Concentrate on Quality Initially – Not Colour

Let’s take you as an example. You are attracted to the idea of the hobby and you fit into one of these categories:

  • You are a young school person who has little money, but your parents are fully supportive in all that you do.
  • You are in full employment with a family, but need a sound hobby to relieve the pressures of the workplace – something different in fact.
  • You are in full employment, but can see that retirement approaches or redundancy might loom at any stage.
  • You have just retired and want a hobby that both you and your partner could enjoy together.

What is the first stage?

Firstly, the advice so that you do not waste hard earned money from whatever source.

Visit aviaries owned by experienced fanciersThis is to not do anything in the way of erecting a birdroom or buying budgerigars in the first year – you have much to learn and you learn from two sound, must have, up-to-date books and you have a lot of visits to make to aviaries owned by very well experienced fanciers.

This website advertises many breeders and the links, appropriate to your country, will open such doors to gain massive quantities of ideas and designs for your aviary that suit the birds first and then you – in that order!

The essential books are published on this website.

Stage #2

In most countries, but not all, there are National Societies – plus what are termed State or Area Societies and then the Local Societies near to you.

Your contacts with other breeders will have opened such doors. My advice is that you join the National Society immediately.

In addition to paper magazines that are supplied as part of your annual subscription, it is through these major societies that you get your budgerigar rings – which are called closed rings. These have your personal code number inscribed on each ring for the rest of the time you are in the hobby.

Stage #3

You are now a member!

Bird magazinesIn addition to the books mentioned, you may find there is a National Mixed Variety Publication – contact your paper shop as they will have details. A few mixed variety magazines are superb covering Budgerigars, Parrots, Foreign Finches and Canaries.

One such is the Australian publication “Australian Birdkeeper Magazine”. High quality, beautiful photography and whichever variety is your preference, there is something to learn within the pages on the other species.

As you gain experience, ask questions all the time. Many beginners feel they are being silly at a meeting of their chosen club, asking basic questions. Do not hold back – nobody minds especially any lecturers who feed off such questions and thrive on them.

Also never put anybody, who you might think is a top champion, on a pedestal. We are all in the same hobby, all involved and our doors are open to beginners and champions at all times. Just call up out of courtesy and make a time to visit and above all – enjoy the experience.

Stage #4

By the end of your first apprentice year, you will be bursting to erect an aviary and get going – but the wait will have been worth it, believe me.

Remember, it is no use spending on basic sheds unless you anticipate you will have to move home at some stage. Even then it is better to make a sectional birdroom that can be moved. Next, remember, however big you decide you will have your aviary, eventually you will want a bigger one. So allow for expansion.

We now come to Local Authority permission to build! However, before you do that, I strongly advise you to approach all your neighbours that border your property and ask their permission, or their approval, to erect your aviary. Ninety nine percent will give that if you explain clearly what the design is and that you are not putting up a chicken run affair. Once they have been approached and know what you are doing and have said “Go ahead”, they are then happy and thereafter will have great difficulty if they have a complaint. Noise can be controlled by a design that does not necessitate outside flights, but in hot countries this may be desirable.

You now approach the “Local Authority”. Be aware that staff in such organisations are not always sure of their own rules and will insist that you have to have Planning Permission and conform to Building Regulations. This author found out the hard way on one occasion.

What you need to realise is that if your aviary is not attached to your property you (probably) do not need Planning Permission, as it is “external to the uses of the dwelling house on freehold property”. Local Authority property is another matter.

You do however have to conform to the Building Regulations which are an easy matter to deal with. At your Local Authority Offices ask for sight of the document applicable to a structure for a hobby (in the UK it is called “The Town and Country Planning Act”). They will oblige with copies of that information for you to study and give you forms to complete. If you have a problem, go to another Local Authority and ask them for help – on the understanding that you are moving into the area they are responsible for. Then armed, go back to your Local Authority and submit what you now know beyond doubt. Obviously such rules will vary from country to country – but the basic principles apply.

Stage #5

With full approval and design decided, you can start building.

There are basic pitfalls – such as having too much light with oversize windows, so that in hot weather the birds suffer and do not breed well.

Aviaries should be about ten feet / three metres wide, minimum, all through. This allows for external nest boxes and seed store benches and yet allows space for you and visitors to be comfortable.

Make sure your aviary is on a very sound concrete base with a solid foundation underneath. Are you having water laid on as well as electricity? It is cheaper in the long run to do this at the start.

Consider skylights above the internal flight areas, but not in the breeding area as other indigenous birds can cause disturbance at the wrong times, plus budgerigars like to breed in shade.

If you can afford it, double glazing is also greatly beneficial and avoids the dreaded painting and rot replacement as with wooden frames. You might trace some second hand double glazing to save money. It is certianly worth the effort.

Stage #6

Fitting out is a pleasure. Keep your eyes open for anybody stopping their hobby, if money is tight. Their cages may suit you and you can get them at a low price. If cost is not a problem, this website has a list of reliable suppliers and these should be approached first.

Your initial early visits to aviaries will have told you what you require. Once complete and you have obtained all the seed and foodstuffs that you require, not forgetting a heated platform and antibiotics for the odd sick bird – you are ready to start buying your birds.

Just one last word. When buying what will be your Foundation Group to build your stud, use your eye for quality to the full that you have learned along the way. There are all sorts of great people in the hobby who treat you fairly but there are a few “rogues” (as there are in all walks of life) who will sell you poor or problem birds that have little or no use.

The test for any fancier is to travel, say, 250 miles or more and have the courage to walk away and go back home if they have any doubts at all. Then you are a true fancier. Treat everyone, in time, who comes to you when you are a champion, totally fairly and then you will have great credibility and respect from everyone.

Enjoy your new found hobby and remember your friends are more important than the birds – not the other way round!

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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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  1. Habib-Ur-Rehman Sherani says:

    Dear Gerald

    Thanks a lot for for budgerigar banking and yes ‘bloodline’ worth instead of searching colours as a FIRST STEP!

    I personally observed that you have to TRUST because it’s the KEY to the next footstep.

    Warm Regards,

    Habib Ur Rehman Sherani
    Karachi
    Pakistan

  2. Bader Nouman says:

    Thanks Mr Binks.

    I am a novice and this was my first breeding year with no bloodline.

    I breed a different color – but, in the end, I am not quite satisfied with the quality.

    Now I realize the worth of good bloodline.

    Warm Regards
    Bader Nouman, Rawalpindi, Pakistan

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