A Plan for Beginners in the Fancy – Part II by Pat Norris

One Step up the Ladder

Part one of “Plan for Beginners in the Fancy” gave a brief insight into purchasing the right stock birds for the Beginner and Novice budgerigar breeder to begin their long climb up the ladder to success. Having purchased the best quality birds that the budget will allow, you now have to make the most of your initial outlay.

At this stage you will need to forget colour preferences and concentrate on the features of your purchases.

Line up your birds from each of your preferred studs and select your pairings to compliment each partner eg., if you have a cock with good facial qualities but lacks size, then try to mate him with a long broad shouldered hen. Try to remember when pairing, the parents of the bird, (which you should have seen when purchasing your stock) as this can be a great factor when considering a mating. Remember that your bird will carry in its genetical make-up, its parents features, so if it came from a very buff bird, but it is itself not carrying that feather, it will be split for that parents feather quality, and if paired to an intermediate feathered mate will produce a greater number of the desired youngsters with an intermediate feather as well as buffs. Select each pairing thus, keeping the birds from the same stud together at this stage.

At the end of your first breeding season, hopefully you will have chicks from each of your pairings. You can then re-assess your birds to see if they have improved in your first year.

Line up the chicks and parents from each pairing and ask yourself honestly a few questions .

  • Are the chicks bred an improvement on the parents?
  • Have they inherited any hidden faults eg., poor backlines, poor stance, short masks etc?
  • Are they of inferior quality to the parents?

If all the chicks are of poor quality from a pair, or if they have inherited bad faults, then in my opinion, all of the chicks from that pairing should be discarded, and the pair should not be allowed further rounds. Select chicks from the pairs that have produced good youngsters, and discard any adults that are producing inferior stock. Any adults that have bad traits eg., feather plucking, egg eating, attacking youngsters etc., unless of a very high quality, should be culled.

At the end of your first season you should hopefully have a number of hens of reasonable quality from your initial purchases. Any quality cocks will be a bonus on the show bench but the hens in my opinion are the backbone of any stud as it is very difficult to obtain hens of quality.

After assessing from which stud or studs your best birds were bred, you will need to return to that stud for one or two cock birds of a slightly better quality this time. Bear in mind when making these purchases, that if there is a feature which needs improving, the cock bird selected must have that desired improvement. Remember that building a good stud is like a jigsaw puzzle, piece by piece, and it is going to take time to do it well. Look at the brothers and sisters of your intended purchases as well as the parents. You can not expect to buy the show bird, but for a reasonable sum may be able to obtain a nestmate. These are capable of producing the same quality young as their “Best in Show” siblings. You must be prepared to pay a higher price for your better quality second purchases, but if you have sold your unwanted stock this should help offset the cost.

In Part Three. I will explain how to pair these cocks to begin a line of, hopefully, winning birds.

Original text Copyright 1998, Pat Norris.

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