January - AGM February 2017 March 2017 April 2017
October 2017

October 2017 - Members Show

The Members Show was well supported again this year!

Apologies were received from Delia Smith, John Mullen, Colin Ives, George Wilson and Andrew McKendrick.

It was good to have Brian Duncombe, our Show Manager, working well with our judge, Steve Cox with John Gorrell as chief steward. Also many thanks to all of those that helped on the day.

So ‘thank you’ to all who took the time to bring birds to the show; it was good to see you all and with everybody helping it made it a very enjoyable day for all.

After being booked in the birds were placed on the staging by all of our helpers, under the guidance of John Gorrell.

Once Steve had started judging he gave a very clear running evaluation, explaining the reasons for his choices, sometimes judging from right to left and then from left to right to make it more interesting!

That aside, the best bird won on the day, because the Judge is always right. We thank Steve Cox for not taking any expenses. (Although he tried to charge me for taking his photo)!

We had a full ploughman’s lunch after the judging of the major awards, which generated lots of conversation on winning birds.

The major awards were made as follows, with the remainder on the attached sheet:

  • Best in Show                                Jim Lawrie
  • Best Young Bird in Show               Jim Lawrie

All in all we had a very good day, with everyone helping at some stage, for which I would like to thank you all again.

NORTHDOWNS AWARD SHEET 2017
AWARD WINNER CAGE
  BEST BUDGERIGAR IN SHOW(Shield) Jim Lawrie 3-1
   BEST YOUNG BIRD IN SHOW Graham Cornwall 103-1
  BEST ANY AGE IN SHOW Jim Lawrie 3-1
  BEST OPPOSITE SEX ANY AGE Dereck Ham 204-1
   BEST OPPOSITE SEX YOUNG BIRD Brian Mansell 110-1
  BEST CHAMPION BIRD Jim Lawrie 3-1
  BEST CHAMPION ANY AGE Rosette Jim Lawrie 3-1
  BEST CHAMPION YOUNG BIRD  Rosette Jim Lawrie 105-1
  BEST INTERMEDIATE BIRD Graham Cornwall 103-1
  BEST INTERMEDIATE ANY AGE  Rosette Graham Cornwall 9-4
  BEST INTERMEDIATE YOUNG BIRD Rosette Graham Cornwall 103-1
  BEST NOVICE BIRD NE  
  BEST NOVICE ANY AGE Rosette NE  
  BEST NOVICE YOUNG BIRD Rosette NE  
  BEST BEGINNER BIRD Dereck Ham 217-1
  BEST BEGINNER ANY AGE Rosette Dereck Ham 217-1
  BEST BEGINNER YOUNG BIRD Rosette Dereck Ham 315-1
  BEST JUNIOR Bird NE  
  BEST JUNIOR YOUNG BIRD NE  
  BEST JUNIOR YOUNG BIRD NE  

 

Don’t forget the next meeting on the 24th Nov - President’s Social Evening & Grand Christmas Draw.

Our President, Graham Cornwall, is providing a buffet on the evening, so please come and enjoy yourselves.

Many thanks to the two Brian’s for providing all the refreshments and working in the kitchen etc.

JIM LAWRIE APRIL 2017  

TRAINING & SHOW PREPARATION 

·         Show training begins in nest box. I handle chicks 3-4 weeks old. I put chicks in stock cage at about 6 weeks old.

  • If possible get young birds used to show cages. Encourage them to enter with millet sprays. 

SELECTING FOR A SHOW 

·         There are stock birds and show birds! Whilst some birds may excel in head qualities they may have major faults which preclude showing them ie, permanent missing tail or flights but are good stock birds. 

  • At least 4 weeks before a show select team and place in stock cages. 
  • This settles them down and gain weight after being in the breeding cages or flights. Cages permitting I separate cocks and hens and young birds at this stage (In flights I keep current year birds separate and fly adult cocks and hens together – this is most natural). 
  • I always select more birds than I intend to show. I also select two or three birds of same colour/variety in order to have substitute birds to show if need be. 

