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An Interview With Bert Sempels, Champion Breeder from Belgium

Bert Sempels

It is always interesting when you meet first time face-to-face with someone you have watched online for several years on facebook. In May 2016 I had the pleasure to meet Bert Sempels and see some of his wonderful red-eyes when I judged a Baby Show in Belgium.

2016 Belgium Show

Bert collects awards at the 2016 Show

Bert is a very knowledgeable breeder who is well known throughout Europe. It was great to have the opportunity to ask the following questions.

What city/town do you live in?

I'm living in Tienen/Belgium.


How long have you been breeding exhibition budgies?

I started breeding in 1977, this year I'm 40 years in the hobby.


How many years exhibiting?

I showed the first time in 1980 and won immediately the golden medal in the regional championship.


How many birds do you keep?

Not many, I prefer quality above quantity.   For the next breeding season ( 2018 ) I have about 50 birds.


How many chicks do you usually breed on average per year?


Albino   Lutino Lutino   YF Albino

A Few Young Birds


What initially attracted you to our hobby?

My father was breeding birds in a mixed flight and there I got the microbe.


Who did your first budgies come from?

My first exhibition budgies came from Peeters and Van Oosterwijck. Two at that time well know breeders in Belgium, especially lutino breeders.


Do you still have this original bloodline in your aviary?

No.   That would be difficult after 40 years.   Knowing that I stopped breeding in 1992 after a double robbery.   I started again in 1999 with 4 pairs.

2011  2015  2015

Quality Over The Years - 2011 Lutino thru Birds of Today


Do you specialize in certain varieties?

Yes lutino/albino and yellowface albino


What are your preferred matings to produce top level lutinos?

Breeding top level lutinos is as easy (or as difficult ) as breeding top level cinamons.   You just have to use your super normal birds into the red-eyes. Most breeders use their super normals to breed super cinamons or other colours and use second class normals to breed red eyes.


Which exhibition features do you find the most challenging to achieve consistently?

I don't like the discussion of long tails / long flights.  For me the bird must be in harmony, it must be a stylish bird.  A massive long feather bird can perfectly be in harmony.

UK Visit   Mike Ball Visit

Visiting Breeders and Learning From Others - Belgium Club Visit To UK - The Day Mike Ball Came To Visit


What outcrosses/bloodlines have you introduced in recent years?

The last 10 years I introduced every year some birds of Daniel Luetolf and the last two years I introduce birds of Mike Ball's bloodline.


What features are you looking for in these outcrosses?

The feather of the bird, the implant above the nose, the blowing of the head feathers and the style of the bird. Full neck and powerfull shoulders.


How do you select the breeding pairs and introduce them to the breeding cage?

I select on visual quality and pedigree of the youngsters but I never use poor quality birds in the breeding cages not even if they have a super pedigree. That's also the reason I don't keep many birds. For me a key to success is a very strong selection of the youngsters you keep.


What features are you focusing on improving in your birds?

The blowing of the head feathers.

2017 Show

More Awards At The 2017 Show - With Judges Tibor Gyerko and Lek Pataya

Show Winner  Next Year

The Winning Bird At The Baby Show (GreyGreen Split Lutino) - Planning Ahead - A Possible Pairing For Next Year


How many shows do you attend?

That depends … mostly 5 a year; some as a visitor, some as an active participant.


Any tips on preparing and training birds for shows?

When the birds come out of the nest, put them regularly for a short period in a showcage many times a week; so they get used to the show cage at a very young age.


Please tell us about your favorite wins at major shows….

I'm not 'a great shower ', I won most major awards in Belgium but for me breeding is more important then showing. I became member of the Belgian Budgerigar Society in 2001 and 4 years later I was a Champion breeder and I'm still champion breeder.  (In Belgium we must acquire every year some showpoints to stay champion ).


What do you feel are the biggest challenges facing breeders and our hobby today?

The biggest challenge for me is to keep the hobby affordable for everyone. I'm really concerned about that.  Nowadays some breeders think that it's 'normal ' to ask $3000-4000 for a budgie.  My opinion is that this is insane.

2017  2017  2017


More 2017 Youngsters

Templates in Time