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Prices For Quality Exhibition Budgerigars


How much should you pay when buying breeding stock or a special outcross to impact your stud?

Prices paid for quality exhibition breeding stock has always been a topic of conversation in the hobby.

While asking prices vary from breeder to breeder, country to country, and even region to region within a country, the cost of quality stock are always a concern for those joining the hobby and for experienced breeders looking for an outcross or two to introduce desireable features to a stud.

It is common these days to see comments on facebook groups and bulletin boards about high prices rumored to be paid for certain bloodlines saying they are out of control.

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A question that must be asked is "Are prices paid for top birds today really higher than they were decades ago?"

Back when I was a youngster in the hobby in Australia I recall a member of our local club paying 150 Pounds for a bird. Quite an outlay when you consider most people earned less than 20 Pounds a week in those days.

We hear rumors of the great late Harry Bryan paying top money for show winners when he felt he could use them in his breeding program.

And back in June 1988 edition of Budgerigar World Gwin Evans reported - World Record Price For A Budgie? -

"What I believe is a world record price for a budgerigar, has been paid by a Japanese fancier for an English cock bird. Terry and Clare Pilkington from Leyland, confirm they have sold one of their top birds for the sum of GBP2500. The bird, , a normal greygreen cock, bred from a normal grey cock (Best Grey at the 1986 BW Show) has won a large number of top awards for the Pilkingtons. In 1986 it was Best Breeder at the 'Budgerigar World' Show; Best Breeder and Best In Show at the B.S. and came second to the Best In Show at the 1987 B.S. Show.

This price of GBP2500 ($4,650 American dollars) beats what was paid for the John Scoble birds in Australia, and must, I think, be a world record."

Back to reality.... The GBP2500 in 1888, after allowing for inflation over 30 years, brings the sale price to GBP4000 today. That's Euros4533 or US$5650.

While we hear rumors, and I have actually witnessed, birds changing hands for prices in this range.... there are only a handful of breeders Worldwide who have the reputation and quality in their studs to command these prices.

It must always be remembered that it is the buyer who controls the price. You can always say "No Thanks" when offered a bird for a price you feel is unreasonable or beyond your means.

When visiting breeders in other countries in recent years I observed something I found interesting. One top European breeder sold several lots of birds to visitors, yet during the "negotiations" for most birds he never set a price. "What is it worth to you?" or "What do you think is a fair price?" resulted in responses of very high figures. In fact, it was the visitors who set the sale prices in these cases, and they left feeling happy with their purchases.

So... If you have a limited budget what are your options?

Bullet Of course we would all like to have the budget available to visit the top breeders with outstanding reputations and buy their best birds that are for sale. But many cannot afford to do that.

 Bullet  Maybe you could pick up a few birds from your top breeder, birds that are related to show winners but lack in size and features of the best birds available. These usually command a much lower price even though from the same gene pool, but still may be above the budget for many buyers.

Bullet Occassionally even top breeders have youngsters that have been plucked, scalped, or otherwise disfigured. Any birds like this are usually sold at low cost... yet again carry the same genes.

One of my friends in Belgium was lucky enough to acquire a youngster that had been scalped in the nest for a very low price. "Kojak" became a top producer in the breeding cage and fathered many outstanding youngsters including Best-In-Show winners against top competition. Now his sons are producing young of similar quality and are very much in demand.

Many Champion breeders in surrounding countries have been so impressed with Kojak he has been loaned out several times, and in return my friend received "loaner birds" from these Champions that he could use... fantastic outcrosses that he would never had been able to buy.

In fact... My friend has build a successful stud around the one disfigured bird that carried the right gene pool.

Bullet Another option, which I have often used, is to search for lesser known breeders who have purchased birds from the bloodlines you admire.  If these breeders have paired their birds correctly they will have the features and gene pool for you to work with. Because these breeders are not well known, and may not have many buying from them, they often sell at very affordable prices.

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