January 27th 2006
February 2006
John Crooks

(Burne & Crooks)
March 2006
Ron Pearce
April 2006
Robbie Keeber
May 2006
Young Stock Show
June 2006
Terry Jukes & Les Lockey
July 2006
Barbeque Night
September 2006
Colin Callaway & Mac Macready
October 2006
Members Show
November 2006
Social Evening + Bring & Buy

Social Evening & Bring and Buy 2006

The Members Social Evening and Bring and Buy sale was extremely successful and a great time was had by all.  At the end of the evening we had made 262 from the auction and 36 from the raffle!

Thanks to everyone who attended and donated items.  The auctioneer was our very own ‘Del Boy’, Ricky Watts, who did a marvellous job.  Thanks also to Chris, for the lovely buffet and drinks that she brought; they were thoroughly enjoyed by everyone.

A special mention must go to Mike Ball’s two daughters, who kept the bidding going and must have cost him a fortune by the end of the evening!

Well, that was our last meeting of 2006 which, I’m sure you will agree, ended the year on a high note.  Next year I have provisionally booked the hall on December 21st so that we can hold a Christmas Social Evening if you the members wish so.   However, we can’t do this without the continued support of all of you so please carry on attending and supporting your club as you have done in 2006.


The A.G.M. will be held on January 26th 2007 so, until then, ‘Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year’ to all of you and your families.  

Members Show 2006

The Members Show was not supported as well as it should have been which was very disappointing to the people who put in all the work so that everyone could enjoy a good social day and show off their birds. However, it seems that lots of clubs are suffering the same fate with the lack of interest from its members.  This will end up with some of the committee members saying that ‘enough is enough’ and then there will be no local club for you to attend; you will have to travel further a field and hope others will do the work for you! Please respond and enjoy your club because those of us ‘workers’ don’t mind doing it if you come and support us in our efforts to provide you, the members, with a first class budgiegar club. (Tony Cash)

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With that off my chest I would like to thank Mick Freeborn for judging the show and not claiming any expenses. His comment on the quality of the birds was very encouraging. He said ‘of the amount of birds here, the quality is excellent and enjoyable to judge’ which goes to prove the standard of birds from Northdowns members has been maintained.

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The major winners of the day were John & Stella Harvey who benched a super Sky cock in immaculate condition to take BIS

Thanks to our Chairperson for providing  & donating all refreshments and preparing and supplying us with bacon rolls during the morning, followed with a real ploughman’s at lunch time (helped by Stella as usual, one of the back room girls).

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Thanks also to Ken Trapnell who donated his winnings for the day back to the club funds and to our President, Gerald Binks, for coming and awarding the trophies and his usual chit chat etc.

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Colin Callaway & Mac Macready

The meeting started with the sad news of two members passing away.  The first was Maureen Pickett, and the other was Mick Mapston a very well respected judge and breeder and very active member of our club. Both will be very much missed and a minute’s silence was observed in their memory.

The members were reminded of the date of our members show, Saturday 29th October. The Judge on the day will be our former president Mick Freeborn.

We then had a change of speaker, as the winners of last years B. S. club show were unable to attend for personal reasons.  However, in their place and at very short notice we had two fine fanciers from Southdowns, the ‘Workers and general do-it-all people’, Colin Callaway and Mac Macready.  I am sure when we last saw them they did not think their offer to do a talk at our club would be taken up so quickly!

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They called the talk ‘gadgets and gismos’.   Colin likes to try anything new and Mac likes to keep things very simple.  The only thing he ever bought was a small mousetrap for 2.00; the best investment he has ever made. He then told us of the problem he had when he moved house and converted an old brick built outhouse into a birdroom.  The cages were just away from the wall, however when he went past he could hear a noise but was in shock when he finally shone a torch behind the cages to find masses of little lights, a bit like Blackpool!  In fact it was about 300 mice.  They were all caught in the little trap and taken by his boys for a long walk over the hills, as he can’t kill anything, not even to cull his sick birds as Colin does that for him. They both have the same size bird rooms, 20 feet by 10 feet but Colin has hot and cold water and fibreglass walls which eases the cleaning etc., air conditioning and everything else one would need.  Mac has his room more simplified; he has only cold water and normal filters for the air.  However, they both have a fridge full of beer!

