Long-time fans may remember the 1980 Budgerigar World Championship, which was won by a Normal Grey cock from Sheffield’s legendary Havenhand and Ruthven team. Never before has such a large and high-quality bird been seen, and it rates among the top five birds ever presented in the United Kingdom. The pair also produced its brother, which is still remembered, and although the partners have peacefully gone their own ways with their birds, it is safe to assume that both of them would want to breed more such birds in the future. The victor was featured on the front cover of Issue No. 1 of Budgerigar World, and such a bird would still win today – by a country mile.
Don Havenhand has had more time available from his firm in recent years to dedicate to his pastime enthusiasm. To have to virtually start anew is a huge process that will not be completed quickly. To gradually improve the overall quality, patience, perseverance, and waiting for the excellent ones to come are required. I’ve been there numerous times and there were a plethora of excellent birds that anybody would be proud to possess. I believe this stud will be among the top BS major winners in the next years. The feather length, the faces with their mask depth, and the overall size are all present. A little more swank, as Harry Bryan used to demand, and the rest of us are in trouble.
The stud has a high level of quality. There is a heavy focus on Cinnamons and Normal Skyblues, as well as Greys and the Yellowface component, all with fantastic top ends. If you breed any of these colors, this bull should be on your short list.
After raising the stud to a certain level, it was necessary to consider outcrosses four years ago. It was agreed to go to Jo Mannes to see what they had. There have been four visits in that period, with three Skyblues and one Cinnamon Grey Green, all cocks, being introduced. The blues were to be added to the original super Grey line that remained from the early 1980s, with just a Phil Reaney cock added. Don states that the Reaney cock was the only really beneficial bird he purchased during the same time period.
In more recent times, the Yellowface element came from Jim Mather in Scotland, where I personally saw some extremely robust individuals.
Aside from the typical feeding procedures we all utilize, eggs are supplied every day – possibly a nod to Mannes? Four hard-boiled eggs are broken and dropped into the planes every day, and they “vanish extremely rapidly,” according to Don. Hormoform is often used in the finger drawers, but there are no other additives in the water or anywhere else.
The Havenhand aviary has 60 cages and is large when you arrive, with a brief passage to another area with cages and two little internal flights that are 6 feet long but barely 2 feet wide. These were incredibly valuable to me, and they made me think about my own business. They’re ideal for growing current-year stock up to, say, 6 months of age.
Finally, as I said before, this stud has a highly committed breeder behind it and is remarkable. The owner is quite critical of his stock, maybe because of the 1980 winning Grey cock. I continued telling him he had a really nice stallion, only to be met with more grumbling about how he wasn’t pleased. Of course, this is the correct attitude to adopt, and it is the attitude that all excellent breeders should adopt; to be honest, I do it myself.
Keep Havenhand in mind and keep an eye on the showbench in the coming years.
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