Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Gain A Competive Edge For Showing Birds

This time of year focus is on showing our birds. We want our birds to be in peak pre-breeding condition.


Over the summer total day exposure to light was dropped to 9 hours per day to reset our birds  light sensitivity. Lengthen light exposure and birds sensitivity to the change is one of the most important factors to condition our birds for breeding when optimal day length is 14.5 hours. Show day length should start at a minimum of 10 hours and not be more than 10.5 hours by the end of show season. This keeps the birds with best confirmation which they lose when they come into breeding condition.

If your day length is less than 10 hours increase day length by 15 - 30 minutes per week to reach 10 hours. If you are on more than 10 hours, leave it the way it is as dropping the light can precipitate a molt.


Birds lose weight when they are shown. Birds that are too thin should stay home and be fattened with an additional 1/4 soft white bread placed between the cage bars daily and some hulled sunflower chips (pieces) added to their seed mix.

A couple of shows and moderately fat birds will look about right. To hasten weight loss, feed untreated grass seed, Blatner's Siskin mix, millet, or petamine if available.


I like to give the same additive in the water for two consecutive days. I rotate with Boost 250 dog vitamins, BioDecken optimix metabolism (trace minerals) and Dr. Rob Marshall's KD Powder over the weekend. Once a month, I give Dr. Rob Marshall's S76 on two consecutive days. S76 treats various mites including normal ones that live of a bird and only get out of hand when the birds are stressed. Even if your birds are in great condition, after 24 hours they will look even better, piped tails tighten feathers, look at me attitude! I have a recent post (August 7, 2015) concerning S76 and while at the San Diego Show, I asked if anyone had tried S76 as I recommended. Mike responded he had and it was just as I said, an unbelievable positive change in all his birds, even the ones that looked very good already!


Show diet should be primarily canary seed and dry perle morbide (available from Laraine at lady gouldian, see blog).

For daily extra, I make up cous cous with some coconut oil and moistens with water, moistened perle morbide, thawed frozen peas and plain dry nestling food for the right not too wet consistency.


Tame birds show best. An easy way to tame them is 1/4 slice soft white bread placed between the wire. After a couple days they look for it when you approach the cage and a few more days they will approach to get a bite while it is still in your hand!

Show cages should be attached to the birds regular cage so they can enter at will. I prefer to start all birds with Border cages and then move later the last week to their show cages which may have solid backs.

Be sure an expose the birds to strong light like they will experience on the show bench. Birds can lose confirmation when under the bench lights. Winners keep their form, even as they move on the bench!


Anonymous said...

Hi Linda,

Some great advice.
Just one thing I would disagree with.
Tame birds do NOT show best.
There is a difference in having birds show trained and tame.

In the Border we are looking for a bird that moves from perch to perch and is active and CONFIDENT in the cage.

When a bird becomes too quiet and too confident they become tame and do not show at all.
Some cock birds may actually become aggressive and start to "attack" when the judge tries to "work" them.

So in short, confidence yes, tameness..no

Linda Hogan said...

Thanks so much for responding, I really get tired of not hearing from anyone! By taming I also mean training to perform in the show cage. Confident is better than just tame.