PREPARATION 

  • I start lightly spraying birds daily with F10 solution.  
  • Many years ago it used to be common practice – and some may still do it – to remove tails and flight feathers 6-8 weeks before a show. And remove all spots 4 weeks before a show. 
  • With today’s modern buffier birds, I personally do not follow this practice and risk the feathers not re-growing again! 
  • That is why I try to select more than one colour variety to show just in case one of the birds throws a vital feather and not fit to show. 
  • Remember: Birds displaying 2 major faults will not be able to win any major award other than a Class win. (Major faults: Flecking: Opalescence; 2 or more spots missing; primary flights missing – two flights missing in a wing is one major fault and two major faults is where three oir more flights missing in a wing or with two or more missing in both wings)

 

  • Condition is also essential when showing birds. A spot down or a flight missing does not mean a bird is not in condition, but it is unlikely to win a major award. 

WASHING 

·         Around 2 weeks in the run up to a show, I hand wash birds with Johnsons’ Baby shampoo. I use two bowls of water – one with baby shampoo in it and the other clear for rinsing.

  • I pay particular attention to the head and mask areas. (It is head qualities which first draws the judges eye) I apply neat Johnsons’ Baby shampoo directly onto head and mask, careful to avoid eyes, and massage with a tooth brush. 
  • I may repeat this process once or twice, but try not to do so a week before the show. This will allow time for the bird to preen and oil its feathers. 
  • I also sometimes use Plume Spray to give the birds some bloom. 
  • I continue to spray lightly daily.  

DE-SPOTTING 

  • I have not brought a bird to demonstrate de-spotting, as I do not normally do this at one go. Some prefer to cut the mask feathers – I prefer to pulling spots out (even though this means that they will grow back quicker). 
  • I do not remove all the unwanted spots at one go, in case I get over zealous and pull out the wrong one! Instead, I will de-spot about 3-4 times over a period of a week or so, pulling the spots in line with their direction (ie downwards). Do not pull at right angles to the general line of the feathers so as not to wrongly pull out spots you should keep. 

FINAL PREPARATION 

  • In the week before the show I start to comb the heads of the birds to remove the wax sheaths (pin feathers). I use a nit-comb. This may take several attempts and not to be rushed in case a blood quill is burst. 
  • According to the BS rules, you should not tamper in any way with the head feathers. However, I have found the use of peroxide solution helps to remove blood stains (and may well lighten up some minor flecking!!!) 
  • Show cages should be clean and painted, if necessary. (If painting, please do so weeks before needed. I was stewarding at a major show last year to find that my hands were getting covered in black paint from freshly painted cages!!) 
  • Before putting birds in the show cages, I do some last minute grooming of their heads and remove any surplus spots.

 

  • Remember there should be 6 even round main spots, two partly concealed by the cheek flashes. To give the impression of a marginally wider mask, I retain the spots under the cheek flash furthest away from the main spot. 
  • Before going into the show cages, I dip the birds’ primary wing feathers and tail feathers into a tub of hot water to straighten out any kinks etc. 
  • Finally, once the bird is in the show cage, I carefully place the right show labels on the cage. Nothing is worse than having gone to all the preparation trouble to find out at the show that you have wrong classified your entry!!! 
  • The rest is now up to the judges and Luck!

March 2017
Report by Paul Munro

The Society had another good attendance for the expected visit of our guest speaker Mr Rick Watts.

However when the meeting was opened by Graham Cornwall he told us that during the afternoon Rick had phoned Graham to say that due to family illness he was unable to attend. The members were disappointed as we were looking forward to hearing Rick’s talk.

The meeting then followed the usual opening by receiving apologies for those few who were unable to attend.

Graham then suggested that the meeting be turned into a member’s discussion night, a suggestion that was readily accepted.

The first point to discuss was the fact that for our next meeting on 28/04/17 Graham will not be able to attend. After much discussion it was agreed that the meeting will be split into two halves with Jim Laurie taking the first talking about “Show Bird preparation” and for the second half Delia Smith will give us a talk.

The meeting continued by discussing how difficult it is these days to find good speakers. Graham has approached various people to give us a talk but to date with no success. Graham added that when he looked at the amount of years’ experience of Budgie breeding, showing etc. sitting in the room he suggested that perhaps members could give the occasional talk on the way “it works for them”.

