reports & schedule
The Budgerigar Man By Roy Stringer
I believe that this book is a masterpiece that is a tribute to the genius that was Harry Bryan. The reason I like the book so much is because of it has the ability to portray a life times work which was Harry Bryans life. This book proves, like so many Fanciers already know that Harry Bryan was a true genius in his own rights, the book also contains themed to know facts that all budgerigar fanciers wish to find out about. I saw this book as being an inspiration to all budgerigar fanciers alike as it is a smart, catchy and Informative book which is a must For the beginner to the champion. Unfortunately Harry passed away some time ago however, he is remembered as being the master of the budgerigar fancy, winning the world championship show 27 times in 29 years. It is an achievement to win the show once, but Harry kept on firing the quality stock out and winning on the show bench.
The Challenge By Gerald S. Binks
read this fantastic book my whole concept of the budgerigar I feel
that Gerald Binks has accomplished what most of us could not achieve in a
that Gerald Binks has accomplished what most of us could not achieve in a
( Please note that the second
edition of The Challenge has now been published. Full details can be found
on Gerald's site
( Please note that the second edition of The Challenge has now been published. Full details can be found on Gerald's site www.budgerigar.co.uk )
Best In Show
By Gerald .S. Binks
Best In Show By Gerald .S. Binks
When I read this book for the first time, it screamed out quality, this book is my bible and unlike the challenge which was Gerald's second masterpiece, it is small, compact and a truly great read. I would recommend this book to you because I genuinely think that it is a work of avicultural art, conducted by the best breeder of exhibition budgerigars since Harry Bryan that has ever lived, he has showed us all that he is worthy of this by winning the world shows with truly remarkable birds. The only other two fanciers who are and were on his level of success and knowledge of a good exhibition budgie, are Harry Bryan and Jo Mannes. Gerald Binks' stock is mixed with Mannes, Moffat and Binks' birds, this wonderful mixture has led him on to greatness on the show bench. Gerald Binks is a truly remarkable man and will always be known for his encouragement, kindness and of course his birds.
2. A VISIT TO THE
WASHINGTON MULTI-PURPOSE CENTRE
Just imagine that you are :-
a) a Pet Breeder who no longer has the luxury of one local outlet for his surplus birds, young and old, and does not know how to sell that surplus
b) One of the few pet shop owners who 1) can see a gap in the market caused by the large chains giving up selling small livestock, and/or
2) does not know whether it will be worth trying to start selling budgies because he/she does not know where those birds will come from – a steady supply is important to most.
c) someone who is looking for a pet of some kind, thinks a budgie ‘might be nice’ (perhaps owned one as a child) but does not know where to get one from
d) someone who might be tempted to breed budgies if he/she thought that there would not be a problem trying to sell any surplus ……..
Perhaps by now, most people will know that the Budgerigar Society has been conscious, for some time, that there is an urgent need to raise the profile of the budgerigar fancy at large as well as to attract new members to budgerigar society life. I am one of those fanciers who has written on a number of occasions about our need to get out and about more and tell other folk what a marvellous hobby we have: I am sure that many of our fellow fanciers have not fully grasped the fact that the vast majority of folk outside our fancy do not know that there are such people as budgerigar breeders.
Not convinced? Here’s a recent experience of mine which illustrates the point :-
I went into my local hardware shop recently and bought a pack of pets’ sawdust/shavings. The lady who served me asked me what pets I had and I replied “ Budgies – about 200 of ‘em ” . She was literally astonished to hear about anyone who breeds budgies and admitted that she only knew that “You buy them from pet shops”. I asked her how she thought they got into pet shops ? –the penny dropped! I then pointed out that this is becoming increasingly more difficult for folk to find pet birds (true) and this point was taken; she admitted that she did not know, for certain, of any local pet shops which still sell pet budgerigars, and therefore –if she did want a pet budgie- she would not know where to find one.
Just as the fancy started for many of us with interest in pet budgerigars, for whatever reason, it follows that demand for these will continue to fall if folk simply stop hearing about these delightful pets and/or cannot find anywhere to buy them. We need to create a reliable central point of information on to which breeders, whether or not they are members of any society, can add their names and to which pet shops or individual would-be purchasers can go to find out who in their locality is likely to have pet birds, or birds to breed pet birds, etc, can go.
