55 Bird Scene - Summer 2022

Page 1

SCENE

BIRD

ISSUE 55: SUMMER 2022

BREEDING THE

AMAZILIA HUMMINGBIRD AT WELTVOGELPARK WALSRODE BUDGERIGARS FOR BEGINNERS LES RANCE

THE

NATIONAL EXHIBITION ORGANISERS MEETING

DON’T BLAME THE BREEDER EMMA FREEMAN

FREE MAGAZINE FOR HOBBYIST BREEDERS AND CONSERVATIONISTS | AUTUMN EDITION OUT 1ST SEPTEMBER 2022


AS THINGS ARE KEEPING IN TOUCH WITH OTHER BIRD KEEPERS, SEEING OTHERS’ BREEDING RESULTS AND GENERALLY HAVING A CATCH-UP IS JUST ABOUT IMPOSSIBLE.

WHY NOT TRY THE PSUK FACEBOOK PAGE’S ‘COMMUNITY’ AREA? POST SOME PICTURES, ASK FOR ADVICE, SHOW OFF YOUR SUCCESSES (AND FAILURES), LET PEOPLE KNOW WHAT YOU’RE KEEPING AND HOW THEY ARE GETTING ON.

GIVE IT A TRY!’


CONTENTS 8

18

40

8 18 32 40

Breeding the Amazilia hummingbird at Weltvogelpark Walsrode

Budgerigars for Beginners Les Rance

National Exhibition Organisers Meeting

Don’t Blame the Breeder Emma Freeman

DONATE TO OUR CONSERVATION FUND… GO TO: WWW.THEPARROTSOCIETYUK.ORG

BIRD SCENE: Issue 55: Summer 2022 BIRD SCENE is run by The Parrot Society UK, Audley House, Northbridge Road, Berkhamsted HP4 1EH, England. FOR SALES AND EDITORIAL ENQUIRES Telephone or Fax: 01442 872245 Website: www.theparrotsocietyuk.org / E-Mail: les.rance@theparrotsocietyuk.org The views expressed by contributors to this magazine are not those of The Parrot Society UK unless otherwise explicitly stated


INTRODUCTION 04

BIRD SCENE

BY THE EDITOR

LES RANCE

WWW.THEPARROTSOCIETYUK.ORG LES.RANCE@THEPARROTSOCIETYUK.ORG

In the introduction to the spring edition of Bird Scene, I wrote ‘Although in the build up to The Help Bird Keeper’s Show the then new Covid-19 variant Omicron was the most serious threat to the Show. Things started to change quite radically as the date of the show approached and Staffordshire County Council Trading Standards department became more concerned about the Avian Influenza outbreak that was becoming more widespread and coming closer to The County Showground. We were advised, that we should supply

disinfectant mats at all entrances and increase the number of transfer aviaries, as they did not want any escaped birds flying around the halls during the event. Fortunately, we had purchased 10 display aviaries, which are the same size and style as the transfer aviaries the previous year. So, our helpers were very busy on the Saturday building these new aviaries and locating them around the Argyle and Sandylands Centres, to the satisfaction of the County Council inspectors.’ As we are now very much in the late spring and early summer period, we are now experiencing some quite pleasant weather, which will help with the breeding results in the 2022 season. At least we did not have morning frosts every day in April, as we experienced in 2021 but it was frequently only three or four degrees C each morning in southern England and it was a very dry April. Early breeding results were without doubt impacted by these weather conditions leading to many infertile eggs, even from genuine breeding pairs. I guess


it was a combination of the rather cool mornings and the dry conditions. There is no doubt that my Australian parakeets are much happier when there is frequent rain, as in their native Australia it is rain, after a prolonged dry period that spurs them into breeding condition. Fortunately, May has become warmer and wetter and this has definitely improved fertility. Pairs that had clear eggs in April have had a second round and the results are much better. I had a pair of Bourke’s parakeets that only had two fertile eggs out of a clutch of five in early April, however, in the second round in May, they laid five eggs again and this time they were all fertile. If this wet period continues deep into the summer there is every possibility that we will enjoy a good breeding season. We certainly need it, as birds are in short supply, certainly the larger Australian parakeets. In this issue, we have an excellent article about Zebra Finches, which I am sure you will find of interest. Even if you do not keep a species written about there are always one or two tips/hints in every article that you can consider using to help your bird breeding to be successful. Also in this edition is an article that I have written about Budgerigars for Beginners, which I hope you find informative. In the feature on The National Exhibition are

details of the meeting held between the Organising Committee, which is made up of the clubs that exhibit their member’s birds at the Show. Do have a read through this, as it will give you a good insight into what goes on ‘behind the scenes’ so to speak, both the Agenda and the subsequent Minutes are reproduced. This is now the fifty-fifth edition of Bird Scene, how quickly over ten years can pass when you are working on a 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 monthly 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. A price increase to 95p for a First Class letter became effective on 4th April 2022, an increase of 10p on the 85p previously charged, my maths are not very good but I think that is a 11.7% increase! With CPI, inflation now running around 7%, costs continue to rise. 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 BIRD SCENE

05


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. Because of increases to the costs of both postage and printing, I am pleased that we decided to produce Bird Scene as a FREE e-magazine. We have learnt a great deal over the past ten 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 has been produced to publicise The National Exhibition held each year (Covid-19 restrictions excepted) at our October Sale Day/ Show at Stafford County Showground. This publication is also used 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 look at the Bird Scene archive.

Why a hobby in budgerigars?

The

Budgerigar Society There are many reasons to join the Budgerigar Society Starter Pack - Membership certificate, Colour Standards booklet, members list etc. Magazine - “The Budgerigar” The society publishes a bi - monthly magazine which is posted to all members. Mentor Network - Guidance based on location for inexperienced Budgerigar enthusiasts.

Want to know more?

BIRD SCENE

• Pedigree challenge • Fellowship of breeders • Meeting new people • Travel as a judge/ exhibitor

Products - There are some excellent products available Ranging from booklets to equipment and clothing Official closed rings Your own personalised code, which distinguishes you from every other breeder in the world.

