Breeding Case Studies | Bird Keepers Association

Breeding Case Studies

The trial & tribulations of livestock!!

Posted by on February 11, 2017 in Blog, Case Studies | 0 comments

So sad! My Pekin Robins laid 3 eggs and were scheduled to hatcg about now and this little fellow didnt make it. I wonder if the other eggs will be more successful. I feel in any event although they want to breed there are insufficient insects in my aviary to provide the ‘natural’ foods. The lat time I was successful was when the same pair produced a single youngster from a May nest and three babies from a nest in the late summer  

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Black hooded Red Siskins

Posted by on January 9, 2017 in Blog, Case Studies | 4 comments

Glimpsed my first Red Siskins at Zwolle, Holland last year and was determined to obtain a pair. Eventually located a pair from Luke a breeder in Worthing and here they are! Today I put in a ‘canary’ nest pan in their cage so here’s hoping for babies!  I am introducing egg food and sprouting seed 3 times a week to influence their decision to mate, Fingers crossed...

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Which birds can you mix in an aviary

Posted by on December 5, 2016 in Blog, Case Studies | 0 comments

This photo proves that so long as your aviary is well planted Pekin Robins (one pair), Bichenos, Diamond Fire Tails, Parrot finches, Blue Cap waxbills, Hecks can all mix satisfactorily...

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Proud to be a breeder of a Pekin Robin baby!!

Posted by on July 24, 2015 in Blog, Case Studies | 6 comments

Proud to be a breeder of a Pekin Robin baby!!

After three unsuccessful attempts my pair of Pekin Robins have produced a robust thriving baby Pekin. The pair went down immediately on another three eggs but I believe they knew that they had to recover from the stress  of bringing up a family (of one!) and discarded the chicks two days after they hatched. The hen was last years bird so she now has the hang of bringing up a family . So I am expecting more next year – fingers...

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My Pair of Pekin Robins

Posted by on February 10, 2015 in Blog, Case Studies | 3 comments

My Pair of Pekin Robins

My pair of Pekin Robins have just completed constructing a nest amongst the overhanging ever green brush in the aviary and laid 3 eggs! With the possibility of chicks falling out of the nest onto the aviary floor i constructed a wire “hammock” and hung it immediately under the nest! Now I am getting ready for the chicks to hatch in about 12 days by stocking up on mini & adult waxworms, frozen pinkies & buffalo worms and hopefully produce some Aliens (the pupae of the Darkling beetle) and some soft white skin mealworms (when the mealworm sheds its hard skin!!) and ensuring there is a dose if vitamin B to help the chicks on their way. Wish me...

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My Pekin Robins

Posted by on December 28, 2014 in Blog, Case Studies | 11 comments

A few months back I decided to accept the challenge of keeping and breeding Pekin Robins, my first ever softbills! Having read on the internet how to successfully breed Pekins the next step was the most difficult and that was from where would I source my first Pekins! I am a member of the Brentwood CBS and another member Linda was introduced to me as a breeder of Pekin Robins. As chance would have it she had successfully bred Pekins during the year and had a hen available for sale. She invited my partner and me to see her aviaries and once there I was handed a very instructive sheet  of do’s and dont’s which of course I have since treasured. Now to find a cock bird which to all intents and purposes was going to be difficult because I was advised that if the introduction does not go to plan the Pekins could end up by seriously fighting. I happened to visit an internet sight Prelove and searched for any sellers of Peking Robins and to my delight I ended up conversing with a bird keeper in Witham (not far away!!) whose cock bird was lamenting the loss of its partner and was singing for a new partner. Naturally it is important for a visit to the seller to ensure that the bird is from a clean and respectable home!! The deal was done and I introduced the cock bird to the hen in my well planted aviary and over the following few days it was evident that they certainly did not want to fight each other!! And now I have a baby in the nest! I feed my Pekins on a mixture of perle morbide, egg food and pinkies supplemented with mealworms and waxworms together with a culture of mini  waxworms which is a relatively new product from UK Waxworms Limited. The food disappears very quickly now that there is a baby to feed so it is wise to supply fresh food if not three times a day certainly twice a day and not too late in the evening!! My Pekins are housed in a mixed collection of red faced parrott finches, hecks grass finches, golden breasted waxbills and diamond fire tails. They seem to get on quite nicely but it is important to have dense vegetation to provide security to all the birds. I have been told that when feeding fully grown waxworms one must chop their heads off to avoid the intestines of the young becoming blocked but this advise has been questioned by some? Calcium deficiency will kill the babies so I am dusting all waxworms and food with a calcium enriched powder but I have also been advised that by feeding my mini mealworms with Layers Pellets, which are rich in calcium, will enrich the mini mealworms with the calcium required to bring up healthy chicks!!   ...

