Selectively bred Show Budgies vs. Pet/American/Non-selec.
When it comes to show budgies, obviously most breeders use line breeding with perhaps limited outcrossing in order to achieve better efficiency in securing the desired outlook of the offspring.
Now, while I do enjoy the aesthetic aspect of the show budgies and admire and appreciate the work the breeders have put forth into creating these magnificent specimen( in fact, I've always wanted to become a hobby breeder myself!) , I often wonder if any of these modifications and changes we've made to the bird is actually hurting the breed.
For example, I've adopted a pitbull terrier from a shelter a few years back. She's incredibly sweet and smart, and her appearance is that of a classic pitbull terrier (also known as American Staffordshire Terrier.) The breed standard is that of a dog approximately 40-50 lbs- a small, medium sized dog.
However, these days, when you search for the breed, you will see them weighing in at 100 lbs or more, because people cross breed them with other large breeds so they can create a bigger dog with bigger head, bigger chest, bigger everything.
Sadly, this has turned a great breed whom by standards is a high energy, athletic, and agile breed into something that often time have trouble even breathing after a few run around the park.
Now, I personally have only owned an American pet budgie when I was very very young, and all my assumptions about today's show budgies could be completely wrong, but from a layman's eyes, the show budgies certainly are a lot bigger, have larger bone structure, heavier coat/more feathers - sometimes it looks like there's so much feathers that their eyes are completely covered by it. And to be frank, all of these modifications surely are not part of nature's design, and they certainly are not for a breed's survival in the wild.
Now, my question is, compared to a regular pet American or wild budgie. Is the English show budgie a lot less active? more prone to health risks that tends to plague a breed that has been overly bred for its look? Like the countless breeds of canine that have been bred for their looks since back in the days in Britain when dogs became a status symbol and pedigree became a thing.
From your experience, what are some noticeable differences between a show budgie and an american/australian pet budgie of today that have not been as stringently bred? aside from the obvious differences in appearance? For example, activity level? flying ability, vocal/talking ability, etc, etc.
I have an English show Budgie and he is really active and has a huge personality... I bought him from a show breeder..
In the past I bought pet store budgies and I had to take them to the avian vet all of the time but the one from the pet store only lasted 4 and a half years..
Then I got another budgie from a show breeder and I had buster for 6 and a half years but he got cancer and I lost him he had an operation and that didn't even save him only had him a couple of months after the lump was removed..
So I did a bit of research and found another show English breeder and I bought Indigo he is just on 3 years old really healthy and as I said so active... He is friendly and goes to everyone... This breeder I bought Indigo from does not let you wear shoes in the aviary which is a good thing... I love the English breed Budgies..
Indigo flies really well around the house he has a strong blood line and he is amazing at talking says up to 8 words in a sentence and says over 50 different sayings and he puts the word yes in the right place Everytime he knows what the word means...... You can check out Indigos videos if you like....
I love English budgies - I love all budgies, of course, but especially the English. I have them as companions/pets primarily. From what research I did in the past, I did read in several places the impression that they had a shorter average lifespan, possibly because of increased cancer risk. This isn't based on data, as far as I know, but is only anecdotal.
Having said that, my first pair of English were bought from an independent pet supply store. I didn't know much about them at the time and was told they were two males - looking at pictures I see they were two females, age unknown. One died about 2 years later from an undiagnosed bleeding disorder The other died about 3 years later from gastric cancer (we did a necropsy). Now I have 3.5 English budgies (one seems to be a mix with pet type) and am keeping fingers crossed.
Again, just my impression, but English seem a little more laid back. They're definitely brilliant, playful, vocal and fun. My one male (who was handfed) talks as well. An avian vet friend told me that, regardless of English vs pet type, the normals tend to be much more hardy than some mutations.
Any time you decrease the size of a gene pool (ie. a breeding-stock/selecting mates based on isolating traits) you inherently run a greater risk of producing less-fit offspring. However, this risk is relatively small to begin with, unless you're inbreeding your line.
The other issue is whether the trait hinders the bird in any way... Take long-finned ornamental fish for example... They have a harder time swimming and maneuvering because of their unnaturally long tails, and they're vulnerable to common fin diseases and fin-nipping from tank mates.... But, they still live long and healthy lives like their wild-type counterparts, and it's the only life they've ever known, so...
Undoubtedly it has some effect which is less desirable than a wild-type... But with the exception of traits which are known to carry inherent defects I think as long as the bird is healthy and isn't disabled by the trait they're perfectly capable of being just as happy and fulfilled as a wild-type pet.
Not a bird breeder, just speaking from a point of basic genetics in general.
I have had both pet type and show type and love them all, each has it advantages and disadvantages. Having said that, as beautiful as I find the good quality show birds I do feel that we are not doing them any favours. They are much less active and agile, prone to obesity and the many related issues that go with being over weight. I imagine that the extreme feathering around the face inhibits their ability to read body language and be able to be fully aware of their environment also.
I am not opposed to breeding for showing but for me if we have bred any animal to the point that it wouldn't survive in it's natural environment (if it was raised there, not if it was tame then released - which would be death for most budgies pet or not) then I think we have harmed not helped it. The same applies to dogs, poultry, cats etc.
Of course that is just me and my opinions! Which I generally keep to myself.....
This was a question I put to our Aussie Bird Whisperer, Dr. Ross Perry. He is not a fan of the show bred budgie.
Because they are laid back, generally they don't move about as much and are certainly more prone to obesity. This puts pressure on their joints and internal organs that have not caught up with the "selective breeding" program that makes them bigger, fluffier etc etc.
Of course there will be people who have English bred budgies who they think are fighting fit. I just tend to agree with an avian vet who has been in business, studying birds, since the 70's.
Please don't assume that I don't like English bred guys. They're gorgeous I'm just answering the original question.
G'day! My name is Lynda and I am a practicing Budgieoholic! I have no intention of EVER changing that!
I have an English budgie named Sydney along with my two American parakeets who is actually a show line cull, because he is too small and not up to par in regards to his... "poofiness" I guess you'd say to have been bred or used for showing. I actually think he's a much more fit specimen though, he has the show budgie looks but it's not over-done like in "show quaility" birds. He's large but not enormous and his feathers aren't so large they completely block out his eyesight. Given space he's no less active than any other budgie. He's the perfect English budgie for me!