Ladislav Groda: Every exhibition budgie has some defects. You just need to reveal them. PART I

February 2nd, 2015 | by LubosTomiska
Ladislav Groda: Every exhibition budgie has some defects. You just need to reveal them. PART I

Read also the second part of this interview:

Ladislav Groda: You need to have a good strategy to be a successful breeder of exhibition budgies PART II


He is the greatest breeder of exhibition budgies in the Czech Republic, a multiple winner of world championships C.O.M., european and national exhibitions as well. For our news, Ladislav Groda tries to give us insight into the judging of budgies. „Every show budgie has some defects. The key to success is to reveal these traits and suppress them in the next generation,“ he explained the basic rule. Groda breeds more than 200 pairs of exhibition budgies in three breeding facilities.

Exhibition budgies can be very different. However, there is some WBO standard. According to your opinion, how should the perfect exhibiton budgie look like?

WBO standard is an unreachable ideal. Just to follow the assumption that the budgie should have 2/3 of its body above the perche or the tail should be long as a half of its body is very difficult. Standard WBO requires a minimal length of the bird 21,5 cm. If your budgie is 25-26cm long as current champions than the tail should measure 9 cm. But this is almost impossible. WBO standard is just some invention of humans and can be very difficult to get close.


(c) Jan Potucek















Anyway, it’s still a rule which we have to respect. How do you deal with it?

You have to learn how to combine different birds. Consider A (yellow) budgies which are tiny and sit on their legs easily because they have small body and short feathers. However, I need rough feathers so I combine these birds with B (buff) budgies, which are mighty, have rough feathers but are still weak in legs because they are too heavy. They have more defects like cysts, growing feathers into the skin, flight and tail feather defects  etc. In every bird we have to consider its defects and decide if we will use it in breeding or not. Every trait is linked to other and we have to think about this at the moment of buying the bird. For example males with certain characteristics should always get a female which actually miss this trait. If I match such male with the same female then all offsprings will be the same and they will hold only the main trait.

When you breed exhibition budgies you need to know what do you have at home, what is your aim and how do you want to achieve that. When I decide to breed some lineage, results of my work will come in five maybe ten years. Every individual is a book which I have to learn to read. Even the best bird has some defects. I need to recognize them and find a partner for such individual. This partner can reduce and improve defects of its mate. That’s the sense of the selection. Just to try it at random is nonsense.

How should the best exhibition budgie look like? Is it more a medium or a mighty bird?

I like birds which are difficult to breed. With smooth and thick feathers, broad head, vital…But that’s again the issue of WBO standard. You won’t read in this standard that the bird should be mighty or come from B series. On exhibitions I sometimes make somebody angry because I say that the winner is not an show budgie as it has not 2/3 of the body above the perch. But what they want to hear if such bird just lie on the perch and has a narrow head?


(c) Jan Potucek


Besides a breeder you are a judge as well. When you see czech budgies, do you think we have good birds here?

Yes we have, of course. When we talk about judges I would definitely mention Mr Pechar. He considers mostly the head and feather structure, he totally doesn’t care about the type. He likes B budgies with rough feathers. I appreciate him as a human as well, he is a good guy. As for breeders, Jiri Rejha works good with budgies. It took him some time to be good but he has made unbelievable progress during the last 10 years.

When we judge budgies then it’s impossible to agree on everything but we try to discuss and also follow new trends. Recently, I won in Austria the category of young birds with a bird which actually didn’t deserve it. So I openly said that there were better birds and had absolutely no problem with that. I try to be independent.

Are there any young breeders who are talented to choose good birds?

That’s a problem because exhibition budgies are too expensive.

What is the price for such good budgie?

Nobody will sell you a really good budgie. When I want to buy a bird for my breeding, it costs 1500 – 3000 euro. But it’s a bird which will never win any exhibition. You just choose something from a good lineage and wait for the birds you ordered. The breeders says then – well, I have 10 good birds from this lineage so I will sell the weakest bastard for 700 euro. And that’s the bird which you get and you can wait for it for a very long time. Breeding of exhibition budgies is in my opinion the most difficult kind of breeding in birds. The best budgie is expensive and live just for a short time. If I bred macaws it would cost me less money because they reach high age.


