Canaries

What bird is named after a group of islands? What bird did your grandmother probably have as a pet? The canary (Serinus canarius) is the answer to both questions. Contrary to popular opinion, the Canary Islands were not named after canaries; it was just the opposite. When Spanish sailors discovered these wonderful birds, they loved the songs so much that they took some back to their country. From Spain, the canaries found their way into homes throughout Europe. Today's many breeds of canary have a common ancestor in the little brownish-green bird the sailors found on the Islands. Some of these breeds include American singer, German roller, Spanish timbrado, Belgium waterslagger, border canary, gloster (crested) canary, Norwich canary, Yorkshire canary, frilled canary, lizard canary, fife canary, and red-factor canary. Although small in comparison to parrots, canaries need a cage 20 to 24 inches long, 12 to 16 inches wide, and 16 to 18 inches high. Never put a canary (or...

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Filed under: Breeding Cages, Canary Facilities & Equipment, Canary Health, Nutrition & Diet

Canary Linebreeding and Genetics

Line-breeding, a form of in-breeding where carefully selected related birds are chosen to breed to each other, has been practiced for centuries, with varying results. The last century has brought much new information to add to the accumulated years of experience, but that has done little to settle the many and often heated discussions on the topic. Go to any bird show and listen, and it will probably not be long before you begin to overhear varied snippets of conversation centering around breeding winning showbirds. This is a favorite topic at shows, and you will find that there are as many different proponents and systems as there are birds at the show. Yes, I said birds, not people. It’s been my observation that many of the people at these events tend to hold several systems dear. A newcomer to the Canary Fancy can become incredibly confused in very short order listening to all these (many conflicting) ideas and methods, particularly...

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Filed under: Canary Breeding, Genetics

Breeding tips from The Duchess

Although there are some major differences in breeding canaries vs. finches, there are also some similarities and common sense things that need to be done in order for your pair to successfully raise their young. The links above will take you to pages with more specific details. Below is an outline to get you started. DIET: A good diet, right from the start, is essential. It does not start the day before you decide to breed your pair. A good diet, along with exercise, decreases the chances of egg-binding and possibly losing your hen. We've also noticed that our pairs seem to be more eager to be good parents. Fortunately, we have not been plagued by parents who either refuse to feed or throw chicks from the nest. PRIVACY: Moving your birds to a room where they will have quiet days with no loud noises, people rushing past, or curious children with their noses against the bars, will make it...

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Filed under: Canary Breeding

Soak Seed and Nestling Food Diet

What Is All This Stuff? Soaked seed is a method of feeding seed in a form similar to that in which it is found in the wild by a foraging bird. As the name implies, this method involves soaking the seed, followed by thorough rinsing and (usually) a short period in which the soaked seed is allowed to begin to sprout. Wild birds eat many varieties of green and/or sprouting seeds in their quest for food. Seed in this form is highly nutritious. Nestling food is what canary breeders call the dry mix on which they base the food they give to parent birds who are feeding babies. A number of items are usually added to this dry mix just before serving, among them being water, chopped or grated boiled eggs, grated carrots, crushed baby biscuits...the different mixes and methods vary almost as much as do breeders. Nevertheless, nestling foods are a very healthy and nutritious addition to the pet...

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Filed under: Canary Health, Greens, Nutrition & Diet, Recipes, Seed, Soft Food

Annual Sunrise-Sunset Chart

Use for biweekly on and off times for artificial lighting. Canaries are photosensitive, which means that the length of the days and nights they see triggers all their important life cycles, such as breeding, moulting, and singing. The chart below follows the changes of the average day lengths over a year in the Canary Islands, where canaries evolved (you may wish to note that the birds were named after the islands where they were found, not the other way 'round.) Feel free to adapt this chart to your needs, changing the on and off times to suit your lifestyle; just make sure that the average daylengths, listed down the center of this table, follow the same type of pattern as shown here, and that your on and off times don't change drastically from day to day. A point worth mentioning; notice that the shortest day listed here is 10 hours and 22 minutes long, while the longest day is 13...

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Filed under: Canary Breeding, Canary Health

Pertinent Points About Breeding Canaries

Sharing Experiences If we are to advance our understanding of these delicate little songsters, it is up to us all to share, and add to, the common pool of knowledge. This is why I’d like to share with you some of the more valuable advice and insights on canaries that have been proffered to me over the years. Most of it is deceptively simple - the kind of thing that makes you wonder, "Why didn’t I think of that?" It is my hope that these pointers will be as great an assistance to you as they were to me, and that you will make a point one day of passing them on in turn. Canaries are marvelously complicated little birds. Many’s the successful finch, cockatiel, or budgie breeder I’ve seen advance with high hopes and cheerful dreams into the realm of breeding canaries, thinking that since they’d already mastered breeding one or more types of bird, how much more difficult...

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Filed under: Canary Breeding, The Canary Fancy

The use of yellows in a breeding program

To breed exhibition Gloster Canaries of the type required to do well on a show bench we invariably have to resort to buff (mealy) feathered birds, i.e. buff x buff we have to Incorporate a programme of buff x buff pairings. This is done to keep the cobiness in the bird, i.e. thickness of neck and roundness of body also the required shape of head and browiness over the eye. The Gloster Canary breeder cannot resort to the normal practice of yellow x buff pairing every year, because the required cobiness will soon disappear and we will be left with narrow headed, free necked and tight feathered little birds ~re in keeping with the Fife Fancy than the Gloster Fancy canary. The Gloster Fancy canary breeder must be wary on two accounts, (1) that they do not buff x buff year after year and (2) that when they choose their yellow (jonque) feathered bird they choose the correct bird. Buff...

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Filed under: Canary Breeding, Genetics

Why Yellow and Buff?

From time to time man always questions laid down rules and ask: why? This could be the case with the canary breeder's first commandment, i.e. always pair yellow to buff. Of course this asks the question why. When we consider, man-made, domesticated live stock alongside their wild counterparts the differences in most cases are breathtaking. Whether man has improved this stock or not is another moot point. In this article we will be considering only the Gloster Fancy Canaries and their wild ancestors. Wild canaries are breeding as nature intended with only the strong surviving. No guiding hand telling which cock to pair to which hen or trying to change the phenotype of the birds. It is only when man began to domesticate the canary and think about fancies and fads that the canary began to have feather problems. In its wild state nature has given the canary its very being, its shape, its colour, its feather, everything is geared...

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Filed under: Canary Breeding, Genetics

Judging

Judging Gloster Canaries is perhaps the most rewarding aspect of the fancy. It enables the competent fancier to give their opinions of other fanciers Glosters while acting in an objective manner The competent judge will find the rewards of their trade satisfying, with other parts of the country visited and many new friends made. Successful exhibitors may be asked to judge at shows both at home and abroad. It is this aspect which broadens the mind and knowledge of the judge. A systematic view of the judging process is required by the judge prior to undertaking an engagement. Key points to take note of prior to judging are:- 1. Ensure there is plenty of light behind you when judging. 2. The height of the judging stand must be at a comfortable position. At major events the judges may be on their feet for a considerable time and the position and height of the judging stand is important. 3. Walk the...

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Filed under: Showing Canaries