The next discussion point was the 2016 accounts. It was disappointing to note that a loss was made and on further discussion it was said that on average the Society is losing about £400 per year. The hire of the hall is the main expenditure which is £370 p.a. There are several members from last year who have not as yet re-joined and it was agreed that a copy of the accounts will be sent to those members in the hope they do join again. The Society’s member’s subscriptions were discussed as they had remained the same for years. Fund raising was discussed and a possible event to raise some funds was to hold a “bring and Buy sale. It was left to members to inform Graham of any other ideas they could come up with. A discussion then followed on the possible reasons why members are not re-joining. At the end of discussing the accounts the acceptance of them was proposed, seconded and agreed by a show of hands by all members.

Bird rooms and any problems incurred was the next topic of discussion. Dust and Lites appear to be most problematic. As far as Graham is concerned it is dust and he could hoover up twice a day. A discussion followed on Extractor fans and this moved on to what members were using in their cages for “bedding”. Graham told the meeting that years ago he used “Goldchip” which was OK but has since moved on to “Easy Bed” which is not bad for the first few weeks but then turns to dust. Graham was recently informed about a product called “Nedzbed” which he is trialling at present and he will let the members know what he found at his next meeting. So far, after about five weeks he has not had problems with dust or insects in his birdroom. A description of “Nedzbed” was read out. Whilst discussing the birdroom in general night lights came into it. Should they be red or blue LEDs against ordinary bulbs etc? An interesting discussion took place.

The meeting then discussed this seasons breeding. It was generally agreed that the first round went well with the second not so good. Many infertile eggs.

Possible solutions to this are to add a B12 supplement to the bird’s diet, which has worked well for Graham. A general discussion followed on various supplements members use including both medicated and non-medicated.

Finally a general discussion followed on flights within the birdroom. Are they floor to ceiling or other sizes? Advantages and disadvantages of what size were discussed.

February 2017 - Jim Lawrie

Notes of meeting held on Friday 24th February 2017

From the time the programme for the Society was issued, this meeting had been eagerly awaited by the members and this was proved to be the case by the excellent attendance.

Graham Cornwall opened the meeting by announcing the death of Geoff Dell, before introducing Jim Lawrie, although no real introduction was needed, and added that it had taken a long time to get Jim “in the chair” for this question and answer session.

The Questions and Answers are below.

The questions asked resulted in answers being given in an honest, informative and entertaining way. It can be seen from the answers from Jim that he had a few breaks from the hobby, and these occurred mainly due to his D.I.V.O.R.C.E.s, which appeared to be his second hobby; only joking.

Jim showed that he really loves the hobby and regrets that not many of the younger generation are inclined to take up the hobby for various reasons, one of which is money.

JIM LAWRIE: A QUESTION & ANSWER SESSION WITH GRAHAM CORNWALL AT NORTHDOWNS’ BS, FEBRUARY 2017

THE EARLY DAYS

Q1.  How and when did you get interested in budgerigars?

·       I started keeping budgies around 1967. I was 13 years old.  At that time I worked on a market stall that sold pet items on Saturdays and Wednesdays (before and after school) for pocket money. That stall sold budgies too. It was then I became hooked, I acquired a pet sky blue budgie and later got some for breeding.

·       Around 1968 I joined Basingstoke CBS, which had a sizeable budgerigar contingent. This was in the days before local Specialist Budgie Clubs existed.

·       For various personal reasons, I have had to give up budgies several times over the past 50 years. I have been in and out of the hobby 4 times now, having returned to the hobby in the 2007 and now hope to stay!

Q2.   What was your first aviary set-up like?

·       My first set up was very basic. I built a small wooden aviary about 4’ x4’ with a small roosting flight and an outside flight of about 6’ x 4’.  It was too small for breeding cages, but I had 6 breeding cages in a small coal-house brick building. It was very much a “Heath-Robinson” set up.

Q3.   Can you remember your first major Out-Cross?

