30 Bird Scene - July & August 2016

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BIRD ISSUE THIRTY: JULY / AUGUST 2016

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THE MAGAZINE FOR HOBBYIST BREEDERS AND CONSERVATIONISTS

CRIMSON FINCH 9TH OCTOBER 2016

DOES YOUR PARROT REALLY WANT A MATE?

5T ISS H UE SE 3 20 PT 1 O 16 EM UT BE R

THE NATIONAL EXHIBITION

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NEOCHMIA PHAETON


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CONTENTS

BIRD SCENE: JULY / AUGUST 2016

CONTENTS DONATE TO OUR CONSERVATION FUND… CLICK THE LINK BELOW: www.theparrotsocietyuk.org/donations.php

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CRIMSON FINCH By David Harris

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THE NATIONAL EXHIBITION 9TH OCTOBER 2016

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THE NATIONAL EXHIBITION Minutes

ON THE COVER

BIRD ISSUE THIRTY: JULY / AUGUST 2016

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NEOCHMIA PHAETON

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DOES YOUR PARROT REALLY WANT A MATE?

THE NATIONAL EXHIBITION 9TH OCTOBER 2016

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CRIMSON FINCH

BEING PREPARED Emma Freeman

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THE MAGAZINE FOR HOBBYIST BREEDERS AND CONSERVATIONISTS

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DOES YOUR PARROT REALLY WANT A MATE? Rosemary Low

BIRD SCENE: Issue Thirty: July / August 2016 BIRD SCENE is run by The Parrot Society UK, 92A High Street, Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, HP4 2BL, England. FOR SALES AND EDITORIAL ENQUIRES Telephone or Fax: 01442 872245 Website: www.theparrotsocietyuk.org E-Mail: les.rance@theparrotsocietyuk.org

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INTRODUCT

Les Rance, Editor, The Parrot Society UK | www.theparrotsocietyuk.org | les.rance@

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t the time of writing this introduction on 14th June it is a particularly wet day and I am just pleased that I am in a dry office and suspect that many of you are also inside today, let us hope that summer starts soon! There is certainly no need to take the lids off the nest boxes where there are broods of well feathered youngsters just to make sure they do not suffer from sun stroke! This year so far bird breeding has been ‘challenging’ due to the low night temperatures causing more infertile eggs than is the norm. Generally bird keeping is a relaxing past time, however, for hobbyist breeders that keep their birds in aviaries through the breeding season cool wet weather can also be a worrying time. Those who keep their stock in breeding rooms where they can more easily warm the building are in a far more satisfactory position. In this edition of Bird Scene I have both an excellent article from Dave Harris on the beautiful Crimson Finch and extensive details on the forthcoming National Exhibition. This is now the thirtieth edition of Bird Scene, how quickly five years can

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pass when you are working on such an interesting project – the first FREE on-line bird magazine produced in the UK. At 48 pages this is quite a big read! Every time we post the Parrot Society magazine I cringe at the cost. Postal costs appear to have increased far faster than inflation and if The Royal Mail are not careful they will find that their income will reduce even further as people and businesses send less and less by conventional means. These costs obviously affect bird clubs when the show schedules have to be posted to potential exhibitors and equally it affects the exhibitors when they return their entries. In addition how much longer will bird clubs be able to afford to post magazines to their members? This must be a great worry to many club officials Fortunately with an e-magazine we do not have this problem, or for that matter the cost of colour printing. As a result of increases to the costs of both postage and printing I am really pleased that we decided to produce Bird Scene as a FREE e-magazine. We have learnt a great deal over the past


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BY THE EDITOR

LES RANCE

@theparrotsocietyuk.org four years about this way of communicating with bird enthusiasts and I am sure that this knowledge will become more and more valuable as we see further increases in costs to paper magazines. We are always happy to receive articles about the species that are being exhibited at The National and are very pleased to give publicity to the club supplying the information. Regular readers will know that Bird Scene as been produced to publicise The National Exhibition held each year at our October Sale Day/Show which will be held on Sunday 9th October and to promote our Conservation efforts for threatened parrots in the wild. An archive of earlier editions of Bird Scene can be found on the Home Page of our website www. theparrotsocietyuk.org so if you would like to see earlier versions please do log on to our site. In this edition besides the two lead articles we have ‘Does your Parrot Really Need a Mate’ by Rosemary Low. ‘Being Prepared’ by Emma Freeman and ‘Ecuador – A Land of Lost Beauty’ By David Steptowe.

Unfortunately there seems to be a continued spate of thefts mainly from exhibitors keeping valuable show birds, it appears that exhibitors are being followed home by the thieves so they then know where the exhibitor resides. Also in this issue are details relating to The National Exhibition especially the minutes of the meeting that was held with the exhibiting clubs which took place at The Quality Hotel, Allesley, Coventry, on Sunday 15th May. These annual meetings are so important to ensure the smooth running of the event which started in its present format in 2007 and is going from strength to strength thanks to the support we are receiving from the bird clubs who so vigorously support the Exhibition. It is very pleasing to report that these meetings are still well attended and ensure that we are all ‘up to speed’ on such areas as Show Schedules and Lifting Arrangements that are so important to a successful show. With numbers increasing in the canary sections we will have more of these delightful birds in the Argyle Centre this year.

