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On The Up


kevin bore

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It had to happen i felt compelled by one man and his blog to start my own so here goes.

 

Firstly you may expect me to thank some people but having come from a thankless job i make sure that i say thank you often and regularly to the people whom have helped me, this has ranged from a panic call with great advise, reasurrance that im not doing things wrong, free birds or access to good genes and to some sounding boards and to building great relationships for the future-

 

However a BIG thank you very publicly has to go to my Mentor whom without sage like wisdom, the ability to keep me on the straight and narrow and not make an arse of myself at times, has to be given so step forward Ian Fordham and take a bow please and a big thank you Sir.

 

so my journey to my first pinkies in 25yrs!- yep that's right i have 3 chicks under 3 days old :-)

 

 

I have a modest shed- in fact i have a big shed i've had to cut in half as i cant afford the stock to fill a big shed and have to breed my own but it didnt all go to plan and if it wasnt for the generous nature of Alan Marchant (who gave me more free birds to get me started than i bought!) i'd be in a canoe deep in the brown stuff with a stick and not a paddle. It seemed that every time i took a step forward i took two backwards and i had some key losses very early, this then followed on with a light molt, a heavy molt and a run of bad luck and then some bad luck and an unpleasent surprise- but there is some good news so ill run through briefly where I am.

 

pair 1: the cock bird dies a week before the hen lays the first egg- fingers crossed but all 4 are clear, ill repair her when one of the clear pairs starts to kick out the eggs for cover

 

Pair 2: after 6 weeks nothing, change the hen. After another 4 weeks nothing so ive split up the pair and put them in the flight to have a molt and will look again at the cockbird in sept.

 

Pair 3: after 6 weeks again nothing from the hen so i replaced her. The cock was a little beneth the hen so given that every pair i had did nothing for 6 weeks i put what was the worst Lt Grn hen in with him and within 2 days she was in the box and 2 weeks on eggs. They have hatched 3 so far and as they aren't lookers i hope they are well bred and hens!- buy hey a HUGE step forwards and the first chicks for 25yrs

 

Pair 4: A pair of gryGrns- a Cin hen with great backskull and blow and a taller broader cock- 4 weeks and nothing! so ive repaired to a gry hen- i've high hopes for these two and they have laid two eggs to date so fingers crossed- mum is known to be a problem hen so ill have to take her away at three weeks or foster the chicks out- except my fosters are out of sync now!!!

 

Pair 5: The foster Pair are in sync with pairs 3 and 6 and have just hatched their own chick- if not needed at least its a feeder for the summer next year...

 

Pair 6: a YFGry cock and a GryGrn Hen: Seven beautiful perfect clear eggs- they are the only original pair i have and laid after......yep 6 weeks!

 

Pair 7: a pair of grey's- again high hopes. She laid 3 eggs and then a double yoker- missed two days and then 3 more, typically they look clear but time will tell but she went down after a week and laid within two!- i paired these two myself so lets see how my eye is after all this time

 

so there we have it i have two pairs from 7 (Excluding repairs) with chicks which whilst sounding bad (to be honest the oparents arent lookers) is a big step forward after what has been a really painful start. I lost some very major birds after a 5 hr drive then turned into the coldest two days since god was a boy and it was just too much for them, but ive picked myself up, dusted myself down, kicked the can around and with luck were on the up.

 

OK so ive got about 20 birds which isnt enough for a 12 x 12 environment and 12 breeding cages and if a couple of birds let you down it is a major set back- in fact if it could go wrong it has-twice) but ive had some very kind offers of help from some very nice people and when the hens stop this latest molt ive a couple of ideas with the birds i have to hand- i wont embarress people on here but i will shake them by the hand and look them in the eyes and give the biggest heart felt thank you i can when i see them and a very public thank you when in a couple of years time i venture onto the show bench.

 

SO, ive hated trying to start the blog and ive written it three times (all without spellcheck) i havent thanked enough people sufficiently for the assistance ive received but thanks must also go to encouragement/tollerence/wisdom/general kindness to Gary Shep,Nick Allwood,Mike Ball outside of the help from Alan and Ian oh and to my better half Charlotte who for a non bird person has the greatest tollerence of all.

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kevin bore

Posted

Well its been a quiet morning down the manshed, I've had a look at the youngest of the chicks weaned yesterday and a couple were a little thin and empty cropped so I popped one grey green in last night with the cock who was fed well and thought I'd do the same with two more how morning- result the cock tried to mate aggressively with the young hen and she had to put back in the weaning cage after a top up and the other two chicks were fed fine- funny old hint this budgie lark but at least I know he is fertile and keen!

 

The single chick with the opaline grey hen is still alive so ill keep and eye on that but I fear its in the lap of the gods as I've nowhere to transfer it should the worst happen. Other than that I don't expect any changes until the new pairs lay, the old pairs hatch or cage four weans, and that's a champagne moment! It also means I'm due nature taking me down a peg or two so I be all the hens drop off the perches now! But at 10am its 22degrees!

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kevin bore

Posted

Yesterday and to a certain degree this morning was one of those days where Ms B needed a little time spending on her, knowing I've one or two budgie trips this month I was only too please to spoil her a little and so we popped down to deal for a glass of fizz and some chips overlooking the beach. Not the cheapest chips in the universe but in terms of brownie points they were priceless!

 

It was 28 in the manshed at 10am today so the fan went on and when I popped in later for a looksie I was concerned at the smell of burning! Only to trace it down to the felt on the roof getting rather hot!

 

Mind you the powers that be, you know who I mean by that, has decided that the manshed needs to be moved next year to make the lawn bigger! so the current plan will be to convince her that if I made it just one fence panel wider I will be a better fit- work ongoing as she has got wise to that one!

