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Interview With Peter Glassenbury

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Here is an interview Peter Glassenbury has done previously and kindly by permission allowed us to view here


1. How long have you been breeding budgies and how did you start? What do you get out of the budgies after all these years? -


My parents bought me two pairs of Budgerigars as a child in the mid 1950’s and after two successful rounds of chicks the small cage required expansion. A 12x6 foot aviary was built and took pride of place in the backyard and it was not long before I realised I was not the breeder any more as my parents had taken over. My allocation became two breeding boxes which consisted of a pair of Cinnamons and a pair of Cinnamonwing Yellows from which I could also produce Black Eyed Yellows. In 1959 I bred a Black Eye that went on to be Best in Show at Port Pirie with some 800 birds on the bench and that really was the start of me with breeding budgerigars. I joined the E S & A Bank in 1966 and was transferred from my home town of Clare in SA to the Northern Territory with this employment and thus ended phase one of my budgerigar career. My parents continued to breed and exhibit at all major shows in SA until my father died in 1970 and mum sold all birds for 2/- (20 cents) each, regardless of quality. After much movement within the Bank I returned to SA and started a family and in the early 1980’s purchased two pairs of colourful birds for the children which produced by chance three Black Eyed chicks and I saw this as an omen. I did my parents trick and moved the kids aside and started breeding again myself.


2. What do you feed your birds in the way of seed mixture, soft food etc. Do you throw any branches, grasses etc into the flights?


I have several theories with the birds and they relate back to nature really where only the tough survive. While I am now retired little has changed with the way I feed and try keep the birds healthy. They get basic seeds of Canary, Jap and White millets and also a treat as a separate mix of dry large parrot mix which doubles as a wet food mix during breeding with an addition of hulled oats. Gum branches are given when they fall from next door which is quite regularly. Basic lawn grass trailers and silver beet along with grit, both hard and shell, and cuttlefish are the only other staples. The other real supplies they get from nature themselves being sunlight and rain from exposed sections in the aviary.


3. Do you give any preventative medication and if so, what is it and how often and why?


A broad spectrum anti-biotic is given before breeding just as clean out and if a bird gets sick it will be caught and given heat and a medication to survive of it’s own volition.



4. How many birds do you have at each aviary and what colour varieties


I have three aviaries and run around 200 birds at the peak which are quickly reduced by culling those that do not show potential. Main varieties are the Black Eyes and Cinnamons along with Normals, Pieds and Spangles and I always have a play variety, which at present is the Melanistic Spangles. As a judge I have bred all varieties at some stage to better understand them.

5. You have been very successful both in South Australia and at National Level for quite some time now:


Winning the National with the Black Eye Self this year was great – do you still get the buzz from a win like that? Getting birds on the top row at the Nationals is always a goal and while I get a great buzz out of this, and an even greater buzz out of winning a class, the real treat is to catch up with people annually at that show weekend. I have only missed two since the late 80’s.


6.Do you line breed or continually outcross? And how do you go about bringing in an outcross if you line breed? How would you run it across your lines? Do you concentrate on any one breeder for outcrosses?


I have no real strategy about breeding other than looking at least two years ahead. When chicks are in the training cage I will be thinking of a mate for that particular bird for next year and even some times before this I may mate pairs with the specific goal to interbreed resultant chicks. Any outcross must have a specific purpose and trait that is required.


7.The Black Eye Selfs have been successful for you for quite a number of years now. How do you pair them up? Do you use splits and if so which variety to put to them? How do you improve the body colour?


Most pairings with the Black Eyes are to themselves and I have about five related families that I cross over to with the hope of breeding around 50 each year. This variety is a numbers game and out of that 50 about 10% may be quality show birds for the variety however I find there is no set formula that will give that 10%. Outcrosses are made periodically if I can breed or find a really good Cinnamon Dark Green Hen. That way no opaline can get into the line and create even more wastage. Actual colour forms part of the pairing process and if I am loosing colour I will breed back for that colour in the pairings.

8.What is your opinion of the Dilutes and Suffused birds being accepted onto the Standard

As a breeder I have no issue with Suffused birds being accepted as a colour in the nationals as there are some nice birds around however as a judge I do have issues as many of the birds presently shown are poor coloured Black Eyes, Clearwings or Greywings and the test will be to weed out those birds. Personally I think the term Dilute was better to describe the variety but greater minds than mine have arrived at the terminology.


9.What about flecking in birds on the show bench? Do you think it should be banned like in the UK. And why?