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CRIMSON FINCH

NEOCHMIA PHAETON BY DAVID HARRIS


FEATURE

Taxonomic source(s): Christidis and Boles (1994), Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993) Species named by Hombron & Jacquinot, 1841. First recorded in UK in 1861. First breeding 1908, Mathias – Hetley. (Immernam)

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ange and population Neochmia phaeton, is a common species of estrildid finch found in Australia, West Papua, Indonesia & Papua New Guinea. It is commonly found in moist savannah, and subtropical/ tropical (lowland) moist scrublands. Find a Pandanus stand and water and you should find crimsons in the Australian top end. Neochmia phaeton, phaeton The status of the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Neochmia phaeton evangelinae & Neochmia phaeton iredalei is listed as ‘Vulnerable’ under Schedule 3 of the Nature Conservation (Wildlife) Regulation 1994 Other names: The Crimson Finch is also known as the Blood Finch, Pale Crimson Finch, White-bellied Finch and Australian Firefinch (Higgins et al. 2006). Neochmia phaeton phaeton: (black bellied) across the top end of Australia from Broom in the Kimberley Division in Western Australia to Mount Isa and the Barkly Tableland in north-western Queensland Neochmia phaeton iredalei on the east coast of Queensland from Princess Charlotte Bay and Broad Sound to the drainage basins of the lower Dawson and Mackenzie Rivers;

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Neochmia phaeton evangelinae: (white-bellied) , which occurs on the Cape York Peninsula in Queensland, and in the Trans-Fly region of southern Papua New Guinea (Coates 1990; Higgins et al. 2006; Schodde & Mason 1999). It is conventionally accepted that there are two subspecies of the Crimson Finch (Boles 1988; Schodde & Mason 1999): the nominate subspecies, N. p. phaeton and the white-bellied subspecies, N. p. evangelinae Some authors have split the white-bellied forms of the Cape York Peninsula and Papua New Guinea into two separate subspecies, N. p. albiventer on the Cape York Peninsula, and N. p. evangelinae in Papua New Guinea, and the black bellied form N.p.Phaeton in the west and N.p. iredalei in the east on the basis of differences in plumage (Boles 1988; Higgins et al. 2006; Keast 1958; Paynter 1968). However, other authors consider the differences to be irrelevant and due to local population plumage variance, the difference between the Cape York Peninsula and Papua New Guinea birds is also thought to be insufficient to warrant separation, and to probably result from individual variation associated with the age of the bird and the wearing of the plumage (Boles 1988; Ford 1986; Rand 1942; Schodde & Mason 1999). Further study is needed to clarify the differences between the Cape York Peninsula and Papua New Guinea populations (Higgins et al. 2006).(

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Australian Government the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities) The Neochmia genus comprises the;Crimson finch Neochmia phaeton, the Sydney waxbill (Red browed finch) Neochmia temporalis, The Star finch Neochmia ruficauda, and the Cherry Finch (Plum headed finch) Neochmia modesta. Introduction: The Crimson finch is commonly called the Blood Finch in Australia this is due to the predominantly blood red coloration of the cock birds plumage. This bird is often erroneously accused of being a “killer” in captivity. It is normally no more aggressive than any other Australian finch. I have had Star finches and Gouldians that showed the same amount of aggression; having seen flocks of crimsons in the Kimberley and nests within 6ft of each other I believe that this is an often maligned finch. In My experience only males kept as single birds for a long period of time may eventually become really aggressive when reintroduced to other birds. Having said that in my early days with this species, I had a White bellied hen that killed two mates until she found one to her liking, I now know that diet and space contribute to the aggression and the way I introduced the new males, Hence Always


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The Crimson finch is commonly called the Blood Finch in Australia this is due to the predominantly blood red coloration of the cock birds plumage.

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introduce birds in a cage or flight that is new to them both and not the established territory of either, when introducing in a box cage use a wire divider till the birds accept each other. One tip, if a cock is showing aggression give him some white feathers and his attention will soon be distracted. Housing: I have successfully kept five pairs of Black bellies in a 6 ft deep x 4ft wide x 7ft high indoor flight and had one pair breed rearing 5 young. Protein levels are often the key. Lower the Protein level and the birds will become more aggressive as they challenge for the best food, they also like their own space and even bonded pairs tend to sit about 2 inches apart! Do not keep pairs in small box cages. 3ft wide x2ft deep x18in high is I would say a minimum. All my flights are within my bird shed and temperature controlled, Crimsons cope well with high temperatures and humidity and are never far from water in the wild. Like all Estrildidae they don’t cope well with cold and damp. Sexing: The plumage of the adults differs between the sexes. The adult males Black bellies, have a bright red face, bill, throat and breast, and have bright red flanks that have a series of white spots running along them.