 

The birds were all very hot this afternoon so I've not been bothering them out of nest boxes and so I can't really update that much- however, the long awaiting of something to happen in eleven may be over as they were seen mating today so perhaps a couple of days more and she will lay with luck. The new cock in eight is getting a little more interested in the hen as she appears to be chasing him rather than the other way around! And the chicks in four are out again and will be popped back into the box overnight as one still has down on it but I am impressed at the weight and the feather type of the chicks so in a couple of weeks when they wean ill make a proper assessment.

 

Other than that I'm enjoying the sun, looking at the chicks and the adults in the flight and thinking do I break pairs up after the second round (assuming they have two rounds of chicks) or just swop cocks for the third and have some half brothers/sisters in the pipeline now I know what is coming out in terms of quality and colour..... Again watch this space and no doubt ill write it a dozen impatient times before I actually do the do!

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kevin bore

Posted

Well its back to normal, the pair in cage nine have laid two eggs and then stopped, if you recall she did this in the first round and then laid four more- but I must confess the eggs are the size of a budgie false egg! I guess as long as they are full who cares?

 

A first.....

 

I've often candled the eggs, ian gave me a laser torch when I started and its been very reliable and today was the first time Ive actually seen the heart beating. I've seen the spiders Webb of a developing chick but the heart beat- now in my book that's something special, although only a pied its still good news.

 

In terms of more good news the eggs in three seem to be full again, they hatched 7/7 last time so ill let them do the business unless I'm over run with bad news later.

 

The chicks in one are still alive so ill leave her to it as there is nothing I can do, she looks to be caked so I guess you can't beat enthusiasm for feeding!

 

The cock in four is feeding the chicks well and with luck they will wean in two weeks and given his work ethic and parenting skills I should get him to more hens!

 

Other than that I'm hatching more plans and theories than an election rerun ! I've got a couple of H&M hens coming into condition in the flight, some out of condition and to be honest a really wild card at some stage and I've got some younger birds coming through- so I fear September will be about keeping he families together and the blurring the edges and see how they mix later down the line.

 

Excited as ever but this weekend coming is going to be very very hot indeed!

 

Best get those safari air filters sorted and fitted soon.....

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kevin bore

Posted

Isn't technology wonderful, there I was chatting to Nic Allwood about a couple of my chicks and how the manshed is laid out when it occurred to me I might as well show him and We turned on the FaceTime video call on the phone and after a while we were video streaming across the country- I really do feel that in the future outcrosses will be bought this way.

 

I also had a result in that "she who must be feared" had a day out with some work first aid training so I did what every man faced with such an opportunity would do..... All the drinkers through the dishwasher!

 

But other than that I have a new pinkie in one- that makes three and she lost one so its 4/5 laid and ill take that any day of the week, I also have an egg in pair eleven after five weeks- she is a well built H&M sky blue hen with good feather length and he his a cinnamon grey cock that is from a spruce line- in fact its the same throw caution to the wind pairing as in one so who knows what and how that works out but she is a '10 hen so now she is started I may just have to keep her going!

 

Other than that the weaned chicks are starting to put on some weight which is good and the cock in four is still feeding the chicks who are looking better every day- the nest in three has six full eggs and the hen in nine has laid her third egg again four days after the last one-

 

So things are getting interesting!

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And Mother Nature takes a long long run up before giving your plums a lift and separate with a johny wilkinson special!

 

Where to start?

 

Well if you recall the dilute hen lost her cockbird four days before she laid- well she got bored sitting and smashed up the eggs to find the fifth was fertile (I had assumed it was addled) and two days from hatching! They were a great pairing and I'm a little down in the mouth over it but in reality it could be worse....

 

Could, ok its worse......

 

The spangle cock's hen ( who'd laid two clear rounds before I swopped out the cock and was in excellent condition) is now fully egg bound with a difference. I've tried calcivet this morning and nothing and tonight I've tried relaxing her muscles with warm water and massaging a little oil into the vent but nothing, I can't even feel a solid egg but if it were it would be the size of a golf ball- so expect one less by the morning or a golf ball on the cage floor but as always where you have livestock.......

 

 

So there must be some good news while I'm limping around feeling sorry for myself...

 

The chicks in one are still alive, the eggs in three are fertile, the hen in nine is laying again, the hen in eleven is doing ok with her eggs and ta da the pair in twelve have laid, which is the aunt an her nephew...

 

So with one hand you get and with the other you take away but who knows what tomorrow brings but one things for sure I'd prefer good news!

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Its been one of those days today- the hen in question hasn't made any progress but at the same time she hasn't slid down the slope any further but I don't think its far away but a valuable lesson or two over the past 48hrs in terms of risk management! single fertile eggs need to be moved ASAP !

 

Ok so lets have a round up on what's happening in the manshed.

 

Cage one have the three chicks and fingers crossed they make it to ringing in the next few days.

 

cage two has the dilute hen in and I popped a grey green cock in for twenty mins tonight to see how they got on- the hen adopted the position and he ran around being all macho so I've popped him back with his chicks (he's the cock from cage four) and I've opened the nestbox and ill pop him in while I'm doing the morning chores.

 

Cage three has four fertile eggs so fingers crossed

 

Cage four has the grey green cock weaning three chicks and with luck they will be on the perch by the end of the week, two out of three are shucking seed but at the moment they aren't perching and the baby cage has a few dominant characters in it at the moment so they will need to be a little further on.

 

Cage five and six are made into one cage for the chicks

 

Cage seven has the foster pair in and they have four fertile eggs

 

Cage eight has the spangle cock and the unwell hen

 

Cage nine has a pair of greys in who have laid their second round which look at this stage to be infertile which will be a blow! But I thought that before and found she was a late sitter!