..….And what about folks’ fears about bird flu’, psittacosis, and such problems ? In the light of recent concerns felt by people from all sections of the community and worries about the large influx of unringed budgerigars which are reaching the market from overseas, part of the Budgerigar Society’s campaign is to try to persuade everyone that their best security lies in acquiring only British Bred Budgies wearing closed, coded rings, which are used by members of the Budgerigar Society and its Area societies, OR a similar “Pets” Closed Coded Ring which will not be confused with standard Budgerigar Society rings, which are available only to bona-fide members of those societies. Both the “BS” ring and the “Pets” rings are designed as an excellent means of identifying the provenance of birds wearing these rings. Additionally, if any bird ringed in this way becomes infected and dies, we will be able to trace its breeder and possibly subsequent owners, with a view to reducing as quickly as possible the risk of any spread of “the pestilence”.
This is where the idea of a Pet Breeders’ Register comes in. The Budgerigar Society hopes to do something to make budgies easy to find for all concerned – budgies on your doorstep, you might say!
We are therefore in the course of preparation of a Register of British Pet Breeders to be developed and held on the society’s website for easy accessibility, and this register is designed to list breeders Area by Area. Initially, we invite any members of the Budgerigar Society to submit their names for inclusion on this register, if they are interested in the pet side of the fancy. After the initial stages are safely negotiated, the register will become available to ALL breeders of budgerigars! That’s right, ALL fanciers, whether or not they are members of the BS, Area Society, local society or, indeed, any such organisation at all. Registration on the site will be available free to all BS members. Non-member pet breeders will be asked to pay a nominal registration fee, yet to be confirmed but probably of £5 per year to cover maintenance costs etc.
The committee hopes that this register will become THE focal point for all fanciers and other folk who want to buy and/or sell pet budgerigars for any reason. It will however, only work if everyone who has any interest in budgerigars, however slight that interest is, becomes aware of the presence of this facility. This is where we can all play a part. We need to get images of budgerigars, and perhaps budgerigar breeders (to show that budgerigar breeders are ordinary folk, from all walks of life) in front of people in “the outside world” at every possible opportunity. This involves getting Information Stands out to as many local events as we can. Such ventures could incorporate advertising our own local societies –something which will help to get local club members working together- and fund-raising events, if so wished, but the main aim is to tell folk about budgerigar breeding as a hobby, and yes, showing them that this great hobby is well organised through our parent body, so that no one need feel isolated within that hobby – help will always be at hand. Part of this includes making the point that the hobby of budgerigar breeding is there for all the family, if all such family members are interested, so that Budgerigar Events can be a Great Day Out for all. Fanciful? Yes, perhaps, but surely worth a try to raise our fancy to a higher level.
So, what can we have on those Information Stands? This is something which we have been working on; it is generally held to be a good thing if stands have items which can be given away, and this may include such things as printed pens, balloons and the like. We are also working with other practical and colourful items, and one of these is a series of Top of Desk items which would carry one of a variety of logos/slogans to advertise our fancy on one side, while having something like the current year’s calendar or a Seven Year calendar of Sunday dates on the desk side.
Similar Calendars have been designed for distribution to Pet shops or any public place which may care to exhibit/use them. Posters, of course are another excellent way of getting our message across. There is a wide range of these items, and can address the setting of the Pet Breeders Register, or any other aspects of our fancy – for example, local meetings and shows, at the same time advertising the details of the Budgerigar Society Office. They will offered either in a form which can be amended by computer to show additional information such as local society details – meeting nights, contacts, etc, or in a version with blanks to which text can be added manually. All we ask in using these items is that the BS details remain in place.
Incidentally the posters, wall calendars and the like can be produced at any size – they can even by reduced to Business Card size so one side can be printed with one’s own address and such details. Some fanciers may like to keep a supply to hand to give to fellow fanciers, potential customers, work colleagues and the like.