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They have greyish-brown coloring on the crown and back of the head, the rear and sides of the neck, the back and shoulders, and the upper surfaces of the wings. The brownish-grey colouring on the back and shoulders, and on the upper surfaces of the wings, is suffused with red. They have black grey colouring on the under surfaces of the wings, a black to black/ grey belly, and black to grey thighs and undertail coverts; the tail itself is mainly red above, with darker centers to the feathers, and brown below, with red trim. Their irises vary in colour from red brown to brownish, and they have yellow/brown flesh legs and feet. The adult Hens have a bright red face with red beak, but differ from the adult males in having a brownish-grey breast, brown flanks (that retain the white spotting of the male), and brown thighs and upper tail coverts. They have paler, greyish-brown coloring on the crown and back of the head, the rear and sides of the neck, the back and shoulders, and the upper surfaces of the wings, and the red suffusion on the back and shoulders, and on the upper surfaces of the wings, is paler and weaker than in the adult males. The appearance is otherwise similar to that of adult males Adult Male White bellies differ from the Blacks in sizes being smaller and that the black grey of the under parts is replaced with white colouring on the under surfaces of the wings, a white to cream


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belly, and white to cream thighs and undertail coverts; Adult Hen White bellies differ from the Black hens only in size and depth of colour in the white to creams, being lighter. Juveniles of both species are predominantly brown with a red suffusion on the tail and black / brown bill. In captivity cross breeding through ignorance or for lack of viable alternatives has taken place thus diluting the purity of the gene pool and should be discouraged as it results in a bird that is neither one or the other and can change the pure birds when put back.. In Europe the black bellied form is now predominant.

In captivity cross breeding through ignorance or for lack of viable alternatives has taken place thus diluting the purity of the gene pool and should be discouraged as it results in a bird that is neither one or the other and can change the pure birds when put back.. Mutations: I only know of the Yellow or Golden form in both species. Care should be taken to ensure they do not hybridize with other species when housed in a mixed species collection, Personally I know of no hybrids. Ease of breeding; 7-8 out of 10, 10 being difficult, Despite this rating in the seven to eight years that I have kept Crimsons I have had no problems with them going to nest

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I have had pairs that threw chicks out at varying stages of development – from day olds to almost fledged – despite there being enough live food. They show a great dislike for nest inspection, so try and keep fingers away.

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FEATURE for me once I get the protein levels correct. I achieve this with the use of frozen Pinkies and meal worms supplemented with Protifar a protein supplement added to my egg food. Mind you getting them to nest and actually rear chicks are two different propositions! Like most Estrildidae they can be very easily disturbed and desert their young. In the wild they will supply a lot of green seeding grasses, as well as the animal protein in the form of small insects to the young. Easier said than done here in the UK, so as a replacement I use frozen Peas put through the blender when still frozen then mixed in the eggfood. However, I feel I must state that some pairs may often throw their chicks out or stop feeding despite the presence of large amounts green seed and of live food. I have had pairs that threw chicks out at varying stages of development – from day olds to almost fledged – despite there being enough live food. They show a great dislike for nest inspection, so try and keep fingers away. Changing diet triggers breeding, (e.g. changing from the austerity diet to breeding diet, introduction of soft food, with higher protein levels.) all the Australian finches need a period of rest; Austerity diet, with Crimsons this can be a balancing act, to little protein and you can trigger aggression when in mixed flights, keep it to high and the birds put

Crimsons will prefer to build their own bulky domed shape nest if given the chance, built from coarse grasses, and lined with coconut fibre and feathers, mostly white. on weight and will not breed. I have tried fostering under Bengalese but found infant mortality high as the Bengalese tend to try to stuff food in and sit when Crimson chicks tend to need constant supply of little and often and will not beg once some food is delivered. Courtship starts with the cock flying around carrying a length of green grass or white feather he will land next to the hen and sidle up to her waving the grass stem or feather, they then tend to lean forward twisting there tails towards each other, the cock will then raise up and bob up and down, both then tail quiver and if his luck is in mating will take place. Crimsons will prefer to build their own bulky domed shape nest if given the chance, built from coarse grasses, and lined with coconut fibre and feathers, mostly white. They usually build high in branches lining the shelter walls. They also use nest boxes, but, prefer to construct their own if given the option. The usual clutch is five to seven eggs, and fertility is good, and incubation takes 14 days with both male and female sharing the duties the female incubates alone during the night with the cock

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sitting guard some times in the nest entrance. Infant mortality can be very unpredictable; It is very common for the parents to nest again soon after the young fledge. The young can be removed after 30-40 days from fledging or if the cock becomes to forceful (in cages); In flights the young will be tolerated and I have found that the hen will go back to nest when the cock is still feeding the young. Once the juveniles start to moult this can be the time of concern as the cock will chase of young cocks and the hen picks on young hens if there is insufficient space for the juveniles to retreat Thick bush up to one meter from the ground can be utilized as a retreat. More than one feeding station is advisable at this time and site as far from nest site as possible. Flooring: In flights it is important to keep floor dry to stop the spread of disease Crimsons will spend some of their time on the floor rummaging about for insect life or fallen seeds, but are not great floor dwellers. Sand or Hemp core are good options I use hemp as it absorbs moisture and remains dry. Water: Fresh water should always be available as Crimson Finches do bathe a lot. Water can be supplied in an earthenware dish that keeps water cool in summer, or be

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In flights the young will be tolerated and I have found that the hen will go back to nest when the cock is still feeding the young. provided in the form of drinkers, I use an automatic water system that flushes the plastic baths three times a day and have observed the birds tend to drink when the water comes on and bathe while the water is still running usually first thing in the morning. In the wild I have observed a family group coming in to drink and they landed in branches that over hang the water and move down the branch till they can reach the water. Also landing on rocks reaching in and drinking, at Minors pool I observed them drinking from muddy pools from a water seep in a bank I can only conclude this was to get minerals in the dirty water as crystal clean water was available only yards away. Feeding Requirements Dry and soaked seed: Non-breeding: Austerity diet, is Canary seed, Yellow and Red Panicum with added grass seed. Soft food and Pinkies, once or twice a week to balance protein levels. Breeding: The major seeds to feed Crimsons finches with are Canary seed, White French Millet,