 

Cage ten is empty

 

Cage eleven has a pair that are starting to lay- she laid one egg two days ago and I'm waiting for the second so fingers crossed

 

Cage twelve has another pair of greys and she has laid one egg so far- I wonder if its fertile if it will be a grey green from the previous cock (in cage four) or a grey from the new one?

 

And that's it at the moment- I'm hoping for some good news next week when ill candle more of the eggs and see how to replace the unwell hen with one from the flight!

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Its been one of those days again! In the manshed early and I tried the cock bird in with the dilute while I did some chores, they seem keen so ill just pop him in every time I go in the manshed and see what happens until the chicks wean.

 

Lets start with the good news!

 

The pair in twelve have laid a second egg and I rang the eldest chick in one with number 19! Which means I dropped quite a few as I only have 12 show chicks and 4 feeder chicks.

 

Other than that I'm still waiting for egg number two from cage eleven and she looks ready but as an older hen you never know how it ends up.

 

Now for the bad news

 

Although she was In Good spirits the hen in eight just didn't make it and I put the cock back in the flight (where he re-paired himself with and old flame within five mins) while I then cleaned and bleached the cage, the spare cage, the Inside flight and anything else I could work some frustration out on!

 

So I have a dilemma and ill hens the ear of my mentor on this and accept PM's

 

I've a couple of hens in the flight that are due to be used, do I remove the cock from nine if the eggs are clear rather than risk the hen as I could reuse her later on around November? Do I use the available known fertile cocks on the hens and let the hens bring up the chicks if they are fertile or given the barmy heat are we playing with fire and the summer means more problems ( I accept that a hen starting her third round could have been a problem at any stage) shall I limit the pairs to two rounds and then swop cocks around for a cheeky third or rest the hens I have until November and use the spake ones now?

 

I'm sure my guru will have a view as at the moment Its keeping me awake at night!

 

on the upside I've now got two clean empty breeding cages and as soon as the chicks wean its three! I just need to remember to put pairs down at the same time for the cover!

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Its been one of those days today where I popped in around six to the birdroom and then I had to go and pick up my daughters. So, I managed to have a look at the hen in eleven and with a bit of a prod she emptied her bowels and that was my start to the day! I put her back fearing the worse and I have the cock in four another hour with his new hen and I had to go out until six this afternoon and yes I forgot the fan and to open the windows!

 

Upon my return from a balmy 28 at tonbridge wells it was nice to see the temperature drop here on the coast to 20 and the birdroom was quite cool! naturally I opened the windows, put on the fan, swopped the cock into the dilute for an hour and checked the boxes to find.....

 

Another egg in eleven- so I guess she didn't pass the second as its four Days since the last one and it is rather large! another egg in nine and yep they all look large and empty! And a chick in three which was a bonus as I'd forgotten about them with all the trauma! so I rang the next chick in cage one and had a look around the flight to see what's next.

 

So dispite panic calls and worrying things turned out ok in the end but an important lesson learned when it comes to resting, not resting or just understanding the cycles in hens and when you bring some in what's the appropriate resting period if your not sure!

 

so there we go- I've a couple of spare cages and one spare spangle h&m cock who's bouncing off the perches but I've potentially four hens for him, three H&M and a wilson hen- decisions decisions! - trouble is I'm not convinced he's a Jaffa and I need to save some hens for after the current ones are being rested! oh well unlike the titanic it may just be eldest first!

 

I'm starting to really like the three chicks in four so ill get my mentor round early next week to cast his eye over them- judging by the cocks reaction when he goes back in after being with the dilute it may just be one co I and two hens and that would be fantastic

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You know its been warm when you turn the on switch past 30 on the thermostat and the fans don't turn off!

 

well my mentor was badgered today over solution to egg bound hens and to be honest it seems we know how to deal with them but not prevent them so I wonder what other people do and think?

 

On the bird front the grey green cock from four spent most of the time with the dilute hen but I'm not convinced the chicks are self sufficient yet so he went back in at six thirty and the chicks looked very greatful but I feel its more a question of it being too hot and can't be bothered to eat!

 

other than that its good news for a change!

 

The pair in one still have three chicks of which two are rung, the hen in three has has hatched two chicks of which one I saved and has now been fed ok so fingers crossed I'm just waitin for the foster hen to hatch something out and over they go. the hen in nine has laid six eggs and at last one candles full- yee haa- so fingers crossed its not just the one as the four chicks from the first round are looking good. The hen in twelve has laid three (she only laid four last time) and is very light of hand so with luck just one more and that will be it and when they hat h I will foster to eleven as in eleven the hen passed the egg and is sitting ok but there is a way to go with that one but fingers crossed and.....

 

I've put a pair down and ill leave it a couple of weeks and see what happens- the cock is the '10 spangle and he needs to earn his keep or he'll be replacing Ms B's ostrich duster!

 

so, a hot day and walking on ice with the heat and I think it passed 35 in the shed today!

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Its so easy to forget where and what at times so I had to refer back to the blog to see when the chicks in four were first seen shucking seed an it was five days ago and as the cock felt a little light cropped the other day I've decided to put him full time with the dilute hen and I've also decided to move four feeder chicks to the main flight and put the three chicks from four into the baby cage- the reason behind this is that whilst they can shuck seed they are deciding not to and at some stage you have to put them in a different environment and watch them follow the herd- which I hope is towards the feeding pots and soaked millet !

 

Other than that the pair in three have three chicks to date and given the heat I bet its not a nice job sitting in the box, the chicks in one are all ring and about to start getting their pin feathers and down so fingers crossed for some cinnamon hens and some split opaline/cinnamon cocks that should help with feather development.

