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Interview with Shahir Mahmoud - Egypt



The Best-In-Show winner at the Aleef First National Championship Show in Cairo, February 2015, was an outstanding Skyblue Normal owned by local breeder Shahir Mahmoud. Shahir was a tireless worker at the show. He is enthusiastic about the future of the hobby in Egypt and focused on building his stock to international quality.

Best In Show  with friends

Shahir with his Best-In-Show winner at The Aleef First National Budgerigar Championship in Cairo... and later with his friends Ahmed Abd Elmaksoud and Abu Gamela.

Shahir, I was very impressed with your Sky blue cock that placed Best-In-Show at Egypt’s First National Budgerigar Championship Show in Cairo. What is the background of this bird?

This cock is from the latest outcross I purchased for my stud which came from Jacky Bundervert in Belgium 

Do you have many birds now with this bloodline in the background?

Just a few birds from this bloodline. I am working to build the numbers and increase the overall quality of this family by crossing it with my own stock and other top birds I have acquired that have English pedigrees in the back ground

What impact have they had on your stud?

They have helped increased the overall size and the directional feathering of my birds.

Greygreen  Skyblue  Greygreen  Grey

A few of Shahir's birds.

Going back in time…When did you start with budgies? And where did your initial stock come from?

I started with some pet size budgies when I was 14. After a few years my love to show birds started and at that time it was the "old style" birds that were available. In the following years I was on and off several times until now. My current stud started in 2010 when I was able to buy the initial stock from top Egyptian breeders with English birds in the background.

How many birds do you have now? 

Currently I have about 250 birds This number includes show (exhibition type) stock, crested, back frilled and Japanese helicopters)

Do you focus on certain varieties?

Best quality Normals and Opalines but I also work with Red eyed birds including fallows

Do you work with any other local breeders when looking to improve your stock?

We have a few top breeders in Egypt who can support my demand for a top quality outcross when needed.

Birdroom  Breeding Cages

Breeding Cages in the Birdroom.

Tell us about your bird room and breeding cages.

I have a separate apartment for my birds. It is 120 square meters overall with three breeding rooms, 145 metal breeding cages and several flights for young birds and adult breeding stock.

How many breeding cages do you use?

Currently only 60, but hoping to use the full capacity of 145 cages in 2016 if I have enough quality pairs.

What do you find are the best months for the birds to breed in Egypt?

We do not breed during the very hot Summer months. I think we have an advantage over many countries because we have weather similar to many parts of Australia. This gives us a longer breeding season and we can breed up to 8 months of the year if the birds hold breeding condition.

Youngster  Opaline Hen  Budgie

Do you follow a certain procedure when selecting pairs for breeding?

There are several ways. Usually I combine natural selection of the birds, providing the pairs look compatible, and my choice for pairing certain birds to reach my goals regarding desired features. 

Tell us about your feeding program. Seeds, vegetables and supplements.

I use the old style of mixing the seeds according to the season. In general the birds get Buckwheat (whole), Canary, Radish seeds, Hemp seed, Millets (yellow, red, white), Niger, Oat (whole), and Wheat, Sesame seeds Sunflower seed, Flax seeds, Alfalfa seeds and others I may see at my feed store..

I also feed sprouted seeds and soft food with boiled eggs and vegetables (spinach, chard, cilantro, dark green lettuce) and fruits (Lemon, Apple, Oranges)..... and other additions as Cuttlebone, calcium and supplements)

Do you feed anything special in the months before breeding season?

Usually I prepare my birds for breeding season by giving extra Alfalfa Leaf, Garlic, Broccoli, Carrots, Spinach to provide variety and extra nutrition.

Recessive Pied  Crests

Shahir also breeds Recessive Pieds, Crests and Japanese Crests.

Since there are restrictions on importing cage birds to Egypt where do you go to buy outcrosses to bring in new features to improve overall quality?

From the top breeders in Egypt as the importing was not restricted until a few years ago.There are a few here in greater Cairo who will sell a top quality bird to serious breeders.

What is the price of a good exhibition quality bird in Egypt?

This question is very hard to answer as the quality is not the only thing that affect the price here. A problem here is that some are making this a business and asking very high prices for quality birds.. even for some people a few months income for a single bird. People are paying incredible amounts but I find you can bring in good birds starting at EGP 600 ($90) if you are working with the right people.


Cap feather length is important to show the full beauty of the Crests.

How has the Aleef National Championship Show changed the hobby?

It was very important for us to have a show with an experienced judge who pointed out the good features of our birds, and also the faults. Now we know the meaning of faults in our birds and what we should look for and avoid in new birds. The show succeeded in changing the breeders point of view of what is required in a good show budgie. As more shows like this are held even importers will get to know know the quality of birds they must bring to buyers.

How will this impact on the hobby?

Most breeders here have been focusing on breeding the "unusual" budgies like Crests, Frills, and Japanese Crests... and some have done very well with them. Many with exhibition type breeders were working with "old style" birds other countries had 15-20 years ago had not seen the modern exhibition bird of today. Now they have seen some and also seen photos of top birds during seminars during the Aleef National Show they know what is needed.

What features are you working on now?

I am working to improve the overall quality of my birds year after year but directional feathering together with the depth of the mask is my focus now..

What are your goals in coming years?

I would like to build my "rare varieties" to the same quality of our top exhibition quality show stock....and play a role in building the budgie breeding hobby here in Egypt.

It will take time to develop the hobby here in Egypt and have quality birds like England, Europe or USA but we will do it.

Templates in Time