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Japanese Millet, and Yellow and Red Panicum, with Niger and added grass seed. Soaked seed I use a mix of my dry seed mix and wild weed seeds tonic mix added, this is just covered in Virkon S, solution and left Over night to take up the fluid any excess fluid is drained, then the seed left covered in a sieve for 12 hours to start to Chit and dry before being put in containers and frozen this is then introduced every other day on the lead up to breeding and every day when breeding. Soaked seed is always eaten. When feeding direct from freezer rinse under hot tap before feeding.

I use a mix of my dry seed mix and wild weed seeds tonic mix added, this is just covered in Virkon S, solution and left Over night to take up the fluid any excess fluid is drained… Soaked seed mixes must be cleaned away each day as they can easily sour, with fatal consequences especially to chicks. Virkon S removes the need for rinsing and washing the seeds In terms of efficiency Virkon® S has been proven highly effective against 65 strains of virus in over 19 viral families, 400 strains of bacteria and over 100 strains of fungi. This list of proven efficiency includes the

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major OIE List A diseases of concern; Avian Influenza (H5N1), Newcastle Disease, and when used in the recommended dosage is also safe in the drinking water. See packaging for details. (Copyright © 2011 DuPont.) Seeding grasses: Seeding grasses such as wild oat, rye grass or green millets should be offered when available and are eagerly taken Seeding grasses can be collected from a known clean source or home grown picked and stored in the freezer until needed. When feeding direct from freezer rinse under hot tap before feeding. I keep my limited supplies for feeding parents. Live food: When breeding, live food in the form of mini mealworms is relished along with frozen Pinkies. During the breeding season live food is of great importance. Successful Australian breeders utilise mealworms and/or termites, vinegar flies and bush fly larvae.

I have found that Crimsons will take live food at any time but a good indicator that the young have hatched is the increase in tameness waiting to be fed in fact this is a main indicator for establishing the progress of a nesting pair. Due to their secretive breeding nature when kept in flights it is important always to ensure a supply of live food is available in case a pair are about to hatch eggs unknown to the aviculturist. My Soft food Mix: for Crimsons. Dry ingredients, Measure, used is level standard egg food draw. 1-part Egg food, Ce-De Tropical. 1-part couscous, 1-part Frozen Pinkies or Buffs, or mix of the two. 1-part part Frozen peas, (smashed in blender till size of seeds or smaller) Or 1 part Green seed. 2x 5mm spoon, Fonio Paddy, 1x 3mm spoon, Spirulina 2x 5mm spoon, Protifar protein supplement. 1x 3mm spoon Garlic Powder 2x 5mm spoon Dried Mixed Herbs 1x 5mm spoon Dried Oregano. 2x 5mm spoon Olive oil NOTE; Dried Herbs can be substituted with fresh , Basil, Coriander, Oregano and Chicory finely chopped but this should be added just before serving.

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1-part part Frozen peas, (smashed in blender till size of seeds or smaller) Method, • Just Cover couscous with warm water and let stand until water is absorbed. (5-10 min) • Mix above ingredients with the exception of the Olive oil in large bowl, • Add 2 –parts Soaked Seeds or extra Peas if preferred, And mix well until all components fully mixed. • Add olive oil and mix fully again. • Put into sealed container and store in fridge overnight so the Egg food and Couscous. • Can absorb all liquids and powders.

Egg food mix is now ready to use. It should be loose in texture but have enough moisture to stick together when squeezed, Note if too moist add extra egg food. Or if to dry add extra water. Any that is not used immediately can be stored in a fridge or put in containers and frozen for future use. NOTE:- make sure feed is fully defrosted and to room temperature before use especially when feeding young. Less is best! If over fed birds will pick out their favourite items and not get the benefit of all ingredients.

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This species is one of the most active and attractive species in my bird room and can be one of the most endearing always at the front wanting to see what is going on I limit my birds to One tea spoon full per pair until they are feeding young when the amount is increased. Summary: This species is one of the most active and attractive species in my bird room and can be one of the most endearing always at the front wanting to see what is going on especially at feeding time, Crimsons can become very tame and I have even tempted wild birds to feed on bread crumbs from my hand at the lake side at Zebra rock art galleries in Kununurra WA. In the bird shed they can be tempted to take mealworms from the hand with a little patience. In the wild they seem to seek out the presence of man often nesting in the eaves of lake side cabins, At Ellenbray station on the Gibb river road they even nested inside the main building in a crash helmet hung on the wall. Crimsons are never cheap to purchase and in order to do the birds justice; you should consider their live food and housing needs before acquiring them for your collection. I have housed Crimsons in mixed collections with species such as the Gouldian

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Erythrura gouldiae, Masked Poephila personata, Long-tailed Poephila acuticauda, Parsons Poephila cincta, Plum-headed Aidemosyne modesta, Red browed Emblema temporalis, Painted Firetail Emblema picta, Blue-faced Parrot Finches Erythrura psittacea and Erythrura trichroa When housing with Poephila grassfinches care should be taken as grassfinches can be nest invaders.

