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Profile: Ilse Pretorius

Profile: Ilse Pretorius

(by Leoni de la Port)


Ilse was born in Johannesburg in 1953. The family moved to Klerksdorp when Ilse was three years old. Her parents still live in their own home in Klerksdorp and are blessed with ages of respectively 87 and 84 years. After matriculating, Ilse obtained her BA PE (Physical Education) and Teacher’s Diploma at the University of Pretoria. She was also a talented gymnast and was chosen in standard 8 as well as in her third year at varsity for the SA Gymnastics team that performed in Basil, Switzerland as well as in West Berlin, Germany.

Her first position as a teacher was at Ontdekkers High School in Johannesburg. In the same year she met Kobus, who practiced as a vet in Klerksdorp. He later moved to Hoopstad, where he started his own practice. In the fourth term Kobus managed to obtain a post for Ilse at the High School in Hoopstad. She lived in the girls’ hostel until they got married in Hoopstad on 15 December 1976. Ilse taught for two years. Her subjects were Biology, English and PE from Grade 1 to Grade 12. Today, she and Kobus have three beautiful children – Liezl, Erhard and Ruan.

In 1985 a good friend, Willie Bernard, who was a lawyer/bird breeder, dared Kobus to farm with birds rather than with his part time sheep farming of 600 ewes. In those years a ewe cost R120 and a pair of Golden Mantles also cost R120. Kobus reasoned: His ewe produced one lamb of R60, while a pair of Willie’s Golden Mantles produced 4 babies at R60 each per year. The bird fancying thus had the potential to beat his sheep farming. Furthermore, he had to have a farm to farm with sheep, while one can breed birds on a residential property. That is how their bird breeding started on the farm. They built 20 aviaries which contained, amongst others, the following birds: 2 pairs of Golden Mantles, 2 pairs of Green Ringnecks, 2 pairs of Cockatiels and 2 pairs of Carolina ducks. Because their children were still very small (Ruan was about 1 year old), Ilse did not want to agree to move the birds to Hoopstad. In 1988, when Ruan was 3 years old, they moved the birds to Hoopstad. They built their first set of 57 aviaries on a duck pond and they built an additional three sets of aviaries in the years that followed.

Ilse reckons she did not choose parrots, but Ringnecks chose her. Ringnecks are so reliable and keep your interest going. The income that was generated from the Ringnecks enabled Ilse to expand her bird breeding to where it is today. Ilse’s fear of feather disease among Ringnecks unfortunately restricted her. Before she realized that the disease could be managed, she fell behind with the new mutations because she was too scared to add new Ringnecks that could possibly be infected, to her collection. However, when she realized that feather disease could indeed be managed, her love for mutations flared up again and she soon caught up on the backlog.

Her collection progressed to one of the biggest in the country. Besides Ringnecks, Ilse has various kinds of Amazon parrots, Cockatoos such as Major Mitchell’s, Galahs, Sulphur-Cresteds and Umbrellas. She also has different species of Macaw as well as Australian parakeets, of which Kings is one of her favourites. She is most successful with her Ringnecks, Golden Mantles, Port Lincolns, Illiger’s Macaws, Cockatoos and various Amazons.


Ilse makes use of ground as well as suspended aviaries. At the moment she prefers ground aviaries. She bought the suspended aviaries from a breeder who relinquished his bird breeding. The aviaries are round and irritate her endlessly – she feels that plain, square suspended aviaries work better.


It is of utmost importance to Ilse that the breeding and baby rooms are disinfected regularly and thoroughly. The disinfection of the aviaries is not that important to Ilse, as she believes that the birds must build up their own immunity against various diseases.


Ilse makes use of self feeders for the sunflower seed and fine seed. The softfood mixture and the Avi-Plus Complete Maintenance pellets are presented in open dishes.

Health and Sexing

Ilse deworms once a year during February, using Mediworm. The food is removed the previous day. Mediworm is mixed with the softfood mixture and a little bit of orange essence is also added to get rid of the bitter taste.

