Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Rand Avicultural Society Exotic Bird Expo, Hillfox B&B markets Roodepoort, November 1st and 2nd, 2014

The Rand Avicultural Society, one of Johannessburg's oldest bird clubs, is again proud to announce it will be hosting its 5th annual Exotic Bird Expo on the 1st and 2nd November 2014! Visitors to the expo will be able to view a broad cross-section of birds kept and bred by RAS members, with a big emphasis on finches and doves. We will have around 10 avairies on display, each decorated with natural material. Each aviary will display a specific family of birds. Amongst the display of birds that can be viewed will be finches, doves and quail,both foreign from many parts of the world, as well as African species and no less than 60 South African species! We will also have some parrots on display. 

The aim of the expo is to promote aviculture in general, and to attract more members to our bird club and to this fascinating hobby that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. There will also be write-ups of the different bird-groups in an effort to educate the general public about these magnificent creatures! Whether you have ever kept birds before or would like to learn more about how to start, this will be the perfect opportunity! It's also a great place to share advice and tips earned through their experience. 

There will also be a section with birds for sale to compliment the expo, and a section for vendors who have bird related products for sale. This is a wonderful opportunity to obtain some quality birds mostly directly from our breeders. Entry to the Expo is FREE and we welcome new members, and invite interested parties to participate. If you would like to make use of this opportunity with all this "bird-traffic" and would like to sell any of your birds, please let us know asap as we are always in need of birds to sell! If you are selling any bird related products and would like to book as a vendor, feel free to contact us for more information. 

We look forward to having you join us on this "bird-filled" weekend! We will be open to the public at 10am. 

For further information, please contact:

Walter: 0825620819 

Mike: 082 452 4261

Ronald: 083 287 6195 (watsapp only)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Important Notice ----------Free Talk by David Dennisonn

Rand Avicultural Society would like to invite interested birdkeepers

to attend our next monthly meeting to be held at Honeydew Country Club Johannesburg  where we will be given a talk  by Founder of Avi Plus Bird Nutritional products, David Denisson.

The talk will be focussed on Bird Nutrition with the emphasis on causes and cures for infertility, as well as weaning certain birds off the need for livefood to rear their young.

David has kept and bred birds for over 60 years, has done a lot of scientific research on the subject  and has a wealth of knowledge covering this topic.

This is indeed a rare opportunity to hear it live, and get firsthand information.

If you are passionate about breeding your birds more successfully  you are most welcome to join us at 1930 0n Tuesday 26th January 2014 at Honeydew Country Club .

For further information please contact Mike Pidduck on 082 452 4261 or Walter Burgess at 082 562 0819

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Some Information on our Birds of the Year by some of our members

The Austarlian Galah by Siep Krol
  • Started 2 years ago with 7 pairs
  • Feeding routine
    • Morning: small seeds on floor
    • 1 teaspoon, per bird of soft  food:
      •  mixture of manna, millet, pellets, sunflower
      • tasted bread cut in pieces
      • wet brown bread
      • greens
  • Nesting materials
    • eucalyptus branches
    • long nests - fill +- 400/500 mm
  • Imprint easily on humans and become very demanding
  • Breed after +- 2,5 years
    • 20 - 22 incubation days
    • babies +-4 months in the nest
    • can handrear after 4/5 weeks
    • Aviplus vitamin mixture  plus seed every day
    • Egg yoke
  • Aviary
    • width 3m x length 7m x 3m height
    • 1/3 rd covered from rain

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


The Rand Avicultural Society, is again proud to announce that it will be hosting its second Exotic Bird Expo.

It was a huge success last year and visitors from many outlying areas of the country attended.

This year the Expo will be double in size and a new feature will be a bird market section, where bird keepers who have a surplus of birds, will have the opportunity of offering birds for sale to fellow bird keepers for breeding purposes.

There will also be a number of vendors who will be promoting various bird related products and services.

RAS is a generalist Bird Club and visitors can expect to see almost the full spectrum of birds From Finches to Canaries, Softbills to Doves and Ground birds and of course the ever popular Parrot family

These groups of birds will be on display for all to see.

We will also be hosting the Zebra Finch Society and the Gouldian Finch Society where some of the worlds most beautiful birds can be seen

The prime objective of the expo is to present and expose tp the general public the rewarding hobby of aviculture (especially for the benefit of the younger generation) and to also attract new members to the society.

