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Importing Budgerigars


It is rare that a day goes past that I do not receive a request to buy birds and ship to a foreign country.

I do not export. I do not keep a large stud or breed a great number of youngster and the local demand is more than I can handle.

If you are looking to bring in quality birds to help build your stud you would be wise to work with successful breeders in your own area before you consider importing from another country. Costs will be way less and in many countries quality for money spent will be much better.

If, after checking local breeders, you decide you still want to import.... Do your homework before contacting breeders you may wish to buy stock from.

Check with your government agencies to find out if imports of budgerigars are allowed, if special import permits are required, and any costs involved. Check also if vet inspections and quarantine are necessary and if brokers are required to handle all arrangements.

Next check with airlines to determine which carriers will accept shipments of cage birds/budgerigars and costs involved.

Some airlines and countries allow passengers traveling on a flight to take a limited number of birds with them as checked baggage (in special cages) but many do not.

After checking all legal requirements and costs..... check it is within your budget to proceed.

In most cases fixed costs are too high to import one or two pair... you need to purchase 20-30 birds to make a shipment viable.

Be aware also, as the buyer, you are responsible for any costs incurred by the seller at his end.. Often brokers are required, export permits, vet inspections, health certificates, special IATA shipping boxes, and handling fees may apply in addition to shipping costs AND the price of the birds.

Now.... Who to buy from?

Avoid working with Bird Traders if you want quality birds.

IATA Boxes

It is common knowledge that agents for many birds traders visit breeders in England and Europe most years looking for birds they have not been able to sell. Many of these birds, that no local breeders wanted to buy, are sold in lots for GBP6-GBP10 each... and later shipped to other countries where they are sold for huge profits

Avoid buying birds based on country of origin.

We often see birds offered "from English bloodlines" or Holland... or Belgium... or German... or Swiss.

The country of origin means nothing and is more likely a warning sign "Buyer Beware".

In most countries there are a few top breeders with outstanding birds that are in huge demand. BUT in the same countries there are hundreds, maybe thousands of breeders with lower quality birds that will not help you build a quality stud.

Avoid "Feather Merchants" who constantly post photos of birds for sale on forums or facebook groups. This is how they create a market for their birds. Always keep in mind that to top breeders always have buyers knocking on their doors looking for birds. They do not need to self promote and offer birds for sale online.

Buying from Feather Merchants can lead to disaster. For many of them selling birds is a business and they prey on buyers from other countries where they can sell mediocre quality birds for huge prices.

Some are honest and reputable, but many are not.

I shudder when I travel to some countries and see birds that were imported. Many shipments include 2 or 3 good birds and maybe 20 that are too old to breed, have missing flights and tails, have feather cysts, major faults, and sometimes obviously carry the dreaded beak and feather disease.

Keep in mind that once you pay your money and the birds end up in your birdroom you have no recourse if there are major problems.

Do not buy birds "sight unseen".

If you  plan to spend a large sum importing birds do not blindly send money for birds based on photos. Photos can make a bad bird look good.... and hide faults.

Use some of your money to fly and visit the breeder you choose and select the birds you want to buy. This removes any questions later on.

How much should you expect to pay?

bank notes

Good birds cost good money.

The "Name Breeders".

If you plan to buy from a well-known breeder with top quality bloodlines you compete along with hundreds of other people wanting their birds.

Prices will vary from breeder to breeder and with quality offered.

It is not uncommon for better visual birds from the "sought after" studs to be sold for Euros1000-2000 or even much more per bird.

Birds that are less appealing visually, but related to outstanding youngsters or from top pairs, are often available for much less... so you can buy the same gene pool at a lower cost.

Related Studs

With a little searching you can often locate breeders who have a stud based on top bloodlines who are now winning at shows.

Because they are not as well known birds from these breeders are often very affordable.

Sharing A Shipment

If you have a breeder friend or two that you trust it is sometimes a good idea to share a shipment especially if everyone is happy buying from the same breeder. This way you can share the fixed costs and reduce your overall investment.

I hope this helps if you are considering imports to help build your stud.

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