Birds at Their Best After the Moult

As a member of the Budgerigar Society General Council, I must go along with the rule governing the date of the ring issue, namely, January 1st. Therefore, to enable us to show birds of a good size at the earlier shows, we must have the birds ready for breeding by early December.

As a budgerigar breeder, I do not consider this is the proper time to start. Over the years, I have tried all different times and some seasons, and if the youngsters are hard to come by, I have kept pairs breeding a little longer. However, I am not advocating that the length of the breeding season should be increased. This itself, tends to cause problems, you find there is insufficient time available to have a thorough cleaning programme before the next season is upon you.

The best time of the year for breeding is obviously when the birds are at their fittest. I have come to the conclusion that pairs are at their best for breeding purposes when they have just completed their September/October moult.

This is the time when the deepest part of the moult is over and the last of the feathers are opening, possibly with just a few pin feathers remaining on the head. I would emphasise that you must catch them when they have recently finished the moult. If you wait until they are feather perfect ie., in good show condition, this is far too late.

If we could start the birds breeding at the end of the moult, I feel sure that we would have less problems, both with infertility, and hens not laying. The short answer, therefore, would be that the right time to commence breeding operations is towards the end of October. In my opinion, this is the start of the breeding-cycle. The birds are definitely moving out of the cycle by December – hence some of the problems we encounter.

I would hasten to add, that this season will be the best I have ever had; if not, maybe next. This is the thought that keeps us all going. Budgerigar breeders are always super-optimists. The very best of luck and don’t blame me if it all goes wrong, just do what I do. Blame my wife.

Original text: Copyright 1997, Jim Huttton

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