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THE NATIONAL EXHIBITION 9TH OCTOBER 2016

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am certain that you will be pleased to learn that arrangements for this year’s National Exhibition are progressing well and there is good support from the clubs who form the National Exhibition Committee. The Parrot Society can only thank the bird club officials that have all worked so hard to increase the number of exhibits year on year and made this exhibition the success it has become. We are pleased to

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announce that Ray Howells the proprietor of Birds and Things has agreed to supply a trophy for Best In Show at this year’ s event. This trophy will be retained by the winner and Mr Howells will supply a new one each year, this is a very generous gesture and much appreciated by the Committee.The London Fancy Canary Club who joined our ranks in 2015 will again be exhibiting their member’s birds as they were very pleased with the outcome of


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their first show. Nine years ago The Parrot Society started out on a venture of hopefully rebuilding “The National Exhibition” that had been run up until 2003 at the Birmingham NEC. The defining factor was whether it was possible for all branches of our hobby to jointly pull together and ‘make it work’, after recording such a success in the first year the question was then whether the enthusiasm would be sustained. It has

indeed worked each year since the first Show in 2007 the numbers of exhibits have increased and we are working hard to ensure that even more varieties of exhibition quality canaries are on the show bench for the 2016 event. By combining this exhibition with the already highly successful Parrot Society October Sale Day at the superbly equipped Staffordshire County Showground a large proportion of the

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exhibitors were familiar with both the location and the available facilities. UK bird exhibitors now view this event as the premier ‘all variety show’ on the UK calendar. We are delighted that the exhibition is obtaining increasing support from both continental judges and breeders who travel long distances to attend this event it is exciting to think that in a very short time this exhibition has been able to attract these dedicated fanciers from all over Europe. The continental influence is not only limited to the fanciers, there is an increasing demand from continental traders to attend this event, further increasing the range of

We are delighted that the exhibition is obtaining increasing support from both continental judges and breeders who travel long distances to attend this event it is exciting to think that in a very short time this exhibition has been able to attract these dedicated fanciers from all over Europe. products available to all our enthusiastic visitors. As it is located only a few miles to the east of junction 14 of the M6 vehicles can quickly arrive at the Showground. Arrangements are well in hand for the next Show on Sunday 9th October 2016. A meeting with representatives of all the supporting clubs was held at The Quality Hotel Coventry on Sunday 15th May. Each

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time we organise this Show we aim to improve both the exhibitor experience and that of the viewing public and the points discussed at this meeting prove invaluable in ensuring improvements continue to achieve these goals. The minutes of the meeting are printed with this publication please read them, they will give you an excellent insight into the work that goes into organising this event. Sponsorship of “The National Exhibition” will be in the sole hands of the highly experienced Richard Johnston (middle right) of Johnston and Jeff Limited. This year his generous sponsorship has also financed additional new judges Stands needed due to the increase in both numbers of exhibits and clubs he has also donated one tonne of bird seed as prizes 24

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Sponsorship of “The National Exhibition” will be in the sole hands of the highly experienced Richard Johnston (middle right) of Johnston and Jeff Limited. This year his generous sponsorship has also financed additional new judges Stands needed due to the increase in both numbers of exhibits and clubs he has also donated one tonne of bird seed as prizes which can only help to increase the numbers of birds benched. which can only help to increase the numbers of birds benched. We are indebted to the management and editorial staff of Cage & Aviary Birds magazine for the production of a very


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well designed insert, with our contribution being the collation of the information from all the exhibiting clubs. The supplement will appear in their publication early in September 2016 and will as previously carry advertisements from all the exhibiting clubs and details as to who to approach to obtain the Show Schedule for your chosen species. This supplement has now become a feature of “The National Exhibition”.

Since the show took on the name “The National Exhibition” in 2010 the demand for trade space has significantly increased, with some new traders making their first appearance this year. So whatever your bird keeping requirements they will be on offer at Stafford on 9th October. The Sandylands Centre and half of the Argyle Centre will again be used to accommodate the exhibits with the

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‘booking in’ and club stands filling the remainder of the Argyle Centre. This facilitates the management of the exhibition during the judging of the birds and allows both exhibitors and general visitor’s access to the exhibition at the earliest possible time on the day. The Parrot Society Council members hope that all the exhibitors and the officials of the specialist exhibiting clubs have a very enjoyable day. The Parrot Society would like to thank the clubs for all the kind words and support that you have given us. It will make the organisation of this year’s “National Exhibition” a pleasure to be involved with.

DONATE TO OUR CONSERVATION FUND… CLICK THE LINK BELOW: http://www.theparrotsocietyuk.org/donations.php

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G N I S I T R E V D A E N I L N O How does 'Parrot Advertiser' work?

Access is from the Parrot Society UK website www.theparrotsocietyuk.org This is a free service for members. As this facility is located on our website it is available for the public to view and contact you about your bird. Once you submit an advertisement it will be checked and authorised by Parrot Society staff, this will occur between 9 am and 3 pm each weekday (our office hours). In addition to birds you can also advertise second hand bird related items and place wanted advertisements. To gain access to ‘Parrot Advertiser’ click on it’s tab on the green horizontal tool bar near the top of the Home Page. This will bring you into the most recent page offering Birds for Sale. If you wish to place an advertisement scroll down to the bottom left hand corner and in the box marked Other Links select ‘Add/Update An Advert’. You will need to place your membership number (just the numerics) in the Username box and your Post Code (using capital letters with a space between the two parts of the Post Code) in the Password box. If you experience any difficulties please ring the office on 01442 872245.

