by Linda Greeson

Keeping tract of your birds on paper can be more important then you think. When you only own a few birds those records may not seem too important, but we all start out owning only a few birds. This hobby of breeding cockatiels seems to grow on a lot of us, and before you know it a "few" has turned into a rather large amount. It is very helpful to know exactly which birds are producing certain traits, and pedigrees can be invaluable in setting up pairs of birds to breed. Besides it is a lot of fun! Record keeping is one of my favorite parts of breeding cockatiels.

ACS has available through the ACS sales store (listed on the back page of your ACS Magazine) two forms that can make record keeping very easy and organized. They are breeding record sheets and pedigree cards. Order them and they will change the way you keep records forever.

The pedigree cards are nice little 4 X 6 cards that contain lots of information. Each bird you own should have its own card. It tells the color, band number, sex and hatch date. There is an outline for a three generation pedigree. On the back of the card there is a form to keep show record information. You may also use the back to keep notes on health, weights and breeding notes. I keep my cards in numerical order in a file box.

I can retrieve complete information on any bird I own in just a few minutes. I divide the file box into several sections: Babies, Adults, Sold Birds and History (Deceased birds). If a bird is set up for breeding, I attach a little sticky note to the card stating what cage number that bird is in. If I sell the bird, a notation is made on the card of the buyers name and address, the date and the amount of the sale, and the card is placed into the sold birds section. If a bird dies, the date of death and any notes on the problem are added to the card as it is placed in the history section. (I somehow felt history was a nicer word to use then dead.) As each birds card is kept in the appropriate section, I always know exactly where each of my birds are and what they have done. If a customer calls and wants information on a bird he purchased several years ago, giving him complete information on his bird is just a minute away.

ACS breeding record sheets are just the best thing since apple pie! They offer a simple and organized way to keep accurate records of all breeding activities of each pair of birds set up to breed. Each pair of birds set up to breed should be issued a pair number and a breeding record sheet. The sheet contains a three generation pedigree and a place to note the date the pair was set up and the date the pair was rested. There is a place to record all babies hatched along with their color, hatch date, sex, band number and even a place for remarks. You can tell at a glance how many babies a pair has had, and exactly who they were. These sheets are just the right size to keep in a notebook. I keep an index in the front of my "Breeding notebook" noting the band number, color, hatch date and pair number they came from, listed in numerical order by band number. This allows me with just a glance to find the pair number a certain baby came from, turning to that pairs breeding record sheet for more detailed information. I have long ago decided that should we ever have a fire in our house, the first personal possession I would remove would be my bird record book.

Record keeping will probably be one of the most important things you ever do with your cockatiels. Somehow it all becomes very clear just where certain traits are coming from when you see it on paper. It will help you to make very knowledgeable decisions when setting up birds to breed. When you are selling a bird to a breeder or even as a pet, your buyer will be very impressed by your records. I have seen many of my pet purchasers absolutely thrilled at the idea of having a pedigree on their bird. Giving a pedigree card to a breeder, especially a novice, puts them on the right tract towards breeding quality cockatiels. You will be known as a knowledgeable breeder, and justly so.

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Last Updated:  April 26, 2013

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