 

In terms of the eggs the great news- the hens in seven, nine, eleven and twelve all have eggs and its a waiting game although in the feeders I moved the clutch away from the nest box entrance and found a few buried in the wood chip so she now has nine! The hen in nine I'm leaving to it as she has a fertile egg and what looks like a regular clutch size of six so I'm hoping for three if I'm lucky to turn but least we know the cock is back on form and in twelve we have the troublesome hen with her nephew and I won't candle these until another week as she is a loins vocal nervous hen- oh and the pairing in eleven seem to be on a four day laying cycle and I'm hoping that all is well as I want to foster the chicks from twelve into the nest at a later stage.

 

Other than that Ms B is out on a family matter and I'm trying to get some pots and tubs through the dishwasher pronto.

 

Enjoy the heat its doing to be here for another month!

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I really must trim my nails and turn off the auto correct from the iPhone!

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Walking on Ice....

 

Sorry I've been away viewer but a home domestic needed some urgent attention and some flexing of the grey stuff between my ears- so fingers crossed it calms down as playing referee can be a little exhaustive and no-one ever thanks the ref!

 

So two days of tweeting and ill try and be salient which isn't my style but hey ho.

 

Cage one has the three chicks in it and the first looks like it will be a cinnamon grey which is my first cinnamon and so it should be a hen! I've bred some really useful hens this year to date so I'm really pleased at the moment as that was the prime objective and the rest is a bonus. It will be interesting to see if I get a cock out of the three as it would be split cinn/opaline and it would be interesting to see the effect on feather.

 

In cage two I have the yellow-grey dilute hen with the grey green cock that fathered the chicks in four- I'm trying for some longer hens to pair up to some well shouldered cocks next season to see i can make the power birds a little longer and a little more style- feather quality he is a long silky intermediate and she is a little courser but they are both fertile and its fingers crossed, he has been a day guest but he had a sleepover while I put the chicks into the warning cage- it didn't go well so be is back to feeding the chicks overnight while they develop- I've seen them shuck seed but they just don't eat enough to give me leave of mind and they are potentially the future of the stud.

 

I'm cage three I have four new pinkies so that's rather exciting, she is a yellow face lt green and he is a double factor grey- so i may swop him out if she is up for a third round with a single factor grey cock that I've got in cage nine. The opaline yf grey hen from the first round is looking good but I need it to be the majority rather than the minority and to get some half siblings for the cock would be good for next year.

 

The feeder pair in seven haven't hatched anything, she has pushed the eggs right under the enterance and I can't help feel its an inspection protest- good job it isn't a dirty protest! but I'm nervous about fostering is chicks just as soon as she hatches her own out and is doing well.

 

The new pair in eight have both broken out in quills but seem alert. And have started using the box so fingers crossed something happens with this cock- with several time wasting attempts and him becoming a widow mid wooing he's starting to make me look lucky, I just feel that when he finds his mojo he'll be unstoppable- but right now his mojo has left the building!

 

The two greys in nine who has three hens and a cock in the first round are due to hatch this week but it looks like its only the later eggs that are fertile- so I'm walking a line hoping she doesn't kick them out after getting bored, fingers crossed.

 

The hen in eleven has laid her third egg some five days apart! This has to be a record and again she looked a little egg bound- its a repeat pairing of cage one to see how a cross over concept works and if they are fertile it will be a year to see what is what but then again she is a '10 hen that was a gift so as long as she gives up one chick to replace herself its good news.

 

The pair in twelve are due on the 29th so its fingers crossed here that all is ok, that they are his chicks and that things go well, I haven't candled them but I may just after the weekend as by then she should be on egg five and that will give me a sneaky peak into the future and something to dream about!

 

So, my mentor came round yesterday to give me a weaning pep talk which is always appreciated and he has a way of letting you down gently rather than being blunt so when ian says "if she makes it.... She should be ok" I now know its one to look out for so fingers crossed he'a pointed me in a vigilant direction whilst allowing me to make my own mistakes- back to the ref comment about never being right or appreciated- I do appreciate the nudging along and prompting not to be complacent and what to keep an eye on.

 

On the plus side he did like some of the feather on the birds when we had a rummage through the chicks so that made my day and then as he pointed out- given the youngsters ready for september's breeding traunch I'm going to need a bigger shed come march and to cull a little along the way- food for thought and Ms B negeotiation.....

 

Other than that I'm at the interesting stage where I'm looking at older problem hens in the flight knowing I've fertile cocks in the breeding cage that have given me some good chicks and thinking to myself about producing half siblings for next season- makes me feel all grown up!

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Another balmy day in the sun and although most of it was running around outside of the home my thoughts were with a certain couple of chicks that I'm anxious to wean! So tonight when I got home around 7pm I was pleased that they were alert and nibbling seed rather than stuffing themselves full- so given they have tried it, weren't flagging or lethargic and that the dilute hen has laid an egg today I decided to give them another try and put the cock with the hen overnight- frustrating isn't it!

 

The hen with the spangle is using the box so fingers crossed she makes an old man happy soon- and I don't mean me!

 

Note to self I must order some seed and easybreeder over the weekend !

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Quite a busy weekend so far as I write this blog around twelve on Sunday. I'm sorry to say I had an expensive weekend and as always the ebf gets interesting when I'm away from it!

