NZ move good for UK bird breeder

Arthur and Maude Jordan celebrate winning best cage bird at last year's inaugural Heartland Poultry Club Show in Timaru last year. Photo by Debbie Phipps
Arthur and Maude Jordan celebrate winning best cage bird at last year's inaugural Heartland Poultry Club Show in Timaru last year. Photo by Debbie Phipps
Moving to New Zealand has given a British cage bird enthusiast a new lease of life.

Arthur Jordan moved to New Zealand seven years ago and immediately resumed his passion for breeding cage birds.

He is preparing to enter the Heartland Poultry Club's second annual poultry show in Timaru on May 10-11.

''I mostly keep the British breeds. I started when I was a boy and I have always kept the birds, even though it was basically illegal in England.

''When you're old you've got to do something. You can't just sit down and die.''

Mr Jordan has a small property in Templeton, just south of Christchurch, where he breeds about 100 cage birds of different colours. He got into exhibiting his birds in cage bird and poultry shows three years ago, something that would have been unthinkable in the United Kingdom.

Now he entered birds at shows throughout the South Island and in the North Island.

Last year Mr Jordan won a silver medal at the national cage bird show in the North Island and won champion cage bird and third-best exhibit overall at last year's Heartland club poultry show in Timaru.

''My birds have done really well, but I'm only in it for the prestige.''

Originally from Leicester, Mr Jordan has bred ''mules'' most of his life. The feathered variety of a mule is a cross between a canary and another cage bird breed, including budgies and finches. He still breeds mules, but also breeds hybrids, which are a cross between two different cage bird breeds other than canaries. Then there are the different colours.

''There's no end to the different colours when you go to a cage bird show.

''You can have green and then you can have red pied, so you've got to have a bird to put in each class. I usually take 20-odd birds to all the different shows.''

He also breeds pure-bred yellow buntings and finches.

''Yellow buntings were brought out from England originally. They mostly live in the fields over there, where there's horses and cattle. They like to scratch round in their feed.

''I used to have bullfinches, which are a nuisance for apple growers because they take the tops off the trees. In New Zealand you have fields and fields of goldfinches, but they are very rare now in England.''

This year he will be showing rosecomb bantams for the first time, after Heartland club member Stu Phipps, of Ashburton, gave him some fertile eggs to breed from.

''Stu wanted me to get into them, so I've been egging him on that he's going to come second now,'' Mr Jordan said.

Mr Jordan's family are also into breeding. His daughter back in the UK breeds small chickens and chinchillas, while his son recently bought a 320ha farm near Motunau Beach in North Canterbury, where he plans to breed cattle.

The Heartland Poultry Club hosted its inaugural poultry show in Timaru last year and after a successful first show, the club decided make it an annual event, club member Debbie Phipps said.

Mrs Phipps said research in local newspapers suggested last year's show was the first poultry show in Timaru since 1885.

The Heartland Poultry Club's second annual show will be held at the SBS Events Centre, Morgans Rd, Timaru on Saturday and Sunday, May 10-11.

Admission is $5 for adults and children are free. For more information, go to www.heartlandpoultry.co.nz or the club's Facebook page.

- by David Hill