“Most people think the zebra finch is a fairly easy bird to breed, but it is not. You have so many options when breeding them; thousands of color combinations are possible. It is a long road to breed a zebra finch with all the characteristics you want,” says Jesse van Es, bird breeder from Woerden. He is 31 years old, studied animal management, works at a pet shop, has his own website about breeding with zebra finches and uses ZooEasy for his zebra finches.
“My parents always had animals. From the age of 12, I started breeding zebra finches. In the first few years, I selected the birds mainly by color. Now I focus more on the size and their shape. Heredity has always fascinated me. I have learned genetics by heart, so you can figure out which colors you will get. I try to avoid inbreeding, and focus on the future and health of the birds. It is very convenient that my girlfriend is a bird doctor. I also look a lot at nature; how do birds behave in nature? What are the natural living conditions and what is their natural diet? I also apply the knowledge I gain in my work to my own birds.”
Color strokes and champions
Jesse also participates in competitions. At first, mainly in his own region, but last year he participated nationwide for the first time. “There are many color varieties with zebra finches. I have some unique combinations, with which it is not difficult to become a champion, but with other colors there is more competition. I only breed in the gray series, with blackcheek, blackface, eumo, pastel and lightback. I personally like the pastel lightback blackface gray zebra finch the most.”
Benefit of your database
“ZooEasy is a real help, as a serious bird breeder you cannot do without it,” says Jesse. “I wanted to be online, so I can log in anywhere, because I am often away from home. Even when you are at a show or a trade event, it is easier to check birds in your database.” He used to write everything down in notebooks, “But it is quite a lot of work to find everything.”
5 tips from Jesse for when you get started with ZooEasy:
He sees ZooEasy primarily as an investment: “The first month I was entering in data. You have to persevere with this. Later you will experience the benefits. Because of ZooEasy, I now know which birds should and should not be together. You can print links and pedigrees, or give pedigrees to the new owners. I also use the program to investigate how to get certain colors. After the first year you will benefit from your database. You can review and re-calculate everything. I can’t live without ZooEasy anymore.”