Rand Avicultural Society has been in existence for more than 35 years and would welcome new members. We hold monthly meetings at the Honeydew Country Club, Johannesburg,  and provide a wonderful opportunity for likeminded members to meet , get to know each other, and talk and learn more about their birds.

The Expo will be hosted at B&B Markets, Trade Centre, Roodepoort, on October 22nd and 23rd and entrance is free.
From 09h30 to 16h00 both days

For Further information please contact Mike on 082 452 4261

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The latest Livefood for your birds

At our last meeting, One of our members, Robbie Ihlenveldt, gave a presentation on the breeding of Fly Maggots, as a source of live food for feeding to our birds.
When is comes to breeding Finches and Softbills, it is imperative in many cases to have a good source of livefood in order for the babies to be reared successfully. The traditional live food until recently has been Termites and Mealworms. Unfortunately due to development in the urban areas,termites have become difficult to obtain and mealworms can have undesirable side effects.
Here follows information on breeding Fly Maggots:-
Talk on Breeding Fly Maggots by Robbie Ihlenveldt
.Why maggots have been introduced to birds diet:
Live food is an imperative part of Finch and Softbill diets for breeding success
(i) Mealworms have a long (3month ) life cycle. Also contain a lot of fat leading
to fat birds. Fat/obese birds are poor breeders.
(ii) Flying ants are first prize but are difficult to obtain. Also contain a lot of fat.
(i) Termites: becoming more and more difficult to obtain due to new developments.

Hence introduction of Fly Maggots. Maggots are easy to propagate, have a short lifespan and are clean without much smell. They also have a high content of
protein (approx28%) (see Pics)

PIctures of hatched Maggots and Fly Breeding Box

Robbie suggested that parrot breeders might like to try dry freezing maggots and adding to soft food to see if they will eat them Can only do good if they do.
Robbies Breeding cage is very large, (See Pic ) designed so as to provide temperate conditions. If heat near the lamp gets too hot flies can move away.

Sugar is the only food breeding flies require for energy needs.
They also need water, obtained using foam sponge soaked in water dish.
The required temperature is 26-34deg C
Apart from sugar and water as mentioned, You`ll need 2 containers in which the breeding medium is placed.
A mixture of Milk Powder and Digestive Bran ( 5% --20% milk powder) is mixed together with water until just damp and placed in 2 containers and pressed down.
These are placed inside the fly cage. The female flies will lay eggs in this medium which will hatch out within 2 days into maggots.
The normal house fly will lay minimum of 300 eggs.
Take out and replace the containers of Breeding medium every 2 days.
Every 2nd day leave 1 container inside the cage for 8-10 days, so as new flies can hatch out and continue the breeding cycle. There will eventually be a regular routine of harvesting newly hatched maggots and replenishing with 1 tub for continued breeding purposes.
Robbies Breeding cage has a recessed section in which tubs of hatched maggots can be kept warm for further growth until ready to be fed to the birds. The maggots can also be kept in a fridge to stifle their growth.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Thick Billed Weavers

An interesting sighting of a rather uncommon bird for this area (  Florida, West Rand ) has been sighted.
It is a small flock of about 20 Thick Billed Weavers (mostly hens and juveniles )
They seem to be attracted to the berries of the white Stinkwood tree in the garden .
It would be interesting to know if these birds have been spotted further west than the Roodepoort area
and if anyone has been successful in breeding them.
Do let us know. Heres a picture of some juveniles (note the yellow beaks)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Basic Guidelines and Rules for Keeping and Breeding Finches and Waxbills in Gauteng

Before buying any finches or waxbills, you will need to decide which species you want to keep, bearing in mind that these birds should all come from similar environments e.g. dry arid regions, forested regions etc.

Your next step is to find as much information as you possibly can on the birds you have decided to keep. Search the Internet, read books and magazines, ask known breeders, ask members of the club. Unfortunately information on some species will be difficult to find. However assistance can be obtained from experienced club members or from knowledge of the geographical regions that they are found in. By establishing which geographical region the birds come from, this will enable you to assess which foods are most predominant in your birds diets, namely grasses, fruit etc.

Before releasing any new birds into your aviaries first ensure that they are quarantined for at least 14 days. Quarantine could either take place in a specific aviary set aside for this purpose or in double breeders, this however depends on the amount of space you have or the finances you have available to create a quarantine area.