(c) Jan Potucek


So you can’t buy a champ?

No, nobody will sell it. It’s not the matter of money. It’s a competition and nobody is crazy enough to sell the best he has. I had unbelievable offers on buying my good budgies but I have never agreed. You have no idea of satisfaction you feel when you breed the champ. I don’t buy many budgies. I remember I had to buy the whole breeding of one breeder who quit his hobby and only because of one single bird which I really wanted. However, it dies 2 weeks later. Investement is necessary when you want to keep your quality.

Well, if any good breeder dies or quits breeding of budgies then I guess there are many potential buyers with lucrative offers or not?

It depends. There are not many crazy breeders who will pay so much for whole breeding. One thing is to have good quality birds, second thing is to have enough money and the third thing is to be enough crazy to pay it. The champ lives for 2-3 years. Mostly you invest that money anyway because you need to bring some fresh air for your breeding. From 30 birds which I buy every year, only a half survives after a month. I’m happy if there is one really good bird which gives me one or two youngers. Other birds don’t have to pair up with their partners so it’s difficult.

Why those budgies die?

Every facility has its own microclimate. Budgies are very sensitive to changes. Sometimes it can happen that you catch it by hand and it can get a heart attack. That’s why many breeders don’t catch their birds by hands.


(c) Jan Potucek



What about exhausting travelling to exhibitions? Isn’t that too stressful for birds?

My budgies are trained for travelling. It has never happened that any budgie would die. However, when I flew to Portugal my birds died in cargo. It took 2 days so they let me get to my birds and meanwhile nobody gave them water. I was staying in front of the building where the budgies were but authorities didn’t let me go in. Budgies can live without water for longer time but I still lost 7 birds there. When there are more birds in a cage or in a transport box, only stronger individuals will survive. They are social animals and even in the wild stronger animals kill the weaker within the same species. Females can be also very aggressive and they kill other females in the flock when sitting on eggs or chicks.

How long before the exhibition comes you chose the right birds?

Two months before the exhibiton, I check flight feathers of chosen birds. When they are broken or damaged I pick them and the feather will grow up again up to the exhibition. At that time they have to be separated in single cages, not in aviaries, as they can’t fly and the growing flight feathers could break again.

How do you train them to sit on the perch rightly?

I observe them since they are hatched. Those promising individuals are put to the cage with an adult male which sits on the perch perfectly. Young birds will learn it from this bird. However, the adult male has to be really perfect. Unfortunately, youngers frequently pick bad habits. Birds which can’t sit on the perch well are used for breeding not for exhibition. They can be a valuable genetic material.


(c) Jan Potucek


So a part of your budgies is given up to breeding and a part to exhibitions?

You are right. When the male has a big head and bad centre then it gets a small female. Even small birds can have good genes, it depends on their ancestors. Sometimes you have a better chance to get good youngers from weak budgies with good genes than from champs. Even from the last chicks in the nest you can find good birds for your breeding, you just can’t spoil it.

Spoil it? How?

You need to know which birds can go together in a pair. Breeders often make the mistake that they buy a perfect budgie from good lineage but pair it with the bird of unknown origin. They don’t know parents of their birds and want to win the budgie exhibition. All good breeders have at least 20-40 breeding boxes with 150-200 budgies. Males and females are separated in cages and they make notes. That’s the only way how to win.

How many birds do you have?

At least 600 birds, so about 300 pairs. Every breeding season there are more than 700 chicks hatched and 500-600 babies fledged. Something will die, something I have to sell. Mostly, when I have five babies in the nest I sell the last two and the first three stay at home. Some birds I exchange with other breeders. I can’t keep everything. Sometimes I have to sell even good birds….


Photos: (c) Jan Potucek,



  1. Pingback: Ladislav Groda: You need to have a good strategy to be a successful breeder of exhibition budgies PART II | Parrots Daily News

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