Before the year 2005 there were only six different colors in Finland. These colors were normal grey, pearl, lutino, cinnamon, pied and whiteface. But I had seen some pictures of dominant silvers and started to dream about them. I also fell in love with the sex-linked yellowcheeks. I was very young during the time but I received the importing licence and started to search for the perfect breeder.

I wrote months with a german breeder with good reputation: Otto Lutz. Finally we decided, that I shall visit him in Rottendorf, which is about 130 km from Frankfurt. And so my dream became true in August 2005.

I cried blood, sweat and tears for my cockatiels but at the end everything went fine. Now, at home, I have three lovely new arrivals that will bring some new, healthy blood to Finnish cockatiel population.


Before moving to Rottendorf I spend a couple of days in Frankfurt. The flight went well, though my deodorant scared the guards so badly that it had to be taken of from my bag. Allready at the first day we get lost to the Red-Light District. It isn’t hard to realize. For the honor of the breeder we stay the night at hotel Prinze Otto that lies at Ottostreet. Frankfurt is only a restplace where I spend my time with my friend from Tuesday to Thursday. After that we leave with the train to Rottendorf, an old village where the breeder, Otto Lutz, lives. Mr. Lutz is the president and founder of the Cockatiel Standard Society and he owns almost 300 cockatiels. He has promised to accomodate me and my company for a night.

Arriving to Rottendorf, 11.08.2005

When we arrive to Rottendorf we feel kind of lost. There’s a little parking place and something that reminds a railwaystation, but we can’t find the main door. When we look a little bit more far we can see lovely old houses but at the street that we are the only life seems to be in the local inn. So we decide to ask for a phone.

When I ask the phone from the hostess all the men turn their heads and start to stare. I ask if the lady of the house could pick the number for me. A man next to me says something inappropriate but I don’t even look. At last I can hear a voice from the phone. “Lutz?” He is surprised to hear that we have allready find our way to his home town.

After five minutes he drives to parking place. The conversation with Otto makes me feel very positive. His english is very fluent and there seems to be no problems.

As the car stops, Otto asks me to sit and feel like home. Already before I get to the garden I can hear very familiar voices. So this is how it sounds when there is about 300 cockatiels around! I feel the excitement in my chest. I look around and see the cages and recognize my future birds very fast. The cages form kinda like a wall. There’s a inner passage to each so that the birds can’t run away from the outdoor aviaries. The house is big and beautiful. The garden is taken care of very well and the center of it is a pretty little pond, where little froglings hide under the plants, as my shadow draws on the shining surface of the water. The air is pure and it is easier to breathe than in Frankfurt. I can see deciduous forest on the distant hills. My ears are free from all the noises of the traffic.

When Otto comes back with my friend we take our bags to our own room. On the back wall is a very long shelf, filled with trophys, medals and rosettes. They are awards from bird shows. It appears that his birds are holding many number one awards. There are so much trophys that I don’t even have time to count them. After we have checked the room we start to enjoy ourselves outside with drinks and nice conversation. Otto Lutz seems to be very charismatic and there are no awkward or silent moments.

Finland and bird shows

Mr. Lutz asks politely if he can smoke a cigar. We say yes, naturally! As he sits down I can’t resist myself of asking one question. “What do you know about Finland?” I ask with a grin on my face. Otto exclaims but after that he laughs and starts to think. “Cold. A lot of water? Mm… And the forests? And beautiful girls”, he laughs, smoking his cigar. Then we talk a moment about Finland and the finnish avian pet situation. He is very surprised to hear that we don’t really have the “real” bird shows, though we do have little meetings. When shows are in question, Mr. Lutz has a little bit humoristic problem. Many breeder buys his birds. This effects that sometimes he has to fight against his own birds. “When I sell a couple and they have chicks the breeder will bring a descendant to a show. Then it happens so, that I might be on the second place but my original birds chick might winn my own bird.”

Then follows the moment I have been waiting for: Otto represents his birds. Mr. Lutzs’ birds don’t have names for understandable reasons but still he knows each of his birds and he can tell everyones age and story very detailed. I’ve got this big smile on my face when I get to see the cages full of healthy yellowcheeks, dominant silvers, pearls, pieds, pastels, lovely whitecheeks and all the combinations. My attention goes to their good shape. They are all bid sized and well eating. I guess I have never seen such a long and fluffy crests in Finland. One of the lutinos own at least 10 cm long crest, that looks massive. Otto shows me also some chicks. In one of the nest I notice a whiteface lutino, better known as albino, that can be found in Finland only three birds. The parents don’t seem to het nervous at all. They just let their breeder to look at the birdlings in all peace.