All new birds will be susceptible to stress and it is therefore imperative that this be eliminated as soon as possible so that they can settle down and recover. Whilst in quarantine you can treat these new birds for worms and other parasites etc. and ensure that they are healthy before releasing them into your aviaries, thereby avoiding contamination of your breeding stock.

 Action to be taken                                                                                                     Level of importance
Introducing new birds to your aviary.

1. Ring all new birds for future identification. Use colour code.                                                               2

2. Ensure that your aviaries provide shelter in the form of shrubs grasses, blou bos etc.
 where the birds can feel safe when threatened.                                                                                     1
3.When releasing new birds into the aviary, do this in the morning so that the birds can settle, locate food, water and shelter before sunset.                                                                                                     1

4. Provide termites and other forms of live food in abundance, as all waxbills
and finches rely heavily on live food, not only when breeding but also in their daily diets.                    1

5.A shallow birdbath is required to encourage bathing ; regular bathing
improves birds health and wellbeing..                                                                                                     1

6. Your aviary should be positioned in such a way as to provide as much sunlight
as possible for your birds as well as being protected from the elements.                                                1

7. Always ensure that there are enough sheltered roosting sites so that your birds can escape inclement weather and are able to roost in a sheltered environment at night.                                        1

8. Provide a low wattage night light in the shelter of the aviary to enable birds that have taken fright to settle. It also enables them to find food which enables them to regulate their body temperature in winter. A 15w globe is recommended.                                                                                                     1

9. Supplements such as Avi stress, Effective Micro-Organisms can be applied to the drinking water to boost immune systems and to combat harmful bacteria and enhance nutrition absorption.                    2

Summer Regimen. (Ensure all of the above are in place).

Fresh softfood is to be provided every day. This should include items like  grated carrot, and Brocolli, Garlic cloves,Cede mix, Avi-plus, sprouted  seed,   etc. This softfood should be protected from the elements. 1

Plant grass seed either directly in the aviary or in pots/trays as feed for your birds
 remembering that in the wild they feed predominantly on grass seed heads.
Protect the young grass growth from the birds, giving it a  chance to  develop                                      1

Provide live food in the form of termites, mealworms, fruit flies regularly.
During the breeding periods ensure that live food is always available.                                                  1

Plant Nasturtiums, Chick Weed, and Dandelion etc. to attract insects into your aviary as well as providing natural anti biotic when your birds feed on these plants.                                                        1

Always provide a variety of nesting materials and nesting sites so that the birds can
 choose where they feel more secure and to prevent squabbling.                                                          1

Always ensure that the group of birds being kept in one aviary are compatable to avoid intereference and bullying.                                                                                                                                            1

Winter Regimen.

There should not be any changes made to the Summer program for Winter as finches and waxbills normally breed from late Summer going into Winter. Birds from Central Africa as well as Northern Australia are predominantly Winter breeders due to the fact that their geographical areas are then cooler and more conducive to breeding.                                                                                                1

. It is most important that your birds have access to sheltered early morning sunshine in
 the winter to help them recover from a severely cold night.                                                                  1


As serious Aviculturists, we are responsible for the successful propagation of the species we keep. Soon these little gems may no longer be available to us so it is imperative that we apply all the knowledge we have in keeping them healthy and productive.
   It is also vital that any new experiences gained by Aviculturists are shared with club members and are documented for future reference.
  Due to the iimport and export bans  imposed by some countries, one can no longer rely on an
endless supply of birds and therefore it has become necessary to specialize and establish
excellent breeding stock amongst like minded aviculturists.

Level of importance
1. Absolutely Neccessary.
2. Necessary ( If possible).

RAS always welcomes new members. Should you like to know more about joining
Please email

Monday, March 21, 2011


A follower of our blog has the following queries about quails:-

We started an outdoor aviary 2 1/2 years ago with Zebra finches and common quails. They are all happy and have bred continuously.
    I have a few questions about quails and hope you can assist me or direct me to someone who can. I have been readling on the internet but have not found answers to my questions.
The scenario is:
From the original pair of quails we now have 7. The female quail has managed to raise 3 sets of chicks in this time despite the commom belief that they are not good mothers (first one, then 2 then another 2). The most recent hatched 34 weeks ago and there were 3 but one died in the first week.
They have mostly been female chicks. One, I think may be a male. In August 2010 the one young female laid eggs and sat for weeks - and was veru broody - and eventually after over 4 weeks I took them out as they were obviously not fertile. She has not laid eggs any since, but the original female has.
I have 3 questions:

1. The female quails (the older chicks) who are now reaching maturity - should I be buying another male quail for the aviary or will the original male fertilise their eggs too?

