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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,






North Wales B.F.C.C


Dear Fancier,

I am writing to you to appeal for support, over many years we have seen the number of Borders entered at our show decrease year on year, and for the past 4 years we have struggled to attain a 3 figure entry. We believe that we run a good show, with quality prizes and top judges every year, and I am determined to make the show even better in future. Unfortunately over the years the fancy has dwindled here in north Wales and I believe that the number of fanciers throughout north Wales is now down to just 3, because of this we rely on fanciers travelling from afar. Our show is based at the beautiful town of Llandudno which is an attraction it’s self.  


Most of our committee members including myself are young fanciers with potential decades in the hobby ahead of them, I ask the Border fancy which has been in such decline over the years if it can afford to lose us. I am asking you as fanciers to please support our show with entries, it has now got to the stage where if there is not a substantial increase in our entry for this years show, then 2019 will regrettably be our final year.


Yours in the fancy.



Carwyn Owen

Club Secretary, North Wales BFCC




                                              East of England 2019 Show


Having received a much reduced entry for last year’s show members met for this year’s Annual General Meeting of the East of England Border and Fife Canary Club knowing that important decisions had to be made. The Border canary entry at last year’s event was the lowest on record for the club and combined with reduction in the Fife canary section a decision had to be made regarding the future of the club. After much discussion it was agreed that the club would run this year’s show and try to attract a better entry. If the result is that entries cannot be greatly Improved upon then the 2019 show will be its final show held.

Chairman Dave Horrex has been one of the steady band of officers at the club for many years and has commented "We have taken the show back to its previous show date which for 2019 will be Saturday 26th October. We moved last year thinking that we could pick up more entries but we did not receive the support promised to us. By moving the date back the meeting agreed that we have given ourselves a chance of a better entry but if the show does not prove to be successful it will be the last one we hold, so we ask fanciers where possible to support us with entries in both the Border and the Fife canary sections".

The Fife canary judges for this year are H.Clarke and P.Gillott while the Border canary judge is Jim Noonan.

Dave Horrex





Hi Ron.  

Just read your article, very interesting. One question,  with lights do you take account of natural light entering bird room early morning?

For example   Full daylight at 6am , bird room lights on at 7am , would you include the extra hour when working out your programme or do you have the bird room lights come on to coincide with dawn outside.?


Bob Turner


Hi Bob.

I try to keep the lighting in the cabin on when it’s dark outside

So I have it come on early morning before it gets light, and go off when it’s dark, so I move the time clock sometimes on a morning and sometimes on a night to try and achieve this. However there comes a point when the out side daylight catches up to 14 hrs and at this point I use blackout blinds on the windows to control the lighting to 14 hrs plus fade up / down, as to much light can start the birds to drop their flights


Hope this helps,


Ronnie Sillitoe





Hi All,

Well if you go to shows regularly, you will probably know all the comments that go with judges and judging, (Is he still judging at his age. He is too young, no experience. That's his mate’s bird he has put up. Should have gone to Specsavers. That Best Novice bird was bought from the judge last week. He only goes for bigger birds or smaller ones. Has not got a clue about the model standard or points. No way will I show here again at this show if he is going to be judging, and many more)  a lot of these remarks are said in fun and amusement between fanciers, but not all,


There are a small minority who for whatever reason take personal views against judges, fellow exhibitors and even the people who run the show Fortunately most exhibitors accept the decisions on the day, knowing how birds can change from the judging and later on in the day. (There is always next week). I believe most judges are honest and try to put up the best birds. We all like to win but only a few do.


Welcome to Auchenshoogle Border FCC, the show is situated in the local village school hall at the south end of the mythical loch, with the mist rolling in from the sea on a cold wet early Saturday morning and some light sleet and snow thrown in, it certainly helps to be well wrapped up. The judges have all arrived. The catering staff,  made up of members families and friends, have them tucking into hot tea, square sausage and black-pudding rolls, as the late entries are being staged by enthusiastic stewards and helpers, the administration team are getting all the paperwork in place.

Although in a remote area the show is always well supported with good numbers in both Champion and Novice sections and with some exhibitors only seeing each other once a year, it has become an important date in the show calendar for many. The judges are now all ready, jackets off and shirt sleeves up eagerly awaiting the stewards to bringup the first classes to them.


