Thursday, August 7, 2008

Training the Mata Puteh by Jeffrey Low

To speed up the development of [the Oriental White-eye] you may want to try this:

Bring them at least once a week to gatherings (chai). If the form is not up to a certain level, the birds will not chai but there is no need to worry about it in the beginning. Putehs are different from other types of softbill songbirds in that they are not solitary nor territorial by nature. A young shama when over-exposed to intimidating surroundings like that of a chai arena may be stressed to the extend that it will affect its form developement later, but not the puteh. A puteh that is not ready for chai may in the beginning shows sign of being intimidated but this will not affect its development of its form later. A reasonably good puteh, with patience, will develop its form when regularly exposed to environments of the chai arena after overcoming its initial reluctance to chai. Of course, there are instances that no matter how much patience you have, a particular puteh will never chai and can only buka at home. The reason is this type of puteh is most likely a very low ranking individual in the pecking order of a flock of birds ( plse don't ask me for scientific studies to substantiate this theory). Now, bringing up the bird's form is not necessarily for the sake of competitions. as hobbyists, most of us would want to see that our birds are in optimal form even if it means just appreciating them at home.

If there is no chai places conveniently located around you, the next best alternative is to bring the bird out as often as you can. For example, when you are going to the neighbourhood coffee shop for a drink, bring them along and hang somewhere while you are enjoying your coffee. Bring them along when you are walking to the nearby provision shop to buy groceries. In other words, the more frequently they move around instead of staying stagnant in one place (your home), the better for them. Even the best of putehs when kept only at home, will not be at its peak. The reasoning behind this: unlike a territorial bird that stay put in its territory to defend it, putehs travel long distances in flocks from the time day breaks, foraging for food far and wide. Each time they stop, they will eat, chirp, buka etc maintaining contact and confirming their pecking order in the flock vocally. This is what hobbyists base their training methods upon to bring up the form of the bird to peak condition. It is about flowing along with the nature of the bird.


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