Colin breed’s lutinos only and still has trouble getting them to breed. He finds getting a good outcross almost impossible, especially ones that improve the size without loosing the colour.  So far he has tried double factor spangles and goldenfaces and he buys in 2 young outcrosses each year to keep up fertility. Mac keeps things simple and does not have heating in his birdroom; he has asthma and wears a facemask. He has 16 breeding cages, 2 flights with about 60 birds and cold water only.  Both setups are on stilts, enough to let the cats under the sheds, which is good for keeping the mice away.

Both like to work in the background doing show and general office work; they are not that keen on the showing of the birds.

They then talked about the things Colin had bought to improve the running of his birdroom, he has tried many things, which we won’t go into because we could be in trouble with the suppliers. However, it caused much laughter with the members, as we have all been taken for a ride sometime along the way!

Everyone who came on the night enjoyed the chat and the questions, mostly about soft food and greens, seeds mixers etc.

Both Colin and Mac provided us with information on what does work and what does not.  We all would like to thank them both for a wonderful evening.

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A Calloway Lutino

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Mick Freeborn's BBQ

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The 30 or so guests at Mick Freeborns BBQ evening on Friday the 28th July 2006 were treated to a viewing of his stud of quality birds including the best in show spangle which won South Hampshire two weeks previously.

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The food was excellent and plentiful, as were the drinks all supplied by our hosts.  The chef on the night was Ricky Watts, who stepped in to allow Mick to mingle.  Ricky continued with the cooking all night and was thanked by Mick later.

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There was a lot of bird talk and swapping of contact numbers, so it seemed to be a great social success on the night.

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The evening ended when Linda was presented with a bouquet of flowers by Chris Angus-Smith in appreciation of all the hard work she and Mick had put in to make the BBQ such a success.

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Mick thanked everyone for coming and said how happy he was that Northdowns B.S. had grown into a successful society again, all due to the efforts of its members.  He said he hoped it would go from strength to strength.

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June 2006
Terry Jukes & Les Lockey

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The Chairperson introduced the speaker, Terry Jukes, who had come along with Les Lockey and will do a slide show and talk on the past & present [Linda unable to attend who breeds short hair cats as well].

Terry joined the hobby in 1976 and had built up a good stud of birds, but had a fire caused by an electrical fault and lost all of his birds while away for two weeks in November on holiday in 2002 in USA. Arrived back at 7.30am to find it burnt down and to witness the devastation and loss of everything they had worked for.

He tries to help and stop people making mistakes, his set up includes 44 breeding units, sink and running water, which he says is a must. Music is played in birdroom at all times and a burglar alarm to deter the uninvited. Late November we pair up all cages because the more you breed the more likely you will produce a good percentage of quality birds.

We started losing some birds and when Linda checked the boxes she found mould in them where they had not dried out properly.  She re washed the boxes, etc., and then dried them out on the radiators and Duramitex was sprayed into boxes. We also had a problem with using newspaper on cage floors, which on investigation with local printers we found that they had changed their ink products, which was now toxic to the birds.

Birds are fussy about who they want to breed with, especially the better birds and some wont breed with certain coloured varieties.

One of my lows was when I failed my judging course and felt let down etc. (Eddy Gerry failed him).

All the time the conversation was flowing we were seeing birds from the past [Before Nov2002] as well as the new stud being developed now including a very good Opaline Cinnamon grey-green flecked (flecked).

In 1999 Linda Qualified as a BS judge which has benefits to clubs to engage two judges traveling together / expenses. We had a super grey-green cock, which only bred with green hens and no other. 

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Close friend helped so much to get them back on their feet. Dave Brown from Gillingham built windows etc (drove up to them).  The new bird room is    smaller with only. 27 breeding units = easier and less time consuming, we had a  (building party = wine and fun). New aviary looks very good and they only altered odd things as improvements as it was pretty good before.

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The wiring in new bird room was installed by a qualified electrician who carried out the work for driving lessons, as I am a driving schoolteacher. We now have lights fixed at high level which are Ultra violet = brighter light (full spectrum).