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MINUTES OF MEETING HELD AT COVENTRY ON 15TH APRIL 2016 FOR THE NATIONAL EXHIBITION 1. Apologies – Zebra Finch Society, Lizard and Blue Lizard CC, Stafford Canaries, London Fancy Canary and Bengalese Fanciers Assoc. 2. Welcome – Les Rance welcomed the 20 club representatives attending. The 2016 show will be held on 9th October. 3. The 2015 National Exhibition was reviewed. It was agreed that the layout of Exhibition halls was acceptable but due to increased numbers of canaries anticipated for 2016 there will be a need to move some more canaries into the Argyle Centre. The show is now maturing as we have now had 9 events and generally we are getting better at organising the event. Chris Smith was

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thanked for his excellent work early on the Sunday morning controlling the entrance door and only allowing club officials in at 7.00 am. Exhibitors can only enter at 7.30 when our Insurance is operative for the event. 4. Sponsorship arrangements for 2016 – Sponsor Johnston & Jeff will be the sole sponsor. 5. Checking In facilities for 2016 – Booking in tables will again be lined up in front of the Show staging and the crowd barriers. Security is paramount at this event and we do not want exhibitors gaining access to the exhibition area when birds are staged. We do not see any need for anyone other than Club and Show Officials to be in the show area of the


FEATURE

halls until after completion of judging and the show is open to the general public at 12.30pm on Sunday. Exhibitors MUST wear wrist bands when they enter Sandylands and Argyle Centres on Sunday morning to book in their birds. 6. Erection of staging from 12.00 on Saturday 8th October. Graham Lee of the AFS said that he will ensure that their staging is erected. 7. A Best Bird in Show Trophy to be retained by the winner will be awarded in 2016 and for future years, this will be known as the Ray Howells Trophy and has been kindly donated by Ray Howells of Birds & Things. “The Parrot Society National Exhibition” will also appear on the trophy. 8. For 2016 if exhibitors wish to leave the show early they will be issued with a ‘Permission to Leave’ pass by their Show Secretary which they can hand to security at door B in the Argyle Centre and door A in the Sandylands Centre, signs will be erected on the relevant doors by The Parrot Society. There will be the usual signs placed on the outside of the two Centres saying which birds are being exhibited in the relevant Centres. The Glosters will bring in one additional Judging Stand and some additional staging. The Fifes will bring

additional staging to cater for their additional exhibits over last years’ 900 entries for which show staging is already available. The OVCA volunteered to move into the Argyle Centre. It will be the responsibility of the Show Secretaries to contact Keith Jones as soon as their entries are known so that he can allocate space on the staging. His telephone number is 02476 694175 or email keithjones157@hotmail.com . Chris Smith and David Allen will discuss which canary clubs will transfer to the Argyle Centre in order to make room for additional Gloster and Fife entries. 9. Lifting arrangements - The same system used in 2015 will be in operation. That is, the use of ‘Yellow Notification Forms’ that will be taken to the National Co-ordinator’s desk in the Argyle Centre by each Show secretary when they are satisfied that all their exhibitors have claimed their birds. Once all the ‘Yellow Notification Forms’ have been received by the National Co-ordinator he will give instructions for the doors to be opened. Lifting time will be 3.30 pm.

Meeting closed at 4.00 pm

Please note that we have booked Sunday 14th May 2017 for the next meeting.

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DOES YOUR PARROT REALLY WANT A MATE? ASKS ROSEMARY LOW

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rom Sweden came this request: “Can you help me find a mate for my darling Massena’s Lorikeet?” He is eight years old and “extremely tame and social”. His owner wrote: “Now I feel he needs a woman in his life?” Right? No, wrong. Why do owners of single parrots suddenly decide that the bird needs a mate? It could be that it is showing signs of sexual maturity and guilt sets in because the bird is being “deprived”. Or perhaps it is becoming nippy and hard to handle. This is the human view. Now look at it from the bird’s viewpoint. This cherished “darling” lorikeet has been a companion for eight years, receiving the undivided attention of its adoring owner. Suddenly, another bird arrives -- a competitor for attention. There is no doubt at all that most companion parrots feel jealousy in this situation -- at least initially, if not permanently. The owner has encouraged the original bird to bond with him or her, even to regard the human carer as a mate -- often to be preened and even to be the subject of courtship behaviour. The newcomer is therefore often attacked as a rival. Whether it is actually attacked or just treated with suspicion or indifference depends partly on the species. For example, the Grey Parrot is not an

When a friend with a Grey rescued another bird of the same species that urgently needed rehoming, the original Grey ignored the newcomer completely. Two years down the line, it just pretends it does not exist. No potential mate there! aggressive species but a social one that lives in large flocks. When a friend with a Grey rescued another bird of the same species that urgently needed rehoming, the original Grey ignored the newcomer completely. Two years down the line, it just pretends it does not exist. No potential mate there! Lorikeet behaviour is very different. Even though this is another social species, occurring in flocks outside the breeding season, all lories and lorikeets have an aggressive trait that is especially apparent in hand-reared birds. If the owner of the hand-reared male Massena’s Lorikeet had acquired a female, the chances are that it would have been quickly attacked or even killed. Lorikeets have very fast reflexes and the deed could be done before the owner has a chance to intervene. I can recall the case of someone who kept a female Black-capped Lory as a pet,