Website - www.budgerigarsociety.com Telephone - 01828 633030 / Email - budgerigarsocietypa@live.co.uk

06

FR Boo EE all k to membnew ers!

• Caters for all ages • Great as pets

MEMBERSHIP FOR 2021 AND 2022 FOR THE PRICE OF 1 YEAR’S MEMBERSHIP


GREAT WESTERN EXOTIC VETS Tom Dutton BVM&S CertAVP(ZooMed) DipECZM(avian) MRCVS European Specialist Avian Medicine RCVS Specialist Zoological Medicine Keep in touch at www.facebook.com/GWEvets Vets Now Swindon, Unit 10 Berkshire House, County Park, Shrivenham Road, Swindon, SN12NR 01793603800 vets-now.com

www.dyersmetalmesh.co.uk

Dyers Metal & Mesh

HOT DIPPED GALVANISED AVAIRY MESH Galv 36” x 1” x 1” x 19g x 30m £79.95 Galv 36” x ½” x 1” x 19g x 30m £84.95 Galv 36” x ½” x ½” x 19g x 30m £94.95 Galv 36” x 1” x 1” x 16g x 30m £186.00 Galv 48” x ¼” x ¼” x 22g x 30m £178.80 Galv 48” x ½” x ½” x 19g x 30m £129.95 Galv 36” x ¾” x ¾” x 16g x 30m £164.95 Galv 36” x ½” x 1” x 16g x 30m £154.95 Galv 36” x ½” x ½” x 16g x 15m £124.95 We now offer the Green mesh in Black Green 36” x ½” x 1” x 17g x 30m £114.95 Green 36” x ½” x ½” x 17g x 30m £119.95

PRICES INCLUDE MESH, VAT AND DELIVERY FOR MAINLAND UK ONLY. Now available rolls cut to length

NATIONWID E DELIVERY

01935 479 230

7 Buckland Road, Yeovil, Somerset, BA21 5EA

www.birdauctions.co.uk SOUTH BEECH VETERINARY SURGERY ALL ASPECTS OF CAGE AND AVIARY BIRD MEDICINE INCLUDING IN-HOUSE LABORATORY DIAGNOSIS

Tel: Wickford (01268) 560660

24 HOUR SERVICE AVAILABLE FOR EMERGENCIES

bird food of champions 01275 463 496 aejames.com

BIRD SCENE

07


Their long, sometimes curved bill can access nectar in flowering plants, and their hovering flight allows them to remain seemingly ‘motionless’ in the air while feeding.

BREEDING THE

AMAZILIA HUMMINGB AT WELTVOGELPARK WALSRODE 08

BIRD SCENE


FEATURE

BIRD BIRD SCENE

09


H

ummingbirds are a family of new world birds, containing about 328 recognized species that inhabit different habitats in South America and southern North America. Most of these species are tiny - the smallest bird alive is in fact a hummingbird: the Bee Hummingbird, measuring 5 cm from head to tail and weighing less than 2 grams! Hummingbirds are well known for their extensively iridescent plumage and their main food source: nectar. Their bodies are adapted to their specific feeding habits: with their long, sometimes curved bill they can access nectar in flowering plants, and their hovering flight allows them to remain seemingly ‘motionless’ in the air while feeding. 10

BIRD SCENE

Hovering arises by extremely rapid wing movement: some species can flap their wings up to 80 times per second!

Hovering arises by extremely rapid wing movement: some species can flap their wings up to 80 times per second! Hummingbirds are solitary birds, often aggressively defending nectar sources. As a result, male and female hummingbirds will only associate briefly to mate, and the female


FEATURE

hummingbird will take care of the eggs and chicks on her own. Chicks are fed with small insects and nectar, and as they grow, the proportion of insects will diminish. In adult hummingbirds, insects only make out 10% of the diet. Hummingbirds are rarely kept in zoos because of their specific needs. One of the better known species is the Amazilia Hummingbird (Amazilia amazilia), which occurs in Western Peru and Ecuador. This species measures 9 to 11 cm and weighs about 5 g. Amazilia Hummingbirds have a green head and upper back, a rufous tail and belly and an iridescent throat ranging from golden to turquoise green. Their wings are black and their bill is mostly red. Males and females look very similar, but females usually look a little duller and have a larger black tip on their bill. Amazilia Hummingbirds prefer semi-arid to arid habitats with scrubs, thorn forests and desert areas. They are also common in cultivations, parks and gardens, even within larger cities such as Lima. The species breeds all year round, with females usually laying two eggs in a cup-like nest consisting of plant wool, fibers and spider webs. After an incubation period of 16 days the almost naked chicks hatch, weighing approximately 0.5 grams.

Amazilia Hummingbirds have a green head and upper back, a rufous tail and belly and an iridescent throat ranging from golden to turquoise green.

Amazilia Hummingbirds have been bred in some institutions, but it remains very difficult to maintain a sustainable population in captivity. In 2011, Weltvogelpark Walsrode had the chance to start an Amazilia Hummingbird breeding project. This was a fantastic opportunity for us, but of course it needed much preparation!

BIRD SCENE

11


For our hummingbirds, we designed a room where the light cycle, air inflow, temperature and humidity are artificially controlled.

For our hummingbirds, we designed a room where the light cycle, air inflow, temperature and humidity are artificially controlled. This room is divided into three parts: a kitchen for food preparation, enclosures for habituation and a large room for the breeding aviaries. Each of our breeding aviaries gives the bird access to two lamps for sun bathing, one pot with

12

BIRD SCENE

a fruit fly culture, one feeding tube with nectar, and one bath. Plenty of sticks and plants are available for the birds to sit down and rest, doors in between the aviaries allow for males and females to be easily put together for mating. On the 30th of October it was finally happening: 6 female and 5 male Amazilia Hummingbirds safely arrived at Weltvogelpark Walsrode! After the quarantine period, the birds were moved to their individual breeding aviaries. All of the birds responded very well to the transfers. One of our females even started building a nest right away, resulting in the first egg on the 8th of march 2012! This egg was followed by another two eggs on the 18th and 20th of march. Sadly these first eggs weren’t fertilized, probably due to some fertility problems of the male or the pair did not harmonize very well. Once we recognized this, the female was paired with another male, which resulted in a fertilized egg on the 15th of May! At that moment we were confronted with another problem: all of our birds were very young, and none of them


FEATURE had any breeding experience. This is probably the reason why the female didn’t incubate very well. As a result, the egg had to be put in an incubator. Obviously, this was not an optimal situation, but it was very fascinating to see an embryo develop in such a tiny egg. Unfortunately, the embryo died on the 10th day of development.

the yolk sack was completely absorbed, we started feeding nectar and flies. The chick was fed every 20 minutes from 8.00 am to 11.00 pm and was left to rest during the night. Although the chick was begging very actively during the first two days, it looked very weak on the third morning and died a few hours later.