Many kind people helped us to stay in the hobby with birds given and sold very cheaply to us, Frank Silva 6 pairs, and others very generous, G Bowley, Les Lockley and many others.

No hospital cage used only stock cage and heat, light.

Kaytree exact. Soft food is hand feed to chicks using crop needles and rubber tubing and during 10 – 15 years have only killed 2 by choking. Only part fill crop and wait 3 – 5 seconds before removing tube and they won’t spit it up.            

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He had a very good G Bowley Pied 02 cock which didn’t breed for us the first year but made up for the following year, so don’t get disappointed with your birds, you must perceive with them.

Ave looking pair bred some of his best greens which done well at 2003 BS show.

Went to the German show, then visited Joe Mannas’ aviary. Spotted 2 barheads which Joe said 125 euros each (he told Joe he couldn’t afford them) they were brought by another friend / fancier there and given to Terry as a gift. [Just shows you that all is bad with this wonderful hobby of ours].

Went back to Frank Silva and liked Grey cock, Frank was very good to them. And everyone has got them back quicker using odd birds good and poor etc.

Many super birds on slides including Joe’s birds at end from 1995 by Les Lockey.

Joe’s comment = a charming bird to go to a coarser feather bird and he can tell by touch of feather!

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The meeting opened and our guests for the evening, Ghalib and Janice Al-Nasser were introduced.  Ghalib went off to do the judging while Janice gave a talk about how she started breeding birds in the third bedroom of the family home, buying birds mainly from the local pet shops because they didn’t cost a lot of money.  She eventually moved them out of the bedroom into the garden and carried on to breed brightly coloured birds.

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In 1980 she went to a local show with her husband and was introduced to the current day show bird, which made her realise that her birds were very poor compared to these.   At this show she was met at the door by Alan Smith who took her under his wing (excuse the pun!) and helped her set up with good breeding stock.

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In 1982 she showed at the BS Club Show and her birds were in the first three or four in each class, which she was very pleased with.  In 1983, at the North Essex Show, she was the Chief Steward and found this was a good way to learn about birds.  She was in partnership with her husband, who was very good at DIY within the birdroom, which left Janice free to concentrate on breeding the birds. In those days they only bred normal varieties of birds, moving on to breeding clear wings in 1985.  This was the same year that they had Best Young Novice Bird, with a grey green cock at the BS club show.  She only found this out at the dinner in the evening when John Bonner said ‘well done’ to her!

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Nowadays, with her new partner Ghalib, Janice does the morning shift, checking the birds and topping up the seed and soft food and then during the day checks the nest boxes for any chicks hatching, etc.  Ghalib does the evening shift and, as Janice said, it works out as a good true partnership with equal workload.   Janice said that they mostly agreed when pairing up but, when it came to the specialist varieties, she let Ghalib decide.  She said when they first met Ghalib gave her a pair of crests and recessives to breed with to give her a taste of the rare varieties, which Ghalib specialises in.  She then went on to say that she enjoyed meeting people, whether at shows or meetings, but the best part for her was the breeding and management of their birds.

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Ghalib then came back and sat in on the meeting, having judged the birds.  Although at first he seemed like a heckler (bit of fun) he carried on with questions and answers from the floor, which encompassed the tea break as well.   Ghalib explained some of the BS rules on proposing amendments to the AGM, as this was asked from the floor.

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Ken Trapnell asked about French Moult and Ghalib said it was still around even after studs had culled complete lines with it. After breeding for thirty-five years he still had the odd bird with FM, although some people say that using garlic powder stops it (old wives tale). It was mentioned about Northdowns having an Open Show again, as it used to hold the best in the South of England.  Ken Trapnell was quick to say that when Northdons was formed it was agreed that the members should have the benefit of patronage and prizes at other peoples’ Open Shows and not to hold one itself.  This did change, as we all know, to the detriment of the society in spite of the funding and hard work by the usual few.

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General matters were discussed, re research, Doctor Baker, investment and eventually we discussed the winning birds, with Ghalib giving detailed descriptions of what he liked in the birds and why he chose them in the order he did.

