A breeding contract, for the uninitiated, is simply an agreement between the owner of a bird and a breeder of the opposite sex to swap his bird for a certain number of chicks produced by the pair. It seems easy enough, and there are occasions when everything goes swimmingly. There are considerably more instances where complicating variables and misconceptions cause significant distress.
A breeding contract might be an excellent alternative for the owner of a pet whose pleasant position in the family has deteriorated since attaining sexual maturity, as is frequently the case with our bigger birds. The cherished bird will be properly cared for and satisfied with a partner, and the owner will get kids to compensate for his loss. With the incredible rate at which the selling price of exotic birds is growing, the value of the offspring he has agreed to take might be far more than the current market price of his bird.
Finding a nice bird with no investment of money is similarly satisfying for the breeder seeking for a mate for the lone hen or cock in his aviary. He will possess a producing pair once the contract stipulations are fulfilled.
There are various reasons why many breeders throw up their hands in despair and refuse to participate into this sort of arrangement. In my experience, if every single difficulty that may arise from this apparently easy transaction is addressed, agreed upon remedies are written down, and a signed copy is preserved by both sides, the probability of everything going well increases significantly. Even if the other person is your only sibling or closest friend, plan everything out in detail ahead of time.
Before accepting a bird on a breeding contract, an avian veterinarian should surgically sex the bird. Even if there is no uncertainty about the bird’s sex, the vet can tell whether it is sexually mature and capable of reproduction. A comprehensive set of cultures performed at the same time will ensure that the bird is as healthy as it seems and that any feather issues are just the behavior of a disappointed bird or a chronic disease.
Of course, the quantity of chicks to be returned to the owner must be indicated. Not alone is the number vital; are they gonna be newly hatched chicks or weaned babies? If the breeder agrees to take on the job of feeding the chicks, the number will be reduced. What method will be used to split the chicks? I often agree to divide the clutches until the owner’s responsibility is satisfied, but the birds always seem to produce an unbalanced quantity. If there are three babies in the clutch, pick ahead of time who will be the owner of the third. Even Solomon struggled with making a similar choice. When the bird’s owner takes control of the chicks, insist on a dated, signed receipt. Anyone may lose track of time over time.
The most common issue I face is the owner’s change of heart. Birds’ mating behaviors differ from those of dogs and cats. A satisfying connection between them frequently takes months or years to achieve. Your agreement should contain time constraints. How long can the owner anticipate to wait for the first chick? If, after months, he finds the perfect mate for his bird, or wants his pet back despite a few bites, or is simply impatient with the situation, the breeder is left with either having cared for the bird for an extended period of time for no benefit, or finding himself in the unpleasant situation of refusing to return the bird.
Another critical choice to make is who would be accountable for any potential medical expenditures. Both sides may make a compelling case. My normal method is to offer to divide the costs with the owner.
The potential of the bird’s death, as unpleasant as the issue may be, must be addressed. Even with the finest of care, birds grow ill and die. They are either taken or flee their cages into the great blue yonder. When a valuable bird is involved, not only are burgeoning friendships chilled, but legal proceedings may have to be taken.
Whether there is a written contract or not, the buyer is putting a lot of confidence in the breeder. Most parent birds dislike visitors peeping into their nests to count their offspring! In reality, on general principles, we do not accept guests in our aviary during mating season. As a result, it is prudent for the owner considering a breeding contract to work with an established and renowned breeder.
There is no way to predict all that could happen in the world of birds. I attempted to include the fundamentals in the example agreement below. This is a purely informal contract that was not prepared by an attorney. Its provisions are based on my personal experiences and are not couched in legalese.
With each new event, you may discover another clause to include. Hopefully, you will never have to remove your copy from the file drawer. In any case, having everything laid out in advance is smart insurance.
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