DTI001 19_07_17

Bengalese Finches
British Birds
Budgerigars
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Unclear beginnings

The spangle mutation is now a well-established budgerigar, but where did it come from? Some years ago, top Australian champion JOHN SCOBLE offered his theory to Roy Stringer

Intense: a double-factor spangle cock

SEVERAL misleading articles have been published about the origins of the spangle. Some writers have even claimed that they could identify the parent birds. I am certain that we will never know what they were. Almost certainly the first breeder did not even realise that it was a new mutation.

According to the late Frank Gardner, a budgerigar breeder of high repute, Mr Jones of Victoria, Australia, was the first to recognise that they were something new and acquired a number of them.

After a period of colony-breeding in 1977, they came to the notice of the Budgerigar Council of Australia. The first examples to be seen in public were exhibited in Melbourne. Mr Jones presented Frank with a pair and Mr Gardner became the first exhibition fancier to breed spangles.

He is absolutely meticulous with his record-keeping and I tend to dismiss many of the word-of-mouth histories that I’ve heard. I prefer to depend on his written records.

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The tough decision-makers

How would you choose a winner from two equally matched top-quality exhibition birds? RAY STEELE explains why judging is not as easy as it looks and discusses the characteristics that make a good judge

BS Club Show 2010: is it their experience or their temperament that makes these men good judges?

WHAT does it take to make a good budgerigar judge? I have heard it said that no one can judge properly unless they have been successful at breeding winning budgerigars. While it is true that a successful breeder has an advantage, there is no guarantee that he or she will make a good judge.

Other important qualities are required. For instance, do they have a good eye for a bird – and can they make decisions? I have known a most successful exhibitor go to pieces when faced with a very large class or having to choose between two budgerigars of virtually equal quality. Others have been so indecisive that they have delayed the opening of a show. On the other hand I have seen a good “natural” judge, with less experience as a breeder, pick out the winners without fuss or bother. It is a matter of temperament.

Instinct plus experience
It could be argued that good budgerigar judges are born, not made. They have an instinctive ability to pick out a winner – and explain their reasons – without having to agonise over every decision. That having been said, there is no denying that a judge’s ability is enhanced by having experience of breeding high-quality birds.

No matter how good judges may be, it is inevitable that their decisions will be criticised. Shows would not be the same if no one criticised the judging. Although most exhibitors accept defeat, you will find one or two at every show who are blind to the merits of any bird except their own. This small group just have to accept that a judge must be unbiased.

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Smart designs

RICHARD MILLER looks at purpose-built birdroom layouts and discusses his dream aviary

Plain but practical: Richard Miller’s current aviary

I AM very envious of anyone who has the opportunity to build a new bird room from scratch or overhaul what they already have. If only my father and I had known what we do now when our aviary was first built.

My first real aviary was purpose-built by my father once he realised that my interest in budgerigars was more than just a fad. The aviary measured 4.8m x 2.4m (16ft x 8ft) and was of a breeze block construction with a fully insulated roof. Twenty-four breeding cages were installed down the right hand-side of the aviary with two indoor flights on the left and an outside flight on the end. This set-up worked very well to start with, but it soon became clear that we needed more space for holding extra birds and additional breeding cages.

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Natural diets and healthy living

Judy Higgins looks at metabolic disorders in budgies, and discusses how suitable food intake can improve their health

Offering a tailor-made diet, Judy has fewer problems than breeders who just supply seeds and medication to birds

IN general terms, a bird’s metabolism (or metabolic rate) is linked to the body’s utilisation of food and how this affects growth, production of energy and elimination of waste. There are many ailments that are linked to a bird’s metabolism that may be overcome with the correct feeding regime and bird care.

Going back to basics
Budgies originally resided in Australia in an arid climate. Humans transferred these birds to almost every country in the world and bred them the way it suited humans and not the birds. Budgies are usually retained in small aviaries and do not have the advantage of free flight, nor the availability of many different types of seeds, grains, shrubs and bushes. They have lost their natural instinct to forage for foods that would heal many ailments. Instead, the birds rely on humans for everything, and sometimes we get it wrong. With this in mind, it is vital to supply our birds with as many dietary options as they would find in their natural habitat.

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Make the most of what you’ve got

Overhauling your stud? Be sparing with outcrosses, advises CLIVE WAKEMAN – and make sure that you don’t dispose of birds that might actually have improved one of your lines

Four-week-old chicks: this age isn’t too early to show the characters you may be after

FOR some budgerigar enthusiasts a yearly ritual is going out to buy outcrosses to bring fresh blood to their stock. This usually comes after assessing the previous year’s youngsters, selling the excess stock that is no longer required for breeding purposes, and looking to improve on certain features within the stud.

This is certainly my format, although, I do not buy in new birds as a regular exercise. I only do this when I have a particular feature or features that I am trying to improve. If you overdo this exercise and buy in new stock all the time, you are not building a stud, but putting together a collection of birds and breeding from them.

Don’t aim too high
Every breeder should try to put his own stamp on his birds and build a stud that contains certain family lines. How many birds and varieties is up to the breeder.

When you undergo the search for new birds, never make the mistake of trying to improve too many or all the features that you require in one go, because that type of bird will have a “not for sale” tag on it. Other breeders will rarely sell their best birds unless they are leaving the fancy, but even then be prepared to pay the best price.

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