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Why do we ring birds?

There are three ways in which birds can be identified: with an implanted micro chip, with a ring around the leg or by the less permanent way of cutting wing feathers in different ways.

One can have valuable birds micro-chipped. In that case you need the digital reader to go with it so that you can readthe ID number. The advantage of a microchip which is inserted under the bird’s skin is that it cannot be seen and easily removed and it can be implanted into adult birds.

You can cut the point of feathers e.g. tail feathers if you have adult birds without rings that you need to identify for your own purposes. This is a temporary measure which can assist you till the feathers fall out!

Identifying birds with a closed ring is probably the most practical and inexpensive means of identification. Aluminium rings come in different colours which you may find useful, and they can be stamped with numbers and letters of your choice. It is nice to be able to see from a distance what colour ring a bird is wearing. We found however that the colour eventually wears off and that the letters and numbers become difficult to read. This happens in the case of birds that live for many years. In the case of brass or stainless steel rings, have the date and your own identification code stamped on the ring. It means of course that you have to catch the bird and read the ring from close by.

For hookbills especially, rings must be seamless, closed rings; open rings are not suitable for parrots, who have lots of time to investigate the shiny thing on their leg and nibble on the part that is not smooth! In the process they can damage their beaks and legs.

Suppliers of brass, aluminium or stainless steel rings in this country provide a fast and efficient service of stamping rings with the letters and initials of your choice and posting them to you. If you join a bird club, you will probably find that the committee offers to do the ordering on behalf of the members. The ring suppliers are also very helpful in suggesting ring sizes if you need help in this regard.

black bird rings

Plastic clip rings for birds.

One can now buy split plastic rings for canaries, finches and other birds such as pheasants, doves and quail. These have numbers on them and come in various sizes and colours. These are imported and can be purchased from Avizandum click here to take a look at the available sizes.

Finches and canaries are normally not inclined to nibble on the rings on their legs. In most cases, males and females can be identified visually. If not, most breeders can choose a different colour for the males and female or put the male’s ring on his right leg and the females’ on her left leg. These plastic clip rings don’t need a special tool as they have a strong clip that can be pushed closed with your fingers and also clipped open and removed if necessary.

Finches and canaries are normally ringed with closed rings at the age of 5-7 days. Care must be taken to prevent damage to young feet and legs. Split leg rings are made of plastic or aluminium and can be fitted onto young and adult birds. It is a great help to use the same colour on parent birds and their offspring so that the birds’ relationship to one another can be easily determined. You can even put two rings on one leg and a third on the other leg if necessary for special identification.

Once a bird has flown out of your property and lands in someone else’s, you have strictly speaking relinquished ownership. No matter how much the bird talks and responds to you, that, apparently in legal terms, is not proof enough that it is your bird! You can, however, be lucky if whoever has caught it will give it back to you on those terms.

If, however, you can correctly quote what is stamped on the ring (which hopefully has not been cut off by then) then that should be sufficient proof of ownership and the bird should be handed back to you.

So, have your own code stamped on the rings and keep careful records of your birds and their ring codes.

It is becoming more and more difficult to sell wild caught birds, as various organisations try to stop the importation of wild caught birds into their country. Captive bred birds are still accepted by Europe, the Middle East and the Far East. A closed ring is required as proof of captive breeding. Only in very exceptional cases can captive bred birds be exported to the USA and Australia.

A closed ring has in the past been an acceptable form of proof that a bird has been bred in captivity, because correctly sized closed rings can only be fitted on a hookbill’s leg at a certain age, normally just before the chicks’ eyes open.

Nowadays wild caught birds are also fitted with rings, so closed rings are no longer a quick and easy method of determining if a bird has been bred in captivity or not. The rings fitted on fully grown wild caught birds are normally bigger in diameter than the ones that are fitted onto baby birds.

