Student - 10 februari 2011

Mini-interview about zebra finches

Who? Mark Oude Griep, Animal Health Care third year (at VHL Leeuwarden).
What? Breeds zebra finches.
Why? Won the world championship for the second time running on 27 January.
Where? In Tours in France.

How did you end up breeding zebra finches?
'It all started fifteen years ago when I got some birds from a neighbour. They included some zebra finches. I kept them in an aviary in the garden.' 

How do you breed finches?
'I look for two good breeding birds and put them together in a cage. After a week, I put in a nesting box and then they will start to breed. This way, I have twenty-five pairs that will reproduce twice a year. That gives me 160 finches.'

What do you do with all those birds? Can you eat them?
'No, I mainly trade them with other breeders. But I don't exactly make a fortune; it really is just a hobby. My title is a real honour, but also recognition for all the time I have put in.'

What made you better than your rivals?
'Birds are assessed according to their colour, markings and the condition of their feathers. I scored the same as my rivals on these aspects. But my birds were larger and plumper, which is why I won. I had a lot of birds to choose from, what they call 'good quality across the board'.