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a tame and sweet bird. She decided to give her a mate and acquired a male that had also been a pet. The male killed the female within minutes. Given the nature of this species (all Lorius lories are aggressive), that sad event was 99% predictable. The owner was heartbroken. Perhaps an owner has decided that the parrot should have a companion, rather than a mate. The same considerations apply. Jealousy and suspicion are most likely to be the initial reaction from a bird with a close bond with its owner. Or perhaps it is not a decision that triggers the purchase of another parrot but an impulse buy. As demonstrated by a recent happening, this can be even worse. The owner of a Grey Parrot was tempted by a tame and adorable Black-headed Caique in a pet shop. He was not prepared for a second bird. The shop owner generously offered to

lend him a cage. This offer was unwisely declined. What did the purchaser do? He took the caique home and put it in his Grey’s cage. I found it shocking that a parrot owner could have so little understanding of a basic need of a parrot -- its own space or territory. And shocking that he was unable to see the possible fatal consequences of his actions. Next day the caique was taken back to the shop. The Grey had attacked it and ripped out its tail feathers. The caique was lucky not to suffer serious injury. So can the introduction of a second bird ever be successful? The answer is yes, it can, in certain circumstances. The attempt is most likely to fail if • As already mentioned, the original bird is closely bonded to its carer. • The original bird is hand-reared and has never been socialised with its own species. Those that have been kept exclusively with humans might be confused about their identity. They identify more with humans than with other parrots. The attempt is most likely to succeedwith: • Parent-reared and wild-caught birds that remember living with their own species. • Birds such as Cockatiels, conures, parrotlets and lovebirds that can quickly lose their tameness when

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FEATURE given the opportunity to be with their own species. • Birds that are removed from their original home and are no longer in contact with the person to whom they were bonded. In these circumstances the jealously element has been removed. What happens in the unfortunate circumstances in which someone is forced to part with their pet and has an offer from a breeder who wants to pair up the bird? If it was very tame, bonded to its owner and has lived all its life within a home, this would be a huge upheaval in its life. Separated from everything it has ever known, it is likely to be very stressed. This lack of confidence would make it extremely vulnerable to attack from another bird. Some breeders take a rather casual attitude to introducing new birds -- yet this is something that should be carried out with the utmost caution and care. The very worst action that someone can take is to introduce a new bird to an aviary where the other one has long been an occupant. It will be attacked as an intruder into established territory. The best way is always to place the two birds in adjoining aviaries or cages without a visual barrier. When they show an interest in each other, the bird of the dominant sex (usually the male, except in Eclectus and Psittacula species) should be introduced into the other bird’s aviary. In

this way, the more subservient bird will have the psychological advantage, because it is in its own territory. Remember: you hold their lives in your hands. Caution is better than remorse.

DONATE TO OUR CONSERVATION FUND… CLICK THE LINK BELOW: http://www.theparrotsocietyuk.org/donations.php

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BEING PREPARED EMMA FREEMAN

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or most parrots a trip to the vet can be a traumatic experience, especially if they are ill or injured and not just going for a check up. Unless your parrot is bomb proof then the journey in the car, going in a carrying cage, the strange smells and sounds in the vet’s practice and the examination itself can all be very stressful. But never fear there are some things that we can do to help prepare them for these experiences. FINDING A VET The first step you can take is to be prepared, make sure you have found an avian vet in advance. Your local area Parrot Society representatives can advise you on avian vets in your area. It is best not to rely on your local vet as they are unlikely to have the in depth knowledge required to treat your bird. Years ago we made the mistake of taking our Galah to our local vet and his first words were ‘Well I know it’s a parrot but that’s all I do know.’ Not really very assuring for us. It is also a good idea to know the exact location of your nearest avian vet, you don’t want to be driving around searching for the vets, getting lost and more and more stressed with an injured or sick bird in the car. Find out in advance the name, address and telephone number of your BIRD SCENE 39


avian vet so you can be prepared. Parrots very rarely choose an opportune time to be ill, you can guarantee it will be a Sunday evening, a bank holiday, the day before you go on holiday or late in the evening. Lou our Umbrella cockatoo chose to swallow a chunk of leather toy on New Year’s Eve when I had been in bed for two days with a particularly nasty bout of flu, I was concerned as he was sitting on the bottom of his cage and hadn’t eaten all day, he was mopey and very quiet so we decided to take him to get him checked out. I didn’t really have my head on my shoulders and was grateful that I had our vet’s number in my phone book and knew exactly where we were going. You’ll be pleased to know that the leather toy passed through naturally and Lou was restored in no time to his usual boisterous self! TRAVELLING Whether you plan to take your parrot out and about with you or not, investing in a travel cage is a must for transporting to the vet or for use in an emergency. There are many different designs available, from the more traditional pet carriers enclosed on three sides to small dog carrier styles or the ultra light weight back pack style, which type you choose will depend on your lifestyle and personal preference. Please make sure that you have bought a travel cage when you first buy your parrot as you never know when you will need it

