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Articles

We hope that as many of our members as possible will consider writing a short article for this page. The leading contribution plus the book reviews were written by our former secretary, Paul Burke, who although only 13 years old at the time, took on the cares of office for the society. Not only did he become secretary, but he built this website and much of the information contained in these pages was compiled by Paul. He has now, unfortunately, left the fancy, to concentrate on his studies. We wish him well and hope to welcome him back when he has achieved his initial aims.

       CLICK THE TITLE OF YOUR CHOICE  TO VISIT IT.

1.  SHOW PREPARATION  ... by Paul Burke

2.   A VISIT TO THE WASHINGTON MULTI-PURPOSE CENTRE_. by DH

3.   THE PET BREEDERS' REGISTER .... DH

4.   Fostering Eggs and Chicks  - DH

5   Setting up an aviary   - by the late Robert Higgerson

6   Questions from "Cage & Aviary Birds"

7. Management Tips -  by  Ron Fairhurst

8. Sunderland B.S and the hobby

1.  Show Preparation  ... by Paul Burke

The process which a breeder goes through about 3-4 weeks before the show is called dressing. Many fanciers including myself start the dressing process at around ten weeks before the show.

I start the process at ten weeks by spraying the team which I have picked every week. this ensures good feather condition for the show bench. At three weeks I remove and unwanted feathers from the mask to create 'the necklace' of six spots, four main and two tucked under the cheek patch. The ideal bird shows that the cheeks are desired to be round and in proportion to the face, so choosing the right ones is vital; however if you remove the spots at three months and you make a mess of it then the spots will grow back within six weeks so you will have plenty of time to try again.

Another good technique which I find useful  is to get your birds at around two to four weeks before the show and wash them in 'Johnson's Baby Shampoo'. You do this by getting a soft haired shaving foam brush then mixing a shampoo and LUKEWARM water solution in a bowl then simply applying a good amount of the solution all into the birds feathers: making sure that you clean the vent thoroughly as you don't want your bird to lose due to an unclean vent.  After you have washed all of the birds body (including underneath the wings) you can get a LUKEWARM bowl of fresh clean water and simply submerse the birds body (leaving the head above the water at a safe height as illustrated) and wiping off the shampoo whilst doing so. Then remove the bird once all of the shampoo is removed and dry it on a reasonably warm cloth. After the bird has dried you will see a fantastic difference, especially in the albino's.

If one of your birds has got blood anywhere on its body from where it has maybe caught itself or been in a fight or maybe one of it's head (pin) feathers has been pulled then you will have to remove the bird from it's cage and get a small amount of COLD water, it must be cold because warm or even lukewarm water makes the stain stick and if this is a show bird especially you do not want that, it is basically just like if you iron a stain in you can't get it out. 

So when you have got your COLD water get the bird so that it does not squirm or wriggle when you are applying the water. Then you need to rub your finger in the water and then straight onto the birds head do not rub repeatedly as this will smudge the stain and this is the last thing that you want. it is best to catch the blood when it is fresh as it rinses away quite easily. After you have bathed the birds bloody spot put it in a training cage and give it a good spray with clean water, this can be lukewarm as spraying a bird with cold water is not recommended. Give the bird an hour to dry and you will see a dramatic difference, however if it has pulled its main flights on its wings away it will have to stay in the stock cage for a week or to and then be introduced into the flight. The feathers on the wings usually grow back within six weeks but in most circumstances you can't exhibit a bird with missing flights although it has been done if the feathers are balanced but The Sunderland Budgerigar Society advise against this as it could be classed as a form of cheating, because your bird is not complete.

                                                                                                                                                       Paul Burke
 

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

When I read this fantastic book my whole concept of the budgerigar fancy changed. I realized that this fancy is more than a hobby, it is an obsession, it just takes over peoples lives. Gerald Binks really is a master craftsman. I have heard fanciers relate to this masterpieces ‘THE BIBLE’, because if you ever Have any problems in your shed you simply open the book and all of the information you need is right before your eyes. This book is huge it is just over A4 size and Has 214 pages of solid budgerigar facts, pictures and helpful Information, which shows just how much Gerald Binks loves his hobby.I feel that Gerald Binks has accomplished what most of us could not achieve in a lifetime in the space of 60 mind-blowing years. This book unfortunately went out of print a few months back due to ridiculous printing charges which were requested from Gerald.  