It helps if you know at which time of the day the female usually leaves the nest. This is when you should take the opportunity to quickly take out the chicks and ring them. The real danger lies in the fact that the hen may lash out at your hand and in doing so injure her chicks. Use a towel to cover the chicks and your hand if you cannot get the parents to go outside of their nest and stay there.

In most cases parent birds do not react badly to having their chicks removed from the nest and returned with a shiny ring on the leg. To ensure this, it is a very good idea to make your breeding birds used to nest inspection so that by the time you want to ring chicks they are used to the procedure. Always prepare your birds for nest inspection by gently knocking on their nest and saying something like – “May I take a look, please?” It is a great deal better if you do not have to go into the aviary and do not to have to take the nest down from its pegs on the wall. Remember this fact when you are building your aviaries and cages.

Many breeders leave their baby birds in the nest till they are ready for ringing; then on the day they take them out, they ring them and then from that day onwards the birds stay in the nursery for hand rearing.

Manufacturers: click here for a list of suppliers

Clubs: bird clubs often approach a ring manufacturer on behalf of their members so that they can place a larger order at certain times of the year and be given a discount. The club may be able to make a small profit as well.

Pet stores: most large pet stores have split plastic rings and applicators for canaries and finches.

Most closed rings are fitted onto parrot and parakeet legs before they have reached a certain age. Before that, the correctly sized ring falls off and after a certain age, it is no longer possible to fit the correctly sized ring over the foot. Generally, parrot and parakeet chicks are ringed before their eyes open. The part of the leg on which the ring sits is called the tarsus. It is the part of the leg just above the toes. It may vary in size and therefore the suggested dates given at which to ring baby birds and the ring sizes may vary slightly.

The correct size ring is one that is not too tight; it moves freely around the bird’s leg but the gap between the ring and the leg is not large enough for wire or thin twigs to be wedged there, causing a build-up of pressure and stopping the blood circulation. If a bird is caught on something by his ring, he will seriously injure his leg in his panic stricken effort to free himself.

We have compiled a list of ring sizes for parrots and parakeets, which also includes the ages at which it is suggested the rings may be fitted. As was mentioned above, you may prefer bigger or smaller rings and the age at which the ring can befitted may also vary slightly, but not by more than a day or two. The complete list is available for download as a PDF document HERE.

It is a pity that we do not have a central data base that records all ring numbers of birds bred in this country. When we are phoned and quoted a ring number and code of lost and found birds, we always feel sorry that we cannot help people find the owners of birds.


Daar is drie maniere waarop voëls geïdentifiseer kan word: met ‘n mikroskyfie onder die vel, met ‘n ringetjie om die been en met ‘n minder permanente manier van vlerke op verskillende maniere te sny.

Jy kan jou waardevolste voëls laat “micro chip”. In daardie geval benodig jy ook die spesiale digitale “leser”, ‘n apparaat wat die skyfie se nommers en letters kan “lees”. Die voordeel van ‘n mikroskyfie is dat dit onder die voël se vel ingeplant word waar dit nie maklik gesien en verwyder kan word nie en die voëls kan al volwasse wees wanneer dit gedoen word.

Jy kan vere bv stertvere se punte effens knip as jy volwasse voëls sonder ringe vir jou eie bestuur moet kan onderskei. Dit werk natuurlik net tot die vere uitval.

Deur voëls met ‘n geslote ring te identifiseer, is sekerlik een van die mees praktiese en goedkoop maniere van doen. Aluminium ringe kom in verskillende kleure voor wat jy baie handig mag vind en hulle kan ook met nommers en letters van jou keuse voorsien word. Dit is baie handing as jy van ‘n afstand kan sien watter kleur ring ‘n voël aanhet. Ongelukkig hou hierdie verf nie vir altyd nie and later raak dit al hoe moeiliker om die nommers en letters te lees. Dit gebeur in die geval van voëls wat lank leef. In die geval van geelkoper of vlekvrye staal ringe, laat die datum, jou spesiale identifikasie kode en die nommer op die ring druk. Jy sal die voël natuurlik elke keer moet vang as jy wil lees wat op die ring staan.

