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Interview With Karen Morgan

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INTERVIEW BY KAREN MORGAN aka Kaz ( pushed into this interview by others :) )





Q1. At which point in time did you first develop an interest in budgerigars ?


I began an interest in budgies after my husband now ( was my boyfriend then ) 6 years ago had an aviary with a pair of breeding rosellas and babies in it. He sold the babies and then the parents. When he couldnt sell the aviary immediately and he asked what kind of birds i liked........I said budgies. He then said..."Go on, fill it full of budgies !" so i did. Initially pet type budgies of all colours. I found the bbc forum around that time and was encouraged by great advice from all members. At first didnt understand or think i liked show budgies, but posts of Daz's enthralled me and soon i was seeking out the show budgie topics and then looking to get my first show type budgies. I joined my first club metropolitan budgerigar club and then south west budgerigar club to fill some gaps i felt were lacking. At one point i stopped trying to keep both pet types and show budgies and devoted my aviaries totally to show budgies. I now show as a novice but may be soon going into intermediate.


Q2. What was your first aviary/breeding room like ?


My first aviary was a metal aviary 2 metres wide by 1.2 m deep by 1800 high. We then moved to a new house with huge ready built large aviaries....


i ended up using the aviaries wrapped around the left corner of our block, an L-shaped setup with an aviary each side and breeding room in the middle. It had some pitfalls.Weather got in, as did rodents, and budgie illness after a wettish winter made me decide to build something better.

Here is my breeding room, aviary topic http://forums.Budgiebreeders.Asn.Au/index....Showtopic=14142

q3. Where did your first birds come from and over what period of time did you continue with these lines ?


I did what you shouldnt do and bought all kinds of budgies i thought were show birds in the beginning. I then went to Gary Armstrong

and brought a few significant birds. Bought some at auction...Cec gearing, Bob Levy, Jan MacMahon, Fran McLaughlan and others. I still carry birds with strong Gary Armstrong, Jan MacMahon and Cec Gearing lines. It was a combination of Armstrong and MacMahon birds that first made the difference in my birds.


Q4. Are your present birds from these same bloodlines, if not what bloodlines have impacted most within your stud?


Most of my birds now carry Armstrong, Gearing, MacMahon and McLaughlan bloodlines. These are whats now working for me.

Q5. How do you prepare your birds for the breeding season?

A few months free flight in the large aviaries with access to a great varied diet of all kinds of seeds made available to them. softfoods, fresh natural tree branches and leaves ( peppermint tree, eucalyptus, hibiscus ). Doxy treatment for the whole flock as well as S76 for mites, Ronivet for canker if any is going through.


Q6. Do you set your breeding season by the calender or by signs of the birds being ready ?


Primarily by the birds being ready, although with the extremes of heat we have had lately I wont put any down to breed through the hottest weather.

Q7. When pairing up do you go by pedigree or visual appearances or both?


Visual and bloodlines are equally as important to me.


Q8. How closely do you mate your birds and what related matings have been

the most successful?


I have yet to breed anything closer than cousins, grandparent to grandchild, and half brother and sister


Q9. What variety mixes do you use for improvement if any or is it best to best?

Best to best, but with knowledge you can use your dominant varieties as normals......spangles can be put into most anything if they are good enough.


Q10. How many chicks and rounds do you allow your birds to have?


Generally just two rounds but with a break a pair may do this twice a year making four rounds for them. I have a hen that just wants to breed and breed and she will go an extra round or two based on my assessment of her health as I have found to stop her sends her into a massive spiral downwards ( depression ) and once she nearly died when I tried to stop her breeding past her second round.


Q11. What features are the hardest to put on a bird and how does one go about establishing that feature and retaining it, the directional feather, straight backline, shoulder & length?

I find the hardest for me is backskull and length. I am working on that.

Q12. What is your feeding programme during the breeding season and does this differ during the non breeding season?


Breeding season finds the breeders in their breeding cages get spoilt with more choices re soft food and vegies more often than the birds in the flights.


Q13a. Please describe your current aviary design, size, flights, breeding cage design and number of cages etc?