2. One of the older females' beak is very long - unusually long - and she can feed okay, but I feel it needs to be 'trimmed' of filed. Please guide me as to the correct thing to do?

3. I give them fresh spinach every day (that I grow in my garden - they are very fussy and will not acceot spinach bunches from the shops) but they do not seem to eat any other fruit or vegetables I put down. Is this usual?
I would appreciate your response.
Kind regards

Hi Clare,
Glad to hear your quails have been breeding, though the number bred over a 2 1/2 year period does seem to be lower than it shold be. A common problem with breeding results is often related to the age of the parent birds. For best results try matching birds that are about 1 year old. and the results should greatly improve.
The incubation period for Common Quails is 16-22 days. A lot of futile time can be saved by candling the eggs at the 10 day stage. If they are clear they should be discarded, and very often you may find the whole clutch infertile.
Its not usually a good idea to have more than 1 cock in the same aviary, as they can become very aggressive towards each other when wanting to breed. So I would recommend having 1 new young cock to not more than 2 of your young matured hens per aviary.The Cock may mate with both and they may both lay in the same nest.
Rather dispose of the original pair and any surplus offspring if you dont have another aviary or two to keep them separate. Always , when swopping or obtaing other birds, try and select birds that are not blood-line related to prevent interbreeding.

Regarding an overgrown beak, this can be rectified by using a sharp pair of scissors or nail clippers, and clip the beak back just above where the bloodline begins. This should be roughly the same length as the other mandible.

If you have chickweed, I`m sure you`ll find this will be devoured by the quails, though homegrown spinnach is also very good. Like humans they are partial to different things at different time of the year!

Lastly, if you arent already giving your quails softfood (eggfood) I suggest you do as this has a lot of nutritional value especially for breeding and raising baby quails. You could mix in grated carrots, and brocolli which is very good for them.
Hope this helps

Thursday, January 20, 2011


1 pair Indian Green Winged Doves, 1 pair Pigmy Doves, 1 pair Yellow billed Pruvian doves,
1 pair Zebra doves, ? dont know how many Burmese doves, and Barbary doves.
Contact John on     0781575469

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Breeding info of the Madagascar Lovebird (Agapornis Cana)

Hi Guys,

As there seems to be no usefull information available on the internet regarding the keeping and breeding of this beatifull bird, I have decided to share my experience of these birds with all the keen bird enthusiasts out there.

Some Facts:

-The Madagascar lovebird has been listed on SITES as "Vulnerable" or "Threatened".

-Only 7% of the natural forest remains in tact on Madagascar (Their natural habitat)

-These are the smallest of the nine Lovebird species and by far the most timid of the lot! Madagascars are in fact so placid by nature that they can be kept with finches!

-They prefer normal finch type seed (Millets etc)due to their small size.

Madagascar lovebirds should be kept as normal finches would. They are shy, timid and secretive. They are by far more of a challenge to keep than normal lovebirds. They do not seem to do well when kept in a colony setup as the females become quarrelsome when they start breeding.
I have noted that they tend to become egg-bound when breeding and therefore recommend that extra care should be taken during this period!

A wide variety of nesting sites should be made available. The following foto's shows some of the chosen sites made by my birds.

Living plant material should be made available at all times if you are hoping to breed these birds. They have a very peculiar way of collecting their nesting material. The female tears up leaves into small bits and tucks it into her feathers before flying to the nest. Inside the nest she will remove the leaves from her feathers and place the nesting material to her liking.

Please have a look at the video on this post to view this peculiar behaviour.

We should try our best to breed this species and increase their numbers, as they are indeed becoming very scarse! Only our best efforts in this regard will ensure the continued availability of these magnificent species!

My birds are kept in cubicle aviaries @ 1.5m x 3m x 2.2m high.

I currently have three pairs that are breeding, and will keep you guys informed of the progress.

Kindly note that the birds are picking leaves from the aviary next door - through the mesh!!!