Well, the Border is a type breed, It has its own specialist societies who have a list of points for the various parts of the birds body and a lined drawing showing the desired shape everyone is striving to have, so when the judges select their best birds * EVERYONE MUST BE HAPPY * as the judges have picked to the guidelines and all the exhibitors have bred and are showing to the same standards. Or do we all see * THE MODEL * slightly differently.   Well after some difficult decisions "" THE BEST on the DAY" have their cages covered in rosettes and the judges and helpers are soon tucking into well-earned Scotch broth followed by Tatties, Neeps and Haggis and know doubt a few dainties. The doors are now open and with lifting card in hand exhibitors are eagerly seeing how their birds have done, lots of handshaking and slaps on the back for the winners, The show has been a success, entry up, and after some initial disappointment for some, most people are having a good day and are showing again next year.

Just a bit of fun based on years listening to the banter at Shows.

 Regards James McKay     (Not Jim McKay of Coylton)










Conditioning for Breeding


Hi,  Colin / Ron,  

Excellent article, most cage birds like a routine. Just a few points, what soft food is used as this could be a deciding factor in the conditioning and chick rearing, also after the 8 weeks is there a gradual reducing of some items when the hens have laid or do the cocks continue with the programme ?


James McKay  (Not Jim McKay of Coylton)


Hi James

The egg food used is easyyem ( nothing added) This is available on line just type in easyyem and follow the steps ( it’s the one in the blue box)


The program says stop conditioning when individuals have reached breeding condition ie hens flitting wings and flying from perch to perch or cocks singing vigorously and dancing on perches.


When they have reached this point if you continue the hens will lay and leave the eggs as they are too fit and the cocks will be to aggressive and attack the hens.


When condition is reached I only give water and seed as they don’t need anything else.


I give vitamins (Aviform Ultimate) once a week when birds are in the breeding cycle.


Further articles are forthcoming as the season progresses.



New merger between two Border Canary Clubs in the South planned



The Southern Border and Wessex Border Clubs are not alone in respect of falling numbers of entries and declining membership and it makes sense to pool resources and talents to try to inject new life into the fantastic hobby of Border Canaries.

It was felt that given the above, these Clubs were drawing from the same pool of members not only exhibitors but also persons willing to take on roles, vital to run the shows.


It should be stressed that there are still many people that keep and breed Border Canaries and others that could add these to their bird rooms. Therefore one of the first priorities of the newly merged venture will be to encourage more people to experience the joy of breeding and showing these birds.


Initially the merger will be between the two clubs as stated above, but if others in the South wish to join then this could be considered.

Being part of a National Show calendar it is planned to stay with the date currently used by the Wessex which is third Saturday of October with the venue yet to be confirmed.


We welcome all   current members, of the two clubs, fanciers that currently only show at CBSs and anyone that is a potential new or returning fancier.


It is our intention, to strive to make this new show something special and we will be looking at new initiatives in areas such as prizes, information relating to nearby activities for visiting fanciers, details on hotels etc nearby and seriously looking at how we encourage and support current and hopefully new novices.


A draft Constitution has been prepared and this will be sent to any persons that currently participate in the Wessex Border Club meetings, for those members of the Southern Border Fancy Canary Club that are intending to attend please contact either Ian or Bob Hodges.

The meeting will be held at the Royal British Legion Hall Cadnam, opposite the Haywain Pub, postcode SO40 2NA, as normal there will be hot beverages and bacon rolls as well as a good raffle and it is hoped that it will attract a good number of current and new members.

So, if you’re a fancier that currently keeps or has an interest in Border Canaries come along. If you’re a current exhibitor at either of the above shows and can offer suggestions as how to make this show the one to visit, then come along. From many ideas some will be adopted, everyone can contribute by attending and taking part in this Inaugural meeting.


Take this opportunity to participate in this initiative which is aimed at strengthening the hobby of Border Canaries in the South. For those that can’t attend but would like to make suggestions etc then please send those to Ian and Bob ideally by 12 February 2020.


To ensure that we cater for all those that are looking to attend can you let Ian Perrier or Bob Hodges know in order that we cater for everyone, ideally by Wed 12 February 2020.


 Ian Perrier, 01983 761779 or or Bob Hodges 01622 676335 or


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