Flecking is here to stay. If you want exhibition birds you will most likely have flecking to some degree. The key is to control it within the breeding programme. It was banned in the UK in an attempt to control it however that has been reversed as the bird quality on the bench declined rapidly. It is a fault and must be judged accordingly however if the overall bird is far superior, as they usually are, to others on the day and the flecked bird is still the best overall budgerigar it must win.


10.How do you try to eliminate it from your aviary or don’t you see it as a problem area?


If you want to breed exhibition budgerigars then it can be in your aviary. It is up to the breeder to control and one who breeds two flecked birds together will get flecked birds. It is as simple as that.


11. Consistently, I am finding now that no matter who I speak to, breeders have not got enough Normals in their bird rooms but you seem to be the exception. What is your feelings about this and how important do you think good Normals are and why.


I mentioned earlier that I look two years ahead with my breeding programme and even if I bring an outcross in and it happens to be split opaline that will decline over that two year programme. I have very few opalines in my aviary so do not have the problem. Pieds and Spangles I also like to keep as normals and the resultant chicks keeps me supplied with the birds I need.

12. What is the main feature you are looking for in your birds now and how do you go about embedding it into your birds.


Structural head width and backskull are the primary targets for me as so much follows with these features. Even as one week old chicks you can identify the feature based on the bone structure. Feather length of course is another feature needed and when the two combine you usually have what you are looking for.

13. How closely would you breed your birds and do you pair up visually or by pedigree. What sort of records do you keep (computer, books etc). What age do you prefer to mate your birds?


My initial pairings are based on visual features and after selection it is back to the book records, especially with the Black Eyes to see how close they are. Cousins are about as close as I like to go. With the other varieties I can usually recognise the birds and their parents visually and do not need to refer to the records.


14. What are the months you breed through now and has the change in ring issue made any difference?


The ring issue has not changed the times that I breed. I breed when the birds are in condition. There are however two types of condition, show condition and breeding condition, and I feel these are about 6 weeks apart. Once the feather condition is reached the bird then needs to develop body condition to take up the rigours of breeding. With dates as they now stand I can breed one round in July and August and a second round following in September and October with the two rounds getting the separate ring colours. I think SA will be advantaged by this as the extremes in heat early in a year did not allow us to successfully breed at that time. We can now get age on our birds with those second round rung birds.


15. I have heard that the change of ring issue was so that in a couple of years time there will be a motion at National level to include birds rung over two years e.g. 2010 and 2011 rung birds.

I sincerely hope this doesn’t happen as the success of the Nationals depends on it being a young bird challenge (in my opinion) but what is your opinion of this. This is not a rumour I have heard and quite frankly if I was a delegate for SA I would fight tooth and nail against it. The Nationals are designed for young birds and in reality birds can now be 21 months old in any case and most people will have bred with the birds the year before they are shown at National level.

16.What is the size, material etc of your aviary (sizes of flights etc) and can you describe the breeding room for me (breeding cage construction, nest box etc. What do you put on the base of your nest boxes.


Aviaries are not as large as I would like due to house block size and a swimming pool plonked right in the middle of the yard. Main flight is 14x7 feet and attached flight 7x7. A further detached aviary is 8x6. All are steel construction with cement floors for cleaning purposes and also to keep out vermin. Half open fronts with an external loft for the birds to get out in the weather. Roof is galvanised sheeting with a covering of shade cloth and a sprinkler system to keep down the temperature that gets to 40 plus at times. The two joining aviaries can be opened up if required however after culling the keepers are kept in the larger flight for health reasons. I will not overcrowd and have additional removable perch sections to ensure plenty of perch space per bird before culling is done. The breeding room is small about 12x7 but is an attached storage room of a solid brick granny flat and is insulated with good air flow by way of a window and door at each end. 30 boxes only with half wire and half melamine coated wood. Six of these wooden boxes convert to three training cages for the chicks so effectively I only have 24 boxes for any second round. Nest boxes are all plywood construction with an additional pine concave removable base. Nest box lids can be reversed to improve airflow in hot weather. Nest material is simply untreated pine sawdust.

17. Do you trim the birds feathers when you pair up? If yes or no, why?


All birds are trimmed with scissors to remove feathers and down as I believe this assists with better mating.


18. How long do you wait after pairing up to put the nest box on and why? And how long would you leave a pair together if they haven’t laid.


No unique process here. The box is on when I pair up. My theory is simple, if the birds are in condition they will mate almost immediately. Some place hens in first to get used to the nest box however some of these hens can become box bound. Others place the cock in first to get used to his surrounds however if he is too aggressive to a timid or first time hen no results are forthcoming. So in they go together with the hopes of compatibility. If after 7 days the hen has not gone into the box out they go and they get 14 days after that for eggs or out they go.