 

It was one of those "put me first" weekends and so off we went to london to the Tate Briton- you have to do this when Ms B has a history of art degree! So yesterday it was a Lowry exhibition and by luck they also had a Henry moor exhibition (free to get into) and as he once lived five miles down the road for a while I've come to enjoy his work. from there it was a walk around the kings road trying to find a two acre garden nursery (which we didn't find) and so we consoled ourselves with walking around the "made in Chelsea" sites, such is the excitement in my life! Although I did manage to catch a bar meal and a pint on a floating restaurant opposite the London fire brigade building although not an expensive day out I was shattered after the 8 miles we must have walked! And I only got one telling off from responding to deans comment on a thread whist at the Tate!

 

In the manshed-

 

Well I've had a result- all the time worrying whilst away and the chicks in four appear to be sustaining themselves so although six weeks old they have been slow to commit to feeding themselves (the brother manages ok and is with the others weaned in the baby double breeder) so I've popped in some soaked millet in the heat and see what happens- these chicks are two hens and I've both parents down with other birds and its fingers crossed.

 

Other than that I've still got three chicks in one and yes the eldest is a cinn which means its a hen. The pair in two (the dilute and the cock from the chicks above) have just laid the first egg which would be nice if it was full. The pair in three have hatched their fifth chick and my plans to foster these out hasn't come to fruition as the feeder pair haven't hatched their eggs!- again a lesson learnt here as she keeps moving them around the nestbox to under the enterance hole and i should have noticed this earlier and removed some chippings so they rolled away from the enterance hole- but its early days and If she does hatch some later then it will tie in with other pairs as the pair in three are good parents.

 

The spangle and the cin lt grn are using the box so fingers crossed although the heat has triggered some quills but I hope it settles down to not being a molt. The hens in nine and twelve are sitting on their clutches so I won't disturb them until after they are due to hatch and fingers crossed I have somewhere for them to go in terms of fosters as I'd like to rest these two hens and use them again ASAP.

 

Other than that I've had a couple of mails with Sandra Holden as she has given up and she sold me her budgie world mags last year and fingers crossed that the lads in the Ipswich club do well with her birds. Always sad when people leave and just goes to show you what can happen if we forget to care about the people our hobby touches and don't reach out when we notice someone is t there.

 

Other than that thoughts are gathering about how to finish off the inside of the shed ready for september's second tranch of pairings!

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Yee haa- for a change its an up day!

 

Today started well when I popped in some soaked millet I to the pairs, checked the two chicks in four had fed overnight and then hopped and skipped down to the infants school for sports day- ok perhaps not a hop or a skip but you get the point- it was still brownie points time!

 

So after the obliging "everyone is a winner" talk from the headmistress I took Ma B for a coffee and waived as she went to her day job and I went home to finish the chores- that was 11.30 and by 1.30 I had cleaned out the cages, changed all the feeders and replenished the water. I'd managed to grab a second coffee in the manshed when it dawned on me the boss would be home soon and damn it she beat me to it and after the ribbing I was drafted into the kitchen to serve the drinks while she and a girlfriend soaked up the sun and I prepped dinner....

 

However, domestic servitude aside I did have some good news!

 

The foster pair have hatched a chick at last- even after I moved the nest back three inches and redone the sawdust! Now this may not sound important but it now gives me options for the pair in three that now have five chicks and for the pairs in nine and twelve that should be hatching something out in the next 7-10 days, ill just have to ensure that I keep the foster nest as young as possible to maximise these options.

 

On another positive note the pair in eleven have laid egg four and that was only three days since the last, the dilute is on egg two. I've candled the eggs in nine and they have three fertile- shame it isn't all six! But ill take three any day and I still haven't bothered the hen in twelve- I know she is due on the 29th but she is such a nervous sitter its just not worth the risk as she is a great mum until the chicks reach four weeks.....

 

So there we are- all quiet and ship shape at the moment and with the weaned chicks in four about to join the other chicks ill have a couple of breeders spare and as always a few decisions to make.....

 

Oh and I've booked rain for Wednesday on account the couple from Cambridge need sun to exit St Mary's and look good and if anyone has Devine power then as head of the church it must be the great grandmother!

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A yellowface or three?

 

Its been one of those days in the birdroom- the feeder hatched a chick out at last and I thought bingo! I can move the 6th chick from pair three as I'd lost number 7 as it was squashed and as per usual she hatched another two overnight, I again run the risk of producing pied feeders that very few people want so he plan now is to use one of the feeders in with the pair in cage Eleven (an older hen on what looks like clear eggs) just before the pair in nine (H&M) and twelve (mike ball) hatch their fertile eggs and then transfer the chicks as I ring them to encourage the hens into another round or to allow me to use the parents to produce some half siblings.

 

My plan for this year or rather the balance of the very late season I started- was to breed a half dozen hens and fingers crossed that has been achieved and I have the birds ready for April next year- the challenge is that I appear to be over run with yellowface H&M bred chicks from normal birds!

 

So imagine my delight when an opaline grey hen from alan Marchant when paired with a spruce bred (not rung) cinnamon sky cock have produced three yellowface chicks! if they have his Snow White (or rather a pastel yellow) clear cap and his blow with her frame and long feather ill be a happy bunny.

 

So to recap- I'm really pleased with the chicks to date and yes a few of them are better than others but that's a "by the nest" basis and as some nests are smaller in number than others - I really can't compaire until the first moult, I've 11 on the perches from the show birds (8 H&M and 3 ball/H&M) in the first round and so far looking to beat that with the second round which should produce some more H&M birds, some ball birds and some more splits- September sees a few more birds maturing and some rested hens comming on line so with fingers crossed I may have some for the shows next year and a few variables as I've some wilson style birds from young mr Shep to see if they behave how I think they will and to understand how recessive features work- I have dominant and recessive features in the differing lines- oh and apparently yellowface!

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Water water everywhere and not a drop to drink...

