Photo: Fred Wright. When Fred visited Jo a few years ago, he was struck by the colour of the budgies in his birdroom.

FRED WRIGHT concludes his short series on the expert advice of the great budgerigar fanciers of the past and present, with a focus on top German breeder Jo Mannes.

Although the first part of this series (see August 23 issue) focused on great fanciers of the past, there are useful tips from those still around today that are worth taking into account. Here I relay two vital pieces of advice from current super breeder Jo Mannes.

If you want to keep a mixed stud of budgerigars that includes blues, greens, greys and grey greens, don’t pair grey-factor birds together. The basic rule needs to be just one grey-factor in every pairing. The problem when two grey-factor birds are paired together is that the resulting youngsters are double-factor greys and grey greens. These double-factor budgies always produce more grey-factor birds.

Keep pairing grey-factors together and the stud will become dominated by greys and grey greens. You cannot breed skyblues and light greens from them – whatever they are paired to. It will quickly become a stud that doesn’t tend to produce many light greens and skyblues.

When you go into Jo’s birdroom, it’s impressive in many ways, but particularly the colour of his birds. It’s noticeable in his flights that there are a good few dark-factor birds – dark greens, cobalts and a few violets, even olives and mauves.

Jo and I talked about the poor colour of many of the winning birds at budgerigar shows and he came back with how he has handled the problem for a long time. He uses lots of dark-factor birds in his pairings to improve body colour.

Body colour is not just about feather quality, and it has much to do with running dark-factor birds through the stud over a long period. I have considered using them much more in my pairings since Jo’s advice was given and it’s done nothing but improve that depth of colour. It’s worth thinking about for sure!

Surrey-based fancier Fred Wright runs a champion stud.

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