Finally (so far) we have transmitted these images on to a postcard format. These can be used by societies to send out notices of meetings/ speakers/special events etc and also for notifications to the local press etc, about forthcoming meetings/events. The fact of them being pre-printed on the one side with details of the B.S as parent body may, with some, helped to raise the profile of the local society. Additionally, some can/will be printed with only the normal address side, like a holiday postcard, for folk to purchase and send as they wish. We hope that recipients of these cards, particularly fanciers, will be persuaded to display the cards (picture side, of course) in the window of their house/car local shop or wherever it may catch the eye of the public. If sufficient of us can display any of this merchandise, a lot more folk will soon know about our hobby and, who knows, decide to give it a try for themselves
At present these are items produced by us in order to demonstrate the concept, but I know that they can be far more effectively, professionally, designed and produced to better serve needs. If we can all get behind this campaign, we should all feel the consequential benefit. It’s up to Me, You, and ‘the others’ !!
Budgerigar Society Publicity Officer.
One of the questions which I and other experienced fanciers are often asked is "What are your methods in fostering eggs, chicks etc. Eggs usually are the easier proposition, always providing, of course, that there is another nest to which to move them.
Like many fanciers, my partner (brother) and I like to mark all our eggs, at least at the beginning of the breeding season.
Unlike many fanciers, we do not write a lot of information on each egg ; we merely number them consecutively, using a water-based marker, rather than an indelible one. We keep a separate, computer-produced, written record of the date each clutch starts, and later can transfer the information on to the original computer form, so that eventually, and time permitting, we can anlyse the results/records later..
We find that the somewhat time-consuming task of marking the eggs is often well rewarded, because it means that clear eggs can be identified at a very early date and removed, thus encouraging the hen to lay further eggs within the round. A majority of hens seem capable of continuing to lay until they have a certain number of eggs to sit. It has been our experience that by taking away all clear eggs at seven days old, we can often eventually secure a nest containing some fertile eggs. Last year, one of our hens laid seven clear eggs before producing a further four which were fertile - had we left those clear eggs with her it is highly unlikely that she would have laid eleven eggs - she would probably have laid only those first five or six which proved to beinfertile !
This was not the only hen which followed this pattern. Quite a few displayed similar, if not quite so dramatic traits and our system thus encouraged the laying of fertile eggs which we would not have had otherwise.This year, after a sluggish start we are pleased to note that one of our most promising pairs has now had its fourth egg prove fertile - hopefully the first of many !
Marking eggs in this way also serves a useful purpose when an emergency arises - such as a hen falling sick and deserting her eggs, or more happily, when a hen is unable (or unwilling ) to count, and continues to lay more eggs than comprises the normally accepted manageable clutch - one such hen, through our fostering system, ultimately provided us with ten chicks in one round last year.
In either situation, and many more, it helps greatly to have accurate records at your disposal, because :-
a) if all the eggs are numbered we can be sure that we foster them to the most suitable nests, and
b) the most suitable fostering sites are more readily identifiable - in other words, it works both ways..
If there is a suitable nest of clear eggs, of course, there is no danger of confusion of chicks, but where it is necessary to foster eggs amongst other fertile eggs, there can be a problem of identification. My partner and I are helped by the fact that we breed Albinos and Lutinos, as well as many of the normal varieties, and because of this we have the flexibility of often being able to place "ino" eggs in normal nests and vice-versa.This means that if two eggs hatch in the same nest, we can more or less immediately identify parentage by the fact that it either has, or has not, a red eye...
In the same way, it is often necessary to hurriedly find a home for chicks, and the strict maintenance of records helps speed up this process. There is no danger of permanently "losing" the whereabouts of chicks if they are already rung, but if they need to be fostered out when very young and as yet unrung, it helps to be able to place them with birds which will be of a different colour - again, it is useful to have pairs of "inos" etc, but it can also be safely applied to various other birds - for example, Greens which have bred well but never produced a Blue, Normals which have bred copious numbers of normals, but no Opalines, Cinnamons or other sex-linked varieties . None of these latter-quoted examples are certain, but sometimes we have to take the best option.