( 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

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.

Paul Burke

 

2.   A VISIT TO THE WASHINGTON MULTI-PURPOSE CENTRE

To extract a short quote from the Website of the Washington Multi Purpose Centre, in Ayton Road, Washington, " In the region of 130 adults use the centre each week. Individuals attend between 1 and 5 days, depending upon assessed needs. The day centre provides for adults with a wide range of learning disabilities. Whilst opportunities at the Centre include art, woodwork, car restoration, textiles gardening and computing, the Day Centre Manager has long been keen to offer more structured learning activities

In the early months of 2003, the Sunderland Budgerigar Society was contacted by its manager, Barrie Mitchinson as they had built an aviary and were looking for advice as to the management of it. A small sub-committee from the Sunderland B.S took the matter in hand, and after an advisory initial visit, appealed to local members for birds to help stock the aviary. The appeal resulted in a fairly mixed collection of budgerigars being presented by our members to the centre.

On Thursday, 11th March two of the original party Joe Staples (our retiring Secretary), John Herring (Chairman) and I accepted a standing invitation to visit the centre to check their progress.

We were welcomed by Don Kynoch who took us into a lounge in the Ayton suite, near to the spot where the aviary is sited. The lounge contained a large ornate cage; in it were three budgies, which are the much-pampered pets of the residents, who have mental or physical special needs. Don apologised that the two people support staff members who could give us most information, Sid Tonkinson and Sandra Egan, were not available at present - they were away purchasing vital stores and equipment for the aviary.

Don was, however, able to give us more information as to how the aviary came to be built: it apparently started with the erection of a dovecote ( a fine structure which we saw , along with its residents, when we Joe Staples (our retiring Secretary), John Herring (Chairman) and I accepted a standing invitation to visit the centre to check their progress.
first arrived at the centre). This venture complete, one of the centre's regular users commented that he had formerly kept budgerigars and it would be good if they could have an aviary there. The idea was taken up and enquiries were made of various sources as to what would be the best design for their needs.
This careful study resulted in the construction of an birdroom of about 12' x 8' which gives on to a covered flight of 4' x 8' in size.The birdroom includes four generously proportioned breeding/stock cages, and there is an inside flight which gives directly on to the outside flight. Perching in the flights is of branches from apple trees, which need to be regularly replaced but from which the birds derive great enjoyment.

The breeding programme for this year has not started yet - they wait for the warmer weather, although there is some heating in the birdroom, which keeps conditions very comfortable for visitors and those who look after the stock. Don told us, however, that they had bred a good number of chicks since they started - they have lost count of the number; the residents insisted on giving the youngsters names as they arrived - the first being named Ainsley, (after Harriott ?) which found a good home, as do most of the youngsters, with one of the centre users who are non-resident. We were shown a photograph of the bird, with its owner (now sadly deceased) and he was obviously a much-loved pet.

I certainly gained the impression that interest in this project over the intervening months has grown rather than diminished, and that there is always a waiting list for pets, and a steady stream of visits and enquiries about the birds from centre users from other parts of this site. The breeding season supplies additional impetus to this interest (as it does with all budgerigar breeders), and there is no shortage of volunteers to attend to their care. The fact that there is always someone on hand with true expertise adds to the security and excellent care that the stock receives.

The death of a bird is always a cause of sadness, but nothing gives rise more to consternation when one "flies the coop" - probably all bird fanciers have suffered this experience and it is not a pleasant one. Such occurred here not so long ago, when a bird which was being handled flew away and over the rooftops. Rather unusually, however, they managed to retrieve it and, fortunately, nothing like that has happened again.

It was good to observe the fine work that this centre is doing generally and to see how well the particular project with which we are involved has developed here, and we were happy to promise that we will return again in three or four months to, hopefully, see some of this years youngsters, and discuss husbandry methods with Sid and Sandra. We were left with the feeling that the management of Washington Multi Purpose Centre is providing something that other centres may also be keen to emulate. If so, I would be pleased to hear from anyone who wishes to become involved in a similar project and they may contact me on 0191-5673933, or by
e-mail at david.herring@ukonline.co.uk
Anyone interested in reading more about the work of the Washington Multi Purpose Centre may also wish to visit the website.