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Our congratulations to the main winners of the evening, Ken Trapnell (best champion young bird - sky hen and bar head – green cock) and Brian Mansell (overall best bird in show – grey pied cock). We would also like to thank our officers of the evening, as listed on your last newsletter.

Once again, we all showed our appreciation to the speakers for a very entertaining evening. 

Robbie Keeber
The meeting was opened with the chairperson welcoming 3 new members, Mike Ball & John Mullen and his partner and then giving a short brief on our speaker.

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Robbie started by telling how he came into the hobby and that he joined the BS in 1971 but with 4 children and a new business venture to run the birds took a backward step for a while. He said that any one could win at open shows now, but in days gone by it was always won by a certain group of top breeders with large studs and top quality birds.  These days there were not very many that he would call large studs about in this country. Also, in those days the Europeans etc came over here to acquire good birds and blood lines, whereas these day we all go over there to bring back the ingredients / features we originally sold them, which they have worked with to produce the type of bird we all wish to have in our aviaries.

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The evening carried on with questions and answers with Mick Mapston starting off by asking Robbie about judging melonistic spangles, frosted pieds and Easley clearbodies.   Robbie said that the people who breed them should be the judges chosen to judge them as they know what they are breed from and these varieties /species are being renamed all the time.  He said perhaps we should have a class at the ‘rares’ show for unclassified birds, as some judges would pass over these birds very quickly and not give them a second look in the run down.  Robbie said that a lot of people had brought in birds from Jo Mannes and not seen a great deal of improvement immediately, although given time the features and blood that they brought in start showing and coming out in the stock.  Robbie said during his travels in this country he went to many aviaries that had Jo Mannes birds and there was a noticeable improvement in the stud over the last few years. 

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Robbie was asked what he would do if he was going to start up again and he replied that he would try and build a family of birds, go to as many breeders as he could, join a local club and eventually settle with one breeder who had a good stud throughout rather than one that had top quality birds that dropped away quickly.  He said he would build up a relationship with that person by buying the lesser brothers and sisters of his best birds, which would build up his family of birds and would enable him to go back and buy a better bird the following year.  He said to also look to where you would buy in and out cross with a particular feature that you required to improve your birds as this would also maintain your fertility within the stud.  At the end of each year you must be ruthless in disposing of birds that would be no good to you in order for you to improve and be competitive on the show bench. 

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Robbie said that the total trimming of birds was not required, only on the sides with long feathered/buff birds as he had found that it made no difference to his breeding whether he trimmed or not.  Someone asked about a class for flecked or odd looking birds and his reply was to leave them at home as we were only supposed to see show birds based on the ideal.  With regard to faults in birds, he said that all faults need to be worked on to eradicate from your stud by working with different lines of birds or buying in an outcross without that fault.  If necessary get rid of a complete line of birds before it became a major fault throughout your stud.  He said you should stand in front of your birds and look at them to see the features that were standing out, which should show what was lacking within the birds.  You should then introduce that feature as a new line and, when it was working, cross it over to your original lines. In this way you would not spoil the good work already carried out within the other lines.  He finished by saying that you only got out of the hobby what you put into it i.e. Jo Mannes put in 95% of his time and energy into breeding his birds whereas the rest of us probably only put in about 20%.

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The evening finished at ten o’clock and appreciation was shown from the twenty + people that attended. Our thanks to Robbie for a very entertaining evening.

Ron Pearce

The meeting was opened with the chairperson giving some background about our speaker and his partner Marcel.

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Ron started by saying he went into partnership with Marcel Buhler about two years ago and that the added advantages of this type of partnership is that you learn more about keeping your birds and learn some new and interesting types of feeding habits and how to keep it easy.

Also, when over at Marcel’s in Switzerland its only 1 hours from Joe Mannas and other top breeders.  This allows having good holidays in the local areas! As well as seeing good quality birds. Ron said that, although he was ten years older than Marcel, they are quite compatible and think along similar lines.   Marcel’s bird room is in a converted garage and if people were interested to look on their website for more details.