Friday, December 31, 2010

Some Great Record Keeping Software

Hi Again.
Heres a very handy link for those of you who would like to beed birds successfully.
In order to do so, a very important aspect is record keeping.
Firstly it is very important to be able to identify your birds. Dont rely on your memory too much.
When your birds start breeding well and there are a lot of youngsters, its important to know who their parents are and where several babies are reared by one pair of parents, you need to be very careful not to
match siblings  together to breed at a later stage. This will inevitably lead to interbreeding deficiencies, deformities,  and may result in weaker and poorer performing birds, ( which incidently should never be sold as this just exacerbates the problem ) and a definite drop in your bird breeding success rate.

So its important to ring the babies according to a system, so that data can be recorded for each individual bird. In the case where its not pratical to ring babies in the nest for fear of parents deserting,
 or any other reason Coloured Split Plastic Rings may be used as these can easily be fitted after the birds have fledged.

So check this link out on a Record Keeping System for your birds; its about as good as it gets and is very comprhensive.   Click Here

Monday, December 27, 2010

Getting Started by building your first aviary

Now that the festive season is upon us and we are in holiday mode, you may have the desire to keeping a small collection of birds with the aim of managing and breeding them. You are sold on the idea but are not quite sure what is the best way to build an aviary or more for your birds.
      We at RAS drew up,  after a lot of research conducted by our Breeders Group, some basic specifications for building aviaries suitable for keeping and breeding birds . Bear in mind that these relate to the geographical and climatic region in which we are based, ( at an altitude of about 1500m and average distance of 500kms from the coast) so these specs may change slightly for other areas of the country eg for coatal areas.

Before you even start, its most important to decide what you would like to achieve.
There are at least 3 different routes you could follow when setting up a collection of birds.:-

1.You may just be interested in keeping a collection of birds in a single large aviary, mainly for display purposes. In this case, due to interference by certain birds, you may find that that the birds do not breed well in a display aviary. However, you can get a lot more pleasure by just sitting and watching your birds in  a display aviary. (see Picture below)

2. You may decided that you really would also like your birds to breed well, which would add a lot more interest and motivation and can even cover the cost of their upkeep and even more in many cases. In this case, Cubicle aviaries would be more appropriate, as they are smaller and therefore are more easily managed and controlled. (See Pictures below)

3. The third choice you can make is a combination of both. This would give you the best of both worlds i.e
the pleasure of watching and observing your birds in a display aviary perhaps in a garden setting, and the satisfaction of breeding birds, some of which may be quite uncommon.

The main purpose of this post is to focus on suitable accomodation for your birds. There are other forms of housing them but here the focus is specifically for Finches and Sofbills

RAS BREEDERS GROUP: Setting up the most ideal. environment in an aviary for Finches and Waxbills

The following are considered the moist ideal specifications which were determined by the Breeders Group in  August 2005, taking into account limitations of most members aviaries regarding space and finance :-

1) The sleeping quarters and flight to face in a Northerly direction.
(This is to ensure that sunshine reaches the flight from early morning till late afternoon producing adequate heat and light for plants in the aviary to grow. It also ensures that the flight and shelter is protected from the cold southerly winds in winter.) Make sure the birds can receive early morning sun which can assist them in recovering from a very cold night.
The inside of the aviary should be painted a light colour to brighten up inside

2) The most northerly end of the aviary should be sheltered from the northerly winds that are most predominant throughout the year.
( This can be in the form of clear  plastic sheeting, glass or similar screen which can be removed in the height of summer for ventilation.)

3) The sleeping Quarters should be made from insulated material to restrict temperature fluctuations to a minimum. (Try and avoid using sheet metal which reaches very high and low temperatures during summer and winter respectively.)

4) The floor of the sleeping area should have a sandy or cement substrate and should be raised about brick-height above the general level of the flight area
( This is to ensure that rain water does not flood into the sleeping area)

5) Feeding utensils should be under cover and protected from the rain.
There should preferably be 2 feeding stations to prevent bullying this applies mainly to larger display aviaries.

6) Drinking Water should be protected from wild birds droppings which could cause disease and introduce parasites.

7) The aviary should be made as vermin proof as possible. ( This is probably one of the most important items
as the biggest  killer of birds in aviaries is not Cold, Not Disease, Not Wet conditions from rain, but.......... Rats, so it is absolutely imperative to have your aviaries Rat Proof, especially in the Winter months when Rats are especially partial to live food such as birds.

