News

Man's bid to create perfect budgie, one sperm at a time

Mackay man Michael Pace has won the opaline class of the Australian National Budgerigar Championships with a bird that took four years of tireless effort to produce.
Mackay man Michael Pace has won the opaline class of the Australian National Budgerigar Championships with a bird that took four years of tireless effort to produce. Peter Holt

THE quest to "build the ultimate budgie" can be long and tedious, but a Mackay man has recently shown he's ahead of the flock.

While Michael Pace might live a relatively normal life as a school teacher by day, by night he can be found in his garage-cum-breeding room, piecing together the "jigsaw puzzle" of budgerigar genetics.

A self-described "budgie fancier" since age 14, the father of four recently had his tireless efforts recognised, winning the opaline class of the Australian National Budgerigar Championships, held in Toowoomba.

"I was looking for something I could do at home with four kids, so it's a good hobby," Mr Pace said.

"They (the kids) tell me which ones they like and which ones they don't - it can be quite time consuming.

But Mr Pace isn't content to let nature take its course while creating his feathered masterpiece.

"I do artificial insemination," he said.

"If I really want it to happen, I'll make it happen."

Mr Pace said he used a capillary tube to extract sperm from the male budgie and then inserted it into the hen.

But the window of opportunity is small. "Once the hen starts laying she'll lay every second day, between 4-10 eggs," he said. "You've got to get the cock bird, extract the sperm, and get it into the hen within six hours of her laying that previous egg. Otherwise the next egg will be formed in her ovaries and that egg will be infertile."

Mr Pace said it had taken four years for him to breed his winning budgie - a grey opaline mutation.

While he doesn't name his birds, he said he found a lot of satisfaction in his hobby.

"I love the competitiveness of shows and you learn about genetics," he said.

Two other members of the Mackay City Budgerigar Society, Bob Robinson and Matt Grant, also scored places in their respective competition categories.

The society meets on the first Thursday of every month at 7pm at Mackay showgrounds' bird pavilion. New members are encouraged.

Budgies find homes worldwide

WHILE many of us may have had a pet budgie in our youth, wild budgerigars are a common sight across much of inland Australia.

Domestic birds can be much bigger than their wild counterparts, and can come in a variety of colours, whereas wild budgies are mostly green.

A number of different theories exist on how the bird got its name, including a mispronunciation of the Gamilaraay word "gidjirrigaa".

Budgerigars have been captive-bred since the 1850s, and can be found as pets in countries all over the world.

Topics:  bird, budgies, editors picks, mackay



Woman faces court after alleged text-driving fatality

Bianca Hope Yule faced Rockhampton Magistrates court this morning charged with dangerous driving causing death or grievous bodily harm.Photo Chloe Lyons / The Morning Bulletin

The charges come after a fatal crash in Kabra on June 17.

State's new smoke-free laws kick in today

BUTT OUT: From September 1, 2016 the minimum penalty for breaches of the state's new smoke-free laws will be $243, up to a maximum of $2,438.

The new smoke-free laws from September 1 will be...

How did this Central Queensland man come to die?

A still image of Janay Rd in Kabra, Central Queensland

The body of the man was found on Wednesday

Local Partners

The Code's dangerous new game on the dark web

Ashley Zukerman and Dan Spielman in a scene from the TV series The Code.

POLITICAL thriller returns with second season in North Queensland.

El lights up Muster stage

BUZZING: Yeppoon's Eloise Cosgrove performed on the Gympie Muster main stage on the weekend after being selected as a finalist for the Muster Talent Search.

Yeppoon singer Eloise performs at Gympie Muster

What's on the big screen this week

Mel Gibson and Diego Luna in a scene from the movie Blood Father.

THREE new thrillers open in cinemas today.

Love is in the air on The Bachelor, but not for Kiki

The Bachelor Australia contestant Kirralee 'Kiki' Morris.

BACHELORETTE bows out gracefully as show enters its final weeks.

A $65,000 bathroom? The Block's incredible budget blow-outs

The Block contestants Julia and Sasha spent a whopping $65,000 on their first renovated room.

TEAMS deliver most expensive en-suites in reno show's history.

How high? Twin 20-storey high-rises plan for "over 50s"

A development application has been lodged with the Fraser Coast Regional Council to build two skyscrapers in Hervey Bay.

Developer says Bay needs to move with the times.

City View Hotel: From a pub to a backpackers

NEW LIFE: Hamish Parker has purchsed the City View Hotel and wants to turn it into an accomodation venue.

Architect picks up a little piece of history for a steal

Bunnings starts demolition of historic foundry buildings

SAWTOOTH GONE: Demolition of Foundry sawtooth shed to make way for new Bunnings building.

Lane and footpath closures will take place

Australia's most expensive balcony and it hasn't been built

Viridian Noosa.

How Noosa millionares' squabble could affect body corporates

Receivers move in on Springfield's 'Tower of Power'

The 10-storey tower at Springfield is up for sale with interest high in the iconic structure.

Interest high in iconic 10-storey office building

Palm Lake Resort set to move in to Coast with 276 villas

Palm Lake Group has been given approval by Sunshine Coast Council to build a 276-villa over 50s resort and 120-bed aged care facility at the intersection of Caloundra Rd and Caloundra Mooloolaba Rd in Little Mountain.

New facility planned for Caloundra Rd