A passion for Budgerigars


July 23, 2014

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Males in a wide variety of jewel tones

Budgerigars remained still in the 'show' cage ... seemingly aware they were being admired

Budgerigars, or commonly known as budgies, were originally from Australia but, here in Saugeen Shores, Tim Hotchkiss, has a passion for his little multi-coloured feathered friends.

His aviary is filled with both male and females of every hue, each with a name.  "The British began breeding and domesticating them in the 1800s," says Hotchkiss, "and today, there are societies around the world that raise and show them."  Hotchkiss began raising them in 1972.

Their accurate genus name is Melopsittacus which comes from the Greek and means 'melodious parrot' and the species name is undulatus from the Latin meaning 'wave-patterned.

Hotchkiss in a 'flight' cage

'Show budgies', such as those raised by Hotchkiss are much larger than their cousins in the wild and have large, puffy head feathers.  His are kept in two separate 'flight' cages ... one for males and the other for females ... with natural branches for perches.

Hotchkiss with a young budgie ....

... that he gently releases into a 'show' cage

The birds thrive on a diet of a seed mixture that includes millet, flax, niger, black sunflower and canary feed.  "They also keep their beaks trimmed and acquire minerals from enriched cuttlebone," explains Hotchkiss.

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The budgies are very social, getting along well in groups, preening flock mates and feeding each other.  They also enjoyingthe stimulation of human contact and music. 

A male single-factor spangle

When they are nesting, the females lay eggs every second day over a span of 10 days with an incubation period of 21 days.  "Unfortunately, not all the eggs hatch and a female only breeds for two years," adds Hotchkiss.

Hotchkiss is a member of the Hamilton & District Budgerigar Society that was founded in 1946.  It is a club dedicated to show and educate about the species and that holds the annual 'Nest Feather' show in Ancaster.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014