8) Seeing that Finches and waxbills are totally dependent on grass in the wild, there should be clumps of suitable grass planted in the flight area. ( this provides seeding heads, and greens and creates a community of insects---aphids, moths, spiders, crickets and beetles. ---an important source of protein especially when feeding young.
The grass also provides hiding places for the birds to hide in as well as nesting sites and nesting materials.

9) The flight area should also have shrubs and/ or clumps of blue bush or similar. This is to provide not only for nesting sites but also, very importantly, for ROOSTING SITES. The same applies to the sleeping quarters regarding clumps of Blue Bush being placed in strategic places for the birds to roost in. Having bare perches in the sleeping quarter should be avoided at all costs since many birds may be lost due to the cold and insufficient shelter if they do not have some form of plant material in which to find shelter on cold nights.

                                                      An Example of a Display Aviary

                                         Further Examples showing Cubicle Aviaries

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Our Year-end Braai was held at Tinus and Nollies Place, about 20 kms from Brits.
In addition to about 45 aviaries of Softbills, they also have a large orchid nursery.
We had a very good turn-out considering the distance to travel (about 25 total in all ) and
it was a great time of bonding and sharing experiences about our birds and having a good time
with a lot of laughs and good food as well.
In view of the number of people, we divided into two groups and Nollie and Tinus each took a group
on a guided tour of their set up.
They have an amazing collection of softbills with some really rare birds.
We saw some interesting Barbets, colourful Starlings and  Jays ,some ugly Hornbills , and even some beautiful Bee Eaters.
Probably the most eye-catching of all were their pair of hand raised ground hornbills, about 2 1/2 years old. These Birds only start breeding from the age of 7 years and raise only one baby at a time in the wild, and have become very endangered.
Tinus and Nollie have offered their place again as a venue for our 2011 year end do and I`m sure it will become a popular RAS event in the future.

Below are a few more pics of our braai and some of the aviaries..

                                                                                  A Pair of Hand raised Ground Hornbills which   
                                                                                  only reach   breeding maturity at 7 years old

                                                                        On a hot afternoon,
                                                                       a great place to chill 
                                                                       next to the giant greenhouse fan

Friday, November 5, 2010


So October has come and gone and RAS has experienced yet another milestone.
Our Bird Expo went off very well with people coming from all over the country.
It proved to be a great success and there was a huge interest from the public.

Our Boyz n Blue, so called because of our branded Blue shirts decorated by our Logo, the beautiful little Swee Waxbill on the pocket, provided a wonderful team and we a had a lot of laughs and fun.

We Displayed as much as we could of the full range of birds that we keep, such as Finches: Foreign, African and South African, Some beatiful softbills and Lorrikeets, doves and quails.

We invited two other specialist clubs to join us ie The Gouldian Finch Society and The Zebra Finch Society, who put on a good variety of the different mutations. The West Rand Bird Farm , to whom we are extremely grateful for sponsoring the aviaries, also had a good stand where apart from a lot of "bird things" for sale, they also had live demos of hand-rearing baby parrots.

So much for the chit chat. Heres some Pics which can say much more:-

Some of the Boyz in Blue Team who helped put it all together 
From Left to Right:
Marcus Hiefer, Dad Stefan, Andreas Hiefer, Eelco Meyjes, Sarel van Zyl,
 Mike Pidduck, Nollie Cilliers Jan Opperman

Some interested Bystanders

Some more interested Bystanders

Mike signing up new members

                                                 Pieter and Jan concluding a deal

Mike and Jan debating an important point

Three of our youth group
Marcus , Brooke and Andreas

Aviary containing some of our beautiful indigenous Finches.
(Note no smoking sign, created spontaneously by one of our youngest member, Markus )

Taking a well earned Break!
Left to right:Tinus, Nollie, and Wimpie

                Bridging the gereration gap

11 year old Brooke da Cunha( who has already written and published a book on horses) in a discussion
about some of the more finer points of breeding Gouldian Finches.
To the left is Eelco Meyjes, RAS member and Film producer, and Fred Barnicoat (Chairman Zebra Finch Society and retired Latin Master ) and a pioneer of aviculture in South Africa.                                                                                        

 Colourful Black Capped Lorries displayed by
                            West Rand Bird Farm                             

Well what do we have  down here ??