I don't know whether this makes any difference, but when fostering chicks, we try to smear them with debris from their new home before tucking them in amongst their foster-siblings - it makes us feel a little more confident, at least. We prefer the foster-chick to be, if possible, of an average size and age in its new home, so that there is less of the "odd man out" in terms of size about the situation (colour does not seem to have any bearing !) , but this said, we have fostered chicks of all ages, in desperation, in to what appeared to be very unpromising looking sites. Even birds which have to be moved because they have been attacked by one or both of its/their parents are usually readily accepted and quickly fed.
This said, in fostering chicks, there is always some feeling of trepidation, because while the vast majority of hens will accept additions to their nests, there are some which are of a more highly strung nature and who will react badly to any change in their own domestic arrangements. With any form of livestock, or indeed any form of life, there is never a complete answer . What works in one situation, or with one bird or pair of birds will not necessarily be effective with another.
All I can advise is that keeping detailed records to provide a close knowledge of the traits and temperaments of individual birds and, eventually, the families from which they spring can sometimes provide some indication as to how they will behave in a given situation, and allow us to act accordingly.
In the end, it is another aspect, in budgerigar breeding, which supplies one of those situations which makes our fancy so challenging, and therefore so fascinating..
1. Sound base ie: - Paving Slabs or Concrete
2. Watertight Shed or Existing Garage
3. Lining to Shed
4. Insulation to Shed
5. Flight for adult birds
6. Breeding Cages
7. Nest boxes
8. Floor Covering
9. Lighting & Heating
11. Various Feeding Dishes & Drinkers
Base 3000 x 1800 (10’ x 6’)
My base was made up from secondhand 600x600 slabs, bought from an advert out of the local paper costing £10. Although to extend it I managed to acquire more slabs from the local paper free of charge. These were laid level with 3 bags of building mortar
Shed 2700 x 1800 (9’ x 6’)As I could not acquire a cheap shed from the paper when I needed it I built my own from timber from a merchant using 50x38 bearers for the floor at 300 centre, sides & roof at 600 centres. Sterling board was used for the floor & roof. Featheredge fencing boards were used for the sides making a window with an opening sash approx. 900 x600. Good quality roofing felt was used for weatherproofing; the floor was covered with vinyl to both insulate & make for easy cleaning. The window was made from timber I had in store with glass from spare greenhouse panes. The door was made the same as the sides but a visit to the local recycling centre could achieve an even cheaper one, but mine was made to match the shed. All told the shed cost in the region of £170 cheaper than buying a new one from a Supplier. When I expand I will wait for a suitable shed at the right price in the local paper.
Lining & Insulation
For the lining I used new white contiboard, which covered 25mm thick polystyrene bought from a local DIY store for the walls & white-faced hardboard for the ceiling. I did use some polystyrene packing from a washing machine to complete the job cutting it to suit. The lining formed the basis for the flight & the Breeding Cages. Conti-Board can also be acquired from the recycling centre in the form of furniture both home made & commercial which can be dismantled & re structured to form the Flight & Breeding Cages.
Breeding Cages & Flight
After building the Shed my next job was to build a block of 9 cages each approx. 375 (15”) x375 (15”0 x 600 (24”) which were made up of 4lenghts of 375 (15”) x 1800 (72”), 2 lengths 375 (15”) x 1200 (48”) Conti-Board 3lengths 1200 (48”) x 1200 (48”) Conti-Board divided by 6 pieces 375 (15”) x 400 (16”) 6mm ply. The off cuts of Conti-Board helped make the base & sides of the Flight. Altogether I used 6 sheets 2400 x 600, 4 sheets 375 x 2400 of Conti-Board & 12 sheets of polystyrene 2.4 (8’) x600 (24”). The width of the Flight was the difference left after the breading cages were fixed in place to one side, to the back wall of the shed, the length was the width of the shed. The Flight was made up of 50x25 (2”x1”) planed timber framed up including a door all covered with galvanized welded mesh acquired from a fancier who no longer required it, stapled to the inside. A piece of 150x25 (6”x1”) fixed along bottom including door to form bottom rail to stop seed husks from spreading too much onto Aviary floor. Under the Flight a cupboard was formed to store the likes of show cages seed & any other bits & Pieces needed. The door was hung on second hand hinges acquired from car boot sale. The window to the shed was also covered with mesh allowing it to be opened whilst ensuring no birds could escape through it likewise a security door was made to fit inside the main shed door for the same reason using 50x25 (2”x1”) and a piece of flooring material left over hung again with acquired hinges. Plastic Breading cage fronts were again given to me from a Fancier who had gone over to metal ones.
