Flecking in Chicks – Ionisers – White Ceres – Cod Liver Oil

When pairing my birds, what is the best way to reduce flecking in the chicks?

GSB: Firstly, it is vital that you keep an accurate record of any bird that is paired that possesses flecking of any density whatsoever. Grade it as a percentage of density, in your opinion. In this way you will create details of any flecking present in the pedigree of each bird for future reference.

So, you have a flecked quality cock that obviously you want to pair to a visually clean headed hen – otherwise the problem will be deepened. You now refer to the background of the hen. Has she any flecking hidden there in her history?

No – then pair her to the flecked cock.

Yes – then find another partner.

The results will be say in a nest of five chicks, one clean headed bird ,one or more slightly flecked and perhaps one dense in flecking. Discard what is not usable and note all details on your records.

Would you recommend installing an ioniser in the aviary?

GSB: Frankly no. Its purpose is to make dust particles coagulate so they drop to the floor quickly and keep the air cleaner.

With aviaries, the problem is that our birds are kept behind wire cage fronts or flights with retaining wires, or mesh. This fact prohibits the action of your ioniser taking effect, as the wires act as an impenetrable field.

The result is that the birds’ air cannot be cleaned, and putting an ioniser in, say, the flights, could be a serious hazard to the birds should they chew the device.

What should I do if I have some hens with white ceres which never change to brown?

GSB: If the hens are feather fit and active, pair them up.

The problem is connected to an imbalance in the endocrine system with the ductless glands. These include the thyroid, the pituitary, the gonads and the adrenals among others.

The same cause can result in a cock bird with a perfectly blue cere that turns dark brown – an imbalance of the ductless glands of which the pituitary is “the conductor of the endocrine orchestra”.

Pairing may stimulate this system and good results can be obtained in many cases.

Why is cod liver oil often recommended, as the birds do not ingest the husks?

GSB: Cod liver oil has three main constituents – vitamins A & D plus iodine.

Cod liver oilTests were done many years ago on seeds coated with relatively small amounts of cod liver oil and it was proven that in allowing the seed to absorb the oil for 12-24 hours, the kernels had absorbed the oil through the husks.

Also oil is swallowed as the husk is sucked by the birds.

Cod liver oil is seriously valuable for its vitamin contents as these give health and great energy to the stock, as well as the iodine content for the thyroid – without which budgerigars do not reproduce easily.


Filed Under: Breeding



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. Eric W Lawrence says:

    I am using Scott’s Emulsion instead of plain cod liver oil because of the problem of the cod liver oil going rancid quickly in our warm climate.

    Any coments would be appreciated.


    Eric Lawrence
    Ref L11 Tyberberg Budgerigar Club.
    South Africa

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