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Interview With Geoff Gardiner


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INTERVIEW WITH GEOFF GARDINER........................Many thanks Geoff :)

 

 

Q1. AT WHICH POINT IN TIME DID YOU FIRST DEVELOP AN INTEREST IN BUDGERIGARS ?

 

I read a book in hospital, when I was 7 [1961] When I got home I managed to get a wooden packing crate, it was about one meter square, it had contained a car motor and I turned it into a cage. My first birds were 3 Lutinos and two Violets. When I bred Albinos a couple of years later it sparked an interest in genetics.

Q2. WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST AVIARY/BREEDING ROOM LIKE ?

 

For many years my birds were housed in wooden crates as mentioned above, but my first breeding room was an outside toilet. I put wire over the window, removed the toilet and moved the breeding boxes in.

Q3. WHERE DID YOUR FIRST BIRDS COME FROM AND OVER WHAT PERIOD OF TIME DID YOU CONTINUE WITH THESE LINES ?

 

My first competitive stock came from the then President of the Morwell Budgerigar Society, Mr. Danny Bryce. He rang and said he was returning to study and had no time for the birds, I asked if I could buy some opalines, he said “if you buy one you must buy them all” so I went and wrote him a cheque for 72 birds, knowing I had no money in the bank. I culled the birds and kept the best 4 pair the remainder I sold and put enough money in the bank on Monday morning to cover the cheque.

 

Q4. ARE YOUR PRESENT BIRDS FROM THESE SAME BLOODLINES, IF NOT WHAT BLOODLINES HAVE IMPACTED MOST WITHIN YOUR STUD?

 

My present birds are vastly different as that was before importation of English birds. My stud has been most impacted by Mannes birds for width and Pilkington birds for frame.

 

Q5. HOW DO YOU PREPARE YOUR BIRDS FOR THE BREEDING SEASON?

I fly hens and cocks together and their diet changes very little all year. Before pairing my birds are given a long dose of Doxy, followed by three days of S76 for drenching against worms, mite or lice. Then I pair up and place both cock and hen in the cage with the nest box open.

Q6. DO YOU SET YOUR BREEDING SEASON BY THE CALENDER OR BY SIGNS OF THE BIRDS BEING READY ?

 

I have two short breeding seasons Autumn and Spring. I wait for the fist rain to fall in Autumn then the birds come into condition [ nature tells them that after the rain the grass will grow and they’ll have feed for their chicks] In the spring I wait till I think the frosts and really cold weather has passed, then I extend their daylight hours and pair up again.

 

Q7. WHEN PAIRING UP DO YOU GO BY PEDIGREE OR VISUAL APPEARANCES OR BOTH?

 

The correct answer is both, I pair by pedigree but never mate two birds that are visually not suited. Ie: never mate two birds that have the same defect.

 

Q8. HOW CLOSELY DO YOU MATE YOUR BIRDS AND WHAT RELATED MATINGS HAVE BEEN

THE MOST SUCCESSFUL?

I have had success mating brother and sister, but only from matings where mother and father were unrelated. Infact I have won a Diploma from a Cinnamon Sky Cock bred that way.

Q9. WHAT VARIETY MIXES DO YOU USE FOR IMPROVEMENT IF ANY OR IS IT BEST TO BEST?

 

Only a better bird will improve a good bird, if that makes sense. I do not breed colours I breed Budgerigars. So I chose mates that compliment each other, I prefer width to height and if the birds are related so much the better.

 

Q10. HOW MANY CHICKS AND ROUNDS DO YOU ALLOW YOUR BIRDS TO HAVE?

 

As stated one round in Spring and one in Autumn, I have no choice as we experience extremes in temperature. Each hen will raise 3 or 4 chicks usually on her own as the cock is moved to another hen.

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 have found it relatively easy to breed all of these features, the trick is putting them all on one bird. My answer is cull hard, I keep very few cocks and twice as many hens as I have nest boxes. Therefore my best cocks are mated to all the hens, an inferior cock will never be used even if he has a great feature.

 

 

Q12. WHAT IS YOUR FEEDING PROGRAMME DURING THE BREEDING SEASON AND DOES THIS DIFFER DURING THE NON BREEDING SEASON?

 

Three jar feeders in each cage, Budgie mix 50% canary 50 % millets in one jar, hulled oats and finally safflower. Three finger drawers in each cage Mineral supplement, Vitamin supplement, Egg and biscuit mix.

Fresh water and when I’m home every second day soft food containing 3 hard boiled eggs and shells, 2 large carrots and six wheat bix all blended into a crumble and fed at a table spoon full per cage .