Each breading cage needs a nest box some were again acquired from a fancier who had no more use for them others were made from plywood to a similar pattern to suit my Aviary. Each nest box needs a Concave that can be purchased from good pet stores for 80p, but they are also easy to make by using 125 x 25 (5 “x1”) & forming the concave yourself with a Mallet & Chisel (it need not be to exact). Each box requires some wood shavings so the Budgie hen can form a nest (though they will shove most of it out of the box). The boxes are fixed to the wire fronts preferably with some keyhole ear plates to assist in easy removing for cleaning.
Lighting & Heating
A power supply will be needed now a qualified electrician is needed by law to correctly install a new supply to any building unless you use a extension lead from else where which is not recommended. Fortunately I knew an electrician who helped me out very well. You will need a strip light on at all times to simulate the Budgie’s home land, a night light to make sure they can find there way after the main light goes of, this is controlled by time switches. A heater with a thermostat will be needed to ensure the temperature is not to cold although Budgies will withstand lower tempters they you think but Chicks & adults do not like draughts. Heater & Light would be best bought new unless you know where they come from one may be knocking about in your house costing nothing.
Ventilation is needed to your Flight I used 4 gas vents 2 inside & 2 outside each pair either side of the flight with an extractor fan in the centre of the rear wall connected to another time switch that comes on every 15mins. Ventilation also comes from the window when open as well as the door that can be left open in good weather.
Feeders & Drinkers
Dishes for 2 types of seed will be needed I used plastic plant pot saucers for my main seed & smaller ones for the special seed. Fountain type drinkers are used for dispensing water, which is changed every day, fixed to the cage fronts. In the flight a bigger version of the fountain drinker was placed on a brick on the back wall.
I read a few books on Budgies, then talked to an experienced Breeder who has helped me all the way through, & is still on call in case anything goes wrong. When every thing is place & secure you may acquire you first Budgerigars.
Overall the cost to me was in the region of £500 but I will say that with a bit more time it would have not cost any ware near that amount. To extend it to more than double the size, will cost in the region of £200, & not that if I do my dealing right. The slabs have already been acquired FOC as has the window I will now scour the local press & recycling centre for any suitable materials including a shed.
How will I know when my budgies are ready to begin breeding? (2009)
My brother and I have kept budgerigars since 1958, and after the first couple of years, we decided that we should try breeding for showing. Since about 1960/61, our breeding programme has always been geared to the show season and therefore we always pair our birds up early enough to use the new year's rings as soon as they were delivered, and pair them up in mid-November.
It is, of course, important that the birds be fit for breeding, and they tend to come into breeding condition a few weeks after they complete the main annual moult, in October. It is interesting that, after a few years in which the ‘October Moult’ appeared to have dispersed somewhat, our birds appear to have reverted to the old, ‘set’ times for moulting and have come through this moult well.
Normally, as cock birds come into fitness, they become noisier and much more excited in their behaviour. The eye becomes brighter – especially in the iris, and they ‘chat up’ anything within range, be it cocks, hens, perches, drinkers or any such object. The hens often become more broody in nature (although not always) and often give an impression that they seek nesting locations/materials. This often shows in increased chewing of wood, and at this time of the years, their droppings also become a little more effusive
Another possible sign is the deepening of the colour of the cere in both sexes, but this in not, necessarily, a reliable sign. For example, some hens retain a whitish cere and go on to breed successfully.
What should I feed my budgies during the breeding season?
