.

There are many statistics that circulate regarding the percentage of eggs laid that eventually make it to ‘market’ and are sold and shipped around the world.  The percentage that are ‘show quality’ is even smaller.  Perhaps the tiniest number, and arguably the most important, is the percentage that go on to become female parents, and more so successful female parents, the parents that further push the ever evolving definition of ‘high class’.

This is a little story that I picked up whilst at Purdin Koi Farm last month, a story that is still evolving and will reach a new chapter next year.

In 2009 Purdin imported a large female Sanke from Japan to be used as a parent Koi, she was called the ‘Oyuki’ Sanke.  I know not of the reason for her name, I can only surmise that maybe she had snow white skin, ‘yuki’ being Japanese for snow, you will learn why later.

In 2010 the Oyuki Sanke was spawned for the first time.

Many large show Koi are not spawned throughout their ‘show life’.  Irrespective of how old, or large, the Koi may be, when spawned for the first time the eggs, whilst numerous, are often small and the subsequently hatching fry weak.


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Whether the Oyuki Sanke had been spawned in Japan I do not know, however the low hatch rate of just a few thousand fry would suggest perhaps not.

These few thousand fry were released into a growing pond.

Shipping large Koi is stressful.  Spawning large Koi is also stressful.  Sadly, as her tiny offspring grew in their early stages of life the Oyuki Sanke died.

After 40-50 days the offspring went through their first selection process, just 10 were kept to grow on further.

Now, in 2015 only 1 Sanke remains from the spawning, swimming in ‘the river’, and we bowled her up to photograph her during my visit.

Bill McGurk measuring the Sanke as Scott Purdin looks on

Bill McGurk measuring the Sanke as Scott Purdin looks on

Bill McGurk moving the Sanke

Bill McGurk moving the Sanke

Purdin Sanke, 78cm, 6 years old

Purdin Sanke, 78cm, 6 years old

The eagle eyed among you may have spotted something in the pictures above.  If you haven’t then you surely will below.


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During the period after first selection and second selection, when she was just one of 10 survivors of the spawning of Oyuki Sanke, she was attacked by a bird, an attack she not only escaped from but an attack she survived.  Whilst she was never going to have a show career she was retained and grown because of the qualities she showed.

Close up of bird damage on Sanke's dorsal fin

Close up of bird damage on Sanke’s dorsal fin

This Sanke exhibits excellent skin quality with extremely thick and deep fukurin, it’s the kind which actually has a texture to it as though the scales are really inlaid.

Thick and deep fukurin on the Sanke's shiroji

Thick and deep fukurin on the Sanke’s shiroji

The fact this Sanke is even alive is in itself a miracle.  Next year she will be spawned for the first time.  If she spawns successfully and produces some quality offspring then without question she will be the ‘miracle mother’.  Watch this space…


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