After a quiet period in June and July, we had another egg on the 15th of August 2012. Because the female didn´t incubate at all, this egg had to be put in an incubator as well. After five days it was clear that the egg was fertilized, and 11 days later the first hummingbird chick finally hatched in Weltvogelpark Walsrode! Although the chick made a hole in the shell on its own, it was not able to hatch without our help and it weighed only 0.37 grams! The chick was hand reared in an artificial nest placed in a separate incubator. Initially, it only received some water, but after 24 hours, when

It took some time before we had another chance to breed these beautiful birds, but in November, one of our females started laying again.

The chick was hand reared in an artificial nest placed in a separate incubator.

BIRD SCENE

13


On the morning of December 8th, we were very happy to find one healthy looking chick in her nest! It hatched completely on its own…

14

BIRD SCENE


FEATURE We were able to monitor the breeding behavior by placing a camera above her nest. The female laid two fertilized eggs and incubated them perfectly. On the morning of December 8th, we were very happy to find one healthy looking chick in her nest! It hatched completely on its own on the 16th day of incubation. A few hours later it got even better: the second chick started hatching! This chick also hatched on its own, after only 15 days of incubation. The female took good care of both chicks. She was constantly catching flies to feed to her chicks and in between she was cleaning or incubating them. The chicks clearly received an enormous amount of flies, causing their crops to grow as big as their heads. Both chicks grew very fast and were begging actively. After a week, their eyes started opening and after 10 days the mother stopped incubating them during the night. Sadly, on the 12th day after hatching, one of the chicks got some food in its trachea when it was being fed by the mother. We couldn’t do anything, and the chick died within two minutes. Fortunately, the other chick kept on growing and after a while it was sitting on the edge of the nest, curiously looking at the world around it. During this period we started feeding the

Once again, we tried the best we could to hand rear this tiny bird, and this time our efforts paid off!

chick with a feeding tube, so it would recognize feeding tubes after fledging. On the 7th of January 2013, the chick took its first flight and made a clumsy landing on the floor of the aviary. During the next days it became better and better at flying and it started feeding from a feeding tube on its own. A couple of days after fledging, the chick was separated from its mother and Weltvogelpark Walsrode had its first fully grown hummingbird chick! Two months after the first chick fledged, an egg was once again abandoned by its mother. The fertilized egg was put in our incubator, and on the 14th of March, a chick hatched after 15 days of incubation. Once again, we tried the best we could to hand rear this tiny bird, and this time our efforts paid off!

BIRD SCENE

15


At the moment of writing, there were 7 healthy chicks flying around in their individual aviaries!

The chick was always begging actively and it grew very well. It only weighed 0.5 grams on day two, but its weight increased to 3.3 grams on day 15 and 4.9 grams on day 25! We fed it fruit flies soaked in isotonic water, supplemented with nectar. The amount of fruit flies increased every day: on the 3rd day it was fed 45 fruit flies throughout the day, and on the 15th day this amount had been increased to 445 fruit flies! After day 15 we started lowering the amount of fruit flies, since adult birds hardly need any insects. The amount of nectar was increased every day as well: 0.48 ml on the 3rd day, 5 ml on the 15th up to 8 ml on the 25th day. The chick fledged on April 4th 2013, 21 days after hatching. A few days later, when the chick 16

BIRD SCENE

was completely independent, it was moved to a small aviary, where it could practice its flying skills. This chick wasn’t the end of our breeding success. In fact, five more chicks successfully hatched and fledged, from which three were raised by their mother. The young females seem to catch up on their breeding and rearing experience, so that 4 young were successfully parent reared! At the moment of writing, there were 7 healthy chicks flying around in their individual aviaries! Weltvogelpark Walsrode is very proud of this accomplishment, and of course we hope our efforts to breed these little birds will keep paying off in the future.


FEATURE

BIRD SCENE

17


LES RANCE

BUDGERIGAR FOR BEGINN Flocks of Budgerigars are always on the move in the wild as food is often scarce, as is water.

T

hese enchanting little Australian parakeets have been enjoyed by tens of thousands of bird enthusiasts for 175 years as they came into Europe in the 1840’s and proved a prolific breeder. At their most popular there was an estimated million being kept as pets and breeding birds in the UK. The colour of the wild Budgerigar in Australia is light green they are 18 cm long and weigh 26 to 29 grams. As an inhabitant of the arid central belt of Australia their main diet is dried seeds which they find from searching the ground and dried up tussocks of grasses. Flocks of Budgerigars are always on the move in the wild as food is often scarce, as is water. To be able to breed in the wild they need to find

18

BIRD SCENE


FEATURE

RS NERS

BIRD SCENE

19


a locality where it has recently rained for a few days which will allow the grasses to grow quickly and produce the much needed green soft seeds to feed to their babies as soon as they are hatched. Like the majority of psittacines they nest in cavities in trees laying white shelled eggs so that they can be seen in the dark of the hole. Four or five eggs are a normal sized clutch and laying occurs every other day so it takes ten days to lay a clutch of five eggs. The incubation period is normally twenty-one days. Only the hen incubates which usually commences after the third egg appears and therefore the chicks hatch on different days and quite a size range of babies are found in the nest; Budgerigars are good parents even the last hatched survives possibly because this has a higher pitched call which the hen hunts out and feeds she also protects the smallest from being crushed or suffocated by its larger siblings. The young Budgerigars grow quickly in the wild and leave the nest site, normally a cavity in a tree, within six weeks fully able to join the flock and move on to a new locality when the food source diminishes. In captivity these timings are replicated but obviously they do not need to ‘move on’. The colour of the wild Budgerigar in Australia is light green, however with so many being bred each year it was 20

BIRD SCENE

not surprising that colour mutations developed and through controlled breeding in cages these new colours were rapidly produced. 1: The picture shows the sizes of the five young baby Budgerigars from the third round. At this time the youngest was only 1/10th the size of the largest baby. They were all raised to maturity. 2: Two weeks on and the baby has grown tremendously, now being 1/3rd of the size of the largest baby in the clutch.

