Above: parallel lines: a good example of a barhead budgerigar. This one is a grey green

Experienced fanciers use these terms all the time, but beginners and ‘occasionals’ may need a reminder… here FRED WRIGHT kicks off a series of handy jargon busting.

Starting from the letter A, here are some useful terms that you will come across when keeping, breeding and exhibiting budgerigars.

Some bird eggs become addled, which is when the chick inside the egg dies before it is fully developed. This is different from “dead in shell”, which is when the chick is fully formed but fails to exit the egg.

There are numerous explanations offered for addled eggs. The two main ones are when the cock gets into the nest-box and constantly harasses the hen, and so the eggs get moved around. If you listen to the nest-box, this behaviour can often be described as the pair “playing marbles”.

The other reason usually offered is when the eggs become infected by bacteria from a dirty nest-box or more likely from the bacteria on the fancier’s fingers moving and handling the eggs. This is a good reason to use a very thin surgical glove when moving eggs or better still wash your hands before moving eggs.

Any Age
One of the sections at a show that includes adult birds, plus any young birds that the exhibitor wishes to enter, rather than putting them in the young-bird section. It’s sometimes a way of showing a second or third young bird of one particular colour when you have already entered the best in the young-bird section.

In the UK, it’s also where you can enter any bought birds. Most overseas shows don’t allow bought birds to be shown in any class – they are for owner-bred birds only. The any-age section is for all birds that cannot be shown in young bird classes.

Area Championship Show

This is an open show run by one of the 10 regional societies affiliated to the Budgerigar Society in the UK. They used to be identified and given top status as the only shows to offer a set of challenge certificates for any age and young birds.

When a budgie is full and rounded behind the eye and at the back of the neck, it is said to have “backskull”. Lacking this fullness and being flat behind the eye is a serious fault. In recent years, it has become a far lesser problem for breeders, exhibitors and judges, as fewer birds seem to carry the fault.

The majority of young birds when they leave the nest have a series of bars over the head, and these are moulted out during the first moult. Over the years it has become a description for all nest-feather birds.

Best Opposite Sex
This is an award at a show. If the best in show is a cock, the best opposite sex will be the best hen. If the best in show is a hen, the best opposite sex will be a cock.

Best Opposite Sex Any Age
If the best any age is a cock, the best opposite sex any age will be a hen. If the best is a hen, the opposite sex will be a cock.

Best Opposite Sex Young Bird
If the best young bird is a cock, the best young bird opposite sex will be a hen. If the best is a hen, the opposite sex will be a cock.

Blue Series

All budgies fall into two groups: blue series and green series. The blue series are the whole group that are blue and grey, plus the varieties that mask blue and grey, such as albinos and double-factor white spangles.

Breeding Condition

Breeding condition is the peak fitness that is necessary to get the birds to achieve before breeding. Increasing daylight hours and exercise, as well as special feeding, all help to improve birds’ breeding condition.

Breeding Season

This is the period of the year when breeding takes place. It used to be in the spring when fanciers would pair up during March and would end in June/July, but more and more, different birdkeepers breed at different times of the year. Some will even pair up in September and breed through until March or even April, so the breeding season is now more about a personal choice.

To be continued…

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