Thursday, July 17, 2008

Choosing a Taimong

Posted: Sun Aug 19, 2007 6:18 pm Post subject: Choosing a taimong


I bought a taimong (juvenile shama) today for S$280.00. It has tails of 4¾”. I know you will want to know why I paid such a high price since the average price of a taimong in the shops at this time is about S$150.00. No particular reason, I guess, except that I liked the bird’s structure and it is better than those I have seen in the shops.

Why did I buy a taimong when I have more than enough from my own breeding. Well, it has been several years since I had kept a taimong that I had not bred and I wanted to compare the development of such a bird under my care with those that I have bred this year.

With regard to my shamas, the rule of thumb is that its tails after the first molt are likely to be about twice the length of its taimong’s tails. With regard to wild-caught taimongs, the difference in the tail lengths are likely to be more variable. There was another taimong with tails of 5” that was available and that I compared with the one that I bought. As my thought processes may be of some interest to those who are considering buying a taimong, I set these out below.

My initial choice was the taimong with 5” tails. The fact that its tails were 5” was important since my experience suggests that 5” seems somehow to divide the shamas with potentially longer tails from the others. When you think about it, I think you will be able to see why this might be so. Most wild-caught male taimongs have tails of 3¾” to 4¾”. If a taimong has tails longer than the average, even if it is only ¼”, it is suggests that it has the genes for longer tails.

It is important when choosing a shama that it be thin-feathered and not thick-feathered. Look at the tail feathers. If they seem to be semi-transparent against the light then the bird is thin-feathered. In this regard, both birds were thin-feathered.

I then compared the heads which should be large. The taimong with shorter tails had a better head. When, it came to the beaks, there was little to choose between the two. The beak should resemble the shape of a grain of rice and it should not be too large and in this respect, both birds seemed OK.

The 5” taimong was in its own cage while the other was in a large cage with 4 other taimongs. I placed the cage of the 5” taimong in a quiet place and watched it. I was waiting to see it stretch so that I could judge the length of its neck and its posture. However, it did not do so, probably because its condition was not all that good. The taimong with shorter tails, however, clearly had a well defined neck and better posture. It also had longer legs and longer body. You can tell that the bird has a long body if the wings sweep well back over the tails. It was also more active and alert. It’s true that the comparison was not completely fair since the longer tailed taimong was not in as good condition but I had to make my choice within the time I had available.

Considering all the pros and cons, I decided to take the taimong with shorter tails. On returning home, I transferred it to an aviary where there are 4 female taimongs from my breeding this year. I hope they do not bully it. I do not expect that I will keep it for too long. Eventually, perhaps after its first molt, I will likely give it away.

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