Monday, December 23, 2013

Preparing for competition

The last video that I uploaded of Skyhawk, (recorded last Wednesday, 3 days after the competition), showed him to be active and singing.  However, he had not yet fully recovered from the competition as you will no doubt note if you compare his performance in this video with the earlier videos on this blog.  You will notice that his voice in the latest video is a little ragged and not as melodious.

It took another 2 days, i.e. until Friday evening, for the voice to fully recover.  By last Saturday, when I had 2 visitors with their shamas, he seemed to have fully recovered.

I expect that Skyhawk will be in good form for the competition this coming Sunday.  I have no reason to think that he will not do well though I must qualify that I am still a newbie in competitions and lack the experience to be able to accurately assess the readiness of a bird for competition.

For the forthcoming competition, I am caring for Skyhawk in the usual way - dry food during the day with live food only in the evening.  His cage in the home is also where it has been for several weeks, i.e as far away from the other singing shamas as possible. Too often, we change the food or the bird's environment to the bird's detriment in the 1 to 2 weeks before a competition, in the expectation that "better" food and more care will improve the bird's performance. I think that it is more important to have consistency and this is what I am trying out.

No matter how Skyhawk performs this coming Sunday, I would wish to enter him for another competition soon after that, say sometime in late January or early February, next year.  This would give me the opportunity to test his consistency if he does well in the competition or to try to remedy any perceived deficiencies if he does not do well.  Unfortunately, as at today, I understand that no shama competition is scheduled for January or early February next year.  This leaves me with the perennial problem of whether to breed Skyhawk after Sunday's competition or to continue to keep him for another competition, the date of which is uncertain.

Apart from Skyhawk, I would like to compete Jazz and Goose during the first half of next year. Jazz has just completed his third molt and will need at least another month or so for his form to rise suficiently, so he will not be in time for the competition this Sunday.  I expect that he can be competed from mid-February next year.  There is much to do in the meantime as I need to get him used to vehicle travel and the presence of people and shamas.

I began Jazz's training yesterday.  I transferred him from the aviary to the cage and took him for a drive to Michael's home.  As I do not have a van or station-wagon his cage could not be placed upright in the vehicle.  Instead, it must be placed length wise so the cage lies on its side on the rear seat of the car.  This is always more stressful for the bird than if the cage is upright but Jazz showed no visible signs of stress from the journey.

Goose is presently undergoing his 3rd molt and the new tails are about 3".  He is a direct son of Ballet Dancer with a young female. He is molting well and should complete his molt by the end of February next year.  His training can only begin after his molt is completed. I hope to be able to train him and have him ready for competition from mid-April next year but the training may need to take longer as he is a bit wild and will need more training than Jazz.

BTW, I am looking for a male lovebird with a longish song so that my shamas can learn its song.  If anyone has a lovebird that sings for at least 1/2 minute and would be prepared to sell it, please let me know.  Presently, some of my shamas have learnt the Samyong song and also a very melodious song of a pied shama that I acquired about 6 months ago.  I would like them to also learn the chittering song of the lovebird which can be very nice when sung by the shama.

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