Cockatiel Inbreeding:

0ne problem often overlooked by Cockatiel breeders is inbreeding: the frequent breeding of offspring back to their parents, or worse, to each other. There are several theories regarding inbreeding. And although necessary on some occasions, it should not be attempted by the novice breeder. Inbreeding produces lethal genes and traits which, if they survive, may be perpetuated down the line. Such practices may also impair the overall health and vitality of chicks produced: the exact opposite of what was intended when they were bred. Novice breeders may become perplexed where the resulting chicks are not the large, healthy, long-lived individuals they had hoped for. Perhaps too little thought is given to the source of new breeding stock. The source of stock is of paramount importance, but is usually underestimated, since the fancier feels he is only raising pets. This sentiment could not be more wrong. You should not buy inferior stock just because you are not breeding to show. On the contrary! I think that the quality of a bird, especially that of a beloved pet, would be even more important. The owner wants a pet which is healthy, full of vitality, and of a sound nutritional background. He or she wants one which comes from well-nourished generations, with a capacity to fight off disease and be long-lived, and which has a pleasing colour and size.

Runt of the litter:
So wouldn't we all tend to avoid a small, less robust, or less vital individual. Some are tempted to choose the runt of the litter, but it is doubtful that they can expect long life or strength from such an individual. Certainly, it would not he considered show stock. Then, why should we wish to use such an individual for foundation breeding stock, even if only for pet stock. True, there is no need to run out and pay several hundred dollars for each bird in order to do any breeding. And certainly the good advice of beginning with less expensive stock when first starting out is still well-heeded. However, many breeders of exhibition lines would be more than happy to sell you their culls or "non-keepers" at affordable prices. Such culls are usually superior in many ways to pet stock and generally come with a pedigree card documenting their ancestry, including the lines from which they were produced. Certainly, one should consider such birds when selecting foundation stock for future breeding. Such breeders of quality lines are usually members of their national specialist society and may easily be located through the advertisements in magazines. On the other hand I have heard some breeders refer to lesser quality birds as "rubbish". In my opinion, there are no "rubbish birds - just hard-hearted or unknowledgeable breeders who are responsible for producing lesser quality birds. Such birds will only produce others of their kind, unless they can be upgraded by breeding them to higher quality stock. Eventually, subsequent generations will show the improvements in their line. The pet breeder must make a conscious decision before embarking on the hobby of breeding birds - whether for one pet, or one thousand - about what kind of quality bird he or she wants to bring into this world. Although you may not think the offspring you produce will be used for any other purpose other than your own, it is likely that some individuals will end up as a child's precious pet, or perhaps siring someone's special companion bird. This alone should inspire a potential breeder to take a hard look at the responsibility of selecting stock which is both healthy and of a good quality. Much to your amazement the bird might even become part of someone else's foundation breeding stock as they enter the hobby. And it is not unusual for such birds to play a part in a fancier's plans when he starts breeding for the show bench.

E-Mail: berniehansen@sympatico.ca



Hamilton & District Budgerigar Society Inc.