The Adventures of Bud and Geri of Gar

The Adventures of Bud and Geri of Gar

Gar was a small town with a population of 1,896, according to the latest census. In that town lived two budgerigar breeders. You could not get two people more opposite than Geri and Bud.

Geri was not his real name. He was called Geri as an abbreviation for geriatric; he was that old. He was systematic, deliberate, pensive and quiet. Nothing he did was without due consideration. Being confined to an Age Pension he was income poor, but time rich. As he reasoned it; when you are short on funds you have to be deliberate in your breeding program because you cannot afford to buy expensive birds at auction. So, for 20 years he had been building up his stock birds, and being very reserved with his culling.

Bud, on the other hand, was young and energetic. He held down a well-paid job, and was income rich, but time poor. It was not beyond him to go to an auction and buy 6 or 7 birds at a time, and then come home and cull out a handful and send them off to the pet shop for $5 each. He was spontaneous and seized the moments as they arose. It could also be said that he had a devious spirit with a wild sense of humour; presenting him as a ‘prankster’. He was the life of the party.

The nearest budgerigar club to Gar was on the edge of the nearby city, about 16 kilometres away. Though Geri always maintained it was 10 miles. Bud and Geri were both members of the club, and attended most of the functions. Bud would also visit Geri every 6 weeks or so, just to see what he was up to. Geri had the experience which Bud did not. So, these visits were beneficial for a youngster like Bud. However, Bud didn’t stay too long because Geri’s ponderous ways agitated him, so he found reason to excuse himself.

On one such visit, Bud put a proposal to Geri. “Geri, how about we have a bet on who can produce the best bird at our next show? I wager $100 on it. What do you think?”  Geri didn’t need to think twice. “Bud, you know I can’t afford $100, despite the fact I’ll beat you hands down”. Bud was swift to reply; “How about $50 then?” Geri looked at him pensively. “Bud, how about you pay me $100 if I win; and I pay you $50 if you win?” That was good enough for Bud, and the deal was done.

Now, Bud was no dill. He had a plan. He knew that Geri had time on his side and would put in a dozen or so birds. So, he reasoned, he would put in just one bird, reducing his preparation time. He chose his best-looking bird. A big white double factor spangle cock. He put him in his own cage and started him on a special diet, which included proteins and enzymes. Hang the expense. He wasn’t really after the money. He just wanted to beat Geri.

There were three months to go before the show so Bud decided to nip off the end of one of his bird’s tail feathers. A week later he twisted that feather out. Then nipped off the end of the other tail feather. He gave it a week, then twisted it out too. Apparently, this is an old trick to be sure that your stud bird doesn’t drop a tail feather the day before the show.

Four weeks before the show Geri is making his selections based on his vast experience in the fancy. He sprayed them with water and put them out in the sun to dry. This gave him a good opportunity to get a good look at them. From that exercise he had three birds that he reckoned would outdo Bud’s best.

Bud meantime found some time to start de-spotting, between racing the kids off between sports fields on the weekends. He too started spraying his bird with water and a touch of “special formula”. He sat his majestic cock out in the sun and gloried in it’s magnificence. He had a winner.

Two days before the show Geri was busily washing his dozen or so birds using Baby Shampoo. The old ‘tried and true’ recipe. Again, putting them out in the sun to dry, and checking for any last minute adjustments. He was reasonably satisfied that these birds would do him proud at the show, and he still thought he had three birds that would outdo anything that Bud could come up with.

Bud didn’t have this luxury. He was working on the Friday, so Saturday would have to be the wash down day; between running the normal sports taxi service. However, he had a plan. He washed the bird in Baby Shampoo (of course), and gave it a good scrubbing with a toothbrush. Then came the secret concoction. A quick dip in warm water which had glycerine dissolved in it. That would make him shine. He put him out in the sun to dry, while he ducked out to do another sports delivery. When he came back, he prepared the show cage and the over-night cage. In the over-night cage he had decided to drop some raspberry cordial into the water. This would not only kill off any tummy bugs, but it would give him a ‘burst’ of energy. Then he took the bird inside and borrowed his wife’s hairdryer. He gently blew warm air through his feathers. This not only finished off the drying process, but gave the feathers a fuller and ruffled effect. He stood back and admired his handiwork. What a bonza! He put his showpiece into the overnight cage, and called it quits.

Geri, meanwhile, has prepped a dozen birds and can’t remember whether he has put every one of them through the whole process. But on Saturday night he is satisfied with the visual impact. “You don’t need any secret formulas. A good bird is a good bird”, he always said.

Early the next morning Geri arrives at the venue and starts unpacking his van. It will take him several trips back and forth from the carpark. Bud hadn’t arrived yet, but that wasn’t unusual. Bud always left things to the last minute. However, he was unusually late today. The show had already begun when Bud slipped in and sidled up to Geri. He slipped him a $100 note. “You win”, he said. Geri looked around. “Where’s your birds?”

