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.