Above: One kind of pleasure: Colin is the first to salute the fulfilling nature of show success

Over the years, COLIN MOORE has exhibited his birds, specialised in a particular breed and bred many different varieties. Now, after reflection, he has decided to change the emphasis and start to enjoy a proper mixed collection.

I’VE been thinking that it was time for a change for a while now. I kept putting it off for one reason or another, but finally I realised I could stall no more.

I’m not enjoying our wonderful hobby as much as I used to. So, I sat down and gave it some real thought and the answer became obvious: too much expectation, putting too much pressure on myself, and not enough hours in the day.

I looked at what I really wanted out of my hobby now that I’m no longer a spring chicken. Things that I would do without thinking about once upon a time are now not so appealing.

Showing? Well I’ve been there, done that, when I was younger and although it was a fantastic baptism into birdkeeping – and I would be the first to say have a go if you have never tried it – I could do without the stress now. I used to do this as a group and we would all take turns dropping birds off on a Friday evening at a show or picking them up on the Sunday if it was a two-day event. Now, I don’t have many friends into showing, so that’s one crossed off.

Do I really want to specialise in canaries? No. Again, I did it before but now I would like a mixed collection without having to amass lots of different show cages.

Do I really want to keep very detailed breeding records? I’ve already done this and what it all boils down to it is that now I just want to enjoy my hobby in its rawest form. I would like to keep a few birds breeding for pleasure without the headache of worrying about one having a bit of this colour where it should have another colour.

Yes, I will still breed for quality and type because it has been bred into me, and I will still work on my London fancy project (which does include keeping precise records, but only a few).

However, I will have more time to follow my other interests and being able to take my long-suffering wife on holidays without worrying about my birds will be a novelty. Requesting someone who doesn’t keep birds to look after 80 singly housed canaries for a week or two is a big ask.

What’s more, I can explore another avenue in birdkeeping that I have always wanted to try: a mixed collection aviary. My birdroom will be kept for those birds that don’t mix or over wintering birds not up to our delightful weather.

So now I’m really looking forward to the hobby again it’s amazing. But the old saying of my dear old dad rings true: “A change is sometimes as good as a rest”. Yes, dad, you’re right again as usual.

Colin Moore formerly showed Borders, and now breeds rare colour bantams, plus a stud of canaries, including Fifes, Lizards, north Dutch frills and Scots fancy.

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