Vir krombekke veral moet die ringe sonder naat wees, m.a.w. geslote. Oop ringe wat met ‘n tang toegeknyp word is nie geskik vir krombekke nie want hulle het baie tyd om die blink harde ding om hul been te ondersoek en daaraan te kou. In die proses kan hulle hul snawels en hul been beseer.

Verskaffers van geelkoper, aluminium en vlekvrye staal ringe in hierdie land verskaf ‘n goeie, vinnige diens. Hulle druk die letters en nommers van u keuse op die ringe en pos hulle aan jou. As jy lid is van ‘n voëlklub sal die komitee heel moontlik ‘n paar keer per jaar bestellings van alle lede neem en ook vir jou bestel. Die ringvervaardigers is baie behulpsaam as dit by die geskikte grootte vir die verkillende voëlspesies kom.

Jy kan plastiese oop ringe vir vinke en kanaries koop. Hulle het nie nommers en letters op nie. Hulle word òf deur jou klub voorsien in die kleur van daardie besondere jaar òf jy kan hulle van troeteldierwinkels koop.

Vinke en kanaries knibbel gewoonlik nie aan die ringe om hul bene nie. In baie gevalle kan mannetjies en wyfies visueel onderskei word. Indien nie, word die mannetjie se ring om sy regterbeen gesit en die wyfie s’n om haar linkerbeen. ‘n Spesiale apparaatjie word saam met die ringe verkoop waarmee jy die ring effens oopmaak sodat dit oor die voël se been kan gaan.

Vinke en kanaries word gewoonlik teen 5-7 dae oud gering as dit geslote ringe is. Wees versigtig dat jy die jong voëltjies se bene en voetjies nie breek nie. Oop ringe van plastiek of aluminium kan aan jong en volwasse voëls se bene gesit word. As jy dieslefde kleur gebruik as wat die ouers aanhet, kan jy altyd weet van watter broeipaar watter voëls kom. Jy kan selfs twee ringe aan een been en ‘n derde ring aan die ander been sit as dit jou sal help.

As ‘n voël van jou erf af weggevlieg het en op iemand anders se grond beland, is hy, streng gesproke, nie meer jou eiendom nie. Maak nie saak hoe die voël op jou reageer nie, dit is blykbaar in die wet se oë nie genoeg bewys dat hy aan jou behoort nie. Jy kan natuurlik gelukkig wees dat die persoon wat jou voël gevind en/of gevang het, jou glo en hom aan jou teruggee.

As jy egter kan sê watter nommer/letters op die ring gedruk is (wat hopelik teen daardie tyd nog nie afgesaag is nie) dan behoort dit as genoeg bewys van eienskap aanvaar te word en jy behoort jou voël te kan huis toe neem.

Maak dus seker jou spesiale kode is op elke ring gedruk en hou noukeurig rekord van alle voëls en hul ringnommers en -kodes.

Dit word al hoe moeiliker om wildgevange voëls te verkoop en uit te voer, omdat verskeie organisasies probeer om die invoer van wildgevange voëls in hul land stop te sit. Voëls wat in gevangeskap geteel is, word egter nog deur Europa, die Midde-Ooste en die Verre Ooste aanvaar. ‘n Geslote ring is ‘n vereiste en word aanvaar as bewys van teling in gevangenskap. Net in baie uitsonderlike gevalle mag hokgeteelde voëls in die VSA en Australië ingevoer word.

Geslote ringe is nog altyd aanvaar as voldoende bewys dat ‘n voël in aanhouding geteel is, omdat die regte ring net aan die voet van ‘n baba voël van ‘n seker ouderdom, pas. Die baba voëltjie kry gewoonlik die ring aan net voordat sy ogies oopgaan.

