A Visit to the Emerald Budgerigar Stud

Eileen and John HallExhibition budgerigars have been an important part in the lives of Eileen and John Hall for about 40 years.

The amount of care and affection that they devote to their birds is immense and their dedication to the hobby is the same.

Their stud is located in a beautiful rural location near the town of Ballybay in County Monaghan in the Republic of Ireland.

They are always happy to share their knowledge of the exhibition budgerigar with visitors, many of whom regularly travel from as far away as the U.S.A., Europe and the U.K. to purchase birds from this high quality stud.

The Birdroom

The Emerald birdroom is a superb building measuring 70′ x 25′ (21 m x 8 m) and is described by many visitors as 5 star budgerigar accommodation.

The birdroom, among many other things, contains:

  • 4 full height flight rooms each being 10′ x 8′ (3 m x 2.5 m)
  • 2 nursery flights each being 10′ (3 m) long
  • 2 breeding rooms which contain 50 breeding cages

All wire breeding cages are preferred, not just for their cleanliness, but so that all birds can enjoy a colony atmosphere.

Wooden, outside fitting nest boxes are used, sprayed inside and out with disinfectant and an anti-mite solution, before copper coins are put under concaves for their anti-fungal properties, with a handful of fine wood chippings added.

Stock

Emerald Budgerigars line breed and keep all the mainstream colours, specialising in Lutinos and Albinos.

Fine examples can be found in all colours.

The stud’s original mainstream colour stock came from Eric Lane and Ormerod & Sadler bloodlines.

The “ino” original stock came from Margery Kirkby Mason, Reg Watts and Rick Watts …. that was about 40 years ago!

In more recent years, very strong blood lines have been built, based on Daniel Lütolf, Reinhard Molkentin, Jo Mannes, Huxley & Marchant and Willi Dokter.

Eileen and John’s birds are well known for their overall quality and especially for their strength in width of head, length of feather and directional feather, which they have also managed to put into their “ino’s”.

Management

Daily management for Eileen and John includes changing the birds’ water and cleaning the utensils. Bottled water is used – not tap water – due to the chlorine content.

Another daily job is to make and provide every bird with fresh soft-food. This is made from boiled eggs, soaked oats, Orlux moist eggfood, vegetables, honey, garlic oil, ‘Panta-20′ (supplement), a small amount of salt, cod liver oil, wheat germ oil, ‘Frucht-mash’ (supplement), calcium / D3 powder, love bird seed mixture, and the most important ingredient ….. “EB.1 complete” – a magical mix that is used by many of Europe’s top breeders.

Eileen and John will provide more details and quantity information to any breeder requiring the same (see website link at the end of this article).

All birds, at all times, have access to 4 different seed mixtures:

  • An “A.1.E.” mixture that contains 60% canary and 40% mixed millets
  • An “E.B.” feather growth promoting seed mixture
  • An “E.B.” conditioning and herb seed mixture
  • An “E.B.” Japanese millet and fruit pellet mixture

Again, Eileen and John will provide more detail to any breeder requiring the same (see website link at the end of this article).

Grit and mineral utensils are changed weekly and all flights and cages are cleaned and disinfected weekly.

Cuttlefish and iodine blocks are provided to all birds and the bird room is cleaned with a vacuum cleaner twice per day.

Once a year, all birds in the Emerald Budgerigars birdroom are treated with “Tricho Plus” as a preventative against Trichomonas.

Also once a year, all birds are treated with “Doxycycline”, before pairing-up, to ensure the birds optimum performance.

Breeding

All birds are kept in the stock flights unless breeding.

Cocks and hens are kept together to encourage exercise and eucalyptus branches, ladders, tumblers, balls and various other play things are provided to stop the birds becoming bored and to encourage additional exercise.

Ring issue dates are ignored, as pairing commences every year in September. Eileen and John say that September is the best time to pair up exhibition budgerigars. If the birds are in condition, 50 pairs are put up in this month.

Both cocks and hens have their vents plucked and both birds are put into the breeding cage at the same time with the nest box already attached. Nest boxes are inspected daily, but only once.

When pairing birds, Eileen and John attach much importance to pedigree, and try to pair the best visual cocks to a lesser visual sister of their best hens, so long as the pair complement each other visually – i.e. if one of the pair lacks in a particular feature, the other in the pair must excel in this feature, and so on.

Showing

Eileen and John have won many “Best in Show” awards, “Major Specials” and “C.C.’s” at Championship, National and World Championship level.

However, in recent years, they much prefer breeding budgerigars than showing them and now, regrettably, show very little and do not show at all in Ireland.

However, they say that they will always support the B.S. World Championship Show whenever possible.

Tips for Beginners

Here are some of Eileen and John’s top tips for beginners:

  • Budgerigars do not always breed when paired up for the first time. Some birds can go 2 or 3 years before they breed for the first time, so it’s worth persevering with a quality bird.
  • Try to buy one outcross, or two, every year to add quality fresh blood and always buy the best that you can afford with the desired feature(s) that your own birds require for improvement. Do NOT be tempted to split the money you have available over say 3, 4 or 5 birds – spend all the money that you have available on just one or two birds and buy the best that you can obtain. Quality is more important than quantity.
  • Some budgerigar hens will not use a nest box if the entry hole is facing direct sunlight, as it will not be dark enough for her inside.
  • Every evening before the main lighting changes to night lighting, fine spray the bird room (NOT the birds), with an F.10, Virkon-S, or similar solution, to kill possible airborne germs.
  • When preparing your birds for a show, spread the de-spotting process over many days. Do NOT de-spot a bird completely in one attempt, as you run the risk of a good spot falling out later due to bruising around the area.
  • It is good practice to spray the inside of a nest box that has chicks, in the same way using an F.10 or Virkon-S solution. Simply cover the chicks with your hand when spraying to protect the chicks from the spray.
  • Have patience! If your birds are not performing as well as they could, seek assistance from an experienced breeder. If things are going wrong in your birdroom, it is probably not the fault of the birds, but your fault!

Further Information

For further details about the Emerald Budgerigar Stud, please visit Eileen and John’s website:

Photographs

All photographs below of Eileen & John’s birdroom and birds were taken and kindly supplied to us by Eillen & John Hall.

Click on any image to enlarge it.

 

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About the Author: Gerald Binks began breeding budgerigars when he was 12 years old and is now arguably the most knowledgeable budgerigar fancier in the world. He has bred his fair share of Best in Show birds, judged in no less than 20 countries, founded the World Budgerigar Association, and has published two of the three classic books on the hobby. His stud in the UK attracts fanciers from near and far and is always high on the list for those wishing to purchase BA23 quality budgerigars.

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