3.                                                    THE PET BREEDERS' REGISTER -Buy British Pets campaign

 

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’ !!

 

 

Dave Herring

Budgerigar Society Publicity Officer.

   FOSTERING -EGGS AND CHICKS 

  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..

                                                                                                                           David Herring

 

5.  SETTING UP AN AVIARY -  by the late Robert Higgerson

ITEMS NEEDED

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

10.     Ventilation

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.

Nest Boxes

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

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.

 

6.     Questions from "Cage & Aviary Birds"

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 !!

Dave Herring

 

7.  Management Tips by  Ron Fairhurst

(Notes on talk given to Sunderland members 27th April 2009) 

Further to your request for an article covering the advice I gave to members on my recent visit . I am more than happy to oblige and pleased that my talk on tips proved interesting especially to the beginners in the audience.

Firstly I must admit that none of the tips given were of my own innovation and were gained from visiting a number of birdrooms and talking to other fanciers over several years .

My list of useful tips were as follows,

(1) Nest Boxes :- Always keep one or two alternative types of nestbox on hand, it may be that a bird that has been bred or has itself bred in a particular type of box will only breed in that type. Therefore when buying a bird it is advisable to note the type of nestboxes that the seller uses .

(2) Clothes Peg :- From time to time we all experience over protective hens that prove very aggressive when you try to inspect the nest box, especially when chicks are present. I have found that after removing the hen, to prevent her re-entering, a clothes peg clipped over the entrance hole provides an efficient barrier . (This is particularly practicable for those who use outside nestboxes!)

(3) Splatter Boards :- To assist in keeping the breeding cage free of copious amounts of excrement when the hen is in laying mode, a board placed under the perch furthest away from the nest box is useful as it can be removed at regular intervals, scraped clean and replaced with minimal disturbance to the breeding pair.

(4) Guttering :- A of length guttering fixed on the bottom edge of the lowest row of cages will catch up to 50% of falling cage litter, therefore keeping the birdroom floor tidier .

(5) Perches :- It is acknowledged that to achieve successful breeding it is essential that perches are fixed firmly so that mating can take place correctly . If the slot in the perch end is placed into the horizontal bar of the cage front as opposed to the vertical bar, it will prevent the perch moving up or down.

(6) Junior Toothbrush :- These are very useful for cleaning out the narrow spouts of drinkers and finger drawers .

(7) Coloured Pins :- A quick & easy method of identifying at what stage a breeding pair have reached is to attach coloured pins to the outside of the nestbox . For instance, a red pin would signify that the hen had yet to lay, an amber one that the box contained eggs and a green one that there were chicks present .

(8) Plastic Sheet :- When show training young birds they often tend to climb onto the cage front, to prevent this, place a sheet of clear plastic on the inside of the wires . I have found a plastic file cover cut to size and cellotaped on proves ideal .

(9) Judging Board :- A 2 inch wide board shaped with a slot cut in it to fit over the front rail and passed to the back of a show cage encourages a bird to move off the cage floor and onto the perch. As this piece of equipment is used by many judges,the sooner a bird gets used to it the steadier it will be on the showbench.

(10) Routine :- Use a set routine when feeding etc., to prevent overlooking a particular cage with potentially dire results . For instance, starting with the top row of cages, work from left to right and so on down. Then before leaving do a quick final check, It' so easy to miss a cage.

Well , there you have it, the points I covered on my visit . I hope your society's beginners and maybe others find one or two of my tips useful.

Yours sincerely,   Ron Fairhurst

SUNDERLAND BS PUBLICITY

In 2007 I contacted the editors of "Eastwise" and they agreed to accept an article and pictures from me about our society.

        The article appeared in the September 2007 special edition of the paper. I print below a   photograph of the relevant pages of the magazine  ... but, members, before you read this, consider that the time is about right to record the excellent progress that the society has made since then, and the fact that we will be staging an Open show here in Sunderland for the first time for a great number of years. This is something else on which we can build as a society and community and I will be contacting members soon for their own story to include on these pages.

Sadly, the magazine (like the bird below) is no with us!

8. Sunderland B.S and the hobby

 

 
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                                                                              Last updated: August 26, 2014 13:18