·       Yes, it was in 1968. I decided to buy from a breeder who was having success on the show bench. That man was Cean Roberts from Lancing, Sussex. He was then exhibiting a successful line of dominant Pieds and winning Best in Show with a dominant Pied cock.

·       I saved up my pocket money, earned from working on the market stall. It was in the days when you could send away for a bird and it would be sent off to you by rail.

·       I purchased (unseen) a skyblue dominant pied cock and a cinnamon light green hen for the princely sum of £12 (for both).

·       Those were the days when the BS Colour Standards favoured a Pied showing a band, but this is no longer a requirement today. Although hard to fix, for me the band was the real beauty of this variety.

Q4.   When did you first drop out and return to the hobby?

·       I would have been around 21 years old – other interests took my attention!

·       It was not until 1990, then married with two children, that I rekindled my interest in budgies. I then obtained birds from the John Gorrell and Alan Deamer partnership, who were benching some quality birds based on the Cornish stud of Rodney Harris. I also went direct to Rodney and bought 9 birds.

·       This bloodline did well for me. In 1996, at the Northdowns’ BS Open Show, which attracted over 1200 birds benched, I won 2 Class A Challenge Certificates with a Light Green cock and a Grey Green Spangle cock.

·       Unfortunately, due to personal reasons, I again had to give up budgies in 1997. And my attempt to breed a reasonable stud of exhibition budgies came to a sudden end.

·       But the budgie bug had well and truly bitten me. I returned to the hobby in 2000. Though in 2005 I again had to drop out.

·       Having re-married and moved to Andover, I started up again in 2007.

 Q5.   What appealed to you about budgerigars?

·       The wide range of colour varieties, and that you can take up budgies at various levels: eg breeding for colour or just pleasure, or breeding for exhibition purposes.

·       I like the challenge of trying to produce a good exhibition specimen of the “modern” type of budgie, displaying good directional feathering.

BACK IN THE HOBBY TODAY.

Q6.   Who have been your major influences?

·       On returning to the hobby around 2007, I contacted Rodney Harris (Cornwall) to see if he could sell me some stock to get started again. He said he couldn’t help me at that time, but advised that I obtained the “modern” type of budgie from Les Martin, John Crook and Shiela Burns partnership, or Ken Fagan.

·       I managed to obtain over 20 birds from Ken Fagan, over an 18 month period, until he himself left the hobby.

·       Around 2008, I was told about this fancier in Farnham who was breeding the type of “modern” budgie I wanted to breed. His name is Mike Ball. Since then I have been fortunate to obtain quality birds regularly from Mike. I have seen him develop significantly his birds over the past 8 years into the world class stud he has today.

·       I have also obtained an outcross or two from you, Tony Cash, whose birds also have Mike’s bloodline in the background.

·       And before his exit from the hobby, I also managed to obtain half a dozen birds from Andy Hind, which carried Huxley & Marchant’s bloodline. More recently I have obtained some birds from Barry Lowe, Brixham, Devon, Arthur Piper, Cornwall,  and a Martim Heylen outcross (sky spangle cock).

Q7.   What is your current set-up like?

Due to having a small garden my present set up is very modest in size. It is a 10’ x 14’ apex wooden shed.

·       I have 18 breeding cages and 4 stock cages, with two small internal flights (7.5’ x 4’ and 3’ x 4’). One is for adults and the other for current year birds.

·       My birdroom is well insulated, roof and walls, with foil-backed high density foam – not only does this help reduce sound for the neighbours but avoids extremes of temperatures in the summer and winter. I also have two fan windows at either end of the shed and four (letter-box sized) grills in the shed walls for ventilation.

Having a small birdroom, I utilise every bit of space to maximum advantage. It is a bit like the “Tardis” inside! I have storage facilities underneath the breeding cages and also the under the stock cages, where I can store some show cages and other accessory items for the birds. I also have room for my hoover and floor bedding used for the cages and flights. At the far end of the shed next to my breeding cages, I have a small cupboard to store my sweeping brush and some medicines etc. 

·       My 18 nest boxes are made from compact laminate by Oestringer. These are a half box within the nest box, with replaceable concaves. I find these nest boxes easy to clean and maintain, and with the laminate joints glued and sealed there is reduced risk of mites.