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Gouldians in the nest box

Posted by on December 7, 2014 in Case Studies | 0 comments

From Clive Godfrey a remarkable photo of baby Gouldian finches in their next...

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It’s always worth visiting other bird keepers!

Posted by on October 25, 2014 in Blog, Case Studies | Comments Off on It’s always worth visiting other bird keepers!

It’s always worth visiting other bird keepers!

 A few weeks ago now my colleague bird keeper Len March and I travelled to Kent to explore the source of green millet. The cars sat nav had us arrive at a harbour entrance with no aviaries to be seen! fortunately the wonder of mobile phone technology finally enabled us to arrive in time to meet Nick a millet farmer also well known for his prominence in breeding species of the waxbill family and other foreign birds. After negotiating the perimeter alarm system we were shown into the first ‘cow shed’ . You would never have guessed what was to be unveiled upon opening the door – a remarkable collection of indoor aviaries which led into a vast array of outdoor aviaries via wire constructed eye level escape routes which funnelled the birds into naturally planted aviaries. The indoor aviaries housed Golden Breasted and Blue Cap Waxbills the latter of which Nick was telling us would nest in the nests abandoned by Jacksons Weavers. His spacious accommodation coupled with his excellent aviculture husbandry has resulted in numerous breeding successes with young White Headed Munia, Weavers, Golden Breasted Waxbills and many more including those foreign finches which other bird keepers could only dream of which included the Madagascan Mannikin which Nick explained was better known as the Bib Finch. Nick enthusiastically explained that it was his desire to focus on a select number of species with a view to obtaining the best possible breeding results especially since many finches are becoming rare. I am sure our members will appreciate his tips on dietary requirements which of course includes GREEN MILLET which Nick harvests himself. He explained “when the rains arrive in their natural African habitat the rains stimulate the growth of grasses the green seeds of which trigger some species to breed especially weavers and sparrows so feeding green millet to aviary birds will no doubt stimulate their desire to breed” Recommended also by Graham Lee (www.parrot-finches.com) well known for breeding waxbills, Mannikins and Parrot Finches, who also pays tribute to this dietary recommendation along with the addition of specially formulated seed which contains 40% Knaul Grass seed and red & yellow panicum millet. Nick also stressed that small live food is essential when young are in the nest and recommended fruit flies, aphids which occur naturally in sycamore trees, mini mealworms, ‘pinkies’ (frozen maggots) and blood worms. Nick was kind enough to allow me to photo the bloodworm package as I hadn’t come across bloodworms before! Returning to the house we passed a pair of Peacocks with their young and an owl (not real!!) standing guard over the outdoor aviaries which reminded us that predators are all around as well as the human kind!! The visit was extremely interesting and we thanked Nick for his knowledge &...

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Visiting Other Breeders

Posted by on October 3, 2014 in Blog, Case Studies | 0 comments

  One of the methods I have used to increase my knowledge of our entertaining hobby is to locate and visit other hobbyists or fanciers as they are known in the ‘trade’. As a member of the Brentwood CBS (yet another acronym! stands for the Cage Bird Society for all those uninitiated) I have met many bird breeding enthusiasts and when Jimmy Holgate of Basildon invited me to view his birdroom he didn’t have to ask twice! On my visit I found Jimmy to be very passionate about his Yorkie and Gloster canaries and took great pains to explain to a relatively inexperienced canary breeder the different types of Gloster & Yorkie canaries he has bred over the years. The tips and general knowledge one can pick up is invaluable in assessing and attaining your own breeding successes whether as in this case canaries or in my case foreign finches. However Jimmy did have a couple of pairs of Gouldians and several Bengalese to achieve variety! But Jimmy’s main purpose in life is to show his Yorkies and Glosters which over the years has won him a basket full of rosettes and cups which were proudly displayed in his lounge. Jimmy believes in feeding his birds a good class of canary seed and to test the seed he makes sure that it can sprout after a couple of days in soak. However Jimmy also pointed out that a quick taste of the seed would tell you that if it is bitter and if bitter the seed should not be given to your birds. I would welcome any comments from other breeders!! He ensures his birds are kept in tip top condition by various remedies including Organic Cider Vinegar (which is fully explained on the health tips page) and a preventative mite treatment called RED STOP. There are many more tips which will appear in later articles so watch this space...

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