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Interview With Hans Sibum


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INTERVIEW BY HANS SIBUM

 

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

I have always had an interest in all forms of livestock. As a youngster I had poultry, pigeons, finches and canaries. I also bred and showed German Shepherds and pedigree poultry. So you see it is in my genes to nurture and care for animals and I enjoyed breeding to exhibition standards. I bought a book written by John Scoble in 1981 and was swept away by the varieties and size of the exhibition budgerigar. I decided then, that one day, when the kids were older I would give them a try.

 

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

 

My first aviary was an open fronted two metre long by one and a half metre deep standard aviary. I bred the birds selectively on my back patio.

 

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

 

I bought my first exhibition birds from Gary Armstrong. This was before sickness devastated Gary’s birds. This was somewhere around about mid 1990. I paid Gary $80.00 for a pair of Sky Danish Recessive Pied, a nice light green cock, and a cinnamon opaline violet hen, (very buff). The Danish were almost as good as some of the birds going around nowadays. It was so cheap, but I have since come to expect that from Gary. He is very generous.

 

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

 

Due to an allergic lung condition from Budgerigars, I have had to sell all my birds and stock, but to answer your question, Yes, Gary’s birds always held a place in my breeding program. Especially his spangles, I used his spangles over my normals and occasionally bred D/F Spangles too. I gave up on Recessive Pied as my real love is for the normals.

 

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

 

I always look for signs of eagerness from the cocks and hens. They must be fully feathered after the moult and eating the house down. I also like to feed them up on quality food prior to breeding and don’t really mind a bit of extra weight on the cocks. The hens should be active and bright eyed and displaying mating signs in the flights.

 

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

 

Both. I like to do one round starting at around about Anzac day if the birds are ready to go. I then usually rest the birds over the colder months and start again in August/September for another two rounds. I don’t just grab ten pairs and put them in the breeding cages. I may start off with only two pairs and put more down to breed as they show signs of willingness to breed.

 

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

 

Initially I go by visual attributes and then look at the pedigrees. If a family had a strong fault I tended not to breed too close. My preference for inbreeding is to build on strengths. Otherwise I prefer to outcross.

 

Q8. HOW CLOSELY DO YOU MATE YOUR BIRDS AND WHAT RELATED MATINGS HAVE BEEN THE MOST SUCCESSFUL?

 

The closest I have bred is half brother to half sister, Aunt to nephew and Uncle to niece and cousin to cousin. I once accidentally paired Father to daughter with disastrous results. My most successful matings were half brother to half sister.

 

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

 

As my favourite varieties are the Light Green, Grey, Grey Green Normal, I liked to put spangle through them but only if the spangle was better than them and well feathered. I also used cinnamon and opaline frequently, however having said that, the birds must complement each other and not have similar faults.

 

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

 

I allow my hens to do three rounds and if needed, I let them lay a fourth round and foster the eggs out. I like a minimum of three and a maximum of five to the nest box. Some hens manage five quite easily, others struggle with three.

 

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?

 

Top end is most difficult to achieve. A good bird with a great top end always gets the eye. Included in this is a good deep mask with big round spots.

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

 

I use the same seed diet all year round, (Golden Cob Supreme Breeders mix), and add sunflower during the breeding season and colder months. I also use a soaked seed and vegetable/egg mix for the breeding cages during the breeding season. My flights get the extra soaked seed mix if any is left over.

 

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

 

.I have a roughly 5 metre long by three metre deep by two metre high setup, divided into three separate flights. My breeding room is a five by four metre shed that houses 30 breeding cages and all the storage stuff.

 

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

 

I would combine the breeding setup attached to the flights for better bird interaction. This would also eradicate having to carry feed to the flights from the breeding room. Not a good thing if it’s raining heavily. I would also allow better air flow through to extract dust and dander.

 

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

 

I use Ivomec (drop behind the neck) twice per year for lice and mites. I do a 30 day course of Docycycline before my breeding season for Chlamydia Pssittaci, plus for ten days half way through the breeding season. Any other medication is on a needs basis if sickness or disease occurs.

 

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?

 

As in all organizations good friendships occur. Also this is a great way to gain information. In general the hobby satisfies my inclination to nurture and work with animals and to indulge in my competitive instincts with like minded people.