 

·       I also have a row of three training cages at the end of the birdroom, which I use for selecting birds for shows and selling birds.

Q8.   What lessons learnt have been employed in your current birdroom?

·       I have had several birdrooms in the past. My present set up is a lot smaller than my last one - 22’ x 10’ with 24 breeding cages and two flights at each end and 12’ x 4’ outside flight and plenty of cupboard storage. 

·       I improved the design of my current birdroom by having fan-windows at either end to allow for the free flow of air. But there is always things you wish you had designed differently! I would provide more ventilation and larger extractor fan.

·       Ideally, I would like to have a bigger birdroom that would give me more cages and flights, and more space for visitors. You can just about squeeze 3 people into my birdroom (depending on their size!)

Q9.   What are your views on outside flights?

·       There are pros and cons. Outside flights provide your birds with exercise, sunlight and fresh air, which helps provide the birds with vitamin D and exercise. It is also nice to watch the birds from the garden.

·       The downsides, I think, are that some of the birds we are breeding today would not use outside flights frequently, if at all. Outside flights can also take up valuable space (especially if you only have a small garden).

·       There is also the risk of contamination from wild birds to consider, and you possibly risk annoying neighbours in a built-up area with the noise of the birds.

Q10.  How many birds and what varieties do you keep?

·       Like a lot of fanciers, I suspect I carry far too many birds, at least more than I need – over 150. I really don’t need to keep so many - if I haven’t used a bird in the previous season I should get rid of it.

·       I would like to keep twice as many hens as cocks, but the ratios don’t seem to work out like that for me.

·       I keep a high number of normal Cinnamons and also have Spangles and Dominant Pieds. I have a soft spot for Dominant Pieds, as I started breeding with them as a boy in the late 1960s. It is a pity that the BS Colour Standards no longer require dominant Pieds to show a “band”, which to my mind is the real beauty of this variety.

·       But my favourite budgie is a good “modern” type budgie regardless of variety.

MANAGEMENT

Q11.   Describe your daily management routine?

·       Now that I’m retired (over 5 years now), I can spend more time with the birds. When I was working in London, I was only able to do basic maintenance until the weekends, as I left early in the morning for work and returned late in the evening.

·       I enter the birdroom about 9am (and several times during the day) and scan the birdroom to see that all birds are looking ok. I will then sweep up, and spray around with F10 disinfectant.

·       I top up seed hoppers in the cages and replenish the drinking fountains, and top up the soft food as necessary. I do the same with the flights.

·       I now use Witte Molen moist softfood, as it doesn’t go off. I used to use Deli Nature mixed with carrots and greens and supplements, but this can go off quickly.) There is now less risk of the birds eating contaminated softfood, and it is easier to manage.

·       Finally, I check the pairs in the breeding cages and the nest boxes, ringing chicks if required. And make sure all is ok with the birds in the flights.

·       The advantage of being at home during the week is that I can now spot at an early stage any problems arising and try and deal with them.

Q12.   What do you do differently during breeding, resting, showing?

·       I do not vary my routine significantly throughout the year. I supply the same seed mixtures.

·       In the breeding season, I do provide the breeding birds with a constant supply of vitamins and minerals in finger drawers. I use Murphy’s minerals; Hormova, mixed with dried seaweed; and Thrive and Gloss. I also add Vers laga “Ferti-vit” (multi – vitamins, with added vitamin E) and alternately Orega-Stym in the drinking water.

Q13.   Describe diet, supplements, softfood etc. Do you ever try new products? How influenced are you by what others are doing?

·       I do not change routines and diets simply to follow the latest fad. I think there is some advantage to being consistent in your regime if it has proven successful for you. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it!

·       I provide my birds with 50% plain canary and 50% white millets. Separately, I feed tonic seed mixed with some small parakeet seed, though you need to watch that the birds do not become overweight.

·       However, as I have said I have recently gone over to Witte Molen moist softfood. The advantage is that it doesn’t go off, so doesn’t need changing daily.  

·       I feed separately plenty of carrots and broccoli and other green food. The birds especially like Lambs Lettuce and I also give them corn on the cob at least once a week.