1

2


FEATURE

Above: are three pictures of the four young that were bred in the first round. I was really proud of these birds and took far too many pictures of them! Budgerigars are so popular in captivity because they have a number of attributes which appeal to bird lovers. They are active, clean feathered, inquisitive and extremely friendly birds which make ideal pets if purchased at eight weeks of age they quickly bond with their new owner because they love being part of a group, in their native Australia they are a flock bird and therefore are keen to be a member of a ‘flock’ even if it is only their owner and themselves. After a few days in the new cage they will quickly settle down and then you can open the door

and gently rub their lower breast just above their legs with a straight finger imitating a perch, they just cannot resist stepping up on to it and from this point on training can begin. There are basically two ways to breed Budgerigars in the UK, either in breeding cages where the owner places two birds that they wish to breed from in a controlled environment. The second method is in an aviary with a number of Budgerigars which allows the birds to select their own partners. Generally Budgerigars are quite easy to sex as adult birds in good condition will have a blue cere (the nostril area above the beak) if they are a cock or brown if they are a hen, no need for DNA sexing in Budgerigars! BIRD SCENE

21


I have kept Budgerigars for many years, never exhibiting them just for sheer pleasure…


FEATURE I have kept Budgerigars for many years, never exhibiting them just for sheer pleasure, mine are exhibition type but not to the size and standard of the top UK breeders but they are very attractive fit birds and can fly well. As mentioned earlier there are basically two ways to breed Budgerigars, either in breeding cages with one pair in each cage or in aviaries. Four pairs of cobalt’s were selected that I had bred the previous year. I kept them in a 10’ long aviary within my bird room through the winter with no supplementary heating, feeding was only millet both red and white as I was trying to keep the birds as slim as possible, fat budgerigars do not produce such good breeding results and they are prone to an early death. I placed different coloured plastic split rings on their legs in March and for a day I kept them in a Sonia cage so that I could study who had paired up to whom. This worked well and I wrote down the newly forming pairs, at this stage I had not decided whether to cage breed them or place them in an aviary. It took me some time before I decided on the way I would breed with them; it was in a large aviary measuring 9’ x 18’ ample room for four pairs. It was not until May, yes I know that is a little late in the year but as their breeding aviary

It took me some time before I decided on the way I would breed with them; it was in a large aviary measuring 9’ x 18’ ample room for four pairs.

had access to natural daylight (not light through glass) I wanted to wait until the outside temperature warmed up. To be honest when I caught them up to transfer them to the breeding aviary they were very much on the heavy side especially the hens which was a bit of a disappointment as I was hoping that the winter feeding regime had kept them fairly lean. As I am always willing, in fact quite enthusiastic, to try slightly different approaches to breeding I decided to offer both typical Budgerigar nest boxes with a wooden concave and upright parakeet nest boxes with a wire ladder down to the base which was covered with wood chippings. It was quite interesting because three of the pairs selected the parakeet option and only one hen went for the typical Budgerigar nest box. With a relatively large aviary there was plenty of wall space to hang the nest

BIRD SCENE

23


Picture of breeding stock in their aviary

boxes on the wire, what is important is to ensure that the tops of the boxes are at the same height, the higher the box the more popular it will be and fighting can occur to secure the highest. The white nest box is typically used for Budgerigars the brown box to the left is normally used for parakeets this particular style has a square hole much larger than the typical box. The hen that used the white box struggled to get out of it at times as the hole was only just large enough for her. Fortunately there were no problems with fighting which can become quite bad certainly between hens with blood often seen and some quite severe damage to both participants. It might have been that because the birds were 24

BIRD SCENE

young, had been together over the winter and had formed their pairs that this helped to stop the curse of fighting but that is a bit of a guess, perhaps I was just lucky! Fighting and even killing other babies is possibly the greatest drawback to breeding in an aviary but it does allow the birds to keep relatively fit. As with all livestock feeding is an important aspect of their long term care and wellbeing as described earlier Budgerigars are primarily seed eaters with plain canary seed Phalaris canariensis and a variety of millets as

The white nest box is typically used for Budgerigars the brown box to the left is normally used for parakeets


FEATURE their primary food source, spray millet seems a favourite. However they should be offered seasonal green foods such as chickweed which grows in a unique, intertwined manner and it has small white star-shaped flowers hence its Latin name, Stellaria media.tems have a thin line of white hair that grows in a weave-like pattern.

Also dandelion Taraxacum officinala broccoli, carrot, sweet apple, germinated seeds and grit. Fresh water each day is essential.

