Success, and How to Improve your Chances

If you are one of the many who want to succeed in the hobby, there are several actions you can take to improve your chances.

  1. Before purchasing any birds, visit as many shows as possible – the bigger the shows, the better. Try to understand why one bird comes first and another second. It might well be that what you see does not seem to make sense, but do not worry. Different people see budgerigars in different ways, and only time will tell who is making the best decisions.
  2. Learn to think for yourself and do not be browbeaten by other fanciers. You are bound to make mistakes but make sure that are your mistakes and not someone else’s.
  3. Listen to what experienced fanciers have to say; think it through and then make up your own mind.
  4. Study the Budgerigar Society’s Ideal and see how the birds are the show compare. The fact is that you will find that very few budgerigar winners or losers some anywhere near the Ideal.
  5. Keep an eye on exhibitors who are always there, with their owner-bred birds, when the prizes are being awarded. They may not be taking the top prizes, but placings that demonstrate that the exhibitor is maintaining a good level of quality are good enough. When you find such an exhibitor, whose birds appeal to you, arrange to visit the stud. Most breeders are prepared to show you around and offer advice. During the visit, look in every cage, study the overall quality of birds you see, check how many birds there are, ask question, study management methods, listen to what is said and then go away and think.

We believe that it is important to buy budgerigars from a stud that has quality in depth. In the long term, blood will win out, so it is better to buy the worst bird from a good stud, than the best bird from a mediocre stud. Even then, you can only reasonably expect to breed budgerigars equal to the average quality of the stud from which you buy.

As a complete Beginner, it would be better if you buy young budgerigars, not old enough to have bred. Such birds can be given time to settle down and still be young enough to figure in your breeding plans for several years. They will probably mature and, in all probability, develop into much better birds than they were when you bought them.

Now, it is decision time! You should know what you want and who has it. A final check list:

  • Does the breeder have the type of bird you like?
  • Is the overall quality of this stud high?
  • Is the stud healthy?
  • Finally, do you feel you can trust the fancier?
  • Now for the crunch – how much to pay?

Our advice is to set yourself a limit on how much you can afford or are prepared to spend, and then boy as many birds as you can for that amount. Don’t expect to go to a top stud and buy budgerigars for pet prices. The owner has almost certainly spent an enormous amount of time and money building up the stud to the standard that you admire so much. Show quality birds from such a stud are sought by fanciers the world over, and command very high prices. These days, many breeders are able to provide pedigrees for the birds they supply and you should set out to acquire birds that carry the same genes and are closely related to the best birds in the stud.

Finally, never put all your eggs in one basket. Don’t be tempted to spend all of your money on one super pair. Budgerigars are gregarious and enjoy plenty of company, so the super pair may not breed without other budgerigars in close proximity. It may well be that you initial purchases are nowhere near the elusive Ideal, but at this stage it does not matter.

Fanciers often expect too much of their birds, Beginners and Novices in particular, have expectations that are much too high. When disappointment follows, as it inevitably will, they feel that their birds have let them down. For Many years we have advocated following the much more realistic “half rule” of expectation which goes like this:

If half of the fertile eggs produce chicks on the perches, then things are going well.

After keeping records during the years that we have observed this rule, we now think we should add a new “half rule”.

If half of your budgerigars breed in any particular season, then things are going well.

Just because a budgerigar breeds well one year, it does not mean that it will breed the following year. Likewise, just because a bird does not breed one year, it does not mean that it will fail the next.

For more than 20 years, we have paired our budgerigars early, irrespective of the ring issue date. We have found this is have a number of advantages. This is not to say that in all our early starts we have been successful. However, if you do get a failure, by beginning early it gives time to make a recovery without having to breed into the summer, with all the problems that brings. In recent years, the number of fanciers struggling to breed sufficient numbers to keep them in the fancy, has increased. Indeed, many have failed and given up the fight. The result is that many well-established fanciers have been lost from the hobby. Unless something is done, we will lose more, and it is just possible that issuing the rings earlier may help the situation.

Original text Copyright 1998, Gordon and Sylvia Hallam

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