Beaks and Feathers Canary Breeds & More!
The domestic canary is much like our wild canary, but their needs are different.
Take Your Bird's Health Seriously throughout all seasons
Because I feel that fresh all natural foods for your bird is very important and by experimentation with different organic and fresh green foods, and some very high quality commercial foods as well, I have come up with something quite great to feed your birds. This is my special soft food mix that I use during the breeding season and all the way through to fall; this is also very good for the birds during molting season as well. I feel this keeps; not only my birds in great condition and health; but your birds will LOVE IT TOO!!
Recipe as follows:
1 bushel of Fresh Kale / chopped up in a food processor
4 crowns of Fresh Broccoli / chopped in a food processor
10 Hard boiled eggs / this depends on how many birds you have on how many eggs to use. ( Fresh eggs if you can )
1 cup of couscous and bring the water to a boil and then let it cook off the burner.
1/2 cup of Quinoa (organic)
1 table spoon of Chia seed
4 table spoons of Hulled crushed Hemp seed
1/2 cup of wheat germ
1/2 cup of Quick Oats 100% whole grain
1/4 cup of Moringa Leaf Powder (organic)
I mix it all up in a large mixing bowl and then if you have extra you can roll handfuls in a ball and freeze them for daily use.
Please these are only suggestions and what I do during the different seasons;
every breeder has their own ideas on what to feed and what I do is just something that works for my birds.
In the fall, I start getting my males into condition; I try to start in late November. Having all the male birds in single cages, than every other day giving them a finger treat cup of the mixture recipe mentioned above;
My hens I leave in flight cages and only give them some of the above mixture once or twice a week.
I keep the temperature in my bird room 50 to 60 degrees if possible. Lights should be 9 hours.
Starting in late December, I start raising the lights 15 to 30 minutes per week and start putting the hens into single cages.
I increase the soft food mixture to the males to everyday
In January, I trim all nails, trim all feathers around the vent areas, treat all birds to prevent mites with Ivermectin. Usually an eye dropper drop on the preening gland of the birds.
The end of January, I start increasing the temps to 65 to 70 degrees. And I start giving the egg food mixture to the hens once a day.
In February, depending on when your lights reach 13 hours, the hens will start getting into breeding mode. (I do continue with lights till I reach 14 hours.) I put the nests and nesting materials into the cages, and when the hens start forming the nests I introduce the males to the hens when the hens are ready.
I inspect each male underneath, they should be swollen and singing super strong. They won’t be fertile if they’re not swollen, and singing strong.
I continue the soft food mixture until the hen has laid her 2nd egg. Than I stop feeding them the treat and only feed them canary seed while she is setting on the eggs.
Leaving the male in with the hen is an option. But at least leave male in until after hen has laid her third egg if possible.
Hopefully, babies will hatch 14 days later. At 7 to 10 days of age I will band the babies with closed bands. And I track them in a book; the band numbers and who the parents are, to keep good records on who’s who.
Some males are great fathers and others are not. You have to watch and decide whether to leave male or not. So far I’ve not experienced my males kill babies when they’ve just hatched.
After babies hatch I feed hen soft food mixture again and I add a little more grated hard boiled egg and sometimes grated carrots to the mixture.
After babies are 23 days old, I take babies away from mom and continue feeding them egg food and you will see them start to eat seed. Usually after 30 to 40 days they will start hulling the seeds, and you can wean them off of the egg mixture.
I put a new nest in with the hen to let her start a new nest. Sometimes she will want to start a new nest while the babies are still in with her, when that happens I just put another nest in the other side of the cage. Sometimes this is tricky because they’ll want to lay eggs in the old nest under the first babies, or she will start plucking her babies and pulling tails out to get them out of the old nest. This can be a challenge with some canaries.
After breeding season, I put all hens in flights and let them molt. I trim all their nails before flighting them, and I treat with Ivermectin as a precaution to get rid of any mites they might have gotten during the breeding time.
I will feed the molting birds the soft food mixture.
In September I start cutting lights back down to 30 minutes less per week until I reach 9 hours.
I always keep my males in separate cages, but I have put them in a very large fight that I have built so they can exercise, so far no problems with fighting.
For Staffords to color feed during the summer molt:
I have dissolved the Canthaxanthin/Carophyll Red or Redexathin in hot filtered water and then chilled for the birds to drink, but it was very messy. I found my birds wanting take bath in the drinking water.
I tried a recipe that one of the breeders I know suggested here as follows:
Bring 2 parts of water to a boil; add 1 part couscous, plus dissolved red coloring agent, shut heat off and put lid on and let sit for 15 minutes.
