Saturday, 29 November 2008

Exhibition Budgie Versus Pet Budgie

There's a massive difference between Exhibition (English) budgerigars and Pet (American) budgerigars. (I use the terms English and American loosely as that's mainly what they're known as.)

Not as massive at it may seem where the birds are concerned, but the people keeping them? Well that's 2 totally different worlds!

I could be totally wrong here, but competition between the 'Big Boys' in the exhibition world definitely seems to run over into their lives instead of just staying within their hobby.

On various forums there seems to be constant bickering between the Big Boys, and some of them are even downright snooty towards 'humble pet bird' owners. It's like there's constant competition to gain appreciation, attention and status, which I can only assume comes from the fact that they work so hard to breed the perfect show bird according to club standards.

Saying that, a lot of the exhibition bird owners are very nice to pet bird owners (even if they secretly like to think of them as lesser types) and will help in every way possible to make sure we can keep our birds as fit and healthy as possible.

My own birds are a mix of the 2 types, some bred from show stock that were later sold to the pet shop where we bought them, and others just the normal, average, everyday Joey. They all live together happily in their aviary.

I remember back when I was looking for birds to fill my aviary with. I'd posted in a forum saying what I wanted, and someone was really nice, said they'd probably have a few chicks in a few weeks time for me, show type, but I could have them for free.

I was really new to the forum, and there was an exhibition breeder who seemed to be the bees knees, cream of the crop, a highly knowledgeable man that everybody looked up to there. He sent me a private message and warned me against buying, or even taking birds, from the other breeder, saying that if I was ever anywhere near his place, I could drop in and get a few birds from him. He said that the other breeder had gotten their birds by basically stealing them from another breeder who was too ill to argue etc etc.

Me, being a trusting type, I took his advice and thanked the other breeder kindly for his offer but declined the chicks.

A year or 2 later, I was selling my own chicks and I was chatting with a friend of mine who was also selling budgies. In the course of the conversation it turned out the same man had also told my friend not to buy birds from that first breeder who'd offered some to me!

As it happens, we did eventually find out that the man had been filling us with total codswallop, probably in the hopes of selling HIS birds to us.

I'm all for a bit of healthy competition, but there are limits ;)

Mind you, all is not bleak and sneaky in the exhibition world. There are some fantastic birds being bred, some of them are truly massive. I still prefer the smaller ones for their colours and personalities, but the big show birds do have a rather regal stance to them.

I have to admit, I've never actually met a showbird person in REAL life, just from behind a keyboard, but most of them really are extremely helpful, so if you ever have a problem with your bird and it's something I can't help with, I'll make sure I ask one of the exhibition breeders for their advice.

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