SPANGLE BREEDERS PROFILE
Name: Tom Deacon
Status: Intermediate Breeder
Town: Drum, Kinroshire, Scotland
The 2002 Budgerigar Society World Championship Show
Best Budgerigar in Show, Best Any Age
Spangle Grey cock
There have been many fanciers from north of the border that have made their long trip to The Club Show very worthwhile by returning home to Scotland having won many of the major specials. However, the list of The Budgerigar Society Club Show Winners presented in the Official Rules Book has never featured a name from Scotland. Tom Deacon has now put an end to that fact and when the new rules book is presented next year, the name of Tom Deacon will feature as the winner for the year 2002.
Tom Deacon, an Intermediate fancier from Drum in Kinroshire travelled down to Doncaster with a superb Spangle Grey Cock that was staged to perfection and when it came to the major specials no less than fifteen of the judges voted for it as Best in Show, the Spangle having earned a unanimous decision of all seventeen judges only minutes earlier to become the Best Any Age in Show.
Daughters Pet wouldnt Breed!
In 1994 Toms daughter, Heather, decided that she would like to breed with her pet budgie, sadly her pet wouldnt co-operate so in September a trip was made to a local breeder, a few birds were purchased, and so the budgie bug bit.
The varieties kept in those early days were mainly Normals, Opalines and Spangles and these birds were purchased from a number of fanciers including Sandy White of Burntisland Fife, Bobby Ferguson and Bobby Naismith from Dumfermline and D.& E. Burnett of Glenrothes.
As with many fanciers, Tom made a modest start using a 10ft x 6ft apex roofed timber shed, then as the bug took hold an additional 10ft x 8ft was added to the structure. Today a timber aviary measuring 28ft long by 10ft wide is the home for this fine stud of birds. Part of the aviary is sectioned off to provide a preparation room with hot and cold running water and a seed store. The varieties of birds kept at present differs very little from those original purchases, although now a few Cinnamons have been introduced and the latest acquisition has been a Dominant Pied.
September Breeding Produces Good Results
Tom has only one definite time to pair up his birds, and to use his own words I pair only when the birds are ready to pair. Having said that, it has been noticed that very often birds paired in September has resulted in his best youngsters. Long before the time comes to pair the birds up, Tom spends time studying his record book, the birds are then studied and the pairings decided on visually, the records are checked again and if the pedigree is right, the pair is put down to breed.
Better Birds More Difficult to Breed
Usually Tom hopes to breed about 120 youngsters each year, but over the last two to three years the breeding season has lasted a while longer, the reason for this being put down to the fact that during this time the birds have shown a marked improvement in their overall quality, and have become more closely related and so seem more difficult to breed. Toms ideal season would see about 250 youngsters being bred over three rounds and the pairs split up by the spring. To date in 2002, 80 birds were on the perches by the end of July, another 20 have been bred since then and hopefully by the end of the year this will increase by a further 20 youngsters.
Toms first Spangles were purchased from Sandy White, a super Spangle Skyblue and a Double Factor White. Tom was attracted to the colour and markings of the Spangled variety.
Preferred pairings are a Spangle to a normal, but Double Factor Spangles would be used to increase the number of Spangles produced. At present Toms stud is made up of approximately a third Spangles. In his experience a Spangle could be used within his stud to improve his normals.
Tom feels that it is harder to produce blue series Spangles as the green series tends to lend itself better to the exhibition size.
At present he would not consider using Cinnamon, Opaline and Pieds to his Spangles as these varieties do not lend themselves to the Spangle variety.
Tom would recommend a newcomer to the Spangled variety to purchase a good Spangle and a good normal from a well established stud of Spangles and normals.
Spangles continue to take top awards on the show bench not just in Scotland but throughout the country. In his opinion he finds it a little confusing on how Spangles are judged, as he has seen Spangle Opalines winning Challenge Certificates when Spangle Normals of a similar quality and displaying the desired spangled markings have not been placed.
On the Show Bench
If the birds are fit they will be entered in about six to ten shows each season, the favourite events being Area Society and Championship Shows. Tom is very careful not to over show his birds, especially as he likes to get some of them down to breed during September. An early show that brings back some happy memories for this likeable fancier from Scotland was the Stirling and District BS Show in July 1998. A Spangle Grey hen beat some top class birds benched by some notable Scottish fanciers and went on to be awarded a Grade B Challenge Certificate by the judge, Willie Peacock.
Owner Bred Winners Give Most Satisfaction
Over the years many discussions have taken place on the merits or otherwise of showing only owner bred birds. Although Toms show team was limited as a beginner by only showing his owner bred birds, the results gave him much more satisfaction than had he entered birds bred by other fanciers, and to this day, Tom still firmly believes that these are the birds to show, and to win with them gives you the satisfaction of knowing it has been achieved all through your own work
When asked about the fanciers that he looked up to and gave him inspiration, Tom quickly named Dave Topliss and his Grey Cinnamon cock that won the Club Show in 1990. Tom still looks at the picture of this bird in the book All About Cinnamon Budgerigars and feels it was long before its time and was a super bird and a great credit to Dave.
Tom has a lot of respect for many of the fanciers within our hobby. One person that made a great impression on Tom was Peter Sanderson. Unfortunately Tom only managed to speak to Peter a very few times during his visits to Doncaster, but those few times left him with a great impression of a fancier who was an inspiration to everyone in the fancy and a model for keeping up the good name of the fancy.
Ideas For The Future
For the Scottish Area, Tom would like to see a reduction in the overall number of shows, his idea being that they could possibly be regionalised into say eight to ten areas, thus increasing the entry at each show and making them more prestigious. Another idea would be to make a Champion exhibitor earn the right to remain a Champion. This could be achieved by awarding show points each year with a set number being required to be won to enable a fancier to remain as a Champion. Just a couple of thoughts for the future by todays World Champion.
It is just eight short years since Heather Deacons pet budgie refused to breed, but in that short space of time Tom Deacon has proved what can be achieved by persistence and dedication to your birds, he has gone from that lone pet bird at the beginning and bottom of the fancy to the very pinnacle of success, winning Best in Show at the greatest Budgerigar Show in the world.