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Having A Plan

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When many decide to get into the show budgerigar side they are usually looking at the open class birds on the bench, at shows, on web sites or in books. The breeders of these birds have been breeding for many years or decades. Some like Gerald Binks have put their whole life into it.


The new breeders/novices start with dreams of breeding the top show birds in the first or at least the second season. This is not, in the majority of novices, going to happen. The only way to get close to this is to have an endless supply of money and to start with buying the top birds.


So what is the new show breeder to do? With my short experience in this area, I think I am on to the right direction. Make a plan. As many in different occupations say we don't plan to fail, just fail to plan.


Mine is a five year plan. I am currently in my second year of my plan and have feed back that I am on the right track.


My Surgested Plan.


1st Year. Start by joining a club and listen to all the members. See who is winning and ask if you can visit their aviary.

While there, ask questions.

  • How have they set up their breeding rooms?
  • What are they feeding their birds in the flights?
  • What do they look for in a bird to see if they are coming into breeding condition?
  • How do they set up their birds? Some put the hen in first for a few days before introducing the cock.
  • What do they feed the breeding pair?
  • How do they set up the nest box and what type and size is it.
  • What do they feed the pair when the chicks hatch?

.....and so forth.

Don't stop at the first Aviary. Visit as many as you can. Everyone has a different way to do things.

Be advised by them and act on it.


Go to shows and try to get a job stewarding.

Stewarding is bringing the birds from the holding area to the "Bench" for the judge. If you are lucking the judge will tell you what he is looking at and why he picked one bird over another. You will learn to tell the difference between Double factor spangles, Lutinos and Dark eyed clears. You will learn to recognise the difference between grey wings and cinnamons. You will also see why some birds are penalised.


After a few shows and visits to aviaries and attending club meetings, 6 months or so has pasted, you can start to think about either the birds you have and/or the birds you are going to buy. You start to think about the aviary you have and/or going to build. Some members might give you birds to start you off and even help with your first pairing.


2nd Year Now comes the crunch. 12 months has past since you though that it might be good to breed and show birds. You are now alone in your aviary with your birds breeding with chicks. With the experience you have had and back up of the members in your club you should have the confidence to take the chicks from the egg to the perch, to the nursery and in to the stock cage. You must remember that this takes time. The chicks will be in the nursery from the time they are capable of feeding themselves until 60 days old.


It is at this stage that the new breeder evaluated the birds. This is when the first heart aches start. He looks at his new chicks and compares them to the birds in the top breeder's aviaries or the show bench or the book he is reading by the top breeders. Guest what. They are a bit small. They don't seem to have that puffy head, the spots are small, the head is pointy the bird won't stand on the perch straight enough... etc.

The breeder now is despondent. What happened..? Well nothing went wrong. You have just set the foundation to what could be a great stud. You have to wait. This is a chick still a nest feather, an ugly duck. What you first called a pink blob is now feathered and not the Miss or Mister World of the budgie world.

Unfortunately this is the time when most new breeders sell their chicks. Thinking that they won't amount to much and that it was a waste of time breeding them. Don't do it!


The next thing to do is to make sure you look after these birds. Remember what the top breeders do and move them to the stock cages and leave them until they are 90 days old. They should now b undressing there baby clothes and moulting into their kids outfits. After their moult it is time to move them into their own flight and leave them to mature. Come back in 6 months time to see how they have matured and you should now see the effects of time and your good management. You might be surprised.


At 12 months old they still have not reached their peak, it won't be until they are 18 months that you will see the best in them.


3rd Year okay next stage. If you have a large Aviary and can have many birds, great but for many, culling starts at 12 months. By now you should have been to many shows and seen the quality of what is being shown. You should have spent 3/4 of the time looking at the novice section to see what they have brought on to the bench. Hopefully you will be arrogant enough to think to yourself. "I have a better one at home; I could have beaten that one." This is when your "Eye for detail" starts to develop.

You should know what birds are best to keep and what should be culled. (Culled meaning to remove by selling or given away). Where do you start? Those 3 pair that you might have started with had 4 chicks each in two clutches each. You now have 24 chicks. This is where the help from good Club members will be essential. I would try to end up with 1: 2 cocks to hens. Now you might say that I only had two cocks in all that breeding, well unless they are bad I might keep them. If they are bad I would think about out crossing a good cock or two.


Now you should start thinking about pairing for the next season. Look at relationships and don't forget the original birds you started with.


It should be from the next pairings that you should start to see an improvement. So long as you have paired them correctly. This is where the help from good Club members will be essential. Now you can start to think about your Show team. You might have a few chicks from the previous season that has improved enough to be tried on the bench. You might have some Nest feathers, (Chicks that haven't gone through their first moult) that might be good enough for the bench. Put them up. Showing birds in Australia is cheap. It costs 50 cents per bird. If the birds are not good enough to win the judge is usually happy to discuss the down falls. This is a learning stage.


4th year you might have had a few places or even a few wins. You have had your ups and downs. You have had deaths and successes. You know that you have a long way to go but your birds are improving and you involvement with the club has been paying off through hard work and assistance given. You gone to many shows and can see what is needed in your birds to advance. You now have a good team and you start to get constant wins and the points gathered start to elivate you to intermediate status.