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My bird room is approximately 6 metres by 5 metres with all wire cages, which are being changed shortly.  My saying is ‘keep ‘em alive’, which means taking care of your birds and insuring that hygiene is of utmost importance, although it doesn’t have to be clinically clean.  The nest boxes used are the same as those of Joe Mannas, all plastic and easy to clean.  I spray F10 around the nest boxes, which keep away all undesirables and allows them to be wiped clean easily.   A lot of breeders seem to use several pots of seed in one cage.  Most top breeders feed only one pot because if you have got over 20 breeding cages and you hold down a full time job this is an awful lot of time and work.

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Ron said he had a TV in his bird room because he likes to watch the sport on Saturday when he is tending to his birds.  He changes his drinkers with a complete set of spares and is not in favour of automatic watering systems, because he likes to administer various products in the drinking water, i.e. cider vinegar.

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 In normal drinking water he said he uses Aviclens produced by the Bird Care Company, which kills the algae and bacteria and allows the water to be used for a longer period.   He said if you look after your birds well you will get good results and, if you inbreed too close on a continual basis, the virility and breeding results become poor.  You must use outcrosses and take particular note of birds that carry feather problems by looking back in the family records and culling to suit.   When chicks are in the boxes he rates them between one and five, looking to see where the four and five star bird families come from.  If he gets a four/five rated bird in a nest and the rest are all very poor he normally will not use that one bird.   Controls are all by time clock and he does not change the times at any part of the year.  You do not need a super bird room to breed good birds, just knowledge and commitment.  Some people keep their bird rooms at 18 to 21 degrees whereas he keeps his around 12 to 14 degrees.  Brick bird rooms seem to produce better results than wooden ones, although with the latest insulation products the temperature drop within wooden bird rooms is now less, which has proven to give better results than in the past.

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He said he breeds with 17 breeding cages and over a three period a while ago he had poor breeding results 41, then 30 and then 20.  Super birds but birds that would not breed well being double buff which made him get rid of all the old birds apart from a couple and start again with birds from Marcelle, Joe Mannas and others.   He now consistently breed over 100 and have currently bred over 50 at the moment, with others hatching.  On feeding, Ron makes up his own soft foods with various bits and porridge oats, also feeding petit pois and sweet corn, which has the bird’s clammering at the cage fronts when he walks into the birdroom!    

Ron and Marcel have a very good pied line and are getting the opposite results to what most of us want.  By this I mean he is trying to breed good normals out of his pied line and finds that he is predominately-breeding pieds instead of normals.  Whereas most other people are getting mainly normals when they want pieds.

Ron and Marcelle try to maintain a stud of intermediate feathered birds that carry the other necessary features to improve the stud.

Part Two was mainly a question and answer session with Ron showing us various birds of his own and Marcel’s and explaining the improvements that he wants to make to the birds.  He is very critical when judging variety of bird against size of bird, as a lot of judges nowadays go for the big bird but don’t take into account variety and colour.  Going back to size of bird rooms you have Joe Mannas with 110 breeding cages, which he doesn’t leave at any time (no holidays), down to the late Jim Hutton who was very successful with 9 breeding cages and eventually extended to 12.

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The evening finished at ten o’clock and appreciation was shown from the twenty + people that attended. Our thanks to Ron on a very entertaining eveing. With the raffle over it was time to tidy up and say our byes for now.

February 2006 - John Crooks

The meeting was opened with the announcement that, due to bereavement in the family, Ron was unable to attend this evening but would do the film presentation at next month’s meeting on Friday March 31st.

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Nevertheless, members enjoyed listening to the late change of speaker, John Crooks (Burne & Crooks), in a face to face with Rick Watts who was asking John questions with regard to the way he came to start in the hobby. He also asked him about the way he progressed over the few years (before going into partnership with Shelia) to become a very successful breeder and winning many Best in Show awards. After going into partnership they have continued to win many ‘Best in Show’ awards as well as ‘Top Breeder’ awards and also winning Best Spangle at the 2005 BS club show.