Chickweed


There are basically three types (or sizes) of Budgerigars available in the UK. The smallest are commonly known as ‘pet type’ these birds are the closest to wild Budgerigars in size and vitality but now available in virtually all the colours. These birds breed well and are the best type for new enthusiasts to obtain because they are the lowest priced and their young can be sold to new owners requiring a pet. The second type is the ‘exhibition type’ birds that have been selectively bred over many years to increase their size considerably over the ‘pet type’. These present more of a challenge to breed as they do not have quite the vitality of the smaller ‘pet type’ due to their increased size but they are not as difficult to breed as the 26

BIRD SCENE

There are basically three types (or sizes) of Budgerigars available in the UK. The smallest are commonly known as ‘pet type’

‘Champion exhibition’ stock owned by the experienced UK fanciers that spend many hours tending to their valuable birds and win the major prizes at Budgerigar shows. These birds are the largest and are the third type available but often at a high price. In reality there is no exact dividing line between the


FEATURE three types and a group of breeders would fail to agree in which of the three categories some birds should be placed but that does not matter, what is without doubt is that there is a very wide band of sizes represented within Budgerigars. The Cobalt cock on the left is mine the large excellent Yellow Spangle Cock is owned by Champion Budgerigar breeder Roger Carr from Buckinghamshire and the Golden-faced Blue pet type Budgerigar on the right was bred by Hein van Grouw who is Curator of the bird skins collection at The Natural History Museum at Tring Hertfordshire. Very many thanks to these two gentlemen who allowed me to put this interesting picture together. Once these birds had been photographed they were weighed. The results were quite interesting, as I said in the third sentence of this article wild Budgerigars weigh between 26 and 29 grams (average 27.5 grams) so although the Golden-faced Blue is the smallest bird here at 41 grams it is 13.5 grams or a huge 50% larger than the wild type. My Cobalt came in at 50 grams and Roger’s Spangle weighed 60 grams. So the three weights were 41, 50 and 60 grams which rather surprised me as I thought that there would be a greater weight differential. No doubt the expert Champion breeders know why

there is not that great a difference and maybe one of them could use these columns to shed some light on this part of this article? The below picture shows the Salter scales which weigh to 1 gram that was used to assess the weight of the Budgerigars, this model number is 1066 BKDR08 and was obtained from Tescos for a reasonable £9.00. I had a bit of a hunt around in my bird room and found a 2 litre ice cream tub that fitted nicely on the scales. There is a zeroing facility so once the tub is weighed you can zero the readout, place the Budgerigar inside and obtain an accurate reading, I think they are really designed for cooking but as that is not one of my skills (other than home made egg food) I think we will quickly move on!

BIRD SCENE

27


When buying Budgerigars always purchase young current year bred closed rung Budgerigars, you then know that no one has tried to breed from these birds and discovered that they have a breeding fault and they are passing them off on to you. In addition if they prove good breeders they will give you a number of years of successful and pleasurable breeding results. The ‘pet type’ Budgerigars breed for more years than the large Champion exhibition stock. Until you learn about colour genetics keep either green or blue normal coloured birds. If you obtain sex-linked mutations (Cinnamon or Opaline) it can be difficult to eradicate these mutations. Even when you purchase normal coloured birds there is a possibility that some of the cocks will be split for a sex linked mutation and will produce young hens showing the mutation. Normal hens are never split for a sex-linked mutation. The colour expectations of my pairs of Cobalt x Cobalt are 25% Sky Blue, 50% Cobalt and 25% Mauve. With such a wide range of Budgerigars on offer there are birds for all pockets. Budgerigars are one of the easiest birds to maintain and this factor alone is a great reason to keep them as they provide hours of interest as they fly around their aviary. It is really absorbing to watch the young birds 28

BIRD SCENE

developing their flying skills after leaving the nest box and very quickly they are playing their version of ‘tag’ with the adult cocks, going up to them tapping their beak and flying off before the adult bird knows what has happened! As Budgerigars are generally very social birds this bonding into the flock is well tolerated by the adults and is obviously part of the growing up process for the youngsters. There is no doubt that they learn a great deal by watching how the adults interact with the other mature birds in the flight, so much can be learnt just by watching others. Budgerigars bred in one year are ready to breed in the next season. As the spring and early summer are the best months to hatch and rear them this is when I like to breed my collection, especially if breeding in outside aviaries. All birds greatly benefit from ultra violet rays of natural

As Budgerigars are generally very social birds this bonding into the flock is well tolerated by the adults


FEATURE

With such a wide range of Budgerigars on offer there are birds for all pockets.

BIRD SCENE

29


daylight as it assists with calcium production and the building of strong bone structures, this is particularly important for breeding hens who need higher levels of calcium due to their egg production. If kept in outside aviaries with damp floors there is a strong possibility that intestinal worms will infect your stock because the soft shells of worm eggs will stay viable in these conditions much longer than they would in a dry bird room. An adult worm living in the intestine of your Budgerigar has the potential to lay 2,000 eggs a year these eggs pass out of the bird in its droppings and can quickly cover the floor of your flight. The worms live

Hospital cages are a valuable addition to the equipment that is needed to keep our birds in good condition.

on the nutrients passing through the intestines and a large infestation of worms will basically starve the bird even though it is eating plenty of food. Each time your bird goes onto the floor to seek food it can easily ingest a worm egg. I once lost a light green hen which appeared to be in good condition possessing a rich brown cere


FEATURE and rearing five young in the nest box. Initially it was a bit of a puzzle as to why she had suddenly died but when I postmortemed her I found the breast to be very thin and the intestines full of adult worms, some thirty four in number, each worm being ¾” long, they were clearly visible. Fortunately the cock was an experienced father and he reared the babies himself. Liquid Panacur (it looks like milk) has proved to be a reliable wormer. I use the 2.5% solution and cut it 5 parts water to one part Panacur, a Budgerigar should be given ½ cc of this mixture. Panacur is well tolerated by birds and doses in excess of this are not fatal. In the past wormers were very bitter and even if you had used a worming needle with a specially adapted end to place the dose into the crop via the beak the birds would frequently sick the liquid up and your efforts were worthless. As Panacur is not bitter this is less likely to happen. Hospital cages are a valuable addition to the equipment that is needed to keep our birds in good condition. They have a heating element built into the wall or the floor of the hospital cage and are thermostatically controlled. They are capable of heating the bird to 100 degrees Fahrenheit and are very useful for hens that are egg bound or for birds that have a chill. They are also

This is a typical Hospital cage, which for the purposes of this article also doubled up as the photographic cage as I do not like pictures distorted by punch bars.

