Beginner Breeder and Exhibitor
Q. When did you first start to become interested in budgie and what sparked it off?
A. I kept and bred pet type budgies around 20 years ago
Q. What did your first aviary / breeding room look like?
A. My first Aviary /pen was four wooden posts with a door as a base and a dog kennel on top, I used this for two pairs of racing pigeons for a year, my father bought me a second hand pigeon loft after a year which was 20ft x 10ft.
Q. Where and when did you acquire your first budgerigar?
A. My first budgie was a recessive pied 20 years ago a pet type bird, I have no idea as to where I obtained it.
Q. Do you still have birds from this bloodline?
A. I do not have the same birds or bloodline although looking at some of my chicks you might think it is still present.
Q. Which bloodlines having given you the must impact on your stud?
Q. Do you have a Specific Way of preparing your birds for the breeding season?
A. I have a saying that preparation starts when your breeding season ends, you have to rest the birds get the sun on their backs and get the birds fit. A bird that is unfit will return poor results in the breeding cage; I give my bird’s soft food every other day in the non-breeding season. I also give them very low doses of vitamins every couple of days through the water, when vitamins are not in the water a calcium supplement is in. Once a week they also get a chicken carcass which is devoured within 24 hours, including, eight weeks before breeding season the vitamin content is gradually increased and a high protein additive is mixed into the soft food in the form of dried shrimps and or mealworms. Two weeks before pairing the cocks are removed from the mixed flights and put into the breeding cage, I do this as they will be termed as flighty so week one will calm them down and during week two the hen will be placed with the chosen cock. Nest boxes go on a week later or when I see that they have bonded.
Q. Do you pair your birds by visual appearance / bloodline or both?
A. As I am from a pigeon background I’m a firm believer in pedigree, cocks are initially chosen on visual quality, I then study their pedigree and choose a suitable visual hen with a similar pedigree. My explanation of pedigree is both birds must be related and visually suitable.
Q. How many chick and clutches are your birds Allowed?
A. I will only allow a pair to rear four chicks at a time as any more than this can be too much for the younger chicks resulting in runts / weaklings. If I do not see at least one chick in the first clutch I like the pair are then split up and re-paired, three rounds are allowed if I’m happy with the chicks. I breed from Sept - May and so pairs that have reared two rounds are paired again Sept those that have reared three rounds are paired Nov/Dec.
Q. What differences are there in your feeding programme in the breeding and non-breeding?
A. The only difference in my feeding programme breeding/non breeding is oats-groats are not fed during non-breeding and all supplements are given in moderation but regularly.
Q. Do you believe in preventatives medication? If so what do you use?
A. The only preventative medication I use is Tricoplus,I also add Lemon juice from one of those Jiff lemon bottles every day via the water, I find this cheaper and better than apple cider vinegar. I do not believe in preventative medication to be honest, how many of us take Aspirin in case we have a
Q. How do you deal with birds with feather disorders?
Feather problems can be a nightmare but it will happen to you at some point, this is how I deal with it. If I feel that a young bird has lost its flights through stress then I give it every chance to recover, If I think the bird has French Moult i.e. loses flights tail and some body feathers then it is destroyed. If I spot a young bird in the nest box which shows signs of losing its flights then I remove all its primary and secondary flights and bathe the wings in a iodine solution, this I have found to be very successful.
Q. Do you have a favourite mutation or Variety?
A. I have no favourite variety or mutation, I pair my birds on pedigree then visual, by this I mean the cock and hen must be related and visually suitable. I never pair pied x spangle and I dislike cinnamon spangles.
Q. Who do you admire most in the hobby?
A. I Admire any true stockman, the guy who on a limited income works with the birds and never loses sight of his dream of where he wants to go. As for the Big spenders well there is room enough in this hobby for us all, I will applaud you when you win but the pat on the back goes to the Stockman.
Q. What was the best bird you ever breed?
A. This is a pretty easy question, when I leave this hobby I will reflect on the years I was in it and let you know, as of yet I have not bred my best bird as I breed a better one each year.
Q. What was the best bird you have seen from Someone Else's stud?
A. Best all round bird I have ever seen was I believe a Rodney Harris Grey Green Cock that was shown at the BS Club Show last year and was second in the line-up, best head on a bird has to be the famous four bars of Huxley + Marchant.
Q. What is the most important piece of advice you give a beginner, just starting out in the hobby?
A. The best advice I could offer a newbie is don't show during your first two years, the first two years are the hardest and where you will make all your mistakes. Build up your numbers of own rung birds first. Let’s face it first year you will only have a few babies to show anyway as all your adults will have someone else's ring on.
Q. What more can we do to promote the hobby?
A. Promoting the hobby!!!!! WE ALL should be promoting this hobby and not throwing it in the lap of the BS, personally I think we would be better converting bird keepers in general as opposed to the total newbie. I also feel that we should think about re naming the statuses, I have said it in the past that I feel it is belittling calling a retired person a Beginner.
Q. What do you enjoy must about the hobby? Are you still as enthusiastic as when you first started?
A. I enjoy all aspects of keeping the birds but the breeding to improve them I especially enjoy; I am as enthusiastic today as I was yesterday in the keeping of Budgerigars.
Q. What other hobbies or interests do you have?
A. I have no other hobbies as I keep a fairly large stud of birds and to do so could jeopardise the time and devotion required to keep them fit and healthy, which would not be fair on the birds.