MY COMMENT LAST week about the prevalence of mite in fanciers’ birdrooms this year has struck a chord (see letter opposite). In this connection, a step that many birdkeepers have recently taken is to switch from fixed wooden cages to removable wire ones. So it’s timely that, this week, regular contributor Dave Brown shares his thoughts on the efficacy of going all-wire (see page 16). Cost, of course, is a substantial factor to those considering this change. Have you found it worth the outlay? I’d like to hear from readers who have given all-wire a fair trial – i.e., a minimum of one full season.
■ “I strongly believe that if you breed a bird, then you have a responsibility to look after it.” So writes leading Fife breeder, showman and judge Dave Tanner (see page 12). Specifically, Mr Tanner is referring to “retired” breeding stock: birds that have given good service but are past their peak. He puts aside a special flight in order to provide his “old faithfuls” with the top-class housing and care that they merit. And this is regular practice, I find, with many a hard-headed stockman. One in the eye for the anti-brigade, eh? If you are planning a new birdroom layout, how about taking a leaf out of Mr Tanner’s book and reserving some of your precious space for those hard workers?
■ This time 10 years ago, our news pages were all too often dedicated to accounts of bird-flu restrictions and show cancellations, and our letters columns filled with fanciers worrying that the exhibition hobby might have no future because of the risk of this contagion. Thankfully, the worst of that anxiety is over, yet we can still expect cullings and range restrictions when poultry farms are affected. Thankfully, again, the restrictions near Preston that had threatened the Zebra Finch Society’s open show next month have just been lifted. Let the show go on!
■ Nice to see Lizard Canary Association chairman John Martin at our Cudham office last week. Mr Martin is undertaking a historical research project and has visited several times to consult our archive. All bona fide researchers are welcome to visit: just contact the office to arrange it in advance. Enjoy your birds this week.