This is the second part to my article issued in the BS magazine in July 2017, there was a bit of a gap between the 2 issues, but Terry told me that he had too much material in order to fit it all in.

Part 2.

Birds have wings, that means they should be able to fly.    …………. Says Mike Chase

 

Well, you will have read my ramblings in the last edition, and it would seem that our wonderful Terry has deemed it necessary to subject you all to another dose of drivel.
As you will have read, my wife and I returned from Spain in 2011 and I decided to get up and running with my love for my hobby, budgerigars.
We settled in a foreign area from where we came, by that I mean that our origins were in Essex and then Norwich, and we now live nr Mansfield, Notts.
The bottom line was that I knew absolutely no one in the area. I started searching the net for names that I recognised from those years back when I left the hobby, in the chance that they might guide me towards a local breeder. I also rekindled conversations with Gerald Binks, I have had deep conversations with him for a few years before leaving the UK. Very interesting I must say, his views on the hobby in general were still close to how I saw it, some 10 years previous.
Anyway, the search for a contact ended when I got in touch with Barrie Shutt, he advised me to get onto the EBF to find a local guy or 2.
This was a brilliant start for me, although I would suspect that he wouldn’t even remember our conversation, but thanks Barrie.
So, we had purposely bought a house which would give me space to start the hobby again, and it took only a short while before I got started converting the car-unfriendly garage in the garden – well, convert half of it, she, the missus wasn’t happy to lose all storage for her junk. That said, she likes to watch the budgies getting up to their antics – yet another reason for having an outside flight, and a further brownie point for me.
This is the area in the garden ready for the flight. For those of you who have been onto my website , you will know these photos …. and lots more besides ….. don’t worry, I’ve condensed this down somewhat.I decided on a shingle base with a dwarf wall with a wooden framed, double wired flight.
I am a staunch believer in outside flights, for many reasons. There are many others that do not share my thoughts but for me there are more “for’s” than “against”.
  • I believe that the birds become more hardy
  • They get clean fresh air – our garden backs onto a farmer’s field, so plenty of the free stuff
  • The flight is easily kept clean with a hosepipe.
  • The birds get a free bath when it rains – in summer months I just put the hose on them, I’m sure this helps with keeping feathers in top condition
  • It helps to keep the birds as fit as possible.
You will notice that I use apple branches rather than standard wooden perches, I reckon that this gives the birds, especially the hens, something to gnaw on – better than sawn timber in my view. There is also a variation in size so this is more akin to wild life. I also use ropes, I drape them all over the flight. It has been likened by some to a monkey enclosure. My reasoning for using ropes is that when the birds land on them, they swing or move, therefore strengthening the birds muscles, then again I might be talking a load of tosh
At the moment, I do not separate cocks and hens, simply because my layout does not allow me to do so right now.
This is how it is now.I have just 9 breeding cages, but for me this is OK right now, but this layout will change at some time next year, as I have successfully negotiated with my wife to have the whole garage. I will be extending the breeding cages to probably 15, but I’m not too sure at the moment.The small inside flight/roosting area will go right across the back wall – probably, but I might change my mind.
Over the last 3 years I’ve bred an average of 60 youngsters per year, I keep a hatchability chart year on year to see how I’m doing. This year has seen more DIS than the previous 2 years, bit worrying.
I’ve used Tropibed in the nestboxes for the first time this year, and at first I wasn’t too impressed because about half of my hens threw the bedding out which made lots of mess with brown dust all over the aviary – my Air-Vac fan filter turned brown! However, since the chicks have grown the boxes do not smell as they can with wood chippings, the birds droppings do not end up as a soggy mess and the rings on the chicks do not get crusted up with droppings, so I think it’s a real step forward. When the chicks have left the nests I’m hoping that the hens will now be used to the bedding and leave it insitu. I’ve also noticed when the eggs were laying on the bedding, it was as warm to the touch as the eggs themselves – this would appear to be good, that said, I’ve had more DIS than usual, so I’m wondering if the hens are struggling to turn the eggs successfully, the next round might tell me.
Showing.
I’ve had reasonable success at local shows over the past 3 years, nothing prolific, but I’m in no hurry. To me it’s a hobby and like many of us I have limited funds available. This is a Normal Lt Green hen I bred a couple of years ago, and did well at Notts &Derby and Ollerton and Bevercoates shows, taking Best Beginner breeder in both. Then, this year at Notts & Derby took Best beginner A/A.
Here are a couple of youngsters from last year. I’m not a great fan of Ino’s but I liked this young hen. This Normal Lt Green has developed very well over the past months since the photo was taken.
I like to think that my Shed is improving year on year in terms of bird quality. All of my birds can fly, something that I find most annoying, is seeing videos of large sheds of birds where many are on the floor, with perches at about 4 inches off the floor. In my view it’s a massive retrograde step in the “progression” of the budgerigar, to see these large lumps of feather with a large head, can hardly see without moving their heads, sitting aimlessly on the floor or perch- it is criminal. Birds have wings, that means that they should be able to fly.
That’s about it from me, I still believe that I’m a beginner …. but with a little more experience than one who has just started out in this lovely hobby.
Thanks for taking the time to read the article.
Mike Chase

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