Photo: Fred Wright. Gerald & Pat de Beer: Pat was outstanding at show preparation, says Fred 

Should we offer our budgerigars distinct spaces for breeding and show preparation, muses FRED WRIGHT?

It’s not unusual to hear of fanciers keeping their breeding room and flights separate, but it’s some time since I have heard talk of separating a breeding and show preparation room. My friend in South Africa, Pat de Beer, would never prepare a team for the shows while she had breeding pairs on the go. Her case was that the show birds would see the others breeding and mating, so they would start fighting. Pat was a superb exhibitor and her budgies were arranged to perfection – she was a master at preparation.

Jo Mannes in Germany always uses the first section of his long birdroom for show preparation if he is getting birds ready for the shows while they are breeding. He separates the two sections with a sliding door. Going back a bit, Ormerod & Sadler built a completely separate show preparation room for their show team at Emsworth. I was always fascinated by the show cages being attached to the end of the stock cages and how well the budgies were trained to run in and out of them.

In the Emsworth birdroom there were glass cabinets with Challenge Certificates and rosettes, and I can remember the three tiers of a judging stand where birds and show cages were moved about, judged and trained.

All three of those exhibitors were masters of their trade and I have to wonder if it really is better to keep the show team away from breeding birds. Perhaps we should be thinking about separating our time with the birds – a period for breeding, and time for preparing a show team. Maybe we should think about how seriously the modern fancier is about show preparation. With shows coming up earlier and earlier in the year, it seems to be that we have to get a few birds ready for the shows while the breeding season is still in full swing.

Perhaps some serious thought should be given to putting together a separate show-preparation section to the birdroom. Is it better for the show team to keep them away from the breeding birds? Do we need to rethink show preparation? Can we prepare birds properly for shows while breeding in the same place or is it a case for thinking again? It’s certainly food for thought, especially for anyone designing a new birdroom!

Fred Wright runs a champion stud in Wallington, Surrey.

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