Jump to content
nubbly5

Show Bird Prep

Recommended Posts

In the past I have often been asked (even by serious open competitors) how I get my birds looking in their prime for shows. I thought I would share with BBC show members how I go about making my birds look their best for the big day. The washing technique was demonstrated by Tim Tassi (from Plunket and Tassi fame) a few years ago when he visited SWBC.

 

For the nationals I start this process 3 weeks in advance. For a table show it may only be a couple days prior. Last show was the day before the show as I was away with work before that :)

 

First step: Pin feather removal.

There are many different ways of breaking pin feather coverings. I rub the feather sheath between my fingernail and thumb to break the sheath and the gently rub between my fingers to remove the feather sheath completely. Stay clear of blood quills. You might need to do this several times over a few days if the bird has a few blood quills. If you break a blood quill, wait until the bleeding stops completely and then wash (or rewash as the case my be) the birds head.

 

Second step: Bucket washing.

Requires 2 buckets, boiling water and cold water, shaving brush, baby shampoo, clean dry towels, clean show cages or holding cages in warm area away from draughts.

Boil water and pour a portion into both buckets, add cold water until water temp is good baby's bottle temperature - not too hot and not too cold. Add baby shampoo to one, keep other for rinsing. Dunk budgie quickly into water and use shaving brush to wash feathers and head as required, make sure you don't drown the bird by holding it underwater long, a quick dunk or two and then use the brush. Rinse in clean water bucket in the same manner and then quickly dry off in clean towel and put budgie into draught free cage to dry.

 

Step three: Despotting

This is tricky if you have not had any practice. Take a good pair of flat tweesers and carefully pluck out extra spots and shadow spots. You need to make sure you know which the main spots are and be careful not to pull these out (obvious I know). I do this after washing as despotting agravates the skin around the spot feathers sometimes loosening the remaining feathersand the extra weight of the water can make the drop out too, losing some main spots. If there is anything I can advise here is that you practice on nonshow birds in your aviary to get the techinique that works for you. I often gentle blow on the spot feathers to separate them other feathers so I can be more sure of which feather I have gripped in the tweesers.

 

Step four: Spraying

When preping for the nats I use boiling water in a spray bottle with some apple cider vinegar and a tiny amount of glycerine (only a couple mls of each to 500mls boiling water), then on very fine spray so the water cools before getting to the bird, I spray until the water runs off. I try to do this daily but due to work committments it varies. As the birds feather condition improves (due to the washing and extra preening it promotes), the water tends to slick off more than make the feathers wet. This is a sign that the bird is in prme feather condition. I don't worry about this step for table shows.

 

I do NOT pull tails or flights any more. Had bad experiences with them not growing back so it's all up to fate these days if the tails are in or not at the time. BUT I do move my budgies to try and promote a full moult well prior to when they need to be growing new tails etc. This seems to work well for me so far.

 

Just to show you the difference that bucket washing alone can make (this was the day before yesterdays SWBC show) I present Holy S*%t and Holy C$#p. Notice the extra volume that the washing gives to frontal feathers - nice! Ignore the slightly bodgy despotting effort too (at least I managed to NOT pull out any main spots for a change....

 

holyshit.jpgbudgiecomp022.jpg

 

 

holycrap2.jpgholycrap1.jpg

Edited by nubbly5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From photos I have seen of birds in the shows in WA,

I think, some training in show prep,would help,in a lot of the cases.

 

PS Nubby & you being a judge & you put that bird up in that state.

But all can see what a wash will do & remove the extra spots,

But you did leave a couple of bit black feathers in the mask. :D:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for that Nubbly... A great post for all to read...

 

I have been practicing my despotting skills, getting there, I've done some well others I got wrong feathers... Opps...! It can take me up to an hour to despot, as if I am not sure on what feathers i should pull next I put the bird back in a showcage to settle down again... Before having another go...

 

I like the bucket idea, I think I will change that to suit me... :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
From photos I have seen of birds in the shows in WA,

I think, some training in show prep,would help,in a lot of the cases.

 

PS Nubby & you being a judge & you put that bird up in that state.

But all can see what a wash will do & remove the extra spots,

But you did leave a couple of bit black feathers in the mask. :D:)

 

Yes, I have to admit to being a little bit crud at spot removal,particularly if I'm in a hurry AND it's only a small show. And then there is the balance betwenn cleaning up the mask and making big holes in it (people may have seen this particularly on cinnamons). I try for a balance and sometimes make a conscious decision to leave a few in so that the mask is not completely denuded.

 

For the Nationals I actually don't despot at all as I prefer much more skilled bird despotters to do the job (the carers). I don't think it restricts their chances of getting into the team too much and certainly reduces the risk that one of my birds will go with only 3 main spots. In fact WABC tell exhibitors that if they prefer not to despot it will not count against their bird but in some cases it can affect the balance of the bird (visually).......

Edited by nubbly5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nubbly can I ask how much ratio of the shampoo to water etc.... and in dunking a bird in the water.....its the full plunge right ? Do they come up coughing and spluttering ? :)

great despotting demo in the Mick Freakley dvd we all watched the other day.

