Pairing Birds



When selecting birds for the breeding season there are two separate tasks that have to be considered

1)      Selecting compatible pairs that will produce one or more chicks superior to either parent.

2)      Placing these birds into an environment that is clean and free from health threats

It is logical to prepare the breeding cabinets and nest boxes prior to pairing up so that selected pairs can be inserted into the cabinet straight away. Some breeders like to insert the cock first and then the hen some time later and then add the nest box a few days later. I have found that if both birds are fit then they will get down to business as soon as they are given the environment to breed. It is the most prominent of their natural urges.


It is pointless pairing the birds unless you have readied the Breeding Cabinets and Nest Boxes prior to selecting your pairs for the coming breeding season. Unclean breeding cabinets and nest boxes are the breeding ground not only for your birds but they can be the breeding ground for bacteria, mite and disease if not thoroughly cleaned and treated prior to inserting the birds.

I use all wire Breeding Cabinets, they may promote better breeding stimulus with eye contact of other breeding pairs, I use them primarily for there ease of maintenance

I water blast them using a Karcher Gurney . Both the wire and perches, when dry I replace any worn perches using ½ Inch square timber. I round the edges with a rasp and sand smooth. The perches are secured with cable ties at each end to ensure they are steady underfoot.

To each Cabinet I add

Finger drawer with Canundra Soluble grit (Available from Ellenbee)

Iodine nibble block

Peg to hold Silver beet


Seed my standard three millet mix

I feed a tablespoon of soft food (soaked oats and wheat, 4:1 ratio) soaked in a weak solution of Milton for 24 hours when washed and allowed to sprout together with a teaspoon of mixed grated vegetables and hard boiled egg (carrot, corn, beetroot, snow peas) every day until chicks arrive, then twice a day, plus a finger drawer of Fred Sherman soft food. (His recipe is on my website)

Nest Box

Clean nest and concave after use this usually involves scrubbing the concave. I seal the concave with a 10/1 mixture of bondcrete and water.

The nest box is soaked in Sanichick when dry I insert the concave and add wood shavings and give it all a light spray with vetafarm AIL, this protects the nest from mite and settles any dust in the wood shavings.


Before a pair goes into the breeding cabinet the following boxes have to be ticked to ensure the best chance of producing the desired chicks.

I use a nucleus system i.e. I determine the number of each variety cock birds I keep, say it is 10 for Spangles I then rate them from 1 to 10. Each year when I cull, a new bird or birds must be good enough to replace one or more of the ten.

The number 1 rated cock is selected from the nucleus

The first box to be ticked is

Breeding condition. Is the selected cock fit?

I then select related Hens that are in breeding condition, this is where computerised records are most useful, what if the one is not in condition?  I will generally pick another hen that is fit, but if I am very keen on the pair I will place the hen in the Cabinet without a nest box for up to a week and then introduce the cock if all is well then the nest box is added a few days later.

Feather type (yellow to buff)   (Inter to Inter) (Inter to buff) (Never yellow to yellow)

Note:-When breeding with outcrosses or splits always ensure that the Split or Xcross is a better bird than the one you are trying to improve. This is a mistake I often see.


When birds are being judged on the show bench they need to catch the Judges eye from the get go. The bird has to have impact to do this. It needs to stand upon the perch and blow its clean head showing off its deep mask and big spots. This will get it to the top spot and it is then up to the others to try and dislodge it, what gives the bird Impact are the next set of boxes to be ticked.

Perch Angle One or both must have the correct angle on the perch. I do not pair two perch ‘slumpers’ together

Clean Cap Flecking on one partner only (When culling I allow only on hens unless it is a super cock) it makes pairing so much simpler.

Lift and Blow in the Cock and head width in Hen I like to breed with hens that look like Hens large cock headed hens are usually a disaster in the breeding cabinet

Depth and width of mask I prefer to have Cocks with a deep mask mated to Hens with a wide mask if possible

Size of spot These count more in the Impact department than they do in the point scoring total


Markings and Colour Clear definition of colour in the markings particularly in the wing, and intensity of body colour

Variety Colour, variegation, and varietal features  and then taken into consideration to complete the picture.

When all the boxes have been ticked the birds are then introduced to the breeding cabinet and then wait for the unexpected tricks that the little demons test our patience with.

My favourites

Images of your prize birds