After several months of modifying and freshening up the aviary the birds are settling down well. I started breeding in the middle of the modifications and the birds put up with the noise of the compressor and various power tools. All the modifications came as a result of my recent trip to the UK and Europe. The management changes are proving very positive and the birds are showing improved vigour as a result.
The fertility this season is unbelievably good, it takes me back to the good old days, thirty or so years ago when most of the eggs were full and one expected birds to breed. Not like recent times where the birds are harder to breed with and nest failures were the norm.
The breeders I visited, generally expected 80% of their birds to breed ok-ishly. In contrast I have had some horrendous breeding seasons where 80% of parings failed. My observations indicated that the management and nutrition of the birds in OZ is most probably the cause of many breeding failures. I would go as far as to say, it is even responsible for the death of many superior birds. Without these superior birds and breeding failure, we have lost many chances to keep pace with the European birds. There is no doubt we have not kept pace with the progression of birds overseas, and anybody who thinks we are is kidding themselves or should go to spec savers.
Our birds have way less feather and are smaller than the UK and European Budgies, therefore our birds should breed like flys. I foolishly blamed the Mannes Feather on my birds for their breeding inadequacies. My renovations have taken the stress out of the bird’s lives; therefore they are in a much better state of wellbeing. My feeding was better than average but probably a little inconsistent. Busy life styles and business will do that. I have upped the anti on the general feeding of the birds, with a much more extensive and varied diet that can be simply delivered to the birds with regularity. Essentially modifying the UK/European observations to suit my situation.
The number of eggs laid has increased also by about 20 to 25% with 8 eggs being the median now. In hindsight I believe I started breeding about three to four weeks to early with the birds struggling with extreme cold weather and keeping newly hatched chicks going forward. I certainly look forward to what is produced this season.
At the end of my recent business trip to Europe I made my way to Daniel Lutolf’s, just outside Zurich in Switzerland. Daniel was a well-educated, astute and smart person, which I believe is the background to his brilliance as a breeder. In Australia we would say he is no “dill”.
The collection of quality birds was amazing; he had super quality in all colours and varieties. As with McGovern’s birds in the UK the size of Daniels birds was unbelievable. To handle his birds was interesting also because they had true bulk not just a large amount of feathers. The feather structure and distribution has to be seen to be appreciated. I doubt if there would be a stud of budgies in the world that has anything like his depth of quality. He showed me many birds that had what he called extreme feather, these birds were hard to comprehend and believe to exist to be honest.
Daniel’s attention to detail is remarkable; his management is different and well thought through. His explanations for his process make a lot of sense. The proof of how well thought through the processes are, is in the quality of the birds and he gets them to breed.. His feeding is remarkable with many products used that all play their part and care documented in a number of articles.
I took away a stack of information, not all of it, I have the time nor the inclination to do. However, a few small changes in my feeding regime and some major changes in management, housing and husbandry of my birds has changed the birds tremendously.
How lucky was I to spend the day at Daniels’ and a couple of days with the McGoverns. I came away from the trip with renewed enthusiasm for the Budgies, as a result of the inspirational time I spent with them.
A few of Daniels birds below taken on my phone,
I have just arrived home after a three week business trip to Europe. I decided on the this trip to bookend the trip with a couple of aviary visits. Frank and Carol McGovern were my firsts visit mainly to catch up after not seeing them for over 20 years. Frank played an integral part of my importation lot of budgies to Australia. It was also nice to see their son Joseph now breeding budgies as well.
The birds were a real eye opener, massive and lots of feather. The McGovern’s had won best in Show the week before at the Largest Budgie show in the north of the UK Lancs and Cheshire Nth Wales.
Franks brief for my visit was to give me some inspiration and stacks of information with the birds.
