The content of these letters do not necessarily represent the views of the Border Convention Clubs or Committee.

Border Canary Fancy Breeding Problems

As you are probably aware this year has seen several Border men leave the hobby, for whatever reason and a good few Specialist Border clubs are struggling to keep things going, due to the lack of support and the dwindling number of birds being benched. Over recent years a good proportion of the Border breeders throughout the UK have been finding that their breeding seasons are going from bad to worse and this season is no better, in fact most I have talked to and the stories being told, is that this year has been one of the worst, with most fanciers experiencing all the normal breeding season setbacks but on a much larger scale than normal, which has severely compromised the numbers of youngsters that are being bred, with some very prominent breeders reporting breeding successes in single figures only, and many others falling well short of their anticipated targets.

Taking all the above into account, it doesn’t take much imagination to see that if this trend continues it will be the sounding of the death knell for the Border fancy.

To try and reverse this alarming trend and to set the UK fanciers back on the road to breeding success, I was wondering if any of the top three most successful border men over the past four decades, being Brian, Malcolm and Phil, would be prepared to help and make available to us all, an in depth analytical over view of their breeding preparation, conditioning and all other aspect of their husbandry, that ensures that they regularly have very successful breeding seasons, invariably in three figures
They are the pacesetters on the UK Border scene and are held in very high esteem by all their peers, so please try to help us, which will then have a knock-on effect throughout the fancy and hopefully stop the decline of our wonderful hobby of breeding and exhibiting the delightful Border canary.

There are of course always going to be a few variables that affect all fanciers differently, which unfortunately cannot be altered, for example, type, construction and position of birdroom plus the amount of time that each fancier is able to spend tending his birds throughout the day. These problems apart, there must be some fundamental issues that the majority of us are overlooking or not aware of and hopefully with their help we can start to put things right and put the Border canary back in its rightful position again, at the top of the canary tree.

Yours, in eager anticipation of a positive response

Alan Scott

Editor’s Note
Having contacted Phil, Malcolm and Brian, I am pleased to be able to confirm that all three are willing to help in passing on their knowledge of breeding preparation and conditioning of their birds to help ensure a successful breeding season.

The exact format of how this information will be passed on is still being formulated and will be communicated to the Fancy as soon as a plan is in place.

Unfortunately it is too late for this year, but hopefully the information will lead to a successful breeding season in 2019.


Phil's Initial Response

Answering these questions is something I do every day and I’m always glad to help, but we do have a problem and that’s genetic, the best birds are the hardest to produce, I expect if you were to ask any of the top 20 breeders you will find that they have not produced enough from their prime birds!

The border has come such a long way in the last few decades and we are fighting against nature, genetically a bird doesn't want width, or rounder body, for millions of years it’s developed to fly unrestricted through the air with broader head and body to hinder its flight, and the likes of longer legs means further to reach for its food!

When the top breeders like myself manage to produce the type of bird we all love, inbreeding to secure the type also doubles up on the genes we strive to irradiate that’s been inherited for thousands of years, so it’s hard for the top breeders, but even harder for the breeders climbing the ladder!

Inbreeding also weakens the ability to produce consistent top fertility and the lifespan can be restricted
We do sympathise with breeders who are trying so hard to reproduce class birds, and happy to give any help with regards tips on breeding, but any type of pedigree stock no matter what breed is a very big challenge it doesn’t matter how experienced you are.

Phil Warne

Attention Action Required

This applies to us all, regarding the Defra pets licence bill going through parliament on the 5th of October.

C&A Birds have printed a letter for every one to cut out and send to our MP regarding the pet licence, if this gets through parliament then we will be dragged along with pet shops and businesses and will have to take out a licence.

Local councils are going to be tasked with policing this, with visits to us to see if we are just someone with a pet bird or two or if we are breeders, and as you all know if you have more then a couple of birds they won’t be classed as pets, as most of us have thirty or forty plus birds and we will be classed as breeders.

Once the council start coming around on regular visits they will also look at the size of your shed and ask if you had planning permission to put it up, and for how much do you sell your surplus birds.

If they say you need a licence you will then need to have a vet out to look over your stock before you can get a licence from the council, so that means a cost for a vet’s callout and then a further cost for the council licence if they grant you one.
The only way to possibly avoid all this hassle and cost is to just send in the letter with your name and address to your MP it’s that simple.

Its no-good sitting back and saying let the Convention sort it out as this is every one’s problem who keeps birds.
You all need to send these letters to MP’s as they don’t have much time to act on this they have to bring this up in parliament now its to late in October, its got to be discussed way before October.

I think we all have a duty to our hobby and not leave it to the few to try and do something.

If you don’t take C&A Birds you can find the same letter on the Border Convention web site to download and print off.
I urge you all to do this as soon as possible because it will be to late after the 5th of October, God willing it may never happen but let’s not take the chance.

Just thinking about our hobby all the best
Phil Dewland.