 

No its not that bad but I am awash with yellowfaced chicks at the moment and yep you guessed it the three chicks in one are all yellowfaced of which two are cinnamon which means that nest is 66% hens! An as I always say its a nice problem to have.

 

I must admit that I sneaked off a little early to escort MsB back from her charity shop raid home and as the hens were out I thought an ideal time to candle the nests in two and eleven-

 

and would you believe it I started to panic that I only had one fertile egg in each and that the hens had stopped laying at three or four eggs- a quick look on the nest box card and yep it really has been so very few days and I've had another senior moment ! Still with one being a grey green with a dilute and the other a grey and a sky I am rather hoping for some normal chicks!

 

I guess with the days passing so slowly and the nights drawing in its about time for some reflection and a few things that my mentor has said that you absorb without knowing it- no not the "if they make it" costs but more a question of how older birds can put on allot of abdominal weight and that's usually the start of a tumour- que a certain aged dark green spangle putting on weight with his dark brown cere, I fear its the reaper when the lawn turns to snow.

 

But one thing in particular springs to mind and that's this- when you've swopped and changed to get a few pairs going you get to the stage where what's left in the flight are the difficult birds and that's when you have to consider that every chick is a bonus! - well I can feel that stage approaching where I look at some spare hens chewing the woodwork but not quite feather fit and I know they have trouble written all over them, not so much by a magic marker but more like a huge great neon!) and I look at the fertile cocks and think hmmm, should I stop at two rounds and try and get the performing hens back in shape for November to try and get some half siblings or should I use those unrelated young bucks that are chasing around and if they don't fill the first round they may fill the second or I could change to a better cock if I don't like the output?

 

I guess the birds will tell me but with a dozen chicks weaned and already a dozen in round two hatched and another ten still in the shell I'm going to run out of space soon! And that's before I use the five old girls in the flight and the three or four young hens coming through the ranks thanks to Mr Shepp.

 

I do appreciate that to sell stock you have to show and build a web presence- neither of which I have done (argue yes, be political no!) but the time must come soon as the first moult is through to cull on the yellowfaces.

 

My mentor is on a safari soon and I am pleased as punch as I know he works very hard to build and maintain friendships- in fact I can't find anyone who doesnt smile and refer to him as a rare gentleman- but he does nag me when I go on safari just in case I add yet another line to the shed and that stops me realising in future years when any success has come from- so on Monday I'm chauffeur for the day as a favour, I've kept it quiet! and I'm going to see someone who's been working with birds from the same line as one of mine to see how he has been getting on and I'm quite excited as i get to hold someone as a captive audience and get the thumb screws out- so all it will cost me is my voice and a pair of feeders for a little lad down the road! ill tell you all about it in the middle of next week but if id realised just how far it is I'd have taken a couple more days and made a proper safari- but I couldn't do that without spending money and that isnt the objective it's just a social call...

 

Other than that I have my girls for the first few weeks of August and who knows they may just want to help daddy extend the shed's breeding capabilities- I just need to find somone who's after some yellowfaces for next summer? By I am very excited at just how far I've come in the last year and as I keep saying I just wanted a half dozen hens that were 5 out of 10 and then I can use a 7 out of 10 cock to bring up the shed average- I need to set myself tougher objectives or stop kidding myself lol

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Ok I need to stop kidding myself- the girls need to help dad extend was as compelling as shaving off your eyebrows! So I guess that will have to wait until I've got a few more chores out of the way on the domestic front.

 

The chicks in one are two cinn yellowfaces which makes them hens and the other chuck a yellowface grey I'm happy to wait and see. I guess they are three weeks old and already the cock is constantly badgering the hen for mating so ill have to keep an eye on that one.

 

I've rung the fourth chick in cage three and two o them are colouring up with yellow so they will be single factor yellowface grey greens and with fingers crossed the other two in the nest will be opalines which should make them hens! The final chick which I've fostered to the feeders is now one of five!- but the eldest rather than the smallest.

 

After candling some nests today I'm going to have a dilemma- the pair in eleven have a single fertile egg of the four laid, which I can either move out or bring in more chicks so they can become fosters for the better pairs in nine and twelve- but I fear lots of discussion before now and then! But the good news is that I've fertile eggs in all of the nests but the waiting going to kill me!

 

Other than that all is quiet and so that's a little worrying as nature normally evens out the good news with something a little different!

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Taking a leap of faith.....

 

I hate it when I have to take a leap into the unknown and Monday morning was one such occasion. I've a pair down in cage eleven that although reasonable quality they were put together as feeders in the event of things going a little Pete tong! So with only one fertile egg (she is a '10 problem layer) I was worried that she would abandon the nest so Monday I decided to put a two day old feeder chick in the nest and I can report that its well fed so I've popped another day old feeder chick in and ill keep an eye on it because...... Both hens in nine and twelve have hatched out a chick and if I can foster them into the pair in eleven I may just get them to go again!

 

The challenge will be that the feeder chicks in seven are just a little too old and growing well so whist I could manage them down they are doing their job with an overflow chick from cage three and if all goes to plan ill need some feeders for next year.

 

The pair in eight are still excavating the nest box so its fingers crossed and I've made a couple of pairs up- a pair of sky blues in cage four (a young cock and another '10 hen) although she has "trouble" written all over her and was a gift from my original purchase- I've paired them to give me some birds with length to cross into next year.

 

Ive also made up a pair of greys in cage ten and fingers crossed that they go to plan as well.

 

Other than that its surprising when your away for a night just how much work needs doing when you return! and also for some reason how wild the barheads become in the weaning cage when they aren't handled for 48hrs!

 

Normal service will naturally resume soon in terms of contribution and also nature must be lining up to give me a kicking but I'm rather pleased at the moment and fingers crossed the chicks in nine and twelve make it over the next ten days or it will be out with the magic marker before I get the rings on!

