First and foremost, when planning to breed, is consideration of what to do with the babies once they are fully weaned and on their own. Decisions must be made beforehand to avoid complications down the road.
You might want to ask yourself these questions:
DO YOU HAVE SPACE TO KEEP THE BABIES ONCE THEY ARE WEANED?
Once the babies are weaned and eating on their own, the parents are going to want to start their next clutch. Sometimes they want to start even before the first babies are weaned. In which case, usually the father and babies are transferred to another cage or a divider is put into the breeding cage with the babies on one side and parents on the other. Father is then able to continue feeding the babies through the bars while also getting ready for the next clutch. This situation is only temporary and the weaned babies will eventually need their own cage.
We transfer our babies to three-foot flight cages. We find that five or six birds to a flight works well and everyone has their own space.
IF YOU DECIDE TO SELL THE BABIES, IS THERE A MARKET FOR THEM IN YOUR AREA?
The easiest way to find out if there is a market, is to watch the local newspapers. If you see the same private ads running over and over, it means that the person is either over-stocked with birds and/or is having a problem selling them.
You might also want to ask your local bird club about any help they might be able to offer you in the sale of your birds. Some people take their birds to bird fairs to sell. If you decide to do this, keep in mind that the bird you are selling to someone might be an impulse buy and your little one might suffer because of it. Offer some kind of educational material along with your bird at these kinds of sales, even a short care sheet is better than nothing. And talk to the prospective buyer to see how well informed he is in caring for the birds you are offering for sale.
I have been seeing quite a few “open-to-the-public” bird raffles lately and I consider them to be the same as buying a bird on impulse. After the thrill of winning/buying the bird, reality sets in and an uneducated bird owner is born. A few will take the time to learn about the bird (these are the lucky birds), most will not. And these are the birds that either die of neglect or end up in rescue groups. Or worse, are kept and ignored for years. A sad fate for an innocent bird.
WHAT ARE YOUR BREEDING GOALS?
Rather than going into breeding thinking you are going to make a fortune because birds don’t eat much (ha) and take up little space (another ha) and cost little to keep (that one’s too funny) – let me burst your bubble right now. I know of very few breeders who actually make a living selling birds. And these are usually mass-marketed companies in the business of shipping birds all over the USA with no thought to the birds being produced. Even the breeders who breed on a relatively large scale, still have some kind of “regular” job to go to. The money they make from the sale of their birds goes to support their breeding “habit.”
So what would be the goal of breeding your canaries? Maybe the challenge of breeding an overall better bird. Maybe you’d like to breed for better song? A wider variety of notes? Better color? Or a particular color? There are many reasons why you would want to breed. One of them should not be money.
About the author:
Christine hails from East Tennessee and and has many years experience breeding both Finches as well as Canaries.