My view on breeding budgerigars

By Mike Chase

Hello – Some of you will know me and others are saying … who the hell is this bloke?

Well, I’m Mike Chase, sometimes known as “Chasey” ….. and I can hear some groans already!

I breed Exhibition type budgerigars and have been doing so since I was in my early years as a junior, and after all these years – I have just turned 70 years old – according to the Budgerigar Society, I am classed as a Novice because I haven’t consistently shown my birds throughout all that time growing through the showing/exhibition ranks. I have found that the attitude by “Champion breeders” towards someone like me are almost all the same …… I’m a novice, therefore I don’t know anything, and that’s a tough thing to get over for someone like me who likes to have a say in things and I love to see progress within the hobby ….. which I believe is sadly lacking in this country incidentally.

Not a lover of the modern exhibition budgerigar

That said I am not a lover of the modern exhibition budgerigar either, I like to see the shape and personality of the bird and not a lump of flecked feather sitting on a perch wondering what to do next because their sight is hindered by feathers over the eyes and if they did open their wings would they take off rather than a thump on the floor and spend its life as a ground feeder.

Yeah, I know, it’s a harsh analysis, but for those who are upset already and have decided not to read on, are missing out on my view in a more rational and constructive way.

I’m going to try and be concise in this piece but I will no doubt go off on tangents and it would end up as a book ….. in fact I have written a book of my life up until the stage in my life when me and my wife got completely fed-up with life in the UK, retired and moved lock-stock and barrel to Spain, like so many others during the early 2000’s.

We came back to the UK in 2012

We came back to the UK in 2012 having got rid of the negative views and eventually settled down to a quite life in Nottinghamshire. I decided to take up this wonderful hobby again, but bloody hell what a difference in the budgerigar. I had to rethink my old fashioned eye and get used to these enormous birds that bore very little resemblance to the exhibition budgies that I had left behind in 2003, and I still can’t accept them. Every livestock hobby has variations in its stock, but the problem I’ve found in the budgerigar fraternity is that if you have not got that view that the only type of budgerigar you should be talking about and breeding, is the one that will win on the show bench.

Utter crap.

I am sometimes a little outspoken

Oh, I forgot to say that I am sometimes a little outspoken as well, but I write with a smile on my face – not a pretty sight – with a quirky sense of humour which belies my age I am told.

I have my own website and YouTube channel, but I’m afraid to say that neither of these are kept completely up to date. Why ?

Because I find that I get very easily distracted by my grandkids, anything that might take my interest, Tottenham Hotspur FC and writing this sort of rubbish.

Budgerigars are definitely not my life – I think that has become obvious, however, I do love these birds and will continue to breed them in the style I like to see them and not the type that will win on the show bench.

I have set myself a project

I have a set myself a project of trying to clean up the Opalines in my Shed. Up to now it has fallen on stony ground because of various reasons but I would still love to pursue the project, but with the Opaline variety comes the dreaded flecking, or fekin fluckin, as I like to refer to it.

Here’s my boring take on this scourge within our lovely hobby.

For me this major fault is a definite NO, NO.

Regardless of the quality of the bird in question, whether a cock or hen, I will not have it in my Shed, especially will NOT breed with it. It is true however that I have a few lightly ticked birds and some horrid flecked, but I will remove them ASAP.

A major fault is exactly what it is and there is no getting round it or trying to justify it, back in the day it was all down to breeders purposely using them for their own means, and even now, it still goes on today in 2020.

Whichever way you want to cook it up, you, the breeder, is locking-in even further, this unacceptable major fault every time you use a flecked bird in the breeding cage. I don’t understand why you would want to do it if for nothing but self gratification, and bollocks to the future of the perfectly marked budgerigar – especially the Opaline variety …. I will come onto that a little later which is another subject, although linked, altogether.

Let me just say that I don’t have a Shed full of perfect or top class specimens, and I never will either, my shallow pockets since retirement and other reasons, don’t allow me to splash out on a hobby now . So allow me to explain my way of logical thinking on the subject.

In the beginning …….. to coin a phrase !!

I’ll rephrase.

Many years back, probably early 1960’s

Many years back, probably early 1960’s the Opaline was becoming established as a variety in the UK and was quickly cross-bred with Normals because the Opaline tended to be a larger type of bird with larger spots etc etc ….. I’m not qualified enough to go into genetics, melamine and stuff, so you won’t get me waffling about things that I have little grasp of. I would imagine that a small amount of flecking was always there in the background, I don’t really know, but not in a big way as it is now.

So what has changed?