Additional feeding in our aviary starts in October, when we introduce occasional supplies of a proprietary softfood with an additional of Tonic seed and groats. This would also be the time for folk to introduce additives to the diet, if they so wish, to build up the birds – and particularly the hens- for the breeding season. We do add a calcium supplement and another proprietary additive to the seed at this time
How do I clean a nest-box that contains eggs or chicks?
We do not normally find it necessary to clean a nest box at the egg stage, as the hen usually keeps the eggs clean herself. If, exceptionally, we have a hen which soils the eggs greatly, we look for a suitable foster pair to transfer those eggs to. As we keep a mixed collection of birds, including red-eyes (Lutinos and Albinos), we will normally try to transfer the eggs of red-eyes to pairs of the non-red-eye variety, so that the fostered eggs can be recognised on hatching -- and vice-versa.
This done, we transfer our attention to the ‘dirty’ hen, and examine her closely to make sure that she is otherwise in good health, as this soiling may be due to an intestinal irregularity. If all appears well, we leave the pair to settle for another round, and hope that all will be well then. Normally, however, unless they are maiden birds, these hens are trouble and will not change.
Where there are chicks, we try to allow things to proceed as closely to nature as possible, and mindful that there is no third party around to clean out the nests of budgerigars in the wild, we opt not to clean out the nest boxes except where there is excessive soiling due to heavy, wet droppings in the nest box: even in the latter case we try to avoid drastic cleaning, by introducing further supplies of sawdust/shavings to mop- up the excess moisture, before embarking on a wholesale cleaning job. If the latter is necessary, we transfer the chicks to a warm place – usually our catch-net, situated near a heater, while we work quickly to do the necessary work. It is worth stressing at this point, that our daily nest box routine includes checking the beak and feet of chicks to make sure that they are kept clear of droppings etc, as otherwise these can rapidly harden and lead to malformations in the beak, legs and feet. If a chicks feet are becoming quickly re-covered, a little Vaseline, or similar massaged into the feet and legs may prevent the problem becoming too persistent.
Is there any way to check whether the eggs are fertile?
Quite a simple one, initially which has been improved upon over the years thanks to progress. Nowadays, we can use purpose built torches/lights which can be placed and lighted behind the eggs while still lying in the nest box, and in the early stage the red lines of the growing embryo will become apparent. After a few day, of course, the eggs will be solid white as the embryo grows inside the egg. This process is still called ‘candling’ eggs because the original, centuries-old, method used by farmers to determine the fertility of eggs was to hold the egg in front of a lighted candle.
It is, of course, equally possible to take the egg from the nest box and hold it up to the light – or better still against a light at the same level. Many fanciers feel that the less we have to interfere with eggs the better, so always try to replace eggs exactly as they were in the box. Finally, wash or disinfect your hands before and after handling eggs, to ensure that eggs do not become contaminated.
What is the best time of year for breeding budgerigars?
Many fanciers feel that the best time is, as normal practise now, in November because it is after the main moult for budgerigars and this would be the time when the birds would naturally look for a mate -- when they are equipped with all their new finery. However, other say that the budgerigar is a different bird from that which lives wild in Australia, even though it has retained some of its habits, and that the best time would be, like our native varieties, in late February/early March. When my brother and I first joined the Budgerigar Society, the issue date of the Official Close Coded Rings had just been brought forward, in response to demands from fanciers, from March 10th to January. This move was driven, as the current moves now are, by the supposed needs of the exhibition fancy, and many of the ‘Old-Timers’ of the day denigrated the move as being in compliance with the needs of fanciers rather than what was best for the birds.
Certainly, the arguments persist and still will. There is, however, no getting away from the fact that year by year we hear fanciers reporting “Rotten first- round, much better second and third”. Whether this is because it takes some birds longer to ‘warm-up’ or that fertility is better early in the year is open to conjecture
Certainly this year, our breeding season got off to a poor start, despite our having spent more time in repairing and preparing the birdroom for the new season. We were not able to address the problems until mid January and beyond because of a series of illnesses/bereavements and associated duties, but having re-paired some of the birds then, we seem to have considerably more promise, at present (2009). Fingers crossed !!
(Notes on talk given to Sunderland members 27th April 2009)
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