Photo: Fred Wright. Don’t delay: you need to start preparing your young cock birds for the breeding season now

FRED WRIGHT offers some advice to autumn breeders for bringing their birds into breeding condition at the right time.

Over the years I have come to the conclusion that a stud of budgies gets into a routine when the start of the breeding season comes along. A stud that begins breeding in September tends to see birds come into breeding condition at the same time the following year. That means that you can’t start breeding stock in the autumn one year and then in the spring the flowing season – it doesn’t work like that!

I paired up in September last year and had bred 70 babies before Christmas. Those birds are now coming into breeding fitness, especially the hens. If you want lots of fertile eggs, you need to work on getting both the cocks and the hens fully fit.

Nature will work in its own way, but bringing the birds from the flights into the birdroom and keeping them away from early cold nights will help. Regular light sprays in the mornings always bring them forward, too.

Once the budgies are in the birdroom, I keep the lights on until about 10pm because the longer hours of light help to advance condition. It’s dark at about 7pm now, so if you are preparing birds for breeding, they need longer days.

Feeding plays its part in preparation, as well. Supply a good seed mixture with some tonic seed, especially if you are feeding just a basic seed diet. The birds will appreciate a few of those little “extras”.

My birds get softfood almost every day when I prepare them for breeding, which includes grated egg, carrot and broccoli. I also add a mineral/vitamin supplement powder. A couple of times a week I offer spinach in small quantities, corn on the cob about once a week and the occasional carrot and apple with a few bean sprouts.

I am not a great believer in overdoing soluble vitamin supplements but once or twice a week they are added to the drinking water. Remember the water needs to be changed every day if you are using supplements.

While the preparation takes place, I still keep the cocks and hens together but about 10 days before I want to pair up, I separate the birds. I do this so that it breaks any pair bonds. Then when a cock and hen are brought together, there is an instant attraction and mating usually takes place instantly.

Surrey-based Fred Wright runs a champion stud and is a BS panel judge.

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