19.How many rounds would you try your birds if they were laying infertile eggs and how would you try to make them fertile?


One round only if there is not fertility and I would try them again with other mates to try and isolate the problem bird.

20: Do you foster at all and if so, at what stage of the process do you prefer to do this:


Old pairs that could produce are used as fosters and chicks from these are a bonus. I like to keep chicks to four per nest and will shift birds of similar ages once rung. If the need to transfer eggs is found these are placed under birds that could not produce that variety and the Black Eyes come in handy here. If shifting eggs I always try to place the egg exactly as it was in the other box.

21: To improve the quality of birds, I believe fanciers should share nests more, what is your opinion of this and do you experience it now?


Sharing nests is not something I usually do as it can lead to friction between breeders if one breeder appears advantaged by the end results. I would rather exchange a bird and take the entire results into my own programme. If I or the breeder with whom the bird is exchanged should loose the bird – so be it. Thus you need to know the breeder well with whom you are acting and he or she needs to have a similar view.

22: How do you prepare your show team – . For example for the Nationals, when would you start and how do you do it.


Any birds that have National potential are recognise in the training cage and their individual show cage training starts here. I like to take birds to club shows so they get used to travel. Potential birds get caught up 8 weeks before the May weekend and are checked for broken tails and flights which are removed. A process of spraying runs right through to the weekend and the birds are placed inside about three weeks before about six to each double breeding box with shell grit deeply covering the floor to prevent feathers soiling. Then it is up to the birds at the pre-selection show.


23: Victoria ahs been very dominant over a number of years at National level and I believe that is because they have a large number of clubs hence more breeders to choose birds from.. Can you tell me how many clubs there are in South Australia please and how do you go about the preselection process?


Budgerigars are definitely a numbers game with a lot of luck thrown in. Effectively in South Australia we now only have four clubs and each club has presented three birds at the pre-selection for the team to be picked from. The birds are picked in order and shown in order with the third bird usually just having a holiday. Only if there is a problem does this bird make the bench. That way we have no hassles and no arguments about the team. While the bigger states may have 60 birds from each variety to choose from and we have 12 it is likely they will win however it only takes one good one and the others are all history. This is the approach South Australia takes where we are there to upset if we can. As I said earlier the real prize at the National weekend is to catch up with the people that are interested in the same hobby as yourself.

24: Do you feel the Nationals are now covering too many classes as the costs are mounting for the much smaller states and we don’t want them struggling financial when memberships are down.


The Nationals are designed so that each variety has an equal chance against themselves. By showing this way we have been able to retain the varieties in our Standard unlike many other countries throughout the world. In reality states are better off now than before as the subsidies received from the ANBC are substantial. I think the real issue at the National weekend is that we are trying to fit too much into the weekend and there should be a higher concentration on the showing aspect. The smaller states do not have to compete with the bigger states they simply need to do things smarter. Look at Tasmania last year where they involved Local Government bodies to their advantage.

25: There has been a lot of talk lately about the benefits or disadvantages of showing Nestfeathers at shows. Does South Australia cater for nestfeathers or do you only have young bird shows:


In SA we only have one nest feather show and this is basically an interclub competition and that personally is where I would like to see this state stay at.


26: On average how many shows would each club host per year and approx how many entries would they get?


Each club in SA runs two shows per year, an adult or open show and a club young stock show. From next year we will be holding a separate pre-selection Council show with the hope that this show is the first for the year for the birds to go to the Nationals thus reducing the stress on those birds. Entries vary from 150 to 400 at times.

27: How many shows would you compete in each year I always show at my Club shows and like to show at a couple of Agricultural Shows as well to spread the word about our hobby.


I would like to show at more but am usually Judging at the others.

28: is there any other topic you would like to touch on or any advise you can give to my readers.


This thing we do is a hobby so enjoy it as such. Keep politics out of it and have fun with the people that have a similar interest as yourself.

29: On a personal level,

a) What is your favourite food Feed the man meat.

b)What is your favourite drink Beer goes down well.

c)What is your favourite sport and name of team Australian Rules is the only sport for a meat eating beer drinking man and I still barrack for South Clare so I do not get into any arguments that way.

30 What sort of music do you like How many birds do you have and what colour varieties are they


Easy listening and the birds seem to like it too.




as with all these interviews................no comments or posts in the interview........read only.


http://forums.budgiebreeders.asn.au/index....c=28229&hl= discussion and thanking the interviewees area. Bear in mind most of the interviewed people may not be a member of BBC and no questions can be asked.

Edited by KAZ
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