Edited by KAZ

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use a generous "squeeze" of shampoo (might be 10 mls or similar) to 5-6 litres of water. And yes a complete dunk and sometimes if the bird is really grotty (white lacewings are a prime example) I will suspend the bird (head out) in the water to allow a bit of flapping self-washing to occur. For just a few seconds though.

 

And yes they do sometimes come up spluttering. I like to have a pet shammy close to hand to wipe away excess water so birds don't breath in water!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sham...Wow...! Hold 12 times it weight in water... :rofl:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I gave the washing thing a go today and it defiantly improved the look and feathers of my birds... I don't do a complete dunk, not feeling comfortable with it but wash the top with a toothbrush as I saw on the movie we watched at the southwest club the other day... I will be making that a part of my show pre...

 

Now i have a question about the pin feather part, I manager to do some but others would come out with the feather... Is there a length you should wait to before attempting this...?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use a pump spray bottle,I have a metal cage, I put the birds in,

then I spray them until they are soaked & then,if any are still dirty.

I have a Shaveing brush & then lather the dirty feathers,

I use Johnsons Baby shampoo. I don't wash the shampoo out,

until I give them another wash with clean water, the next day.

I start washing them on a Monday or Tuesday,depending on the weather.

If it is winter time,I put the in the Incubator, with the door open,to dry them off.

On Friday, I give them a spray of water & gliserine & they will look like

a new pin on the Saturday or Sunday,for the show, :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You need to be very gentle! Break the sheath bit by bit rather than trying to rub and break the whole lot off in one rub. I do get some feathers come out too but have refined my technique enough that I don't lose too many!

 

The only need to wait really is if the quill is still blood filled. If you don't then you end up with bleeding messes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I use a pump spray bottle,I have a metal cage, I put the birds in,

then I spray them until they are soaked & then,if any are still dirty.

I have a Shaveing brush & then lather the dirty feathers,

I use Johnsons Baby shampoo. I don't wash the shampoo out,

until I give them another wash with clean water, the next day.

I start washing them on a Monday or Tuesday,depending on the weather.

If it is winter time,I put the in the Incubator, with the door open,to dry them off.

On Friday, I give them a spray of water & gliserine & they will look like

a new pin on the Saturday or Sunday,for the show, ;)

What proportion of water and glycerine macka :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks nubbly for that... :D I will try some different ways of breaking them... But they looked so good after they were dry... Some others will get done and a bit more fine turning on others, including show cage training...

Edited by KAZ

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I use a pump spray bottle,I have a metal cage, I put the birds in,

then I spray them until they are soaked & then,if any are still dirty.

I have a Shaveing brush & then lather the dirty feathers,

I use Johnsons Baby shampoo. I don't wash the shampoo out,

until I give them another wash with clean water, the next day.

I start washing them on a Monday or Tuesday,depending on the weather.

If it is winter time,I put the in the Incubator, with the door open,to dry them off.

On Friday, I give them a spray of water & glycerine & they will look like

a new pin on the Saturday or Sunday,for the show, ;)

What proportion of water and glycerine macka :D

I put about 10mls of glycerine in the spray bottle(warm water 500ml)

& shake well,I spray on just enough for the birds to preen them selves . :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Step four: Spraying

When preping for the nats I use boiling water in a spray bottle with some apple cider vinegar and a tiny amount of glycerine (only a couple mls of each to 500mls boiling water), then on very fine spray so the water cools before getting to the bird, I spray until the water runs off. I try to do this daily but due to work committments it varies. As the birds feather condition improves (due to the washing and extra preening it promotes), the water tends to slick off more than make the feathers wet. This is a sign that the bird is in prme feather condition. I don't worry about this step for table shows.

 

How many drops of ACV do you use in a 5ooml spray bottle and how do you stop it from getting into the birds eyes, or is it diluted enough not bother them.

Edited by KAZ

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Step four: Spraying

When preping for the nats I use boiling water in a spray bottle with some apple cider vinegar and a tiny amount of glycerine (only a couple mls of each to 500mls boiling water), then on very fine spray so the water cools before getting to the bird, I spray until the water runs off. I try to do this daily but due to work committments it varies. As the birds feather condition improves (due to the washing and extra preening it promotes), the water tends to slick off more than make the feathers wet. This is a sign that the bird is in prme feather condition. I don't worry about this step for table shows.

 

How many drops of ACV do you use in a 5ooml spray bottle and how do you stop it from getting into the birds eyes, or is it diluted enough not bother them.

 

 

Hmm... This has got me to thinking... if this improves a bird's feather condition for shows, might it also improve its condition for health purposes? A lot of budgies LIKE to be misted. Maybe it would be fun and calming, and a stress-reliever. And maybe the preening it would promote would distract a budgie away from chewing herself to bits....

 

Anything that would promote "prime feather condition" seems like it might be a good idea, even for a non-show budgie. :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...