Q14.   What lighting times do you use? How do they vary throughout the year?

·       I use two 5’ all-day fluorescent strip lights, which come on at 7am until noon and from 2pm until 10.00pm. This is not varied throughout the year.

·       I believe giving the birds a quiet rest period during the day is beneficial for them, and encourages the birds to mate.

 ·       Budgies tend to mate first thing in the morning, so effectively creating a second artificial morning at 2pm encourages further mating to take place. Hopefully this regime helps improve the chances of successful matings.

Q15.   What gadgets are there in your birdroom?

·       I have two air filters to help keep the dust down and a vacuum cleaner

SUCCESS WITH A SMALL STUD

Q16.   What special features do you look for in a budgie?

·       I realise there is more to an exhibition budgie than just head quality, but believe that it is the “face” that first catches the judge’s eye. And I think it is important to make this impact when showing.

·       However, my aim is to breed a complete well balanced exhibition budgie – which has good deportment, length of feather giving that full face and directional feathering above the eye and free from any flecking.

·       But this is my ideal, which may not be the reality!

·       Bringing in top quality out-crosses can be expensive. But I have always worked on Gerald Bink’s principle that you sell 10 birds and buy one. Trying to improve the overall quality of your stud over time.

·       So even a small breeder can make progress adopting this principle. Any monies produced from sales birds is recycled back into my “Budgie” kitty.

·       I now realise that you just don’t tell the wife how much you have sold birds for a certainly not how much you have paid!

Q17.   What is your approach to pairing up, and how important is pedigree versus visual, colours and varieties?

·       Like many others, I make pairing selections in my head well in advance of the breeding season. But when it comes to pairing up, my ideal selections are not always ready for one reason or another, and we then have to find substitute partners.

·       To make matters worse, we sometimes find pairs are not compatible in the breeding cage or are not breeding-fit therefore clear eggs result. So, again we have to resort to the substitutes bench.

·       I am more of an “inbreeder”, than an “out-crosser”. I believe that provided you have good quality foundation birds from a well bred stud to start with you are more likely to breed that winner by “fishing in a small genetic pool”.

·       But periodically you need to refresh the blood by bringing in birds, but this can still be done by buying from related bloodlines.

·       Family lines are important to me when pairing up. Clearly we all would like to pair up two super birds together, but I believe that a lesser visual bird from a good visual parent (cock or hen, ideally both) is genetically capable of producing a good one.

·       I think provided your birds have good pedigree in the background, then you are on the road to success.

·       When pairing, I do not double up on faults but try and double up on desirable features eg, directional feathering. This does not mean you should exclude “balance” in your pairing decisions.

·       I’m not too concerned about what colours I pair together, though I do like dark factor blue series birds. It is the quality of the budgie I’m more interested in.

·       I would, however, have reservations about pairing Dominant Pied to Dominant Pied, as double factor Pieds lose their variety colour content.  Unless of course it is your aim to use double factor pieds to breed more single factor pieds in the following breeding season.

·       Spangle are different altogether. I do pair Spangle to Spangle to control the number of Spangles produced, and to produce some Double Factor Spangles!

Q18.   How long will you leave a pair together before splitting them up?

·       Obviously you have paired up a particular pair for a specific purpose, so had I the luxury of more breeding cages I would probably leave them together a little longer.

·       But not wishing to tie up good birds for too long, nor the breeding cage, I would normally leave a pair together for around 3-4 weeks before finding suitable alternative partner(s) or a new pair for the breeding cage.

Q19.   With a limited number of breeding cages how do you manage a clear first round?

·       Following a clear first round, I will let a pair have a second round - which usually results in fertile eggs.

Q20.   How do you make maximised use of 18 breeding cages?

·       By having a quick turn- over in cage usage. If one pair is not being productive I will release their cage to another pair, or find an alternative partner for one of the birds. 

·       I will also consider fostering chicks out to let them get on with another round. I am less keen on fostering eggs out in case they become addled.

·       So far, I have not tried running a cock with two or more hens simultaneously.

·       I normally expect to breed around 80 birds a year.

