|Posted on June 1, 2020 at 4:40 AM|
OUR FRENCH CONNECTIONS
In mid-March I had the great pleasure of spending 4 memorable days with my wonderful hosts Frederic & Karine Bivert from Liginiac, France. Anyone travelling to France I highly recommend a trip to the south of France; the countryside is magnificent. Frederic is President of the French Zebra Finch Club and author of a book dedicated to Zebra Finches—”Le Diamant Mandarine”; unfortunately it is only available in French as it is truly a great reference book covering ALL aspects of Zebra Finches from the wild to the many mutations available on the European scene. Frederic’s wife, Karine, is also a dedicated Zebra Finch breeder having won many champion awards with her Penguin mutation. They have a dedicated timber birdroom on their property that houses over 200 hundred birds in 48 breeding cabinets and holding flights. Frederic’s main colours are the Black Breasted, Continental CFWs and Black Cheeks and the numerous combinations while Karine concentrates on the Penguin mutation and more recently Fawn Light Back Black Cheek. The birdroom has heating with a constant temperature of around 15 degrees. Lighting is used while the south facing wall of the birdroom is fitted out with windows. There is also a ventilation system that draws fresh air in. The main breeding season commences around February/March and continues during the spring/summer seasons. Autumn & winter is the main show season.
A basic finch mix consisting of small millet seeds and is supplemented by a soft food mix combined with a dehydrated mealworm/cricket mix that is ground and added to the soft food; no grit is supplied. During the breeding season red panic millet sprays are supplied to the breeding pairs and young. These are grown on Karine’s father’s farm and harvested before drying and boxing; no green food is supplied.
Flat pack cardboard nest boxes are used for each pair and these are filled with prepacked white cotton strands, to this is added another packed product of soft animal fur/wool/etc. No other nesting material is used. The birds simply shape their nest and lay directing onto the soft fur (no roof is added to the nest).
The standard of the European Zebra Finch is different to our Australian standard, with an emphasis on colour; I could not see consistency in the ‘type’ of the European Zebra Finch while the size of their Zebra Finch I would say is about 10% larger, the average bird being similar in size to our better birds. The birds also carry a buffer feather but not to the extreme as the English Zebra Finches. The striking feature of the European Zebra Finch was the depth and consistency of colour and clarity of markings. This has made me think that perhaps we need to concentrate more on improving the colour and markings. I am NOT at all suggesting a change to our points structure, but we can make vast improvements in these areas with our own birds.
Click below to see photos of the visit.