Deesdae word wildgevangde voëls ongeklukkig ook met geslote ringe gering en daarom is geslote ringe nie meer ‘n vinnige en maklike manier om vas te stel of te bewys dat ‘n voël in aanhouding geteel is nie. Die geslote ringe wat aan volwasse wildgevangde voëls se bene gesit word is uit die aard van die saak groter as diè wat aan baba voëls se bene gesit kan word.

Dit help om te weet water tyd van die dag die broeiwyfie gewoonlik uit die nes kom. Dit is die tyd wat jy kan benut om die baba voëltjies uit te haal en hulle ringe aan te sit. Die groot gevaar is as, wanneer sy in die nes is en jy jou hand insteek, sy jou probeer aanval en in die hele proses ook haar babatjies beseer. Gooi ‘n handdoek oor die baba voëltjies en jou hand as die ouers nie die nes wil verlaat nie.

In die meeste gevalle reageer broeivoëls nie sleg as hulle babatjies uitgehaal word en dan weer teruggesit word met ‘n blink ring aan hul beentjies nie. Om stres te verminder, maak jou broeivëls gewoond aan nesinspeksie sodat as dit tyd is om ringe aan te sit, hulle aan jou steuring gewoond is. Voordat jy die nes oopmaak, klop saggies en vra: “Mag ek asseblief inloer?” of so iets. Dit is nog beter as jy nie die hok hoef te betree en nie die nes van ‘n muur moet afhaal nie. Onthou dit as jy jou hokke oprig.

Baie voëlboere haal baba voëls vir handgrootmaak uit die nes op die dag waarop hulle gering moet word. Hulle vermy dus enige probleme met broeivoëls wat hul babas dalk beseer nadat hulle gering is.

Vervaardigers: ‘n lys van vervaardigers en verskaffers is op ons werwerf beskikbaar.

Klubs: voëlklubs nader dikwels ‘m ringvervaardiger met ‘n groter bestelling vir al hul lede en dan kry hulle die ringe goedkoper of die klub maak ‘n bietjie wins vir sy diens.

Troeteldierwinkels: die meeste groot troeteldierwinkels verkoop oop plastiese ringe vir vinke en kanaries en die apparaatjie daarvoor.

Meeste geslote ringe word teen ‘n sekere ouderdom aan parkiete en papegaaie se bene gesit. Te vroeg, en die ring val weer af; te laat en die ring pas nie meer oor die kloue nie. Oor die algemeen moet ringe aangesit word net voordat die voëls se ogies oopgaan. Die deel van die voet waar die ring sit, word die “tarsus” genoem en dit is die deel van die been net bokant die kloue. Dit verskil van grootte en daarom is dit moontlik dat die aanbevole dag waarop voëls gering behoort te word, effens mag verskil.

Die regte ringgrootte is een wat nie te styf aan die been sit nie, die ring moet vryelik kan rondbeweeg, maar die spasie tussen die ring en die been moet nie so groot wees dat draad of dun takkies daar kan vassit nie; dit sal druk laat toeneem en bloedsomloop strem. As ‘n voël se ring veroorsaak dat hy aan iets vasgevang word, sal hy sy been erg beseer in sy paniekbevange poging om vry te kom.

Ons het ‘n lys van ringgrootes vir omtrent alle parkiete en papegaaie wat lesers moontlik kan besit. Dit sluit ook die ouderdomme in wanneer voorgestel word dat u die ringe moet aansit. U mag kleiner of groter ringe verkies, en die ouderdom waarop u ringe aansit mag effens verskil, maar nooit met meer as ‘n dag of twee nie. Hierdie lys is HIER beskikbaar as ‘n PDF.

Ongelukkig het ons in hierdie land geen sentrale opname van alle ringnommers van alle voëls wat in hierdie land geteel en gering is nie. As mense ons bel, voel ons altyd jammer dat ons hulle nie kan sê wie die teler/eienaar van voëls wat verloor en gevind is, is nie.

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