would chew a hole in the bottom, and their eggs and chicks would fall out. Seed merchants of that era were Haiths, Brinkler Osborne and Young (BOY), Wood’s of Kirton, Boston, Lincs. Laings and the importers R Simon, whose seed came straight from the London docks in 2 ¼ cwt sacks (252lbs or 18 stones) much to the exasperation of Railway staff and fanciers alike, and was very probably the cause of one or two hernias. Nowadays we just do not have the

variety of seed we had then. In fact several countries have stopped growing seed altogether for bird consumption. Long gone and with wonderful names to match the excellent seeds, we could obtain Super Mammoth Canary Seed, Mammoths Spanish Canary Seed and Smyrna White Millet. Back then British Railways had a vast

network throughout the British Isles. If I was showing birds a porter from the railway would pick them up in a van from my home, he would then take them to the station, put them on the correct train and at their destination they would be taken off and transferred by railway employees to the Show Hall. At the end of the show, the birds were picked up, put on the right

train and then delivered back to my home. I never lost a single bird. If we were showing locally in St Albans, Hitchin, Watford, Hemel Hempstead or Bedford we all took our birds to a central point from where the birds would then be transported by a van hired by our own club. At the time Luton, St Albans, Hemel

Hempstead and Watford were part of the Beds and Herts interclub. Each club would take it in turn once every fourth year to host and run a combined show. In the old days the only material available for keeping birds in aviaries and cages was chicken wire. Cages were often old wooden orange boxes that were very durable. Later Twilweld came on the market. Now there is so much choice with all kinds of shapes, sizes and wire gauges available. Similarly there is now so much on the

market that is said to ensure the health and vitality of our birds. Vitamins, minerals and supplements of all kinds which are claimed to ensure that whatever variety of bird you breed, by feeding this or that chemical brew, it will give you super fit parent birds with bumper nests of full eggs and healthy chicks, when in fact the breeding cycles and results are no different


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