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Eventually when they are comfortable being inside the towel you can gently begin to wrap the towel’s edges around your bird. Don’t be surprised if your bird dislikes this at first, as instinct will tell them that it’s dangerous to be trapped in this way, be patient and gentle… and you won’t be able to transport your bird safely without one. Familiarising your bird with the travel cage prior to using it will help to reduce unnecessary stress. Have the travel cage set up in the room that your bird occupies so it is not a strange or scary object. Let your bird play on top of the cage and get him used to going in and out of the cage, I always find a favourite treat helps once inside the cage. Don’t clutter the cage with toys or too many perches, one single perch is sufficient. Some of our parrots really enjoy a trip in the car, the more curious and nosey birds like to look out of the window and some shout hello as we stop at traffic lights, much to my amusement as you see people looking around trying to work out where the voice came from! But other more cautious birds might like to be covered with a blanket and the whole experience can be traumatic. Unfortunately there are times when these birds will have to be transported, just try to make it as stress free as possible.


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AT THE VETS When you arrive at the vets it is likely that they will want to know some information about your bird so be prepared to answer questions on your bird’s history, age, previous illnesses or injuries, diet and lifestyle. Depending on the reason for your visit

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the vet will probably wish to examine your parrot, an avian vet will be experienced in handling your bird correctly and will more than likely use a towel to wrap around him. This is definitely the most stressful part of a trip to the vets as your bird is not going to enjoy a strange person wrapping them in


FEATURE

Our parrots love to play peek a boo behind the towel…

a foreign object and pulling them around to examine them. Luckily we can help our parrots before hand by training them to play in a towel. If they are familiar with the sight and feel of a towel around them then this will help to reduce the level of stress they experience in the vets. When you are handling or playing with

your parrot, slowly introduce a small hand towel onto your lap. Allow your parrot to investigate the towel at his own leisure, he will want to test the material with his beak and get used to the feel of the towel under his feet. When he is playing confidently with the towel you can start to play some games with him. Our parrots

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love to play peek a boo behind the towel, I put my head under the towel and slowly build up to covering them with the towel as well. Take it slowly and always back off if they show any signs of discomfort with the game. Eventually when they are comfortable being inside the towel you can gently begin to wrap the towel’s edges around your bird. Don’t be surprised if your bird dislikes this at first, as instinct will tell them that it’s dangerous to be trapped in this way, be patient and gentle, give them little treats for allowing you to do it, reassure them and give them cuddles and with time you will have earned their trust and they will know that no one is going to hurt them. You can then wrap them completely in the towel

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with just their head sticking out from the top just as the vet will have to do to examine them. I would recommend that you take your own towel with you to the vets as your bird will be familiar with the colour and texture of your own towel and find it less threatening than one he’s never seen before. Your vet might prescribe medication for your parrot, listen carefully to any instructions given to you on how to administer the medication, it often helps to have another person with you when you take your bird to the vet as they might remember something that you haven’t taken in. Normally the instructions will be written on the medication for you as a fall back if you


FEATURE don’t remember. Depending on which medication you are prescribed you will then have the problem of how to get your bird to take it. The easiest way is to hide the medicine in a favourite food but be warned parrots are very clever at recognising a new flavour, make sure that you give small pieces of the favourite food with the medicine hidden inside, don’t add the medicine to their usual bowl of food as you won’t know if they have eaten it or not. You can also try mixing the medicine with a favourite soft food on a spoon. Some parrots readily take food off a spoon and this is something you can work on in advance with your bird. If all else fails you will have to syringe the medicine into your bird’s beak, this is the most stressful option as your bird will have to be held securely, probably with a towel and will mean catching your bird up in the towel however many times a day that you need to give the medicine. On the positive side though, if you use this method you will be certain that your bird has swallowed the prescribed amount and hasn’t dropped most of it on the floor of his cage. Whichever method you use, watch to make certain that your parrot has taken the medication and keep a close eye on his progress. Hopefully the medication/ treatment will work quickly and you will be able to breathe a sigh of relief when your parrot is better and the trip to the vet is a distant memory for both of you.

Preparing in advance for a trip to the vet makes sense, if you have ever felt anxious before going to a doctor’s or hospital appointment then magnify that feeling by one hundred and you might have an idea of how your bird is feeling. The advice that I have shared with you has helped our birds and although some points may seem unimportant to you, I can’t emphasise how devastating stress can be for our parrots especially if they are already sick or injured and any little thing that we can do to reduce stress could help to save our birds’ lives. If you have done everything you can think of to prepare your bird and know that you have the vets number on hand and ready in case of an emergency then you stand a chance of keeping calm and helping your bird cope with an extremely stressful experience.

DONATE TO OUR CONSERVATION FUND… CLICK THE LINK BELOW: http://www.theparrotsocietyuk.org/donations.php

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Budgies, Canaries, Cockatiels, Conures, Finches, Large Parakeets, Lovebirds, Parrots, Quail, Small Parakeets, Softbills, Chinchillas, TRADE E Degus, Gerbils, Guinea Pigs, Mice, Rabbits, M O C L E W Rats, Hamsters Weavers Coving, Towcester Road, Whittlebury, Northants, NN12 8TD T: +44 (0) 1327 857594 / M: 0770 2277 246 (Guy) M: 0796 2099 830 (Lee) / F: +44 (0) 1327 858965 E: info@skybirds.co.uk / W: www.skybirds.co.uk

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