very good if a hen leaves her babies, it is surprising how quickly chilled young birds become active again when they receive additional heat, this then gives you the opportunity to locate another breeding hen to foster the young under or allows you to hand feed them. As they are normally built of white plastic they are easy to wipe clean and disinfect when they are not in use. The clear plastic front which slides up to act as a door allows you to view the condition of the bird without disturbing it further. Always place food and water on the floor of the hospital cage and when the bird starts to look better reduce the temperature by 2 degrees each day to slowly acclimatise the bird to a lower temperature. BIRD SCENE

31


NAL THE NATIO 2022 N EXHIBITIO BER 2ND OCTO

NATION EXHIBIT LES RANCE

2ND OCTOBER 2022 ORGAN

32

BIRD SCENE


FEATURE

NAL TION

NISERS MEETING

BIRD SCENE

33


I was up early on Sunday 15th May to ensure my birds with babies received their egg food before setting off to Coventry for the annual meeting of the clubs who run The National Exhibition. Setting my trusty satnav it said 80 miles journey time 1hour 45 minutes arrival 11.30 am. This looked good, provided the M1 was behaving itself, as I wanted to visit the site of our old meeting place the Quality Inn Coventry. I had tried to book this venue again for this meeting but had been informed, that

34

BIRD SCENE

it had been sold and was going to be refurbished. This seemed too good an opportunity to miss as it is only one and a half miles from my destination, I wanted to see what progress was being made, and saw that work was progressing. As most know, The National Exhibition is held at Stafford County Showground ST18 0BD but for some reason we hold our organisers meeting in Coventry. For this show, we warmly welcomed


FEATURE

the English Cinnamon Canary Club, the North Staffs Border Club, the Staffordshire British Bird & Mule Club and the British Gouldian Finch Club. There is tea, coffee and Danish pastries on arrival and the bar is open. The Parrot Society host the lunch and invite up to two representatives from each club to attend and contribute to the proceedings. Lunch is served at 1.00 pm but most delegates arrive, around 12.00 so we can spend some time chatting.

We now feel that the basic format to the event is fairly well set but like all shows there are improvements that can be made.

We now feel that the basic format to the event is fairly well set but like all shows there are improvements that can be made. An agenda is always produced so that the formal meeting keeps ‘on track’ and clubs can and do contribute items for the agenda.

BIRD SCENE

35


AGENDA 1. Date of the 2022 National Exhibition is Sunday 2nd October 2022 2. Welcome 3. Review of the 2021 Covid affected National Exhibition – Chris Smith 4. Sponsorship arrangements for 2022 – Les Rance 5. Checking In facilities – Booking in tables are lined up in front of the Show staging and the crowd barriers. Security is paramount at this event and we do not want exhibitors walking around the staging 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 halls until after completion of

36

BIRD SCENE

6. 7.

8.

judging when the show is open to the general public at 12.30pm on Sunday. Erection of staging from 12.00 on Saturday 1st October. The Parrot Society will again supply free tea, coffee and biscuits in the Argyle Centre when the staging is being built on the Saturday and on the Sunday when birds are being checked in. As we are now supplying Early Entry wristbands to all Exhibitors it seems unnecessary to block access to the P.S. Selling Area between Prestwood and Argyle Centres. Please do all that you can to encourage people exhibiting with your club to purchase the entry wristbands at £10.00 each when


FEATURE they send in their entry forms. If your exhibitors are not wearing entry wristbands on the Sunday morning how will they be able to book their birds in! 9. Security at checking out time. Should the two halls be checked out separately rather than together, there are pros and cons in relation to this issue? 10. Show schedules – need to remind clubs that the National Exhibition is an open show and schedules should reflect this, members specials may be restricted to club members but there should be open specials available as well. 11. Could clubs make better use of social media in attracting exhibitors and visitors to this show? Some clubs are already good at using social media but it is an area that needs a member that has an interest in the subject to drive it forward. Would any club be interested in talking to the meeting on their experiences? Our meeting went well and everything is progressing to schedule for a bumper 2022 National. Minutes of National Exhibition Organisers meeting held at Best Western Plus Windmill Village Hotel,

Birmingham Road, Allesley, Coventry CV5 9AL on Sunday 15th May 2022. Clubs attending: Parrot Society, Yorkshire Canary Club, Canary Council, NCA, Blue Lizards, Old Variety Canary Association, London Fancy Canary Club, Midland County Norwich CC, Zebra Finch Society, British Gouldian Club, Irish Fancy International, International Gloster Breeders Association, North Staffs & South Cheshire Fife Fancy CC and Staffordshire British Bird & Mule Club. Apologies: English Cinnamon Canary Club, Lizard Canary Club, Colour Canary Breeders Association, National Bengalese Fanciers Association, South Cheshire Budgerigar Society, International Border Breeders Association, and The Lovebird (1990) Society.


1.

2.

3.

4.

38

Date of the 2022 National Exhibition is Sunday 2nd October 2022 Welcome to a new section represented by the British Gouldian Finch Club Review of the 2021 Covid affected National Exhibition – Chris Smith reported that although numbers were down with only 12 clubs attending it was important that this show took place to keep the momentum moving. Sponsorship arrangements for 2022 – Les Rance reported that he and Lee Clarke a Parrot Society Council member had visited Johnston and Jeff Ltd our sponsor and received their continuing full support for this show. Lee said that clubs are encouraged to use the Johnston and Jeff logo on their show schedules to give support to this well respected company. Chris Smith circulated a sponsorship schedule from the National Council of Aviculture covering rosettes and prize money BIRD SCENE

5.

6.