Doug Robertson, representing the Gouldian Finch Society

Some of the beautiful Gouldian Finches on display

                     Entrance to West Rand Bird Farm


  When you`re out of carry-cages theres nothing like a paper bag !
   Sarel van Zyl , RAS member and also member of the Zebra Finch society,
  representing  the Zebra Finch Society.

A Handsome pair of Zebra Finches

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

EXOTIC BIRD EXPO-----Not to be missed Oct 23rd and 24th

The Rand Avicultural Society (RAS) is proud to announce that we will be hosting an Exotic Bird Expo for the first time at the Hillfox Power Trade Centre on October 23rd and 24th 2010.
If you have any interest in Birds or Bird Keeping, then don’t miss the chance of visiting us . There is no entry fee and we will be combined with Hillfox B&B Markets ( situated Corner Albert and Hendrk Potgieter Sts., Weltevreden Park )
We are a generalist bird club and cover virtually the full spectrum of bird species, ranging from Parrots, finches, softbills and doves to groundbirds.

We will have these categories of birds on display and there will be many
write-ups of the different species to inform would be aviculturists on their care, housing and breeding requirements.
RAS will be combining with other specialist bird clubs who will also be showing birds , such as Zebra Finches and Gouldian Finches.. There might also be a limited number of birds for sale.
In addition, there will be a number of aviaries on show and for sale, sponsored by West Rand Bird Farm, who will also be giving demonstrations of hand rearing baby parrots. They will also have a range of bird accessories, nests and nesting logs and branded bird food for sale not to mention a wide range of DVDs dealing with many subjects of Bird Keeping in the South African environment.

We also hope to have Bird Rings and Candling Inspection lights for sale.
(Not always readily available)
Also Not to be Missed: a new Wonder product for birds, which not only elimimates all parasites but also has a profound effect on vitality, fertility and resultant improved breeding Results.

Rand Avicultural Society has been in existence for more than 35 years and would welcome new members. We hold monthly meetings at the Honeydew Country Club and provide a wonderful opportunity for likeminded members to meet , get to know each other, talk and learn more about their birds. Interesting talks, DVDs on specialised subjects and swopping notes or getting answers to problems are what members can experience on an ongoing basis.
Anyone wanting to join or attend one of our meetings or would like some further information please contact Mike Pidduck 082 452 4261
You can also see us at the Expo and join up there.
We will also be having some interesting prizes to be won!

Friday, September 3, 2010

We Recently Held our Breeders Awards at our last club meeting.
Some of the main awards presented went to :

Parrot Breeder of the year : Hira

Breeder of the Year : Walter  No less than 777 birds bred and increase of 85% over last year!

Nick Boshoff Dove Breeder of the year : Walter
Rare Breeding Award :   Walter for Swee Waxbill
                                      Tinus and Nollie:   for San Blas Jay and
                                                                  Green (Inca ) Jay

Meritorius Breeding  Award: Nollie and Tinus for Green ( Inca ) Jay

Well done guys . Keep it up!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Superb DVD Produced by one of our Members Eelco Meyjes : A real Bird adventure

The Shelly’s Crimsonwing (Cryptospiza shelleyi) is one of the rarest finches in Africa. It inhabits the same dense Albertine Rift highland forest as the threatened Mountain Gorillas of Uganda, Rwanda and DRC of central Africa.
Today, thanks to the early pioneering work done by Dian Fossey in the late 1960’s and the movie Gorillas in the Mist, more is known about the estimated 680 remaining Mountain Gorillas than is known about the elusive Shelley’s Crimsonwing finch. Both keystone species act as ambassadors for the diminishing tropical forests of the word.
This bird is categorized by Birdlife International in the IUCN Red Data list as Vulnerable (likely population 2 500 to 9 999) but lack of data prohibits a more accurate classification. Extensive field research conducted by the Rare Finch Conservation Group (RFCG), which is made up of a group of highly dedicated finch enthusiasts, suggests that the finch is in dire straights and needs urgent attention.
This DVD shows the remarkable story of how the RFCG, with the support of worldwide donors, is overcoming enormous logistical and financial hurdles to save this bird from probable extinction.
(Appropriate running time: 60 minutes)