5th Year This is the year you need to work hard and hopefully be elevated to Intermediate Class and then you can start to think about the top. By the end of the year, you start to compare your birds to the photos that brought you into this fancy those 5 years ago and think it I am now getting close……..


I am in my sixth year and was elivated to Intermediate Breeder last year. I have had a year off and now ready to move forward.

Many of the birds have progressed nicely butit has been hard work with many failures along the way.

Edited by Daz
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Excellent article Daz. Very well written with very good suggestions. I enjoyed reading it. :wub:

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Great read, it really shows to those just starting out that this isn't something that is going to happen over night.


I wish you luck with your 2nd year plans and the bird going to show soon.

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I do agree but i do not no know when budgie show are on in Victoria so can someone help?

Edited by Nerwen
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Thank you both. Nathan I would contact Australian National Budgerigar Council or The Budgerigar Council of Victoria Inc


I have also found, as a rule, that the birds bought at auction are expensive and rarely breed. I have had better luck from Birds bought from fellow members in the club.


When buying birds from auctions and breeders that you don't know, you must remember that the birds have been rejected by that breeder. There are many reasons for this.

  1. The birds are not up to the standard of that Breeder.
  2. The bird may not breed.
  3. The hen has been egg bound.
  4. The bird is an egg eater.
  5. The bird is known to kill it's young.
  6. The hen is an internal layer.
  7. The breeder bought the bird from someone else and it wont breed.
  8. The bird has breed but the off spring havn't been of good quality.

When buying from someone in the club that you trust. You will have a better chance of getting a bird that will breed.


One thing to remember is that if a bird will breed for someone, there is no guarentees that it will breed for you. The other way is also true.

I was given a bird because it wouldn't breed for the breeder. I have had two good clutches from it.

Different location, enviroment, feed, water, other birds all contribute to whether a bird will breed or not. You should not hold it against the other breeder if the birds doesn't breed for you. It happens.


So to go out and buy expensive birds to start with can cause more grief than pleasure.


It is also true that a bird that breed well one season may not breed well the next. Same the other way. If a hen won't lay one season she may lay the next. I have a Cinnamon Grey Cock some of you know, Ash. I have had him for 16 months. He has been paired up with many hens and has never filled an egg. Many would have sold or given him away. I have kept with him and at the moment he has finaly filled three eggs.


This is a hobbie of ups and downs. More novices give up the hobbie than stay with it because of the dreams that go sour.


I have been lucky that with the help from the club much of the down side hasn't happened. In nearly two years i have breed up to 80 birds. Nearly 20 have been sold or given away. My death rate in all that time has been three birds, counting a Feather Duster. Not counting 1 day old chicks.

Edited by Daz
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YAY for Ash I'm glad things are looking up with him. (yes a bit of a side topic to the point of this topic)

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I am really thrilled about Ash too, Daz. he has a fan base here. Photo please ? :wub:

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This was a really interesting read! :D Good luck with your second years plans.

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Great read. I was planning on going to my first budgie club meeting this weekend. Although that may now depend on how a certain 3 or 4 day old chick is going.

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  • 2 months later...

Added to FAQ section

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just adding to my first post in this section.


Since that post. I did put 6 birds into the next show. I had a 3rd, 4th and Best Club Young Bird of Show.


The next show I won Champion Young Bird of show.


The next show, Best Spangle Novice Section.


The last club table show I won nothing. But I did enjoy it and got some great advice.


It was good to reread the advice I gave at the top. I do believe that it is a way of going. Maybe not the only way, but it seems to be working.


One thing to remember is that nothing is set in concrete and you need to alter your plans to suit.

Edited by Daz
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  • 11 months later...

This was interesting to come back to. I now am in my 3rd year of showing my birds. Last year's breeding season was kind to me with some good birds starting to come through.


As far as the show seen is concerned. I have entered in 5 shows this year.


I have won Best Cock in the novice section 6 times.

Best Hen in the novice section once.

I have taken out best of in variety 11 times and have had many firsts and seconds.


We are now 8 weeks away from the preselections for Australia's top show. The Nationals.

I am looking forward to participating in the club selections and the regional Preselections. Hopefully this year might be the year, who knows. I just know I am enjoying the shows and the competition.


Most of all I am enjoying my birds. This is a relaxing yet exciting hobbie.


But the one thing I have learnt is that Good nutrition and a clean environment is most important.

You must look after your birds. What effort you put in will be returned in healthy happy strong birds.

Edited by Daz
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  • 1 month later...

This was interesting to read. The nationals are over but due to a health problem I didn't compete. Many of the ideas I had are still correct. You MUST look after your birds. Nutrition and hygiene is most important.

Your birds must be kept in the best condition at all times to be competitive.

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Guest lonebudgie

I agree Daz , Happy health birds will give better rewards in breeding and showing.

Here on the central Coast , winning at shows is not so easy , Many club members say that it is now harder to compete in the novice section then in intermediate or open , the quality of birds from sydney and newcastle are outstanding and unless you have a bottomless pocket you are going to find it tuff to compete initially, but that is the challenge and I also believe that breeding a line of winning birds is more satisfying then buying someone elses birds breeding them and winning , to me its two sides of a card.