7.

amounting to £600, the Chairman thanked Mr Smith for this generous increase in support from the NCA. Checking In facilities – General consensus that the existing system works well and will be retained unchanged for 2022. Andy Early asked that the location of the London Fancy Canaries staging and Judges stand could be re-sited. We will try to meet this request. It was agreed to provide a catching aviary to assist the British Gouldian Finch Club to safely transfer Gouldian finches from their travelling cages into the exhibition cages. Erection of staging from 12.00 on Saturday 1st October. David Allen asked about the judging stands being allocated to clubs. This is a good idea; also could any clubs who are having a number of judges provide a judging stand or two themselves, again a sensible approach. The Parrot Society will again supply free tea, coffee and biscuits in the


Argyle Centre when the staging is being built on the Saturday and on the Sunday when birds are being checked in. A new tea urn has been purchased to assist this area. The British Gouldian Finch Club agreed to provide additional tea bags, a kind gesture. 8. Clubs were requested to do all that they can to encourage people exhibiting to purchase the entry wristbands at £10.00 each when they send in their entry forms. If exhibitors are not wearing entry wristbands on the Sunday morning, they will not be able to book their birds in! 9. Security at checking out time. Chris Smith reported that birds are now being lifted within 15 minutes, very quickly, and therefore there should be no need to have different release times for the two halls. It is important make sure each section dismantles it’s own staging and judging stand after the show. Chris said he would monitor it. 10. Show schedules – Clubs were reminded that the National Exhibition is an open show and schedules should reflect this, member’s specials may be restricted to club members but there should be open specials available as well.

11. Clubs were encouraged to make better use of social media in attracting exhibitors and visitors to this show. Some clubs are already good at using social media but it is an area that needs a member that has an interest in the subject to drive it forward. Vote of thanks to the PS at the end of the meeting for their hospitality and for the National Exhibition. Our meeting went well and everything is progressing very well for a bumper 2022 National. The Chairman wished everyone a safe journey home.

DONATE TO OUR CONSERVATION FUND… GO TO: WWW.THEPARROTSOCIETYUK.ORG

BIRD SCENE

39


EMMA FREEMAN

DON’T BLAME THE BREEDER F

or those of you who have read my previous articles, you may be aware that for the past six years I have worked for a parrot refuge, something I threw myself into wholeheartedly, working as an area coordinator, the newsletter editor and finally becoming a trustee of the charity. As parrot enthusiasts we cannot deny the sad fact that there are many unwanted parrots looking for homes in this country and my motivation for joining a rescue charity was to try to help these birds find a happy and contented life.

40

BIRD SCENE


FEATURE

I threw myself into it wholeheartedly, working as an area coordinator, the newsletter editor and finally becoming a trustee of the charity.

BIRD SCENE

41


Little did I know that the world of parrot rescue was more fraught with bickering, back stabbing and egotistical behaviour than the House of Commons. Just over a year ago I decided enough was enough when I, along with four other trustees resigned, not because I felt I could no longer help unwanted parrots find the homes they needed but because I was sick and tired of the rigid, know it all attitudes of others working in parrot rescue. In particular one very prevalent attitude infuriated me more than any other, and this was the belief that parrot breeders

42

BIRD SCENE

are solely to blame for the vast quantity of unwanted and neglected birds which need to be re homed every year. Over and again I was told by different members of the organisation that ‘there wouldn’t be a problem if breeders didn’t keep churning out baby parrots for the pet trade’ and ‘parrot breeders are only in it for the money.’ Each time I heard this opinion I was amazed, how had they come to this conclusion? Was their thinking so simplistic that they had forgotten the pet owner’s part in the process? Or, as I suspect, maybe it was more convenient and less painful to blame a group of


FEATURE faceless breeders than to look at the real reasons that so many parrots are moved from home to home. I am not a parrot breeder, so I was welcomed into the world of parrot rescue with open arms but I have never shared the ‘them and us’ attitude held by so many towards parrot breeders. I have many friends who are parrot breeders and I admire the time, effort and commitment they put into the welfare of their birds, many of them have years of experience and far greater knowledge of their birds than the average parrot owner. For these reasons I suggested that a few of these parrot breeder friends join the parrot refuge and help, although they were more than willing to give their time and to offer homes to some of the more problem birds, their motives were questioned from the start. To say they were treated with suspicion would be an understatement; in fact a saliva frothing, rabid dog would have been made more welcome. But as they proved, on many occasions, that their knowledge and experience meant that they could advise and deal with a range of birds with problem behaviour they were eventually, if somewhat reluctantly, accepted. The parrot breeders I refer to here became trustees of the charity and being of the same mind, we all agreed that the birds’

needs must come first. If a parrot came into the refuge that was desperate to breed/ too noisy to live in a family environment/ too stressed to live with humans and exhibiting problem behaviour that couldn’t be corrected, then we agreed that the bird should be allowed to live in an aviary with its own kind. This decision was met with opposition and seen as a ploy to breed with the rescue birds. It was patiently explained on a number of occasions that the birds would not be encouraged to breed and no nesting boxes or materials would be available in the aviaries. However, it still remained an issue with some of the members who would have preferred the birds to be placed in yet another unsuitable home, only to be moved again and again.

BIRD SCENE

43


There were many problems within the refuge which we worked as a team to correct and for a while we managed to overcome the prejudice towards the parrot breeder trustees. We all worked tirelessly to find new members, to promote the charity and to find good homes for the birds that came into our care. I found myself constantly defending my fellow trustees and justifying their decisions, despite the amount of hard work and time they had given to the refuge they were still treated with suspicion and I still heard the same criticisms of parrot breeders.

44

BIRD SCENE

Everything was blamed on the breeders, if a bird was a fussy eater, the breeder hadn’t weaned it properly, if a bird was temperamental, the breeder hadn’t socialised it, breeders didn’t give enough information to new parrot owners, breeders didn’t care about the future of their baby birds, they were only interested in making money. I pointed out that the baby parrot was only with the breeder for a very short part of its life and although this time was crucial to give the bird a good start in life it was up to the parrot owner to guide and nurture the baby bird, as


FEATURE it was also up to the parrot owner to research as much as they could before they brought their baby home. It was also apparent to me from observing my friends, who bred baby parrots that they were very much concerned about the future welfare of their baby birds, they often spent hours advising and helping people with any problems they had. And for the record, I’m sure that if you counted the hours spent with a baby bird before it went to its new home then you would realise that the breeder had earned every penny of the price asked for the bird. None of them were millionaires, parrot breeding was very much a hobby and not an alternative career. It’s not that I am so naïve as to believe that there aren’t any disreputable breeders, I have heard enough stories to know that there are some motivated more by money than the welfare of the bird but it’s unfair to paint everyone with the same brush. Likewise, there are many people working in parrot rescue who care passionately about parrots and don’t all share the belief that the breeder is always to blame, I met many of them during the time I worked for the refuge, otherwise I wouldn’t have stayed with them for so long. The intentions of those working

for the refuge were good, it was the politics that caused the problems. I also had to constantly defend my associations with The Parrot Society, I was asked why I was an area representative for a ‘group of parrot breeders’, (said with a sneer.) I argued that The Parrot Society is a long running, well respected charity that provides information and advice on all aspects of bird keeping, pets included, that the society is involved

