Introducing Spangles to our Stud
by Bob and Anne Whattam
2001 Budgerigar Society World Championship Winners


I started keeping birds myself as a lad and this lasted about five years and at that time I lived in Scunthorpe and can recall our many Sunday trips to some fanciers in Yorkshire and meeting people such as A.E. Day to whom we still visit.   At that time they were champions in Scunthorpe B. & F.B.S.

After taking time out to pursue a career and wife, I restarted in 1975 when we had moved to Rushden where we stayed 12 years before moving to Milton Ernest, which is just in Bedfordshire.  In essence we have been keeping birds some 30 years and we keep some 150 after our initial sort out, and inevitably reduce these as breeding progresses, when we have a quantity of hopefully good chicks.


We use a basic mix of seeds that we feed in two pots, one is filled with Johnston & Jeff white millet and the other with plain canary.  The cages are equipped with necessaries like grit, cuttlefish, nibbles each cage is given a red millet spray which is soaked overnight in a vanodine solution and is changed daily.  Our softfood is given daily and consists of growrite, soaked oaks, two large carrots, ground up beanmeal and tick beans which we get from a local farmer.   As a final addition we put in calcium and minerals.  We believe that a liberal supply of tonic seed containing an assortment of small seeds is essential when weaning the youngsters which also continue to get our softfood mix when taken away from their parents.   This is the critical time for the better buff birds who can be slow starters and a bit lazy.

General housing

We are now using 2 bird rooms.  The main is a brick built unit with 24 breeding cages, two inside flights leading to connected outside flights.  This room has a sink, hot and cold water and storage areas.  The smaller unit is a wood building which has 8 breeding cages and indoor and outdoor flights which we use primarily for housing sales birds or over-wintering late bred birds which we shall not use until they are in their second year.

Varieties and colours kept

In addition to the Spangles we have normals, cinnamons, opaline cinnamons and dark factor birds, and recently purchased 2 quality blue pieds.  Light green is a colour we are developing to help with our main love of blues.  Over the last couple of years we have bred several violets in normal, opaline and opaline cinnamon.   Anne is working with these and yellowfaces to combine the two features.

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Spangle Light Green cock

Introducing our first Spangles

I find myself trying to recall how we first introduced the Spangle variety into our stud.  Ted Mellows a great friend of mine (who over some 20 years I had the pleasure of knowing), on one of my regular visits pointed out a cock bird to me and asked what I thought of him.  With some determined thought I decided this was a Spangle green opaline cock, and as a “normal” man, I had to admit it was a very useful bird.  This was Ted’s first Spangle I recall the date as autumn 1997.

Shortly after this time we made a visit to another aviary where the three best birds left for disposal were blue series Spangles.  My prime intention was to purchase a good normal cobalt cock, however, Ted decided he would take a couple of Spangles and I bought a Spangle cobalt cock.

During 1998 breeding season Ted paired the first Spangle green to a skyblue hen which was from one of my better blue pairs, and initially did not pair the blues.  The Spangle green produced four Spangles which were in the nest when Ted had to face a third by-pass which he never recovered from.  Whilst we had attended the birds and kept him up to date we had reported on these young Spangles progress and Ted had said that Shane, our grandson, should have one as he had started breeding budgies and spending weekends etc with us.  We were responsible for the disposal of Ted’s birds after dealing with a few similar bequests we retained some 30 birds and sold 70.  All the young Spangles and the breeding pair together the second round eggs were moved to our aviary some 20 minutes away and all but one pair continued to carry on sitting/rearing etc.

The young from the Spangle green were of varied quality whilst this is what we expected from a complete outcross.  One of these was a large stylish bird and it went on to breed a good Spangle green cock which was best Spangle for Shane at the 2001 Specialist & Rare Variety Show at Coventry.   Shane is developing his pairs, and presently has 4 pairs out of 13 pairings are Spangles.  Recent additions in 2001 were a barhead Spangle light green cock from a visit to Joe Mannes.

Spangle to normal pairing

At this time 10% of Shane and our studs are Spangles, and they are on the increase as we have 6 chicks ready to leave their parents.  Our Spangles are mated to normals, I have myself used them to introduce dark factor into normals when the Spangles have had the desired quality and depth of colour.

Due to the fact that we only have a limited amount of Spangles, we are continuing to pair these to the best line which is our normals.  At this time we do not have any double factors but would not hesitate to use a limited number of outstanding birds.

Normal Skyblue cock
(Best in Show, The Budgerigar Society World Championship Show 2001

Spangle Review

Issue No. 29 ~ Spring 2002


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