Sexing has become a huge problem for Ilse, ever since the DNA laboratory at the University of North West closed down.

Hatching and hand rearing of chicks

After a lot of tears and endless experimenting Ilse has come to the conclusion that the best temperature in an incubator is 37.2°C and the moisture level should be kept between 50 and 52%. For hatching the temperature is dropped to 36.9°C and the moisture raised to between 60 and 70%. She has a breeding room and three baby rooms for chicks of various sizes. The chicks that are hatched in the incubator are fed Kaytee for the first two weeks and thereafter she switches over to Avi-Plus.


It was a privilege and an honour to visit Ilse’s beautiful collection of birds. It has been a while since I have seen someone so passionate about parrots!

Her advice to other breeders is to always be honest and to retain your integrity. Make sure the person you buy from has the same values. Ilse says that her whole life and also her bird breeding testifies how good the Lord is to her.

To the new bird breeders she wants to say, “What works for someone else, won’t necessarily work for you, unless God blesses it. In this way you are sure to never exclude Him from your plans.”

Psalm 37:5 ‘Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him…’



Ilse is in 1953 in Johannesburg gebore. Die gesin het Klerksdorp toe verhuis toe Ilse drie jaar oud was. Haar ouers woon steeds in hul eie huis in Klerksdorp en is geseënd met ouderdomme van onderskeidelik 87 en 84 jaar. Nadat Ilse gematrikuleer het, het sy haar B A LO graad en Onderwysdiploma aan die Universiteit van Pretoria verwerf. Sy was ook ʼn kranige gimnas en was in Standerd 8 en in haar derde jaar op universiteit gekies vir die Suid-Afrikaanse gimnastrade span wat in Basil, Switserland en Wes-Berlyn, Duitsland gaan deelneem het. Haar eerste onderwyspos was by Ontdekkers Hoërskool in Johannesburg. In dieselfde jaar het sy vir Kobus ontmoet wat as veearts in Klerksdorp gepraktiseer het. Hy het toe Hoopstad toe verhuis waar hy sy eie praktyk begin het. In die vierde kwartaal het Kobus vir Ilse ʼn pos by die Hoërskool Hoopstad gekry. Sy het in die eisieskoshuis gebly totdat hulle op 15 Desember 1976 in Hoopstad getroud is. Ilse het vir twee jaar onderwys gegee. Sy het Biologie, Engels en Liggaamsopvoeding van Graad 1 tot Graad 12 gegee. Sy en Kobus het drie pragtige kinders – Liezl, Erhard en Ruan.

In 1985 het ʼn goeie prokureur/voëlboer vriend, Willie Bernard, vir Kobus uitgedaag om liewer met voëls as met sy deeltydse skaapboerdery van 600 ooie te boer. Daardie jare het ʼn skaapooi R120 gekos en ʼn paar Goue Mantels het ook R120 gekos. Kobus het geredeneer: Sy skaapooi het in een jaar, 1 lam van R60 ingebring, terwyl Willie gemiddeld 4 Gouemantels uit 1 paar per jaar teen R60 elk gekry het. Die voëlboerdery het dus die potensiaal gehad om sy skaapboerdery te klop. Boonop moes hy ʼn plaas hê om met skape te boer, terwyl jy op ʼn erf met voëls kan boer. So het hulle voëlboerdery toe op die plaas begin. Hulle het 20 hokke gebou wat onder andere die volgende voëls in gehad het: 2 pare Gouemantels, 2 pare Groen Ringnekke, 2 pare Kokketiele en 2 pare Carolina eendjies. Omdat hulle kinders nog baie klein was (Ruan was maar een jaar oud) wou Ilse nie instem om die voëls Hoopstad toe te skuif nie. In 1988, toe Ruan 3 jaar oud was, het hulle die voëls Hoopstad toe geskuif. Hulle het hulle eerste stel van 57 hokke en ʼn eendedam gebou. In die jare wat gevolg het, het hulle nog drie stelle hokke gebou.