 

Q13a. PLEASE DESCRIBE YOUR CURRENT AVIARY DESIGN, SIZE, FLIGHTS, BREEDING CAGE DESIGN AND NUMBER OF CAGES ETC?

Q13b. WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE ABOUT YOUR SETUP IF YOU HAD THE CHANCE TO DO SO ?

 

My breeding room and aviary is a steel garage about 10meters by 3.5meters. Two aviaries one 1.5meters by 3.5meters for adults. The other UBC flight is small but tall as I like the birds to fly up and strengthen their shoulders, the aviary is about 2meters by 1.5 meters.

Breeding cages 10 all wire and six melamine.

 

I’m about to add another six all wire cages.

I will also add a sink and running water soon.

 

Q14. DO YOU USE PREVENTATIVE MEDICATION DURING AND PRE BREEDING SEASON AND IF SO WHAT AND WHY.

See Q5

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?

 

The greatest asset is of course the people, the biggest problem is also the people.

More co-operation between club members and less value on the almighty dollar would improve the hobby.

 

Q16. WHAT WOULD YOU CONSIDER TO BE THE MOST IMPORTANT VALUE ABOUT FRIENDSHIPS FORMED AND FELLOWSHIP WITHIN THE BUDGIE BREEDING FRATERNITY ?

 

Its so easy to brake the ice with someone when your have a shared interest. I also take great delight in helping beginners, when they come and say they have won with birds from my line I get a big buzz.

 

Q17. DO YOU HAVE ANY THOUGHTS ON HOW TO PROMOTE THE HOBBY TO GET MORE PEOPLE INTERESTED IN JOINING OUR CLUBS ?

 

Personally as an experienced breeder I give all beginners free birds [within my club] I also make myself available as much as possible to help [teach] the art of culling and mating their stock.

 

Q18. WHAT IS THE BENEFIT OF HAVING A NATIONAL SHOW?

 

The National has been fantastic since it began, it provides a bigger stage on which to compete. Being a country breeder it is very easy to become a big fish in a small pond, but if you do well at the National well that is something.

 

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?

 

It should not take that long. Buy from the best breeders, even if you can only afford their real culls. I believe the worst bird in a stud can produce chicks to the average quality of the stud. The best bird in the stud often does exactly the same.

Q20. WHAT DO YOU DO WITH BIRDS WITH FEATHER DISORDERS?

 

Usually not the birds fault, so if the bird is good enough I keep them and breed with them, I’ve not found any to be hereditary.

 

Q21. WHO HAS INSPIRED YOU THE MOST IN THE FANCY?

I don’t really know, but Bruce Sheppards efforts lately have been outstanding.

 

Q22. WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR LOWEST AND HIGHEST POINTS IN THE HOBBY ?

 

Lowest point Psittacosis about ten years ago killed about eighty chicks.

 

Highest point every time I see a new chick hatching. Also discovering the spangle variety in my friends aviary and having them recognised as a variety around the world.

 

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 ?

 

Recently, Ian Hunter birds purchased at Auction about $300 each

I will not pay more than $500 a bird, but I’ve also purchased some great breeders for $20.

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 ?

 

Save Save Save, then buy a pair from one of the best breeders, transfer all their eggs to feeders and get as many chicks as possible.

Q25. WOULD YOU HAVE A PHILOSPHY TO SHARE THAT HAS HELPED YOU IN DAILY LIFE WITH YOUR BUDGERIGARS ?

 

Only keep as many as you can afford to feed and look after very, very well.

 

Q26. WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVORITE MUTATION OR VARIETY THAT REALLY INSPIRES YOU ? AND WHAT VARIETIES ARE YOU SPECIALISING IN AT THE MOMENT ?

 

Opalines provided my first success, so I love them.

Clearwing violets are the prettiest budgie.

 

I breed normanls, opalines, cinnamons,spangles, dom pieds and treat them as one variety in the stud.

Clearwings are my minor variety bred to support the club at shields and interclub events.

 

Q27. GIVEN ALL OF THE ABOVE, DO YOU HAVE ANY OTHER TIPS OR HINTS ON HOW TO IMPROVE AND SUSTAIN AN EXHIBITION BUDGERIGAR STUD?

 

Be consistant, decide whats best for you in a routine and stick to it, do not be influenced by everyone you talk to or all you read.

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 ?

 

It gets into your blood, twice I’ve tried to give up but now I know I never will. It’s the greatest hobby around, if the family want you they know where you are, in the aviary.

If more kids were taught to care for animals and to take responsibility for them the world would benefit greatly.

 

 

 

 

Edited by KAZ
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