BIRD SCENE

45


with and supports many conservation projects and that breeding in captivity is, for some species, the only way that they will survive. The Parrot Society has been a lifeline for me and is far more than ‘a group of parrot breeders’. I’m certain that these opinions from the people in parrot rescue, were not based on personal experience as none of them were members, however I’m not surprised as I found many of them to have strong opinions on countless

46

BIRD SCENE

areas of bird keeping and most of these were based on very little fact and even less experience. Open mindedness and tolerance were not words I would have associated with these people, this surprised me as I thought the reason for a parrot rescue was to help the birds involved and not to squabble and score points with who had the most knowledge and who was right or wrong. I can understand that some of these attitudes were because of


FEATURE the sights they had seen, it is easy to want to blame somebody but there is no single group of people responsible, often circumstances beyond anyone’s control cause people to re home their bird. Things finally came to a head with the charity when a new member made allegations that two of the trustees had sold a charity bird, a totally unfounded claim with no evidence to support it. This member had wanted to foster a bird and had already accepted and then turned down three birds for not being friendly enough. The trustees had agreed not to let him have another bird as his expectations were unrealistic, he then approached an area coordinator

who offered him a bonded pair of cockatoos, one of which was his own bird, the other belonged to the charity. He was made to understand that they shouldn’t be separated but against advice he separated them as he only liked the female and wanted to return the male. Obviously this caused the male cockatoo extreme stress and the end result was piteous and prolonged screaming. When the trustees learned what had happened we attempted to take both birds off the new member, his response was to make these allegations against two of the trustees, not to the founders of the charity but on the charity’s Facebook page, knowing full well that this would cause the most trouble. Without knowing the full story many members were quick to criticise and blame the trustees accused as they were also parrot breeders. There was no support from the founders of the charity and we soon realised that we would never be able to reason with these people, their prejudice was so strong that they had lost the ability to show understanding and loyalty to people who should have been trusted and valued members of staff, just because these people had bred parrots. The end result was that five out of seven trustees resigned, two of the trustees had been with the charity for over fifteen years, we had all

BIRD SCENE

47


worked closely as a team for a number of years but unanimously agreed that we were fighting a losing battle and could no longer work for someone who showed us so little loyalty. I share this story with you not because of sour grapes, although I have felt anger and disbelief at the way these people were treated, but mainly to make others aware of the ‘them and us’ attitude which does exist. To warn others who may, as we did, stroll unknowingly into the world of parrot rescue with the belief that everyone would be working towards the same goal, sadly this is not the case.

Apart from anything else, to state the obvious, if it wasn’t for parrot breeders then none of these people would have their pet parrots in the first place and now more than ever, with the ban on imported birds, we are completely reliant on breeders in this country to keep our hobby alive. Call me dim but I could never understand the belief that all parrot breeders, regardless of whether they sold birds, hand reared birds, had parent reared birds or even had aviary birds living collectively could possibly be responsible for all the birds that needed re homing.

DONATE TO OUR CONSERVATION FUND… GO TO: WWW.THEPARROTSOCIETYUK.ORG


BOOKS AND PRINTS: AFRICAN POICEPHALUS PARROTS Print & Booklet £16 plus p&p UK £5, p&p world £10

THE MANUAL of COLOUR BREEDING PRICE REDUCTION!! on remaining copies, now only £20 each plus p&p UK £5, p&p world £10 THE ROSELLAS PRICE REDUCTION!! On remaining copies, now only £5 each plus p&p UK £5, p&p world £10

The Following Supplements & Titles are now out of print and unavailable:INDIAN RINGNECK PARRAKEET (Supplement to Manual) LINEOLATED PARRAKEET (Supplement to Manual) COCKATIEL (Supplement to Manual) BREEDING THE AMBOINA KING (CD) GENETICS WIZARD

Cheques/drafts in BRITISH POUNDS STERLING ONLY payable to: J&P Hayward Carterton Breeding Aviaries, Brize Norton Road, Carterton, Oxon, ENGLAND OX18 3HW Tel: 01993 841736


SO MUCH MORE THAN A STANDARD MIX As with everything we make, our No. 1 Parrot Food is purposefully designed to be nutritionally correct as well as having a wide variety of ingredients for behavioural enrichment. Just because it is our “standard” mix, that does not mean it is spared the Johnston & Jeff treatment! This traditional base food contains 16 ingredients, comprising a wide variety of shapes, colours, textures and tastes for your feathered friend to forage through. Feed with fresh fruit and vegetables or our Fruit, Nut & Veg Mix, to serve up a diet that’s so much more than standard.

Benefits Various Ingredients for Behavioural Enrichment Nutritionally Balanced Cleaned to 99.9% Purity Composition: Medium Striped Sunflower Seed, Whole Maize, Safflower Seed, Natural Groats, Red Dari, White Sunflower Seed, Buckwheat, Monkey Nuts, Puffed Wheat, Flaked Peas, Peanuts, Chillies, Puffed Maize, Flaked Maize, Pine Nuts and Vegetable Oil.

Suitable for: African Greys, Amazons, Caiques, Cockatoos, Large Conures, Macaws, Meyers, Senegals and Quakers.

Please note, Johnston & Jeff’s foods are only available through retailers or online. Please contact us to find your nearest stockists or for more information.

Johnston & Jeff Ltd. Baltic Buildings, Gateway Business Park, Gilberdyke, East Riding of Yorkshire, HU15 2TD T: 01430 449444 • E: mail@johnstonandjeff.co.uk • www.johnstonandjeff.co.uk Johnston & Jeff Ltd

@johnstonandjeff

@johnstonandjeff


Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.