Q21.   What are the benefits of working with a small(ish) number of birds?

·       The advantage is that you tend to be more focused on keeping birds showing (and carrying) the desirable features that you want to see in your birds.

·       As I operate a fairly closed stud – though I do bring in fresh blood occasionally – there is the benefit of building up a family of birds with a degree of consistency in the desirable features you want to see. This, in my opinion, improves your chances of breeding that winner.

Q22.   Are there risks working with a small stud e.g. over-crowding, no room for quarantine, end of a line etc?

·       There is the risk of over-crowding, but a small set up does encourage you to be more selective in the birds retained.  But as you will testify, Tony, I’m guilty of hanging onto too many birds that I’m unlikely to use!

·       I do not see any danger in coming to the “end of the line” with my birds, as there is always a feature that you could bring in to improve your stud. It also wise to bring in fresh compatible bloodline occasionally to ensure your stud does not become too in-bred.

·       Whenever possible, birds I bring in are straight away put into a breeding cage with a mate. Although not a sure-fire way of quarantining birds it minimises direct exposure to other birds.

·       Furthermore, birds are a long time dead, so you might as well try and get chicks from the outcross as soon as possible.

SHOWING.

Q23.   How many times do you show each year and how many birds do you show?

·       I support my two local Clubs – Northdowns and South Hants. I only started showing at Open Shows in 2012, in order to test that I was making some progress with my birds.

·       I personally do not show bought birds, as I feel there is no real credit to the exhibitor.

·       I am not a keen exhibitor, I prefer the breeding season. I tend to show at two Open shows each year- South Hants and Swindon.  I have been relatively successful at these Open Shows.

·       I have won 4 Best in Shows at major Open shows.

In 2013, as an “Intermediate”, I was fortunate enough to win Best in Show at both South Hants and Swindon Open Shows, with two different birds (both Greys).

·       In 2014 I moved up to first year “Champion”. At South Hants, I obtained 6 CCs and was awarded the Best Young Bird in Show (with a Cobalt cock). At Swindon, I won another 6 CCs and got Best Opposite Sex Any Age (with a Cinnamon Grey Green hen).

·       In 2016 I won BIS at South Hants and Swindon Gold Open Shows with a Sky cock.

·       I think this demonstrates that you do not necessarily have to have that large birdroom and stud to produce winners. Small breeders can compete successfully on the show bench with the big boys too.

·       An advantage of using a small number of breeding cages is that it focuses you on using the cages effectively and that you do not simply pair up birds for the sake of it.

·       The emphasis should be on producing “quality not quantity” – though I do hope to breed over 100 birds a year – though I accept that with greater numbers bred you are more likely to increase the number of good ones.  

Q24.   How much effort do you put into show preparation?

·       To do your birds justice on the show bench, it is important to prepare the birds as well as you can. This also means ensuring that the show cages are in good order.

·       I catch birds up about 3-4 weeks before showing and put them into stock cages to get them to settle down and put some weight on after some have been months in the breeding cages or flights.

·       I do not pull spots 4 weeks and tails 6 weeks in advance of a show, as was a practice advocated in the past. I would not wish to risk spots and tails not re-growing in time! 

·       I shampoo the birds about 3 weeks before a show - fully immersing them in clean water to rinse them off. I repeat this process in the following weeks if necessary. I will concentrate on the birds’ faces. I will also give them daily a fine spray with clear water.

·       About a week before the show I will start to dress the masks. I do not usually fully de-spot a bird at one go. In some cases there are rather a lot of spots, and I do not want to over-stress the birds.

·       There is also the risk of pulling the wrong spots if you are not careful, or inadvertently loosening the correct spot with the possibility of it dropping out later.

·       In short, I believe it is important to spend time preparing your birds for shows to present them at their best, after all they are your ambassadors!

GENERAL STUFF

Q25.   Which part of the hobby do you prefer i.e. breeding, showing, social side, attending meetings etc?

·       I much prefer the breeding side of the hobby to showing. I also like the social side of the hobby, and talking about budgies to people that visit me. But I should take up the numerous invitations I’ve had to visit other people’s aviaries.

