The Way Forward


Brian Sweeting

24th April 2001

Dream Start:

I guess I was one of the lucky ones who fell upon a good and genuine fancier who sold me my original stock. The birds I purchased were mostly older birds that he had finished with. I thought that if they were good enough for a very highly ranked Champion breeder they would be good enough for me. All I needed to do was to get them to breed again. I managed to do this, which gave me a dream start to the exhibition side of the hobby. From that point all I had to do was make the improvements required to take that family forward, from being very good beginner birds to birds capable of winning major awards. I think taking a chance like this, provided that the birds are reasonably priced, will provide an excellent start to breeding a line of exhibition birds.

The Way Forward:

When I was a first year novice a very well known Champion breeder approached me for outcrosses. I told him I was very flattered to be asked but I felt that, as the birds he would like to purchase would obviously be my very best, and as they were not for sale, he would be wasting his time. He politely told me that he bought bricks, not houses, and was sure I could supply him with birds that could help him based on the type of bird he had observed in my show team. From that time forward I have followed that philosophy once I have appraised my stock during and after every breeding season, looking at what steps I need to take to progress in the hobby.

The building bricks needed to make a good show bird include: style and deportment, feather quality, width of head and face, depth of mask, width of shoulder, spot size and shape, length of body, variety markings and colour. These are not necessarily in the order of priority but are the main ingredients essential in a winning show bird that is approaching the ‘Budgerigar Society Ideal’. It is necessary to have all these attributes in a stud before successful line breeding can be fully realised. If of any of these qualities is missing they should be sought in future outcrosses, which takes me back to that well known breeder’s point of view.

Each year I list four or five of the most essential characteristics which I feel my stud needs to make progress. My objectives may also include numbers to be paired, varieties to breed, the date when the breeding season should start as well as eliminating flecking and feather problems. In fact the list can include any aspect of the hobby I feel strongly about. I think it would be stupid and unrealistic to try to influence too many different aspects in one breeding season. I find it is vitally important to write my objectives down as a reminder of ‘the way forward’. This is just one small measure to help me keep my eye on the ball. I am a very competitive person and take everything that I undertake seriously.

2001 Objectives:

The objectives I chose for the 2001 breeding season are as follows:

1 Style and deportment: I feel my birds would do better if they stood at the correct angle.

2 Body length: I lost size in some of my stock through working on the width over the last two years.

3 Breed 250: this I feel will give me plenty of choice for future improvements.

4 Increase numbers of Redeyes: having taken early retirement and built a second shed I have the time and space.

Top tips: Here are a few tips which have helped me over the years, all quoted to me by top breeders:

  • Put all your young birds in the flights and forget them until June.
  • If you like them in the nest box you’ll like them when they grow up.
  • Never never sell your best birds!!!