Ignore the Ring Issue Date if your Stud is Ready to Breed

It is apparent that many countries have varying Ring Issue dates depending broadly on their location in the Northern or Southern Hemispheres. Some are the result of sticking to the calendar year so the 1st of January is a fixture in most countries. Some European Societies have sensibly realised that our budgerigars, as a generalisation, are rising to their best condition for pairing in late October, so consequently have moved their Issue Date to the 1st November per annum. I am reminded that if you have carried out something for years in a certain way, but circumstances have changed, then you will always get the results that you have always had, unless you embrace change with sound reasons to do so.

masses of perching in inside flights to avoid stressSo, where your personal budgerigar stud is concerned, ask yourself, when your birds are getting to look really ready to start breeding, is the Ring Issue date more important than grabbing that moment to begin your personal season? Personally, I grab the moment these days and “get a round in” from perhaps a third of the stud and get results on the perch early with whatever rings I have to hand. I then have a cushion under me if the birds paired later, to meet the following years’ ring issue date, fail in breeding condition to meet such a specific date. Many breeders work to whatever the established issue date happens to be – often with poor results or worse. Breeding fitness first is vital!

As experienced breeders will know, our birds need first class daily attention and a feeding technique that supports high fertility and hatchability. However, a few added words of advice. Many breeders have large outside flights but small inside flights for roosting and feeding. Sometimes these inner flights are too small and the birds are cramped. As a result they become stressed, but we do not realise it. Birds need roosting space for each individual because otherwise the more robust birds pressurise those who are less aggressive and shy. Overnight can be especially stressful and dead birds can be found the following morning for no apparent reason.

In flights and stock cages, budgerigars need to chew. Fruit tree and Silver Birch branches are ideal and I know Eucalyptus branches are popular in warmer countries. Seeding grasses can be selected as well, but be careful that your local farmer has not sprayed his crops if you are choosing grasses close by. I have also found that if you visit an aquarium shop, you will find mis-shapen pieces of wood which have holes everywhere (for fish tanks) which last forever. A number of these piled high give added interest and if you scatter softfood throughout, as I do, they provide endless active searching through nooks and crannies. These all keep the stock very active and this is so important when we try to breed with these large heavily built hens that are so common these days, who otherwise just sit there all day.

To summarise. Keep your birds active. You are the provider and it is your job to see to it as part of your avian husbandry. The results may then pay off so that you can pair your birds at anytime of your choosing with finer results all 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. Jos Reynders says:

    I cannot agree more. Most birds are ready around October / November, if you start breeding then you might bridge the bad months (mid December to mid February) and get a reasonable amount of birds in those months. Starting in those bad months is asking for trouble.

    I personally have new rings from Holland on the first of October, but when birds are ready before I have no hessitation in using old rings, providing that you keep a good record of it yourself. Otherwise it may be a problem when you want to sell the bird to convince the potential buyer.

    I still cannot see the problem of issuing the rings sooner, the only thing that could stop it is being taken care of already – that is the date of the main show.

    Having less frustration in a breeding season would keep more fanciers in the hobby. Lets face it, the breeding is the best part of the hobby – seeing the first eggs and then seeing them transform into a beautifull looking bird, and, who knows, maybe the stormer that could win a show? But its also a time to cope with frustrations, as a lot of things can go wrong – especially when you are not there. The earlier ring issue date could take a bit away so why stop it?

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