Thursday, May 12, 2011

This morning I did something I had not done in a while.  I transferred a mated pair with their nest-box (and an egg) from their garden aviary to my only indoor aviary.  

Before I explain why, I should mention that prior to the year 2000, I would regularly transfer pairs with eggs or chicks from my home to that of my close friend, Roland Wee.  He lived in a bungalow about 100 metres from my home and we had an arrangement that I would mate the birds and then transfer them and their eggs or chicks to his home for him to care. This went on for about 3 years.  What we did seems crazy in retrospect, but we never had any problems with the birds.

Nowadays, Roland no longer keeps birds and he has little interest in them.  We do meet though and have a meal every once in a while.
Roland and I used to band our chicks with the initials “R&D”.  I still use these bands as they are the ideal size for shamas and I cannot get this exact size anymore.

The pair that I transferred to the indoor aviary had been together for some time in the garden aviary.  Although the nest was built, there were no resulting chicks.  I attribute this to the male being wild-caught and not being used to the close proximity of other male shamas.

I had got him some time last year through my very good friend William.  The owner had obtained the bird from William on the promise that if I wanted it, he would let me have it at his cost.

After William introduced me to the owner, I inquired, how much he would want for the bird.  I knew that he had purchased it at William’s cost price of S$1,800.00.  He had also molted it and kept it for some time. 

He said that the price was not important and that he was merely fulfilling his promise to William in agreeing to let me have the bird. I asked if it was OK for me to take the bird at S$2,000.00.  He readily said “yes”.

I was touched by his sincerity and wanted to reciprocate. I told him that I would mate his bird to one of my females and, in addition to paying him for it, I would give him a male chick from the pair.  It was therefore important to me that his male produces at least one male chick.

And so I took the bird.  He has beautiful curved 10” tails,  He also has good structure, a strong character and good song.  After his molt in my care, I placed him in an outdoor breeding aviary with a suitable female.  Like I said, the pair had no resulting chicks. 

I transferred the pair to the indoor aviary because I have had the most success in breeding shamas in it.  I think there are 3 reasons for this.  Firstly, being indoors, the temperature is relatively constant.  Secondly, I don’t keep in-form shamas close by when I use the indoor aviary for breeding.  Finally, I can observe the pair from the comfort of a chair opposite the aviary and this allows me to make adjustments to their care and nutrition if necessary.

I will write further if I have anything to report.

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