Bud had to explain that there was only ever going to be one bird. After fastidious preparation his majestic white double factor spangle cock took fright in the night and jumped into the drinking water with the raspberry cordial in it. He didn’t think the judge would approve of a pink budgerigar.


The moral of the story: Don’t put all your (budgie) eggs in one basket.

Derby Day 2022

Saturday 5th November 2022 was our official Derby Day, and doubled as our break-up day for 2022. The environ around Brian and Pat’s place was ideal for a relaxing day, and though the judge turned up late, no one was put out by it. There were three donation birds up for grabs from the Henry George stud; one for each category. That, on it’s own, was enough to draw members from as far as Texas, Roma, Warwick and Nanango.

The day started with the Derby Day judging. The Junior category was taken out by Oscar Dillman. Oscar would ultimately taken home with him a Henry George bird too. The Novice category was taken out by Kurt Dillman. Obviously there is some pretty good stock in that Dillman stud. We are hopeful of seeing some of the better birds at the Futures Show next year. Then, the Intermediate category was taken out by Jason Hockey. This made the long trip from Texas worthwhile. Finally, the Open category was taken out by Bevan Mouritz, along with the overall Derby Bird for 2022, and the Tom Smith Trophy. There is a rumour that Bevan is taking all his winnings and defecting to the coast. There were only two other trophies up for grabs. The Jim Hobdell Trophy and the John Blanck Trophy for best recessive variety. Both went to Rohan Shaw for a magnificent crest which had recovered very well from it’s trip to the Nationals back in June. With all the work that Rohan puts into the club, no one will begrudge his taking out two trophies…. and one of the donation birds as well. The third donation bird was won by Open Breeder Tammy Beutel.


Then came the hot barbecue lunch, the cold drinks, and the warm friendly chats. To date; there have been no reports of any disorderly drunkedness.

Here’s to a Happy New (breeding) Year for 2023.

Feathers and Fertility

On 4 October 2022 a dozen members of the Toowoomba Budgerigar Association met together at 7.30pm in expectation of a rousing presentation on “Feathers and Fertility”. At about 7.35pm Peter Jeffery took centre stage. The show was his.
Now, look; Peter is not known for his eloquence and culture. In accordance with our expectations, Peter roughly pieced together a presentation which even pushed the boundaries of ‘political correctness’; more than once. However, the content was incomparable. Throughout there were one-liner gems, which I will now endeavour to reproduce for your benefit.

Feather: They come is all shapes and sizes. Breeding couples should be paired according to feather structure. Opaline birds have a North-South feather. Cinnamons have an East-West feather. Therefore, the best pairings would be an opaline cock with a cinnamon hen. This will give the prospect of producing a bird with width and length of feather. If you are looking for depth of mask, this is your best opportunity.
Do not use iodine products as they will produce flecking. It’s a fact.
Also look for down on the feather. When you pluck a feather, have a close look at it. The portion of down at its extremity must reach half way up the feather, at least. If it does not; I don’t use that bird for breeding. If you have a young bird with down pocking out through the feathers, it is likely to have ‘double down’. DO NOT sell that bird – for anything.

Fertility: There will be some cocks which will never produce. The first thing to do is check the cock’s bum. Pluck him bare around the anus and see whether his bum points out like a volcano. If it inverted there will never be any production. If he is fat around the bum it will cause him to roll around during mating and he is likely to “miss his moment”. Therefore, he needs to go on a diet of straight millet sprays for 3 weeks to reduce weight, and he should be right.
Before young hens are first put to a cock, put them in a cage with bamboo perches. The slippery nature of the perches will train the hen how to hang on for dear life. This will come in handy for her mating career. Also, use double perches in the breeding cabinets for hens who have perching problems. This way they can get their toes in between, if need be, to get the job done.
Hen birds that lay pooey eggs never produce fertile eggs. The “passage” should be all clear for laying eggs. The presence of poo indicates a blockage; and if you have a blockage, then the sperm are not going to get through to their final destination.
We then watched as Peter “milked” many cock birds, using a simple capillary tube to collect the semen. The process looked simple enough, and certainly didn’t match my imagination of what AI was supposed to be like. However, the process is kept simple with two parties working together. One person on their own will need more equipment, time and patience.
Each insemination will last for 3 eggs and then the cock will need to be milked, and the hen inseminated again for eggs 4, 5 and 6.

The night was also enhanced by John Iseppi’s feather duster (mop). This is a mutation which grows extremely long feathers, never moults, eats like a horse, does not reproduce, and dies early. I know some people like that.

Demo News

Toowoomba Budgerigar Associated started 2023 with the biggest collection of birds yet, for their annual show.