Current aviary http://forums.budgiebreeders.asn.au/index....showtopic=14142 consists of metal constructed birdroom over 5 metres by over 4 metres, insulated and lined, with sink, water supply and storage. Breeding cabinets around about 40 or more that consist of wire cages set on vertical banks of ( 4 ) made of melamine shelving carcasses which can be wheeled around to clean or change position. . Avairies ........two main flights going from the breeding room...........each flight 9 ft tall by 2 metres by 6 metres.

Q13b. What would you change about your setup if you had the chance to do so ?

Its all newish so most of it is as I would like it to be.

Q14. Do you use preventative medication during and pre breeding season and if so what and why.


Pre breeding season doxy treatment and mite/lice treatments to birds in the flights. canker treatment if necessary. Breeders will get calcivet to their water when they are first paired up and during the laying of eggs but not totally the only source of water....calcivet just part of the week. Iodine added to the water here and there also.


Q15. What do you see as the greatest asset of being in the hobby and where do you see the hobby heading with so many breeders leaving today?


Friendships, and common interests and goals. With people leaving the hobby I feel it ESSENTIAL that those leaving, leave behind them a legacy of important information shared not only the birds they sell off to others. Sadly and often this is not the case.


Q16. What would you consider to be the most important value about friendships formed and fellowship within the budgie breeding fraternity ?


These friendships often go past just a common bond and people care about others well past meetings and shows. These friendships can be lifelong and mind altering. There are some who dont feel this way...that too is a great pity.

Q17. Do you have any thoughts on how to promote the hobby to get more people interested in joining our clubs ?

By sharing of knowledge without any thought to what elite group you may have attained within the hobby. Always remember where you have come from and that your beginnings then are someones now..........the future of the hobby depends on the legacy you leave behind or the encouragement you put out there......or not.

Q18. What is the benefit of having a national show?


The national show is your benchmark.....where the best are there to see and to set your sights on acchieving for yourself. It is also the "mecca" meeting ground for us all.

Q19. How would you go about pointing a novice breeder in the right direction to enable them to reach the top bench in around eight years?


Dont buy birds from all over. Choose a mentor and follow as much of their advice as they are willing to share. If noone is listening to your questions ......yell louder and be heard. Sometimes people are just busy doing their own thing and not listening all that well. Dont be afraid to talk to the " big guys"in the hobby....they started where you are not so long ago.

Q20. What do you do with birds with feather disorders?


Wont persist in using any where a family line keep showing feather cysts.....but will use tail-less wonders and french moult survivors.


Q21. Who has inspired you the most in the fancy?


Cec Gearing and Gary Armstrong locally...further afield Henry George, Clint Ault, Mark Chidel ...worldwide Jo Mannes, Daniel Lutolf, Didier Mervilde, and too many more to mention.


Q22. What has been your lowest and highest points in the hobby ?


Highest points........just seeing that special chick in a nestbox. Lowest points.......there hasnt been any.


Q23. What in your mind was the best bird you ever bought that made the difference in your stud and what approximately was its cost ?


The best bird I ever bought was a grey green opaline hen bred by Jan MacMahon ............she is the foundation hen of all my best birds. I call her OMELETTE as she consistently lays 12-13 eggs on an average round and they are all fertile. She cost me $235 at auction and she is worth 5 times that much to me.


Q24. If you were just starting out all over again as a novice in todays world, what advice would you dispense based on what you have learnt ?


See question 19


Q25. Would you have a philosphy to share that has helped you in daily life with your budgerigars ?


Expect the worst.........anything else is a bonus. Take time to sit amongst your birds and just enjoy them.


Q26. What has been your favorite mutation or variety that really inspires you ? And what varieties are you specialising in at the moment ?


Favourite mutation has always been dominant pieds followed by greywings. I am breeding greywings now ( early days ) and seek to start up a good line of dominant pieds as soon as I can.

Q27. Given all of the above, do you have any other tips or hints on how to improve and sustain an exhibition budgerigar stud?


Set out to add the features your birds lack by the best outcross you can get your hands on. One good bird at a higher price will save you $$$s trying to acchive the long haul with cheaper budget birds. In saying this one of my best cock birds cost me $19. ( Thanks Gary A :rofl: )

Q28. If there was one main thing you have wanted to say that encompasses your feelings about being involved in budgerigars and clubs what would it be ?


Everone needs a hobby or a VICE :D This is mine.

Edited by KAZ
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