We move back to the terrace to have a chat. Suddenly I realize the environment is silent, it’s very dark and the moon has rise to the sky. Mrs. Lutz offers me french fries and chicken. She is a great cook and seems very pleasant. We change a couple words at the evening table and after that is time to go to bed.

The next morning, 12.08.2005

I wake up eight o’clock to breakfast. I’m offered several delicious looking breads, youghurt, fruit sallad, müsli, ham, cheeses and so on. I get full very fast which is kind of sad, since I would love to taste everything!

It is time to take some photos. We start to check the cages again. This time Otto shows me individuals detailed. One of the cages contains only greys. Otto tells me that he has the line that has nothing but greys. They have no splits, they are just pure, perfect greys. They are very bright colored and beautiful. “The dark backs are impoirtant”, Lutz explains. “There shall be no cloudy markings.” Splits, for example pearl, has this habbit to make the cloud markings more visible and feet lighter. I describe my first cockatiel, Becky, that is at least split to pied. There is strong cloudy markings on his back. We ponder that it might be because of the pearl as a split.

Mr. Lutz treats his birds with unfaltering hands. He uses the net bag to catch the birds, with out breaking a one feather. He teeches me a position that makes cockatiels stay without biting. “Put your thumb there and this finger under the chin. Then pull slightly the neck little longer. Like this. Now it won’t bite.” The bird looks like an ice cream cone, staying nicely still, letting us to look at him in peace.

The cages

The cages are all very spacious and covered with light roof.

They stand next to each other beside the inside passage. The doors are easy to open for a human. They can also be locked with bar.

The birds are out the whole year. The winter is mild and there isn’t snow for long. The summer is twice as long as in Finland. When it get’s cold the cages are covered with plastic.

One of the buildings contains a lot of furnitures that Mr. Lutz construckst. They are fine wood work. In the upper floor there is a sort of nesting room, where are a little smaller cages with nestboxes. On the wall of every nestbox there is a note with information. Otto checks the marked eggs. He inspects also the health of the chicks.

The diet

Otto leads me to a small stockroom. There’s the food for the birds. A lot of buckets, bags and pots, filled with food.

Mr. Lutz feeds his birds with a seed mixture with more than one different mixture, mostly budgerigar and parakeet seed mixtures. Sunflower seeds are sometimes available. The show birds get also hemp. “It’s good for the feathers”, Lutz tells.

The egg food is special. It contains also shrimps and little fishes. When looking at the food cups you can clearly see they love it. Otto inserts mineral powder and vitamins to eggfood, that can be found in the cabinet. The tiels are getting also fine grit with crushed oyste shell. Only the breedeng pairs will have millet.

Every second day Otto’s tiels will have sproutseeds. He takes a box with the next portion. He flushes it under water, changes the bowl and puts the wet seeds to dusk. I’m thinking that it must taka a lot of work to take care of all these birds but I can understand very well what motivates him.

The vet

When Lutz has taken care of foods the veterinarian arrives. The clock seems to be nine. I can see an older man followed by a young woman. The doctor is very proper, sees the papers with Otto and checks out the cockatiels. He asks me a few questions in which I try to answer as well as I can. I pay 30 euros that includes the examination and the kilometer costs.

Since the doctor has left me and Otto both sigh for a relief. “The vet is like a police. Even though nothing was wrong it still tenses always as much”, he wonders and offers me some appel juice. We see once more the papers in english and watch that the claims of the export permissions are done. No diseases, no psittacosis, no vaccines, all have got the closed ring.

There are many conditions. I can still remember those horrifying moments when I used two hours to translate in to german all the parts that contained professional terms. Nyt it’s all behind. I feel relaxed.

It is time to get my new birds. There are three of them. The first bird in the box is a young yellowcheek pied. This bird shall be called Priscus. The other yellowcheek is hen and will be named Vaulderie. The third bird is a gift from Otto. It’s a whiteface single factor dominant silver split to pied, cock. This bird I’m going to call Delirium. Otto gives me the brooch of their society and a plastic medal for memory.

The moment of leaving comes. At the railwaystation Otto gives a hug after thanks and wishes that my birds will have many chicks. He also says in his humoristic way that he wishes that the birds will also have fun making the chicks. I start to laugh – again. Once more I tell how grateful I am. We say good bye, wink and step into the train.

-Ida-Emilia Kaukonen
© Ida-Emilia Kaukonen 2003-2016
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