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Record Keeping

Keeping Records

Ringing our Birds

Keeping Records


Cinnamon CockRecord keeping is a very important part of bird breeding. It helps you to keep track of individual birds and their offspring, when they bred, how they bred, any details that might help you in future breeding with individual birds... the list goes on. No matter how much we think we can keep in our heads, there is just too much information that should be retained. So if you don’t already have some form of record-keeping or recording system--a "breeding register", you should really think about starting one.

Cinnamon Cockatiel

To start your breeding register you can go high tech with a computer program designed to do everything for you at the push of a button, or you can go low tech with an exercise book and a pencil (at least you won’t have to worry about power blackouts or the Millennium bug)!

The basic format is really the same no matter how you choose to record it.

Step 1 - Identify Your Breeding Pairs

Give them a reference number and then record a list with each pair and corresponding number (this could be at the back or front of your book). Alternatively, if your birds happen to have names, e.g. Max & Mabel, you can use their names to keep track of them.

Step 2 - Number Your Aviaries

Sketch out a floor plan of your garden and put each aviary in its place. Then, starting from left and moving in order toward the right, give each aviary a number. While this isn’t absolutely necessary it comes in handy when you are approaching breeding season and planning which pair will you put in which aviary.

Step 3 - Draw Up a Book

Draw up your book, or Breeding Register, along the lines of the sample below, entering the details of the breeding birds, one pair per page, along with any comments relating to the pair, their ring numbers, origins etc.

BREEDING REGISTER

Aviary Number...................Pair No...................Pair Number...................

COCK..................................................HEN.....................................................

Ring Number.......................................Ring Number......................................

Mutation.............................................. Mutation..............................................

Remarks............................................. Remarks.............................................
...........................................................................................................................
...........................................................................................................................

First egg laid:  Due Date............................Date Hatched............................

Description, Ring No., Sold to:
...........................................................................................................................
...........................................................................................................................
...........................................................................................................................
...........................................................................................................................
...........................................................................................................................
...........................................................................................................................
...........................................................................................................................

First egg laid:  Due Date............................Date Hatched............................

Description, Ring No., Sold to:
...........................................................................................................................
...........................................................................................................................
...........................................................................................................................
...........................................................................................................................
...........................................................................................................................
...........................................................................................................................
...........................................................................................................................

 

As you can see on this sample Breeding Register, everything is set out clearly and simply. At a glance, you will able to look up the details of a nest that you had even years before, with all the dates and details at your fingertips. Keeping a record of who you have sold each bird to can be very useful in a couple of instances. Firstly, when that person comes to you for another bird (because they were so happy with the first one), you will know exactly which bird you sold them, which pair it was from and its age. and you will know for sure that if they require an unrelated bird, you can be  absolutely positive that this is what you are selling them.

Secondly, if at some time the purchaser of your bird loses it, as long as your birds have been ringed with club or coded rings, then when the bird turns up we can track down the owner by contacting you, the breeder, to see who you sold it to. 

I think the trick to good record keeping is to keep your system simple and user friendly. Have your register (and a pen) in an easily accessible place, and always put it back in its proper place so that you know where to find it next time. Always record your details straight away; don’t think, "I’ll do it later", because what usually happens is that you will forget. Then, when you go to look up details when you need them, you will discover that you never got around to filling them in.

"First egg laid" and "due date" are two very important entries. We all know how quickly time flies, but if you have a pretty good idea when those eggs should start to hatch, you will be far more able to pick up any problems such as chicks being unable to hatch due to the eggs being too dry, or whether the eggs are even fertile. If you know the due date, you will know when they should start changing colour, and if they haven't,  it is a pretty good sign that they are clear and you need to start over. If you don't know the due date with certainty, this will be much more difficult for you to ascertain. You will also know when you have reached the point where the parent birds need to have their food intake increased in order to enable them to feed their nest of chicks.

Leg rings play a very important part in your breeding register. Without them, all the good bookkeeping in the world won’t help once birds from different nests but of the same colour are mixed together. This is especially important if you are putting together unrelated pairs for a buyer. It is not good enough to go by guesswork, you need to be able to guarantee that you are not selling someone two birds for the purpose of breeding that are in any way related.

Otherwise, the amount of information you choose to keep is really up to you. If you like the sample register I have put together, you can copy it, paste it into your word processing program, and print up a few copies, placing them in a  folder for your own use. It doesn’t get much easier than that.

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Ringing Our Birds

by Laura Turner

As beginners in the breeding world, we asked for a great deal of advice from "the experts". Whether we followed this advice was entirely up to us, but I feel that the advice I was given has been very valuable. If you ask the right people, you really can't go wrong, but it is very difficult to think of and remember everything. Nest of Mixed Chicks

One aspect of breeding that we found difficult was closed ringing our babies at 10-12 days. (We thought that some of them had been born with bigger feet than the rings allowed for.)

Nest of Mixed Chicks:
Normal; Pearl; 2 x Platinums; Platinum-Pearl

But we persevered, and the process actually does become easier, the more babies you handle.

I hand rear most of my baby cockatiels, and have found that record keeping is essential, and the ring number becomes the most important tool for tracking anything that happens with the birds.

All our hand-reared babies are sold with papers, and the ring is a vital part of this information. When people buy a baby we assure them that if it ever leaves their home and is found and identified by the ring number, the bird will be able to be returned.

GUESS WHAT? IT ACTUALLY HAPPENED!

Saturday
2.00 pm

Distraught phone call to us from the owner of one of our cockatiel babies. SHE'S LEFT HOME! After just 6 weeks. (Very tame, just exploring, but cannot be found.)

Saturday
2.30 pm

(After grief counselling) - phone call from us to the Australian National Cockatiel Society.

Saturday
6.30 pm

Phone call to Australian National Cockatiel Society from finder (quoting ring number).

Saturday
8.00 pm

Phone call from Australian National Cockatiel Society (Robyn) to link us up.

Saturday
9.30 pm

Both parties reunited by phone. (Apparently Jasper spent the night on the pillow of the people who found him.)

Sunday
7.30 am

Jasper home!

WHAT A GREAT SYSTEM!

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Australian National Cockatiel Society
P.O. Box 1248
Fortitude Valley, Qld  4006
AUSTRALIA

secretary@cockatielsociety.org.au

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