 

I can't wait to see how my mentors safari went although knowing how many questions I normally have for him I'm sure I'm more his tor-mentor!

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A busy busy day today after the long drive yesterday with the return leg of the safari- 700 miles in total and a great time had by all.

 

So where are we in terms of activities in the manshed?

 

I'm pleased that two pairs of H&M birds are hatching out chicks at the moment so its fingers crossed but they are a pain that produce yellowfaces and the pair that produce greys and blues so fingers crossed more of the same!

 

The other pure pair have hatched a chick and that's the mike ball pair- I just have to hope its from the new cock she is with rather than the old one! But I think ill foster these chicks out and hope for another round from her if she is up for it- I know it might mean risking her but I got two hens from the first round with the H&M cock and if I get the same again from this pairing its a calculation that I can live with.

 

I have the original grey green cock from the first pairing down with a wilson-esque dilute hen and she has three fertile eggs so fingers crossed they hatch but I'm hoping they are genetically compatible

 

The spruce/H&M pair in one have the three chicks and judging by the heads on them and that two are cinnamon and one is normal that I have a cock and two hens- he won't leave her alone so I think it will be an early round two for them and a juggle for me as she laid three days apart and odd eggs previously.

 

The other pairings I have at the moment are a H&M spangle cock with a wilson hen- she is busy excavating the box and I'm hoping by next week for a result and as a '10 cock he's in the last chance saloon!

 

I also have a pair of sky blues that are using the box within 24hrs- in fact I thought the cock had escaped but he was in the box excavating it! she was a gifted '10 H&M hen that wasn't interested at the last attempt (with the above spangle) but has been chased around by a sky cock in the flight so I thought as a he was a bit young and I had an older one become available that was part ball is give it a go- so its fingers crossed a that would be a real result for both lines!

 

so to recap I have the main H&M line throwing up some birds to try when they mature for next April and some splits on the way from the birds I've mixed into them from the lines of Gary Shep and nick Allwood- so in theory they should be compatible and ill breed some good hens for the main line and get the hybrid vigour coming through for when I manage to upgrade the stud clocks from stoke next year.

 

I also have the ball line- I've a pair and a couple of cocks that ill be working hard to generate some hens for next year- some will be H&M splits and perhaps some will go into the wilson line- I just need to ensure that I do it with purpose and not get romanced by colour over budgie content!

 

But and here is the but- the feeders have just hatched out a red eyed chick- so that will be a gift for my mentor- do him good to have a lutino minature along with all those CC winners lol.

 

I'm trying to judge if I have a third round and then change out the hens for the 5 left in the flight to catch the ring dates or if I just ignore the dates knowing that anything good will just have to be shown as an AA chick. But with three or four '10 hens I fear its a case of once they are going then either keep them filling eggs or use them as feeders and so far.... They are feeders!

 

See- I'm a simple chap- I just need to breed some hens to put to my better cocks next year and worry about the rings at a future stage- its just going to be priceless to present ian with a Miniature 'Ino

 

As always when you have livestock you have headaches and today I had to dispatch a bird that had dislocated his leg- I hope its not a trend !

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Lutino's are like busses!

 

Now that's got your attention ill let you know what's going on. For a start ill brief on the bad news first, following yesterday's euthanasia of a dislocated thigh on a sky blue cock (I believe although I'm a careful driver and my airfreight box doesn't have perches and did have two inches of wood chip that its the leading suspect ) that I also lost a chick from my grey ball pair-

 

I'd notice that the cock and hen were both sitting a but tight and so I kept an eye on the first chick and although making progress at two days I moved him over to the foster pair and then found a couple of extra half shells and a chick dehydrated and mummified stuck to it- yes it hasn't made it out of the shell in this heat and I think both parents sitting has to be a contributing factor.

 

However, they have hatched another today so ill leave it until tonight and if full cropped (she is a good hen until four weeks and then decapitates chicks hence she is in my care- and I am very greatful) ill leave until the morning and if not ill move it next door to cage eleven.

 

Now lets have some good news!

 

The feeders in cage seven already have six chicks (5+1) and last night hatched out another red-eyed chick- so that's three Lutino's from this round! So as the size difference is so big and it means I don't have to mark the fostered chicks and I can try cage eleven with a day old chick prior to tomorrow's move its been transferred.

 

The feeder birds are a DF spangle dark green hen with a grey dominant pied split albino cock- so whilst the first round was red-eye clear your never sure as the stats show otherwise.

 

The other news.

 

The cock chick in one was out today so ivenpopped him back and taken a couple of inches of sawdust out on the nest box to keep him there for a few more days while they get used to shucking the millet spray I've put in the box.

 

The pair in two should hatch mid next week and fingers crossed she doesn't kick out the eggs as I've three full ones and they are a cross over pair.

 

The four chicks in three look like being two opaline grey green hens :-) which given how the first round hen looks would be good, a grey green and a grey and wait for it...... It looks at this stage that it might not be a yellowface! Time will tell as they are only pin feathers but I must say the yellow in the wings of the opaline hens is very vibrant!

 

Other than that the spangle is trying to get the courage to tread the hen properly so fingers crossed by the weekend. The sky blue pair are over the excitement of the nest box and considering Thier further actions and its blooming hot!

 

Never a dull moment here!

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The Mannes Feather....