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  • 9 months later...

Still not a bad read, I would probibly change a few things but not many and not by much. I am now starting my 4 th year showing and am on the verge of being promoted to Intermediate. It may happen this year or next year.. we will see. But I can still say that I am injoying it even more now than when I started.


It is a great hobbie. ;)

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that is good i'm on my fist year of breeding and showing i have got sume good baby in the boxs so hopeing will be a good 2009 and



hopeing it will be a good breeding and showing for you all to good luck

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Went back and read this, and I think i am on the right track. I have bene a member of a club now for 6 months, am setting up my breeding room, I sat down and spoke with the guys from Elenbee Birds seeds about the best seeds, and what others use. I now use the seed that the NSW Budgie Society president uses. I go to shows, looking at birds. I was a runner getting the birds at the last show, so I got to see all the birds that were on show (well not all, but all the greys, cinnamons, spangles, plus a few others) and watched what won and what didn't. It was interesting to see and to learn.


I have visited breeders in Sydney and i have bene lucky enough to visit breeders in Perth and have a better understanding on how they do things. This knowledge has helped me modify my own set up to be more like the show breeders set up. I have asked advice, and been granted information.


All up, I am very lucky and believe I am headed in the right direction.

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Daz - My thoughts.

When i first joined the forum i read this post and thought what a great read, and it still is today. All great advice.


I started back breeding budgies in 1999, with stock from a local breeder who was locally competitive. In 2002 i made the decision to get serious, along with the local breeder we visited a Breeder in NSW who has wall to wall outstanding birds. And the most impressive birdroom setup in the country.


This was the first step to becoming competitive on the show bench. I needed to develop a 5 year plan. The plan i developed seem very ambitious at the time.

These are some of my objectives

Number of birds that i wanted to breed year

Maintaining a mix of varieties

Development of Families around foundation birds

Show results

Disposal of surplus birds

Other things like becoming a judge and being involved in the hobby.


Most of those objectives have been met, In 2007 I won at the Nationals in Adelaide.


One of the things i have changed along the way - dont pair birds just for the sake of it. Every pairing must contribute to the overall plan.


I have developed another 5 year plan, based around what has gone right and where I see I need to improve.


In the Latest BRASEA auction catalogue/bulletin there's an interview with Gerald Binks. His best piece of advice for all of us in the hobby - "Attack it"

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My plan is working well, my first 2 years were more of learning and mucking around but last year and this year have set myself a plan.

I can see from when I started to now, each year there has been a great improvement on the quality of birds that I have bred but still there is so muh more to learn and do. ;)

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Thanks for your comments, I was rethinking the points I put up and to add one comment should be "it's My Plan" but as a starting point for those that are just beginning, it should help.


Thanks Heath for your comments, It is a valuable comment seeing where you are now. I think we need to stand back every now and then and revaluateour plans to see if they are working and what need to be adjusted to get back on the track to our goals.


I am going to cull very heavily this year. 2/3s of the birds will be sold so that I have the top birds that I have in the flight. In those I am keeping, i'll also keep some of the brothers/sisters of the top birds as my experience is that the top birds are hard to breed with.

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I cull heavy each year Daz, I only keep the best of the best but then sometimes I think I cull to early not given them time to show their true potential but saying that most times if they don't have when their young they never will.

I have been told by 2 very experience breeders that I cull to early need to keep them till they are at least 12 months old mainly because of their blood lines, and then they have said as long as I can live with culling them earlier, Well I think I can :D

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I also just took 6 young 6 months and younger to the pet shop. I have slowly been thinning the numbers down over the last few months.

I did this so young as they were all male bar 1- I have enough males in those varieties and much better specimens. I am sick of keeping so many males. The 1 female- I have her sisters and am happy with how they have turned out, she was a bit smaller and although could have matured and grown a bit more I have no need for another cinnamon female with her bloodlines.

Although I did have a grey cock in the cage on the way to the shop and boy did he look great, I nearly took him back home. I chose him to go over another grey cock that was alot better than him. All the way thinking "I hope I caught the right one".

I am still "playing" and learning as such, I get to visit some breeders when I come to Perth. Havent managed to bench anything yet

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  • 11 months later...

Well an update....


I started with the fancy at the end of 2005 and now have been elivated to Intermediate Breeder..


I still like to look over the "plan" to see if I would change much. ... Maybe. but the enjoyment is still there and so is the excitment :wub:

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its hard to stick to a plan

sadly im a bit lost in mine at moment and have lost sight of where im heading

this is partly due to lack of ability to source and perchus a number of good hens :D of the typeings i need

cant breed them if you dont have them :wub:

my albino line is the only one i have stayed sighted on B)

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  • 7 months later...

thank you daz for posting your information i thoroughly enjoyed reading it, its good for begginers like myself to be able to come onto sites like this and be able to tap into the information like this thread. i think that im going to make my own 5 year plan it seems to be a smart way to go and means i that i can always know where im headed. i hope im at your point in 5 years. cheers;)

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