Than I add 2 parts egg food to the soaked couscous mixture.
CAGES AND DRINKERS
When I clean the cages; usually right after breeding season and into the fall. I wash down the insides with a bleach and water mixture.
I always check for dirty perches, and dirty perches are removed when they get soiled and replaced with clean ones. The perches are than washed in bleach and water and dried.
I use seed tube and water tube drinkers. Daily I dunk the drinkers in bleach and water, rinse and refill with fresh water.
I use the wooden or plastic twist perches, so they can be removed from the outside of cages easily without disturbing the birds to much.
I use fine Pine or Aspen chips on the bottom of my cages, which I purchase from a store near me call Tractor Supply, but I am not sure how available they are across the country. May I suggest looking online to locate a supplier near you.
In my cages, prior to adding the chips I spray with Avian Insect Liquidator consecrate and dilute as directed (very safe for birds and non toxic), which will kill any bugs that might be around the cage area. Than I add the chips on top. You can find this product online at www.glamgouldians.com
Molting time is very stressful on all birds. I give the birds the soft food mixture. This is given to the birds every other day during the molting time, than I taper it off when they’re done molting.
For illness of birds there are a lot products out there, but I prefer to use natural and herbal products. You really should consult a qualified avian vet.
Sometimes the feathers on the birds get into the way of the birds expelling. This happens frequently extremely heavy feathered birds. You can trim this area to help prevent this problem; after molting time, and before breeding season.
PAIRING BIRDS FOR BREEDING
The pairing of Fife, Gloster and Stafford canaries I've learned from various fellow fanciers; not only color but size, shape, type and feathering is important.
Fife canaries; When pairing Fifes, from what I have learned you always want to pair buff feathered birds to hard feathered birds. What I mean in hard feather is a self, clear or intensive color birds. When it comes to white ground birds, like blue, fown or any variations of you can pair them with yellow, yellow buff, self yellow green or green, variegated. You really never want pair hard feather to hard feather, because you will produce a very narrow looking bird or buff feather bird to buff feather bird, because you then have possible feather lump problems. White ground birds can become complicated, because you need to know if they are dominate or recessive, but I don't want to get to far into genetics or the gene pool.
Stafford canaries; When pairing Staffords, you must first always breed a crested to a non crested, than you must always breed a frosted to a non frosted. Frosted is the white tip on the end of each feather. The non frosted birds have little or no white at the tip of their feathers. When you breed two frosted birds together you will end up with feather lumps in your offspring. When you breed two non frosted birds together, you end up with very skinny looking sticks with no body type.
You also can never breed two crested birds together because this is a lethal factor and can result in babies dying in the shell, or very weak offspring.
Also, things to know when pairing birds, you try to breed birds to get them as close to the standard for the breed. Each pure bred canary has a standard that has been established by each breeds club.
All birds will have some faults, and you never breed two birds with the same fault because this will just intensive the fault and make the fault even worse in the offspring. You should always breed a bird with a certain fault to another bird that is good in that area.
Gloster canaries; When breeding glosters some of the same rules apply that apply to the Staffords accept the fact that you can breed two buff (frosted) birds together in the gloster. 99% of glosters are buff (frosted) birds, there are a small number of hard feather (non frosted) birds which the terminology for this type of feather in the glosters is called a yellow. A hard feather yellow does come in cinnamon yellow, and green yellow.
This is something I've done some reading on and learned from other fellow fanciers:
Gloster buff birds will come in short feather, medium feather and long feather. You can breed a short feathered gloster to a long feathered gloster. And you can breed two medium feathered buff glosters together. But you never breed two long feathered glosters together. This type of pairing can produce feathered cysts in the offspring.
Feathered cysts are feathers that grow underneath the skin and do not penetrate the skin, resulting in lumps of feather under the skin that are very unsightly. There are several reasons for feather cysts, which are very common in all type birds. Sometimes it can be in the diet if the birds are lacking nutrients in their system.
The basic color of the canary is green, and the green feather is a strong structured feather.
- Canaries come in the following colors;
- Green (yellow ground)
- Blue (white ground)
- Cinnamon (yellow ground)
- Fawn (white ground)
- White (white ground)
- Light variegated (mostly buff yellow in color, with some dark variegation) (yellow ground)
When pairing canaries you can pair two yellow ground birds together, and you can bird yellow ground with a white ground together. But you never breed two white ground birds together, this is a lethal factor and can result in the babies will die in the shell or if they do hatch they will be very weak birds.
(Below is a picture of my soft food mixture)