Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Preschool - Developing Balance and Coordination

One German roller is perching in the swing while another is about to perch in it. Note their small swing is attached to the ceiling.

This most recently weaned German roller is perching in a fantastic singing position, on his very first day with a swing!

The larger swing, for Borders, Staffords and Colorbreds, has holes that are 3 1/2 inches in diameter and width of 1/2 inch. The smaller swing for German rollers, has a diameter of 2 1/2 inches and a width of 3/4 inch.

The narrow width encourages birds to stand upright while the wider width encourages them to lay down while they perch.

Hooks can be added to adjust the swing lower in the cage so that the Borders, Stafford and Colorbred are encourage to stand upright while they perch.

Learning to Land and Perch on a Swing Teaches Balance and Coordination - Fifth Principle

Coordination and balance skills are important acquired skills for birds whether for our enjoyment, for grace in the show cage, or successful mating. Some birds seem to develop these qualities naturally but all can benefit from some developmental training. The goal is for the bird to fly to a moving swing and perch while keeping its proper position even when the swing moves.

Birds that win shows distinguish themselves by keeping their confirmation even when they move. The more comfortable they are with movement and form the better they will show!

To begin, start with the swings being stationery so that they do not move when the bird perches in them. The smaller holed one for the German roller should be attached to the ceiling while the larger one for the other birds should be hung just above their regular perches. Place some additional perches strategically so that the birds are close enough to initially hop to the hole.

After a day or two when they are filling the holes and comfortable with perching on the stationery swing, free it so that it will swing easily. Then after they love the swinging movement, move the additional perches further from the swings until they are flying to the swing.

Once they are comfortable with flying to the swing remove the extra perches so that are flying upward to the swing. The Borders, Staffords, and Colorbred should then be introduced to a single occupant swing that will move even easier, even moving as they are landing. After mastery of this skill, the Borders should have perches replaced so that they are again encouraged to hop to the swing so that they will keep their confirmation while hopping.

Typically, smaller sized birds master swings and balance/coordination must quicker than larger ones. It is so impressive to watch a particularly clumsy Border develop grace in their movement with some swing training!


Anonymous said...

Very nice! Is there a specific size that should be used for an American Singer bird? Not that I'm showing mine, but I would think that any training like this would be good!


Anonymous said...

Hi Linda,

Simply love your innovation!

This makes alot of sense especially for Borders. I have seen on more than one occasion how a perfectly normal Border can lose its balance in a show cage, even whilst it is standing on a stationery flat surface. When you handle the cage it is even worse. Immediatly they lose conformation and type! I have seen how some other fanciers have tried to teach the birds balance, by placing the birds in show cages and hanging them with a wire rod from a regular hook attached to the birdroom ceiling. This then also teaches balance as when the bird moves in the show cage it moves and they must learn to balance themselves in it! I do think that training them in small flights with the perches you recommend can teach the skill a whole lot earlier. I will definately be trying it out. I can just imagine with how much more agility the cocks will be able to mount the hens, especially the clumsy but beloved Border cocks!

Fantastic blog!

Linda Hogan said...


In South Africa, you are coming into breeding season. Even though your Borders are show cage trained, they will certainly benefit from some swing training before the approaching show season.

I appreciate your comments, they really give a sparkle to this blog!

Linda Hogan said...


American singers are expected to sing in an upright position so use the larger hole swings and regular cage swings.

Another advantage to the community swings is that it helps keep the other cocks in the cage from disturbing a singing bird.