Editors Note The C&AB's letter can be found under the News and Updates Box , just click and download.

Standard Classification and Numbering

Standard Classification and standard numbering would make things so much easier for exhibitors and show secretaries by using the same classification for all shows.

Take for example Flighted Variegated Yellow Cock would be the same class number at every show, and if we mark the Novice class with the letter N the novice classes could also start at 1 albeit N1.
Champion Flighted Variegated Yellow Cock would be class 9, and the Novice Flighted Variegated Yellow Cock would be N9.

We also would know that all Cocks would be in odd numbered classes, and all hens in the even numbered classes
The Convention could make up laminated copies of the Standard Classification which fanciers could hang on their bird shed wall.

The Convention could also print and hand it to the Clubs off large amounts as standard entry forms which would bring the cost down, and hand it to the Clubs as a goodwill gesture towards their affiliation fee.
There would be no need to print expensive schedules by sending out the Standard entry form , with a single sheet detailing the Venue, Opening and Closing times, checking in times Secretaries address and closing date for entries .
However Clubs still wishing to print a schedule would be welcome to do so, provided they adhere to the standard classification and numbering

Malcolm Barnett
I.B.B.A Secretary

Show Classification

A short while ago along with Anita, I suggested in the journal we had some ideas that may improve our hobby on breeding and showing Borders.

In 2018 I think it is about time that all clubs affiliated to the convention should be thinking about standardising their classification. This would make it better and easier for exhibitors entering birds and also the judges at the shows.

I hear exhibitors discussing Heavy variegated birds on whether they are wrong classed. In my opinion Green Three parts dark and Green Heavily variegated should be in the same class thus stopping confusion about their suitability and leave it as any age class. We have the four U/f Green variegated classes which have the most entries and then we would have another four good Green classes. Do the same with the cinnamons, four classes of cinnamon variegated and four classes of Cinnamon Three parts dark with the Cinnamon heavily variegated.

Some may say it is easier to win through from the smaller classes but it is your own choice what birds you want to breed.
I cannot see any valid reason why any club can argue against the Classification being standardised.
Regards Cliff Britton

Water ,water everywhere…and not a drop to drink (with apologies to the ancient Mariner)

I’m fed up attending shows (both as an exhibitor and a judge) and seeing birds that are suffering because they are not drinking. This is a state of affairs that should not be permitted to continue.

I would like to see a exhibitors permitted to use a small-standardised (by the Border Convention)tube drinker to be situated on the perch furthest from the seed drawer on the “back “ of the show cage as you look at it.
It is easy to say “train your birds before your bring them to the show”. Most responsible fanciers do this…and yet…some Borders when placed in the show hall environment simply refuse to drink.

We ALL know this and ALL see this at EVERY show, but what’s being done about it?

This is bad enough over a one day show, but over the course of a two day event it can be catastrophic resulting in the loss of, or long term adverse effect to a bird.

Remember this…the current show cage was designed in the 1930’s and the birds of those years ,( in fact up to the 70’s) bore no resemblance to today’s birds, some very long legged birds find it extremely difficult to drink especially (as is common practice)if the top hat is only half filled prior to judging ,to prevent bathing.

A small tube drinker-standardised with a designated perch to place it on would be unobtrusive and no hindrance to the judge or the observer.

Some will argue that birds will bathe in tube drinkers; well I have judged Borders on the continent and have attended many shows there where tube drinkers are used as a matter of course and I have not seen this as an issue.

Quite simply, this is a matter of welfare and that should take precedence over anything else.
I would like an affiliated club to propose this as a mandate; I think it would be a positive move if adopted.

Colm Southern

Editors Note
Minutes of the Border Convention Commitee Meeting
Held on Sunday 28th June 2009.

Mini Drinkers - Colin Egner reported that he has received an email from Colm Southern from Southern Ireland in relation to mini drinkers. Colm has asked if there is any rule which would stop the use of mini drinkers (small tube drinker) being attached to the show cage of a Border which is not drinking after judging. The members thought that the health and safety of the bird in the cage is the most important consideration. There are no Border Convention rules which would stop a fancier from doing this and if an exhibitor asked the show manager there should be no reason to stop this practice, obviously after judging.

This was revisited to clarify the drinker could be put on prior to judging if the bird was showing signs of not drinking, but must be removed prior to judging and replaced afterwards.

This item has also been highlighted on the website .

Hi Colin,

I really feel you’ve missed the point of my letter by adding on your Editors note.

I want the drinker on the cages while the birds are judged…that’s the whole point.

Your note below only serve to confuse the matter.


Hi Colm,
Sorry you feel this way.
However the purpose of the letters column is that everyone can express a view, or make a statement including the editor.
With a very emotive title “Water, water everywhere…and not a drop to drink “ I felt it needed a response, especially when the Border Convention has offered an alternative (nine years ago),
I felt this should be pointed out and make no apologies for doing so.
Respectfully yours,