By David Dennison  (Editor : Avizandum)
I was asked to review this new DVD produced by Birds of a Feather, South Africa. Adele and I watched the DVD right through and we were both most impressed with the quality of the presentation. We expected to see a DVD just about finches and some finches in equatorial rainforests. Instead we were treated to the most fantastic 60 minutes of multidisciplinary conservation effort that one can imagine.
For instance the first ever photograph of a live Shelly’s finch was taken by staff of the gorilla conservation group in the DRC during a netting survey of the bird species present in that park. Although there are only 680 Mountain Gorillas left in the world there is more known about them than about Africa’s rarest finch. The Institute of Tropical Forest Conservation makes accommodation available for visitors to the area. The unique feature of birding in this area is not only are there many endemic species of birds and a total of 350 species to be seen of which 43 species are finches, it is the only national park in Africa where one can see both Mountain Gorillas and Chimpanzees.
The Bwindi National Park where the search is being conducted thus offers visitors gorilla watching and birding. This park also offers the opportunity to see all four species of seedeaters, a wonderful opportunity for bird watchers with a special interest in finches.
Knowledgeable bird guides and drivers who all speak English are readily available for hire. The bottom line is the more visitors the area has the more chance there is of the survival of the environment and the Bwindi National Park and its rare birds and mammals. This DVD is worth every cent of its purchase price.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Update on Guira Cuckoo

After about two weeks of incubation we noticed egg shells on the floor one morning. When we took a closer look in the nest there was no chick and we realised the egg was discarded from the nest. All the other eggs later proved to be infertile. This is the second time this has happened and we have decided to take the male to a vet for a check-up as it seems that this must be the problem.

Monday, July 26, 2010

A remarkable recovery :Red Faced Crimson Wing

Yesterday Morning, on inspecting my aviaries,I noticed my Red Faced Crimsonwing cock on the floor in an up right position, but looking very dead. On examination it was found to be still alive (but only just) and quite warm.Being late for an appointment, all I could do was give it a few sips of honey water and place it in a double breeder cage which had a lot of sunshine shining into it.(one of the most important items to treat a sick bird with is applying suitable heat to raise its metabolism)
On Arriving back late in the afternoon fully expecting it to have died I was most surprised to see it very actively flying from perch to perch. It was as though nothing had happened.It is now back in its aviary and full of life.I wonder if anyone else has had a similar experience

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Guira Cuckoos breeding at Boscia

The flock of Guira Cuckoos have started incubating a clutch of 6 eggs last week. These South American birds are communal nesters and several females lay in one nest and will help with the incubation. They resemble African Coucals in the way they run on the ground and scuttle between branches. We feed them on day old chicken meat, mealworms and the occasional pinky. Being part of the Cuckoo family the eggs hatch within 12 days and the chicks flegde five to six days later. These birds are very easy to care for and can become very tame.

New Avairy for Northern Carmine Bee-eaters at Boscia

Building of a special avairy for the pair of Northern Carmine Bee-eaters we acquired in July 2009 has started a week ago and hope to have it finished within the next two weeks. The avairy is just over six meters wide by five meters long and will be 2.4 meters high.

In the one corner of the avairy will be a small dam and above it an artifical sand wall in which pipes with nest boxes will be positioned at various positions to act as nesting sites. The paper written on the nest boxes at Animal Kingdom at Disney in Orlando, Florida, USA, was of great help and we hope to replicate their success with breeding this species.

Bester birds imported five pairs about a year ago and we managed to secure one pair. The other four were allready booked for a collector in Malelane, Mpumalanga. We have spoken to Mike Bester about the possibility of importing more birds and we are hoping to get at least another pair soon.

The Northern Carmine Bee-eaters will share their cage with a pair of Bruce’s Green Pigeons and a pair of Roul-roul Partridges that we got recently.

Updates on the progress on the avairy will be posted regularly.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

parrot breeding

1.I feed my parrots a mix of mealies,barley.sorghum which i cook let cool and feed this mix to the birds. Is this healthy as the birds dont have excess to this type of food in the wild. winter i remove the nest boxes from may to end july, clean them out and add new nesting material.does this effect the birds breeding cycle.
3.can i add wheatgerm oil to the you chicks soft food mix, does this effect them.
4.why do some parrots and parakeets pluck their young in the nest box.
5.prior to the breeding season when is the best timw to feed the following
sprouting seeds, high protein softfood, and adding vitamins and mineral supplements

Representation of groups of birds we keep


Gouldian Finch

Sexual behaviour of the Gouldian Finch

Click here for video

Soft Bills

Royal Starling


African Grey Parrot


Diamond Dove


Chinese Painted Quail