 

Now we all know I'm not short of an opinion or indeed backwards at coming forwards but I always believe in giving credit where credit is due and I appreciate that to a certain extent there are very few game changers in the budgie world but plenty of good stockmen- in fact I'd say it must be 10:1 of people that can make change happen and ten that follow and that then percolates down the next level where its 20:1, 50:1 etc but- and here is the point- all the information that used to take ten years to gain is available on the interweb if your persistent In your search and are happy to translate pages, cross reference articles from different locations by the same authors and to a certain extent try and separate myth and folk law from fact and scientific basis- after all were dealing with genes and that is biology- its just when we compare birds and get emotional about interpretation that the arguments start!

 

I'm not going down the outcrossers/in crossers and line breeder discussion but what I want to mention is the mannes feather.

 

In the book "master breeder" it details how Jo gains the mannes feather by using cocks that were normal/opaline/cinnamon and so on two basis I thought I'd give it a go- the other basis is that all my Marchant cocks appear to be throwing opaline hens as a clue!

 

So- I have a Marchant opaline grey hen that is flecked that I have paired to a Allwood cinnamon sky cock that could do with a little more feather on what is very impressive blow from his spruce line- the cockbird has a very white and clean cap.

 

Apart from all the chicks being yellow faces I have bred in the first round ( the hens second after the first clock died on the job and left a widow with clear eggs) two hens that are yellowface cinnamon grey/blue and a cock that is yf normal grey that has a different feather as i'm assuming he is split opaline/cinnamon- the trick will be to retain this by pairing to a clean normal hen and seeing what the crossover feather looks like. I'm all for trying different things- just make sure you keep a note in the book of what and where!

 

Other than that....

 

I moved the chick in 12 to 11 and so I've fostered two out and if any more hatch ill do the same- quite excited at the prospect of getting another round off the hen to foster out. At the moment the two new pairs are using the box so that's fingers crossed and its busy busy waiting for the dilute hen in 2 to hatch out this week after a relative did well for Gary Shep the weekend

 

Oooops

 

It has to happen- "I've looked through the window and counted the birds........." So far reassurance that its the breeding season and some will have to go after the moult has bought a stay. I did suggest that we let some go wild which she agreed to but when I explained they have other people's rings on and they wouldn't appreciate a phone call for a found budgie 300 miles away she conceded a little- but Im thinking about some liberty budgies with my feeders- sorry we call them Miniatures now- lets get the variety markings back then and have a proper size verses variety points debate and some interesting placing on the show bench....

 

Proclaimers tonight, a few beers and a lay in tomorrow!

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Oh the plus side I plugged the fan into the radio circuit which is on 16hrs a day. We're due a cool 20 degrees today but as the shed is already past that its going to be belt and braces and yes the power is switched through a RCD just in case!

 

Ms B has opted for the shed move next year rather than this year as the "round to it" Job list is full of higher priorities- roll on pocket money warming potential next week when the girls are home I'm rearranging the interior of the manshed.

 

Note to self- do not go buying any more nest boxes as you will only end up breeding lesser pairs and feeders! Common trap but its so tempting....

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Status quo?

 

No not quite status quo but the proclaimers were ok last night which meant we got back this morning and I must say that reassuringly everything is the same as when I left it with the exception of...... An egg in eight!

 

The pair in eight are a spangle cock and a cinnamon hen- ok let me be more exact- its a type2 yellowface opaline sky spangle cock from alan Marchant with a cinnamon light green hen from a wilson background- looking to achieve two things with this pair (its a replical pair to that in two) and basically to see if the cross over of these lines works and to establish that the cock is fertile and willing- so she is proven and its fingers crossed- if it works then I have a different hen for him from a few months ago that never clicked and she is coming into condition.

 

The hens in general have spent a little longer out of the boxes today which given the heat did worry me a little at first but the chicks all seamed well fed and I popped a couple of sprigs of millet in one box as the hen looks like she has taken the down off a chick in the heat and whilst its a first I don't want to encourage it- on the plus side the greys in nine still have three young chicks and all are fed and the chicks I transferred as a day old from 12 to 11 are still ok- I'm keeping a close eye on the hen in 12 and as soon as anothe hatches in the next few days ill move it over too so perhaps I can get another round off her as I could do with some hens from the line for next year to cross over to a couple of young cocoa I have to hand.

 

Other than that its still blooming hot!

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Up and bright today and in the bird room early as I was chauffeuring today- no not another budgie safari but I had to drop the youngest to grandma's on the way to Thorpe park which is a theme park in the same village as Gerald Binks and around the corner from a good few others- but not wishing to be a gelding I didn't mention it but took everyone for some spills and thrills and I dare say some whiplash in the morning!

 

However, before I left....

 

The pair in one have often dropped a chick onto the cage floor that's needing putting back into the nest and its been noted that the young cock bird in one is very err insistent on his rights to the point that today with his young daughter panicking and the hen then almost decapitated by his insistence and the feeding tray- we all need insistent birds at times but this wasn't one of them !- so I had to pop him into the flight to calm down as the chicks won't be ready to leave and wean for another ten days!

 

Ill reintroduce him for another round at that point as I'm pleased with the results so far.

 

The chicks in three seem ok, those in seven will fill the nest box but with one foster and a couple of surprise 'ino's it was always going to be full! I popped the third chick from the ball pair into the fosters the other shah and noted that a red eye was either being more vocal and getting well fed or its going to be a six foot budgie! So to even it out I popped him into a nest that has three black eyed chicks and touch wood both the nests of four are ok ( nine and eleven) and tomorrow ill know if the pair in twelve hatch another or not and fingers crossed as always.

 

The two new pairings in four and ten are both using the nest and I'm optimistic that something may happen in a couple of weeks with the blues and a week later for the greys.

 

I've also been busy on the grapevine and I've sorted out some insulation and potentially some pied feeders (remember those!) to be donated to a junior/beginner to help on his way and he will pop up tomorrow afternoon to collect and chat. Other than that its all quiet!

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