Now that your chicks have grown, you must decide what you'll do with them! Will you keep them as pets? Will you breed them? Will you sell them? Read below to find some ideas about keeping and/or selling your new flock.
You have a couple of options regarding what to do with the chicks now that they've grown. You can keep them as pets, you can sell them, or you can breed them. Whatever you decide, you must remember the basic rules:
Once They've Completed Their Molt
If you have a good relationship with your local bird store, you can ask if they'd like to purchase your birds from you. Many stores will only give you a store credit, and some will give you nothing in return. If this is the case, go elsewhere! There are many "Mom & Pop" stores out there who'd love to purchase your birds from you. Keep in mind that many stores sell their Gouldian pairs for $200 or more per pair. This means they will want to buy the bird for a price on which they can make a profit. You'll want to keep this in mind when negotiating a purchase price with the store owners. And don't sell yourself short! If you've followed my advice all along here, you'll have spent many hours caring for your birds. You'll have spent much money properly feeding and caging them. You may have even spent time hand feeding! YOUR TIME IS VALUABLE! Remember to take all of your costs into consideration, then negotiate!
These stores are also a good place to barter for "fresh blood". Many stores will trade - bird for bird - if they have them, so that you can add new blood to your breeding stock. Just make sure you get a good trade. The birds should be healthy and alert. You'll want to follow the Purchase Tips, and New Bird Quarantine Procedures, even if you totally trust the store!
Big chain stores probably won't purchase your birds. They claim they have breeder requirements and have a tall pile of paperwork to be filled out to even apply. You'll have to have semi-annual inspections of your aviary or bird room, and they will give you a pittance for your birds if they even accept you as a breeder. Beware! It's difficult to compete with bird mills!
Join A Bird Club
Another way to sell your birds is to join a bird club. Bird club members will often swap or purchase birds from one another. Experienced breeders often like to help novice breeders by "giving" them good stock to work with. Of course this isn't always the case, so you cannot expect and certainly never demand someone give you birds, but in a good club, the members help one another - and often purchase each others' birds.
Sell Them At A Fair or Show
Many clubs hold fairs and shows, several times per year. They will usually have vendor tables, purchased for a nominal fee, at which you can sell your birds. My local bird club charges $40 per 8' table. A normal Gouldian sells at these shows for anywhere from $60 to $150, depending on quality, mutation and conformation. You could easily make your money back simply by selling one bird! Most Goulds sell very quickly, especially if they are really good looking! If I'm looking for a specific mutation from one of my breeder friends, I always call them ahead of time to reserve a bird, otherwise, I might not come home with what I am looking for! If you're really good, you can join several clubs and hit all of the shows and fairs! Remember to make as many connections with reputable breeders as you can while you are at the fairs & shows!
OR, you can keep them. If you've been lucky enough to obtain more than one unrelated pair, you can breed their offspring to each other. You will then build your stock. Just remember to keep adding unrelated birds to increase the bloodline!
Special Note...one many of you won't like.
If you choose to keep them all, know your limits. If you have too many to care for properly, it is time to use one of the methods above to relieve yourself of some or even all of them! Remember, when you chose to keep captive birds, you also chose stewardship over them. They cannot care for themselves. There's no excuse for improper care. Sure, we've all been through hard times, but if you can't afford Veterinary care, proper nutrition, proper cages, etc., you'll get no sympathy here. You should seriously reconsider keeping them at all! It is selfish and cruel to keep them if you can't give them what they need. Been there, done that - I've had to sell them ALL at some points because I couldn't care for them properly. A fact is a fact and I won't mince words to save someone's feelings. Sorry kids. Sometimes the truth hurts. Do what's right and don't make excuses. If you can't care for them properly, don't keep them at all.
THE CHICKS HAVE GROWN - NOW WHAT?
KRISTEN REEVES, MEADOWLARK FARMS AVIAN SUPPLY, INC.