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John said stock was brought in from Pat & Gren Norris, Gerald’s Mannes family, John Smith & directly from Joe Mannes, which had knitted in well with Sheila’s stock and had brought about four families of birds, which create their own out crosses for the time being.  On his second trip to Joe’s he purchased 6/7 birds one of which was a flecked opaline green hen with a nice head & shoulders, this bred a large sky cock which was then paired back to Joe’s/Sheila’s bloodlines & bred their successful Spangle family.   This, over two seasons, bred over 30 chicks of which they kept 10 good quality spangle cocks.  John’s aviary is approx 35` X 10` with 36 breeding cages & Sheila’s is 36’ x 6’ with in excess of 30 breeding cages, he said they try to breed 300 chicks a year between them and with a base stock level of some 500 birds their time is taken up completely.

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John gave members a very frank and honest account of the partnership’s breeding, feeding and management and the way they consistently pair up the four winning families of birds and have no hesitation in re-pairing the same pair the following year if producing quality chicks, pairings would be selected on pedigree first and then visual and they use buff hens before a year old other wise they will not breed well for you.

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John said he had learnt a lot from Sheila on genetics and pairing of birds and with John’s enthusiasm in showing the birds this has brought Sheila back out onto the show bench.

He said that show time meant preparing some 50 / 60 birds as a show team of which they liked to bench in excess of 30 birds to cover all the classes of colours they breed .On the day of a show he may be up as early as 3.30am with lights on in the bird room to allows the birds to feed before sorting out the show team of the day.

While still breeding some cages are broken down to accommodate young stock with view to start selecting show team for coming year. [Which proves the dedication by the partnership].

All members enjoyed a very good informative meeting.

Annual General Meeting 2006

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The meeting was called to order at 8.05pm and everyone was welcomed by our Chairperson.  Apologies were received from R Hutchins, N Darley, G Cornwall and C Ives. The minutes of the E.G.M were distributed and read by all and, with no matters arising, we continued with the AGM by asking our President, Mick Freeborn, to give his report. He started by thanking all the elected Committee Members and others that had helped to support the club throughout the year and kept it running and moving forward once more with monthly newsletters and an updated Northdowns web site.

Mick Freeborn then asked Gerald Binks to come forward and receive the Chain of President for coming year.

Gerald thanked Mick for all he had done in helping Northdowns BS survive and become a good, active, friendly bird club once more.  He said he had been busy over the past couple of years, but now had time to put something back into what he called his club and said how nice to see a founder member at the AGM [Ken Trapnell].

Continued below................

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Chairperson report: Chris Angus-Smith said she had enjoyed the year very much and that having good speakers made it even better. She went on to thank her committee for all their hard work during the year.

General & Membership Secretary’s report: Tony Cash started with an apology for not keeping to protocol and club rules with regard to calling the AGM, as time and a hip operation had taken its toll.  He said the club had picked up half a dozen members during the year and that, coupled with other guests coming along to meetings, proved we were heading in the right direction.

He confirmed that the hall was booked for the year 2006 on the last Friday of each month, with the October meeting being our Members show on Saturday 28th 7.30-5.30.

He said that all patronage had been given out to clubs who applied for it, although one set was returned because of virus rules canceling their show. The programme is currently being sorted by Ricky Watts with some very interesting names being banded about? [As soon as I know, you will]

The secretary then took questions from the floor and hoped he satisfied all in his answers.

Treasurers Report: Will Bien apologised that his accountant was away and he hadn’t received the final accounts in time for meeting.

He continued to give a brief of current bank figures as follows:

Current Account 400.00         Savings Account 1,040.00.

He said there had been trouble with the bank and signatures and that he had been there several times to try and sort it out.  However. The accounts would be distributed as soon as they had been audited. 

The Chairperson stepped down so the President took the chair for the election of Chairperson:  Election of officers shown on the Officers page.

As the AGM was over early (9pm), Gerald took to floor and told various interesting stories of events in the past [Very amusing to all].

Well done to all as we raised 31 on raffle and 10 on refreshments during the evening.

Your Treasurer will be at February meeting to collect your subscriptions.

Don’t forget to come and see Ron Pearce’s slide show of Marcell and his birds, bird rooms and more; it’s the same show they gave in New Zealand and its very good!