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Just the passion for fancy birds. You have to see it, you have to feel it....

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Visiting Galliformes and their fancy birds

On a Friday morning in September we visited a very special location! I got a real peek behind the scenes at Galliformes, where I met owner Michael van Duijnhoven and manager Mathijs Otter. Together, they have transformed their passion for fancy birds into a beautiful site with enormous diversity and sometimes even rare species. So many cages, so many fancy birds… How do they do it?

 

Raised with fancy birds

Michael explains that he grew up with birds: his father used to keep them. After his studies, he realized he wanted to start keeping fancy birds again, so he did. Eventually, he rented a barn from a farmer to be able to keep more birds. When he expressed he wanted to think bigger, he was offered the site where all the animals live now.

At a certain point I thought, I just want to go bigger and approach things more professionally.

Self-built aviaries

Michael enthusiastically explains how they started. Mathijs started as a manager when the new premises came into use. When I hear him speak, I can hear the pride in his voice: this is clearly his passion! Michael explains why their site is so special: Mathijs built everything himself. When I ask him how long he has been working on it, he modestly tells me that he has been building for almost six years. The aviaries, the panels, everything is made by Mathijs. And it shows: everything is right, down to the last detail.

 

You have to feel it

When I ask how you can tell if the fancy birds are healthy, I do not get a ready-made answer. Mathijs explains that it is important to see the birds often, especially if you have no experience with birds. That’s the way you can learn how they behave when they are feeling well and you can more quickly see if there is something bothering your bird. After all, caring for them is more than just feeding them. Michael’s en Mathijs’ opinion:

Those things can’t be fully taught, you have to feel it.

The importance of good nutrition for fancy birds

Caring is different from feeding, but feeding is an art form in itself! Mathijs explains that it can be quite difficult to find out what kind of food suits the birds. Just like other animals, different species of fancy birds have different nutritional needs. This means that you cannot feed all fancy birds the same. Some species do not do well on a standard pellet, and then it is important to have a specialist feed available, for example 824 fancy poultry tetrao. Michael explains that proper nutrition ensures that more fertilised eggs are laid, so more young birds can be raised. This allows Galliformes to release young of endangered species back into the wild.

At the end of the tour a thought pops up in my head: “Do you realise that for other people this is almost like a whole zoo?”
After a moment of silence both Michael and Mathijs smile: “Now that you’ve reminded us, we do!”
On the drive back to Drempt I feel the same smile on my face. What a beautiful ending to a special day!

 

See you in the next feedstory!