We believe that blood is more important than aesthetic traits in all sorts of cattle production. Of course, having both the visual attributes and the blood is preferable, but such types of birds are seldom available, and when they are, the asking price is generally more than the ordinary fancier can afford.
Before acquiring birds, it is usually a good idea to seek for breeders that compete with owner-bred birds. Arrange to visit the birdrooms of potential outcrosses if at all feasible. We feel that you can only hope to produce birds equivalent to the average quality of the stud from which they originated if the overall quality of the stud is of the highest grade.
These outcrosses must be mated with your most powerful birds in order for the attributes you observed in their “home stud” to be brought out. Our most effective outcrosses have come from the weaker siblings and sisters of really top-class budgerigars from excellent bulls. It is considerably preferable to acquire the poorest bird from a really exceptional stud than the finest bird from a truly subpar one.
A word of caution regarding purchasing blood: only purchase blood if you can see where the so-called blood originated from. Many birds are offered with the promise of being free of one or more strains. If you buy a bird that was produced from junk, which was bred from crap, you can be certain that it will spawn more rubbish, even if its great, great grandpa got Best in Show at the World Show!
We prefer to maintain lots of extra stock on hand. It is much too simple to sell nice birds; try buying some back. Even on their final pair, fanciers should seek to have a solid selection of pairings. This way, there will be no need to pair two defects together, and if you have a very difficult breeding season, you will have some reserves to fall back on. Far too many fanciers reduce the amount of birds they maintain solely to keep the seed expense down! A waste of money.
Prior to breeding, we never couple up on paper. We look for chickens who are attentive and have lively eyes. In a nutshell, those that seem to be breeding. We then seek for an aesthetically appealing cock, regardless of whether it is the greatest or worst hen. By appropriate, we mean that any flaws shown by the hen must be compensated for by employing only cocks that excel where the hens fail. Similarly, flaws in the cock must be compensated for by hens who excel in those areas. Never couple together birds that have the same flaws, since this will result in inbred flaws. In the end, you will only receive what you put in. If you double up on flaws, they will eventually catch up with you.
Only when we’ve located a visually appealing spouse do we verify our records to make sure they’re not too closely related. By near, we imply sibling or parent offspring. Other than that, anything goes.
Assessing Breeding Results
After successfully pairing your “Blood Birds” with your most powerful companions, the outcomes should be carefully examined. These outcomes are often classified into one of three categories.
- A strange exhibition bird with several good stock birds.
- Several substandard stock birds.
- Everything is of low quality.
If your findings fall into group three, it is considerably preferable to discard the lot. If your most powerful bird cannot extract anything from your outcross, it is best to call it a day right then and there.
Group One results are straightforward; you’ve chosen a winner; the two strains are obviously compatible, and you’ve completed a successful outcross.
Many more outcrosses result in Group Two birds, and it is often beneficial to keep a few of the better hens and pair them back into your own lines. If you choose your outcross carefully, it will typically be beneficial.
Birds of a Feather…
On the show bench these days, feather seems to be everything, and many fanciers pair their coarse-feathered birds together. This is frequently successful for a short time, but nature eventually catches up.
- The better birds rarely reproduce in sufficient numbers.
- Missing flights and tails are becoming more common.
- Body size shrinks.
- Display birds are tough to bring into show condition and then maintain for a short period of time.
- The lifespan of birds is decreasing.
Canary breeders walked the same route that we in the budgie world are on now many years ago. They saw the light and no longer couple buffs with buffs. To generate the perfect exhibition bird, a huge bird of intermediate feather, very coarse-feathered birds should be coupled with birds of finer feather.
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