Neil Murray – A Breeder With The Right “Eye”

Neil Murray“Who is Neil Murray?” you may ask. Neil Murray lives in Stockport, England and his stud was formed when he started as a boy. This was followed later, when Neil bought a stud that had the right backgrounds, containing not only Mannes and Pilkington blood, but also with the correct building appearance blocks upon which to set down a solid foundation.

You can have the right blood, but it may still be totally inadequate for the correct features! The two have to be present – not just one.

Since that time, Neil has branched out by buying from Florian Böck in Germany, Daniel Lütolf in Switzerland and at home in the UK from Frank McGovern.

Neil was born in 1967, is married and has two young daughters. He is in the electrical contracting business so he has no time to show, but does attend the BS Show at Doncaster each year. His mentor is Bernard Kellett – no finer tutor exists, especially when it comes to information on directional feathering.

In this article the birds need no explanation – the quality is there for anyone with an eye for detail.

Neil’s early problems were lack of shoulder power and inadequate spots and it was Frank McGovern’s birds that sorted out those two problems. In 2006, he bought birds from Florian Bock and, following further visits to Germany to see Florian, he was introduced to Fritz Buttner, from whom Neil purchased birds which were great for outcrossing but objectively with what Neil calls the older “English” style. In 2009 birds from Alan Marchant and his partner Chris Huxley, were added to the existing lines with great benefit.

Today, Neil breeds some 180-200 birds each year, but very sensibly starts breeding in mid-October at the latest when there are still good natural hours of light available to overcome the difficult problem of “getting the breeding team going”.

Whatever rings are on the birds matters little to him – “Just get birds on the perch early and the rest will follow easily”.

An interesting, but unproven, change by Neil, is the installation of the ultra violet lighting normally used over reptile aquaria. He now has superb fertility amounting to an average (across the stud) of 8 fertile eggs per nest. That includes the fact that the ultra violet lights are at the top of the aviary which is correct for those birds within a metre, but he finds that the bottom rows, some two metres away, are just as fertile. 24 cages in all are installed in his aviary.

His next stage in the development is to not buy in outcrosses for at least another 12 months but to work with what he has at the moment.

Here is a breeder with “The Eye” for what is needed to progress. It will be very interesting to watch the progress of Neil Murray in the coming years.

Here are a small selection of Neil’s birds.


Filed Under: Profiles



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. Hello,

    No doubt Neil is progressing very well and especially as he has excellent enhanced directional feathering in his birds.

    Keep it up Neil.

    Javed Khaanzada
    Vice President.
    Budgerigar Society of Pakistan

  2. Peter Finn says:

    Hi Neil,

    I really like the style of bird that you are working with.

    My name is Peter, I live reasonably near (Todmorden – between Halifax and Burnley), and wondered whether you may have any stock for sale.

    I do not exhibit, mainly due to not driving, but also because I am far more interested in the breeding and genetics aspect of the hobby.

    I have been involved in breeding and exhibiting animals since I was a child, and have had some success in the past, with persian cats and a rare variety of guinea-pig. Due to damaging my back (occupational hazard of a nursing career, I am afraid), I had to find a hobby that was easier for my back, and this led to the budgies.

    I have a particular interest in the cresteds, and have managed to acquire some from Daniel Norman, although have not bred any yet.

    The main bloodline that I am working with, came from Andy Hind…basically Mannes bloodline, but I am in danger of getting too close genetically, and the features that I am missing (head-top predominantly) are strong in your birds.

    Carry on the good work, and if you may be able to help me out with some stock, please get in touch.

    Best Wishes,
    Peter Finn

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