I can’t believe how the birds had progressed, with their size and with masses of feather, they were all flying in aviaries and they were as healthy as could be, they breed about 400 birds per year and everything was going well. The best birds I have seen in Australia recently are a quantum leap behind these birds. The major difference is the management and nutrition these birds get, the aviary is spotless within reason. I have come away with renewed optimism for my own stud of birds. We run into problems with length and amount of feather, or so I thought. WRONG!!! We had feather growth problems and feathers growing into the eyes, these problems were NOT evident in the hundreds of birds they keep.
So what did I learn, a new record keeping system, much better breeding cage management, sensible use of supplements, a much better feeding regime and to be extremely harsh on birds with various problems. Don’t breed from them.
The McGovern’s are great people, it was such a pleasure to spend a couple of days with them.
Hi fellow budgie breeders. I bit of a quick update to where the birds are at and a couple of issues that concern me.
I have managed to get a fair percentage of the pairs breeding, as with most aviaries some are breeding better than others. I have bred enough birds now to take the pressure off, I was in grave fear of losing the stud. Because of business commitments I didn’t really work the birds, over the previous three seasons, so the number of birds available to use was quite low. And many6 of the birds that were there to use were 2 or 3 years old and more.
I purchased a few birds at auctions all supposedly related to mine. These in the main have been a waste of time. Only a couple bred, although because these were my better birds I have bred some useful stuff out of them. Maybe they will do better next season we can only keep trying.
I find it interesting that the birds I purchased at auction behaved so badly, one would question some of the breeders who put these birds in the auctions. One bird in particular, had chronic diarrhoea when transferred her to my carry cage at the auction and I lost her a few days after the auction. Interestingly the breeder took no responsibility for this. And of course the disclaimers, of the Auction organising club takes no responsibility either. Really it won’t make much difference to me, but if it was a beginner or someone who saved up to buy that birds and put the years hopes in it they would be extremely pissed off. The breeder/seller, I now find out, from very reliable source , couldn’t be trusted as far as you could kick him. I can remember another incident with another breeder who is local to me, said in front of a group of budgie breeders, that he only put birds in Auctions that won’t bred for him or play up in the breeding cage. With these attitudes what hope has the hobby got?
These above scoundrels probably sit in meetings etc. ( and I know they do) and try to come up with ways to gain new membership for their budgie club and debate, how do we stop people leaving the hobby and how do we get more people involved in the hobby. Maybe they could stop being shifty and underhanded and treat others how they themselves would like to be treated. Get rid of the; them and us, closed groups that infiltrate most clubs.
Unfortunately many of my budgie mates are getting more and more pleasure out of their bird rooms and less and less pleasure out of their involvement with clubs.
Until next time. All the best for the festive season, don't drink too much and I wish you and all your families a happy healthe 2013
I had the pleasure of spending a bit of time with Alan Druery yesterday. He is one of the true gentlemen of the hobby.
I was very impressed with the quality of his birds. I wanted to see the Sky which won its class at the Nationals this year. He was every bit the budgie I expected he would be. A fabulous bird.
There were many good youngsters flying and Alan had a cage of really nice babies there, all were of very good quality and a couple of the babies will be spectacular.
Thank you for your time Alan, and the effort you put in to show me a number of your birds, your birds are something that you should be very proud of.
This is the first blog on the new-look web site. You will notice I have had a bit of a refurb with the web site and hope to keep it current.
Lots has happened in the past decade or so with my life. As a result the Budgies have taken a bit of a back seat to everything else that has been going on during that period. I still enjoy breeding the budgies and have kept the stud rolling along, all be it on a much reduced scale
This first blog I wanted to use to honour the passing of my Best Budgie mate John Carrol (Melbourne, Australia) late last year. It knocked my for a six when I heard of his sudden death. We spoak often by phone and would meet up when ever possible. The biggest problem was we lived about 700 miles apart, so most of our contact was via phone. John became a very good and trusted friend, who I will readily tell you I miss our relationship a lot. We were great mates on many levels well apart from our budgie breeding capers. There is one massive void in my bird keeping experience since John's passing. It was John who encouraged me to keep the birds going until I had more time for them. I know you are in a better place Johno, may you rest in peace.