South Hampshire -
Jim Lawrie, our
acting Chairman, opened the meeting and welcomed all there and our
guest Andy Thorpe, who was going to be asked questions on a
one-to-one by Jim Lawrie.
Apologies were read
out from Peter Merritt, John Burton, Bryon Shaw, Geoff Futcher,
Brian Bailey, Heidi Patient, Jane Cooper and John Mullen.
The main sub titles
tonight were: The Early Days, Management, Success with a Small Stud,
Showing and General Stuff / Meetings & How Has the Hobby Changed.
Q1. How and
when did you get interested in budgerigars?
A: I started in the
early sixties, when I was 11 years old, with a pair of Grey
Q2. What was
your first aviary set-up like?
A: It was a double
breeding cage with a nest box on side. I then got a second-hand 8’X
6’ shed with a small outside flight and I joined the local Gosport
Q3. Can you
remember your first major Out-Cross?
A: I bought from
various breeders around in the area, also Bob Steele.
Q4. Did you
ever come out of the hobby?
A: I came out in
1980 for 10years, whilst working in Jersey. There I saw Muir &
Crossman birds at the Jersey Open show and came back into the hobby
when I came back home in 1990.
What appealed to you about budgerigars?
A: I started with a
pair when I was 11 years old. I had seen various varieties of
birds, but budgies seemed to be what I liked in those days and,
later on, I was helped by various champion breeders from local
Q6. Who have
been your major influences?
A: Bill Heffer was
the main mentor.
Q7. What is
your current set-up like?
A: Better then the
first one! I now have a 20` long by 10`wide brick built aviary, with
double glazed windows, internal 4’X 8’ flights at each end and 16
breeding units (only use 12), complete with a worktop, which is very
Q8. What are
your views on outside flights?
A: They are not for
me, as they are a security risk as well as all the foreign bird
droppings etc,. I don’t think they are needed.
Q9. How many
birds and what varieties do you keep?
A: I keep several different
varieties, Blues & Greys but mainly normals and also spangles and DF
spangles - about 130 is my normal stock level (said to many) but
going up to after the breeding season.
your daily management routine?
A: In the morning I
feed general seed and soft food with Just Supplements carrot &
greens as well as Orlux egg food and fresh water (daily).
Q11. What do
you do differently during breeding, resting, showing?
A: I have the same
routine all year around.
diet, supplements, softfood etc. Do you ever try new products? How
influenced are you by what others are doing?
A: There are lots
of new and different products now on the market to use, but I don’t
change my system of feeding unless I have problems. I feed lots of
fruit and vegetables and millet sprays.
lighting times do you use? How do they vary throughout the year?
A: The lights come
on at 7am until 10pm, all year round, with a break at 12am – 1pm. I
also have a dimmer system to turn on the night lights and then turn
off the fluorescents.
special features do you look for in a budgie?
A: Deportment /
style a must, with a good back scull. I’m careful not to use very
buff untidy birds with short masks.
Q15. What is
your approach to pairing up, and how important is pedigree versus
visual, colours and varieties?
A: I need both
pedigree and visual when pairing up, making sure I am improving the
birds and not going backwards by creating feather problems or
dusters if they are in the back ground of my stock. I seem to be
line breeding now.
Q16. How long
will you leave a pair together before splitting them up?
A: 3 weeks at the
most. I have split them after a couple of hours if I’m not happy
with them or they don’t seem compatible with each other! Some birds
reject birds of a certain colour and won’t breed. When changing a
bird’s partner to a different colour they will mate and produce
Q17. With a
limited number of breeding cages how do you manage a clear first
A: I pair up in
November and will let them go again to see if I can catch them on
the correct cycle. I will also pair love couples I see in the
flight if they are compatible.
Q18. What are
the benefits of working with a small(ish) number of birds?
A: I find I have
enough stock / breeding pairs. If you remember, Jim Hutton used to
use only 12 breeding cages and many other breeders do the same and
do very well in numbers and quality.
Q19. How many
times do you show each year and how many birds do you show?
A: I only do about
2 shows a year now, although it used to be many more with lots of
travelling. I take 6 birds at a time to my kitchen to prepare them
with a wash with baby shampoo and I also trim them rather than pluck
them, which I find gets a better result.
I seem to be
judging a lot more now, but not as many as I used to.
Q20. How has
the hobby changed?
A: It has changed
in lots of ways, some for good and some for bad. With the judges
training course now it has produced some good judges for the hobby,
but others are still in the old days with regard to the modern
budgie. I believe judges that are judging specialist varieties and
don’t keep them should go around to different aviaries to see and
understand the variety content of the birds.
Q21. My time
as a BS Judge:
A: I thoroughly
enjoyed myself judging here and abroad: it is a real eye opener.
After the interview
there was lots of interaction between all the members whilst they
were having a cuppa. It was a great evening, with all the members
creating a friendly atmosphere and most people contributing in some
way. Some of the questions asked took up a lot of time, e.g.:
judge the variety that they keep? And many more!
We all (24) had a
lovely evening listening to Andy’s answers to our questions on
various subjects, and on breeding & problems and how to overcome
some of them in this great hobby of ours.
After the raffle
Jim Lawrie thanked everybody. He then closed the meeting and wished
everyone a safe journey home. Our thanks to Andy for not taking any