My Pet: A hobby that’s taken wings

By Madeleine Byron

The loud chatter of more than 100 birds fills the walls of a specially built aviary in Congupna resident Mark Reynolds’ backyard.

Mr Reynolds has always had a keen interest in birds and joined the Goulburn Valley Branch of the Avicultural Society of Australia in 1999.

“I started with a couple of budgies and then went on to love birds and Indian ringnecks and it blossomed from there,” he said.

“It’s like a disease: once you buy a couple you end up with more and more and more.”

Now the purpose-built aviary holds 49 individual cages and houses more than 10 different breeds, including malabars, ringnecks, golden conures, green cheeks, roseifrons and blue-crowns.

“I’ve just added another nine cages recently, but hopefully that’s it — the wife might not be too happy if I build any more,” Mr Reynolds laughed.

Hand reared sun conure parrot.

During the week, Mr Reynolds said it takes him almost an hour to feed all the birds, and that’s not including the two hand-reared baby sun conures.

“There’s a specialised diet specific for parrots that you mix with water and when they were little you’d get up through the night to feed them every four hours,” he said.

“It tapers off as they get older so I give them less and less so they can become more independent and be moved on to their new home.”

As for the rest of the flock, daily meals of vegetables, fruit and seeds are served.

“They’re really good eaters, they get well looked after,” Mr Reynolds said.

“They get soaked seed, apple, silverbeet and other little bits and pieces.”

On average, Mr Reynolds said he would purchase almost 1000 corncobs a year and six 2.5kg bags of frozen vegetables a week.

“It’s just a really good hobby,” he said.

Mr Reynolds said he was keen to collect the rest of the conure bird breeds missing from the flock.

Do you have a pet you'd like to see feature in our My Pet series? Get in touch with us by sending an email to [email protected] or send us some more details on our Your Stuff page.


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