 

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

 

The end result of these friendships is a furthering of understanding of human nature. You get a chance to meet like minded people who are willing to work hard to achieve their desires. You also meet people who are a joy to work with in a team situation.

 

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

 

This is a very difficult question to answer. We cannot force memberships to rise, nor can we expect people to give up very busy lifestyles to take up this hobby, which is time consuming. In my opinion the printed media is the best way to promote the hobby. Photo’s in local newspapers of our shows and stories about the clubs and the hobby will help.

 

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

 

Of course it is the best way to see the top birds in Australia, discuss with top breeders how things work, and also a terrific way to showcase the hobby in each state. I love the Nationals.

 

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?

 

I tell them to go slowly about their start in the hobby. I also tell them to hang on to their money until they are convinced of what they wish to start with and who to buy from. I then advise them to spend the most they can affords and buy the best from the best. This could save them about three years of hard work. With juniors I have told Mums and Dads to look around for a month or two before buying birds for little Johnny and Jenny. Youngsters have so many distractions these days and change their minds a lot. It is better for the birds to go to people who are stayers.

 

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

 

I cull them if they are bad and don’t breed from them even if it is slight. It is a blight on the hobby.

 

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

 

Without a doubt, Alan Jaeschke. He has become a great sounding board and a good reliable friend. He is very practical and always looks toward breeding strong birds. I really admire his ability to see a powerful bird in the making. Despite a few setbacks he has always remained true to the club and the hobby. This is rare. Gary Armstrong has also been a great example of generosity and inspiration. Guys like these two hold the hobby in good stead, despite their eccentricities. (To put it mildly, lol).

 

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

 

My high point has been to assist (as Treasurer/Secretary for two years) in turning MBC into a strong financial club from what was a month to month proposition. Also breeding some very nice strong families of normals. A very low point was having 16 of my best birds (mostly hens) stolen. This set me back a few years as hens are irreplaceable. Thankfully Alan Jaeschke and Gary Armstrong helped me out with some lovely strong birds to give me a boost. The very lowest point was when a lung specialist told me I would have to give up Budgerigars as I was becoming allergic to their feather dander and poop.

 

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?

 

There were a few. Mostly they came from Cec Gearing, all Grey normal’s and powerful breeding birds. I also had success with a few birds from Mitchell and Torritella. These clicked with My Len Vinci stock and breed me very strong Grey greens and Dark Greens.

 

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?

 

That is a very difficult question to answer, as each person’s circumstances are different.

I would give strong advice on setups, and tell them that this is not a hobby for slackers. I would really stress the importance of bird and human health, as the two can be linked. It is hard work breeding Budgerigars and you need commitment. If they just want fun I would say do it with pet shop birds.

 

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

 

Yes. Make sure your family are just as happy as you with this hobby. I have seen relationships suffer over Budgerigars. You need like minded or at least very tolerant partners and children if you want to succeed. You also must share your time with your partner so that he/she feels valued. If you don’t you, your hobby and your family will suffer setbacks. Family must come first. I only just recently found out that my darling wife had always been concerned that I was getting sick from my birds.

 

 

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

 

The Light Green, Dark Green and Grey Normal’s are my favourites. I always managed to breed strong Grey greens but I have to say that a top Light Green is a wonder to behold.

 

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

 

I defer to the expert breeders on this question, as I was only an intermediate exhibitor.

 

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?

 

Get it right...stick to your guns and don’t minimise this hobby. This is a hobby that is slowly strangulating and we need good organizers to run it. Our clubs need to be well run so as to show visitors and new members how wonderful it can be. If we run our clubs in an ad- hoc fashion we look really incompetent. Also we need to nurture the State and national bodies. Remember, exhibiting Budgerigars is serious business and it needs serious organization.

 

 

 

 

Profile.

I guess to be honest, Exhibition Budgerigars has filled a need to care and nurture livestock. I am a person who is hardworking, dedicated, and fairly intense and like to see that what I do has a good effect on others. I love to share with likeminded people, but hate disorganization. This makes me a target for hard work within a club but I love it.

 

Thanks for asking me to do this interview.

 

 

 

 

PLEASE SEE THIS TOPIC ALSO AS WRITTEN BY HANS .................................... KEEPING OUR BIRDS AND OURSELVES HEALTHY

Edited by KAZ
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