Ilse sê sy het nie papegaaie gekies nie, maar Ringnekke het haar gekies. Ringnekke is so betroubaar en hou jou belangstelling aan die gang. Die inkomste wat deur die Ringnekke gegenereer is, het vir Ilse in staat gestel om haar voëlboerdery uit te brei tot waar dit vandag is. Ilse se vrees vir veersiekte onder die Ringnekke het haar ongelukkig baie beperk. Voordat sy besef het dat die siekte bestuur kan word, het sy agter geraak met die nuwe mutasies omdat sy te bang was om nuwe Ringnekke wat moontlik besmet is, by haar versameling te voeg. Toe sy egter besef dat veersiekte wel bestuur kan word, het haar liefde vir mutasies weer vlam gevat en het sy gou die agterstand ingehaal.

Haar versameling het gevorder tot een van die groter versamelings in die land. Afgesien van Ringnekke, het Ilse verskeie soorte Amasone-papegaaie, Kaketoes soos Major Mitchells, Galahs, Sulphur Cresteds en Umbrellas. Sy het ook verskillende spesies Macaws en ook Australies parakiete, waarvan Konings een van haar gunstelinge is. Sy behaal die meeste sukses met haar Ringnekke, Gouemantels, Port Lincolns, Illiger’s Macaws, Kaketoes en verskeie Amasones.


Ilse maak van staan- sowel as hanghokke gebruik. Op die oomblik verkies sy egter staanhokke. Die hanghokke wat sy het, het sy by ʼn teler wat sy boerdery opgegee het, gekoop. Dit is ronde hanghokke wat haar geweldig irriteer en sy voel dat gewone vierkantige hanghokke dalk goed kan werk.


Dit is vir Ilse van kardinale belang dat die broei- en babakamers gereeld en goed ontsmet word. Die ontsmetting van hokke is nie vir Ilse so belangrik nie, omdat sy glo dat die voëls hulle eie immuniteit teen verskeie siektes moet opbou.


Ilse maak van selfvoerders vir die sonneblomsaad en fynsaad gebruik. Die sagtekosmengsel en die Avi-Plus Complete Maintenance pille word in oop bakke aangebied.

Gesondheid en geslagsbepalings

Ilse ontwurm eenkeer per jaar gedurende Februarie met Mediworm. Die kos word die vorige dag weggevat. Die Mediworm word met die sagtekosmengsel gemeng en daar word ook ʼn bietjie lemoen-essens bygevoeg om die bitter smaak te verminder.

Geslagsbepalings is op hierdie stadium vir Ilse ʼn geweldige probleem nadat die DNS-laboratorium by die Universiteit van die Noordwes gesluit het.

Uitbroei en handgrootmaak van kuikens

Deur baie trane en vele eksperimente het Ilse tot die gevolgtrekking gekom dat die beste temperatuur in die broeimasjien 37,2º C is en die vog word tussen 50% en 52% gehou. Vir uitbroei word die temperatuur na 36,9º C afgebring en die vog opgestoot na tussen 60% en 70%. Sy het ʼn broeikamer en drie babakamers vir kuikens van verskillende groottes. Die kuikens wat in die broeimasjien uitgebroei word, word vir die eerste twee weke met Kaytee gevoer en daarna word daar na Avi-Plus oorgeskakel.


Dit was ʼn voorreg en ʼn eer om Ilse se pragtige voëlversameling te besoek en ek het lanklaas iemand gesien wat so passievol oor papegaaie is!

Haar wenk aan ander telers is om altyd eerlik te wees en jou integriteit te behou. Jy moet ook seker maak dat die persoon by wie jy die voëls aankoop, ook so is. Ilse sê ook dat haar hele lewe en ook haar voëlboerdery getuig van hoe goed die Here vir haar is. Vir die nuwe voëlboere wil sy sê: “Wat vir iemand anders werk, sal nie noodwendig vir jou werk nie, tensy God dit seën. So maak seker dat jy Hom nie uit jou planne los nie”.

Ps. 37:5 “Laat jou weg aan die Here oor en vertrou op Hom, en Hy sal dit uitvoer.”

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