Above: Harry Hockaday with his best young bird at the 2018 Gwynedd BS open show. Although he has retired from budgies, he keeps silkie chickens and at the time of writing had 40 eggs in an incubator


A STALWART OF the budgerigar fancy has sold his entire stud of quality exhibition birds in a surprise decision to leave the hobby.

Harry Hockaday, who was in partnership with his father Donald, has been involved with budgerigars for more than 50 years and has won numerous top awards, as well as having judged at the BS Club Show twice and lectured all over the world.

Mr Hockaday, who has recently moved to Shropshire, made the decision to retire from the hobby to spend more time with his wife. He said: “I’ve just celebrated my 65th birthday and was finding the birds a big commitment, four hours a day, seven days a week. I have had a wonderful time in the hobby, but now it is time for myself and my wife to have more time for ourselves. It wasn’t an easy decision to give them up.”

Close friend and fellow budgie breeder Mike Ball, who has regularly bought outcrosses from Mr Hockaday, has now taken on the entire stud. The two fanciers plan to work closely so that Mr Ball has a good understanding of the breeding pairs and parentage. Mr Hockaday said he hopes it will be “a natural transition.”

When asked what was his birdkeeping highlight from the past 50 years, Mr Hockaday said: “In 1973, I exhibited as a novice at the Great North Western budgie show at Blackpool. There were many top fanciers there and more than 2,000 birds entered. I have won many BIS awards over the years, but winning BIS as a novice is a memory I hold dear.”

Grant Findlay, BS society administrator, added: “Harry will be a major loss to the hobby as he had one of the top studs, is a very competent speaker and a popular judge.”

Mr Hockaday has four judging engagements that he will honour in 2019 and his final lecture will be for the Northern BS in September.

He added: “I have always tried to give back to the hobby and help anyone if I can. I’d like to thank Jeff Attwood for encouraging me to make a DVD, which is a great reminder of my time in the hobby.”

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