·       I do like going on Clubs’ organised aviary visits and attending the BS Club Show, as this helps build camaraderie.

Q26.   Is there anything in the hobby that really gets on your nerves?

·       I believe some doubts remain with BS judges and the hobby generally about the definition of longflights and longtails.

·       The budgie has been evolving since introduced into this country in the 1840s. Today’s budgie is a far larger specimen than in yesteryear.

·       So judges should take into consideration that even if these “modern” larger birds’ tails do touch the show cage floor they should not automatically be dismissed as longtails/flights.

·       In my mind, the important factor to consider is whether the bird is in proportion and balanced.

Q27.   How has the hobby changed?

·       From first becoming interested in budgies back in the late 1960s to the present, I have seen a dramatic change in size, feather quality and structure.

·       Even over the last 10 years, there have been significant advances with the “modern” budgie showing greater length and density of feather and directional feather over the eyes.

·       There has been a significant decline in the BS membership. This has meant smaller and fewer Clubs and Open Shows.

·       I cannot see the hobby going back to the days of the 1980s and 90s where shows had entries of 2000 plus – even the BS Club Show is failing to get these numbers!

·       I also miss the camaraderie of those days when budgie breeders were within easy reach and the Sunday morning drop in for a cup of tea and chat about the hobby. Nowadays you have to drive some 50 miles to visit another exhibitor and with life style changes it may not be convenient to do so.

·       I also think that new-comers to the Hobby are more competitive than in my day. They want over-night success.  Many of them no longer approach the next breeder up the status line for birds, nor seek a mentor, but go straight Champions. They no longer want to serve an “apprenticeship”! 

MINUTES OF NORTHDOWNS BUDGERIGAR SOCIETY 2016 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING 28 JANUARY 2017

Our chairperson Graham Cornwall opened the meeting by welcoming and thanking those present to the Northdowns AGM on such an unpleasant evening.

Apologies had been received from two persons Tony Cash and Geoff Plumber.

Unfortunately no formal minutes were available for the 2015 AGM for approval as no correspondence had been received from the then secretary. (GC to request the relevant information)

 Firstly Graham Cornwall stated that 2016 had been an extremely difficult year for the society, unfortunately in May our elected secretary after several months of difficult times decided due to family commitments and her inability to communicate effectively that she could not continue and as such resigned, resulting in the chairperson taking up the secretary’s tasks.

However we continued to have both positive and active meetings with some extremely good speakers. With the climax of the year being the annual Members Show in October unfortunately the show entries were effected by London and Southern Counties changing their date to the Sunday after the Northdowns members show, resulting in some members not showing. BIS was a very good cobalt cock owned and showed by Derek Ham.

Treasurer: The Audited Accounts were unfortunately were not available for the AGM to approve, the delay had been caused by a reconciliation problem and not an accounting one.

Prior to the formal part of the evening it was decided to consider the proposal’s as these could affect member’s offering themselves for office later.

1.      To consider in recognition of service to the society that Tony Cash be awarded honorary life membership. Passed unanimously

2.     That the membership consider the moving of the monthly Friday evening meetings to a Saturday afternoon.   

 Following extensive discussions on the positives and negatives of the moving the meeting day to Saturday a vote was taken. Rejected unanimously.

3.     In light of the current active membership numbers, to reconsider the numbers of persons required under rule 6:10 to form a quorum.  

After a discussion a vote was taken to reduce the quorum numbers required to ten persons for both AGMs and EGMs. Passed unanimously

ELECTION OF OFFICERS

President: Jim Lawrie

Chairperson: Graham Cornwall

Vice Chairperson: Lim Lawrie

Secretary: Graham Cornwall

 Publicity and monthly reports: Jim Lawrie and Paul Munro

Treasure: Delia Smith

Membership Secretary: Brian Mansell

Show secretary: Brian Duncombe

Committee: All of the above plus Derek Ham, John Gorrell, Andy Clark and John Clark

Auditor: William Bien

All the above Passed unanimously

Matters arising

Those present were updated on the current known condition/situation of two of our members Alex Whitman and Geoff Dell.

The formal evening closed at 21.10.