|The Budgerigar Council of Victoria Inc (A10055P)|
A Guide to purchasing birds, by Alan Rowe
Alan Rowe is a Champion Breeder, National Judge and one of the leading
breeders in Australia.
Beginning at your club level, volunteering as a steward is a rewarding way to gain an insight into how the judges interpret the standard and determine the placings. Most judges are very willing to pass on their expertise to keen beginners (but ask your questions after the judging!) and the show experience gained is very worthwhile. Make appointments wherever possible to visit the aviaries and breeding rooms of experienced fanciers who are consistently doing well on the showbench. Even established breeders usually learn something from such visits, and it usually enhances the social side of our great hobby.
After determining which variety you'd like to breed you should endeavour to
obtain birds of that variety from a specialist breeder or exhibitor consistently
producing winners or highly placed birds at Diploma,Shield or National shows.
You of course cannot expect to buy these particular birds but you may however be
able to purchase family members or offspring. Quite often the lesser bird from a
good family is the bird which produces the best young ones. This bird would be
of reasonable standard, with a good outline but perhaps down a little in size,
mask or spots. Smaller birds of the required shape are more valuable than big
birds with obvious faults.
From the stud of an exhibitor doing well on the modern showbench these birds will have the desired 'English' features, large spots, good feather around the face and mask and tight primary and secondary flights. You should also be looking for very active, strong off the perch, thick shouldered birds with big feet (without spindly, bent toes) and in good general condition. I don't consider feather condition to be so important at the time of purchase. A small tucked-in-beak is useful since budgerigars with this trait usually show good deportrnent. Ask the seller's permission to handle the bird yourself. It should be a 'handful',carrying good body weight, since lack of such bulk in an otherwise well sized bird may indicate the beginnings of a health problem. Check hens in particular for dirty, swollen or discoloured vents as any of these conditions could affect their breeding potential. Only buy young hens (current year rings) and cocks no more than two years old. The younger the bird, the more chance it has of improving as it matures, at least up to eighteen months old and perhaps even later in the case of many of the budgerigars of English pedigree which tend to be slow to develop their full potential stature.
To achieve the best results from your purchase the birds should be paired as
recommended by the breeder (mated pairs). The best birds available will not
produce those winners for you if they are not mated properly or if your own
breeding room management is at fault. Discuss with the supplier of your birds
the treatment, routines and particularly nutritional needs that has been
successful with them and that they have been accustomed to all their young lives
at his place and try to maintain it for them at yours. The quality of the stud
usually determines the price asked for the birds from it. When choosing birds
from those made available, it's a far better policy to use the sum you wish to
spend on the purchase of one or two pairs of quality budgerigars rather than
buying a larger number of inexpensive inferior birds, quality is better than
Birds from a reliable stud come complete with full details of pedigree, and if your judgement has been correct it makes a great deal of sense when buying future stock to select related birds from the same stud. The principal idea is to initially breed some useful hens, then if possible buy a couple of better quality related cocks from the original stud the following year and progress from there.
In conclusion, a word of warning to our beginners.