The Canary Bath

Bathing keeps your birds healthy and their feathers in good condition. Our birds get their baths every day. During molting, it's especially important because the water will help soften the hard brittle shafts of newly developing feathers (called pinfeathers) so they can open and fall off the feather. Almost all canaries and especially finches, enjoy bathing. There is nothing more fun than to watch a group of finches getting ready to bathe. First one will hop in and then out as if to test the water. Back in he hops and makes a little splash, the signal for all of them to hop in and join the fun, fluttering their wings and diving their heads underwater, while everything nearby is getting soaked along with the birds. We use plastic plant saucers for our finches to bathe in because they are community bathers. Our canaries get large parakeet bird baths that hang on the outside of the cage, since they like...

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Filed under: Canary Facilities & Equipment, Canary Health

Breeding Canaries – Planning ahead

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...

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Filed under: Administration & Record Keeping, Canary Breeding, Genetics

Flight Cages & Aviaries – An Overview

Exercise is very important to every bird, but especially the hen, because the same muscles that are used for flying also help to push eggs from her body. If these muscles are weak from lack of exercise, she can become eggbound. Eggbinding is a dangerous situation and can be fatal if not treated immediately. Flight cages are just what the name implies: a cage to allow for horizontal flight. The longer the cage the better. Most of our flight cages are three feet and four feet wide, twenty inches high, and eighteen inches deep. We build them ourselves. For instructions, click here. We keep three females to one flight cage or approximately five or six young. When the young are getting on to a year old, we separate the males into individual flights. There is the occasional female that is particularly dominant and will chase the others to the point of wearing them out or plucking their feathers and causing bald...

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Filed under: Aviaries

Breeding Canaries – Diet for Parents and Chicks

There are many good diets that are very successful in breeding healthy chicks. But don't forget, the diet plan you offer your bird will only be effective if your bird eats it. Don't be hesitant about mixing one food with another to get your bird to eat; for example, you know he should be eating the broccoli, but only eats the birdie bread -- chop the broccoli very fine in a food processor and add it to the birdie bread. As breeding season approaches, gradually increase the amount of protein, calcium and vitamin E in your birds' diet. We start increasing approximately six to eight weeks before actual breeding. We increase the greens our birds receive from once or twice a week to every other day and then every day. During this critical time, remember not to give spinach or swiss chard, because they each contain oxalic acid which inhibits the absorption of calcium. Eggfood which includes a breeding formula, usually Petamine,...

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Filed under: Canary Health, Nutrition & Diet

Canary Perches

There has been concern in recent years of birds perching on one size perch developing painful arthritis. To avoid this condition, it is recommended that perches of different sizes be used; either commercially made dowels or branches gathered from trees outdoors. Some safe, nontoxic branches that you can include might be fruit trees, maples, birches, or ash. If you are uncertain as to the safety of using a particular tree branch, it's best to avoid using it. The branches should be fresh with no cracks or splits for tiny nails to get caught in. Our favorites are ash and river birch. We scrub these clean with soap and water and then soak them in the tub in a soap, bleach and water solution for about 30-45 minutes using a weight to keep them under water. Then we rinse well and allow them a week or two to dry. With this procedure, we have never had any invasion of mites or...

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Filed under: Aviaries, Breeding Cages, Canary Facilities & Equipment

Christines Eggfood Recipe

6 large or jumbo eggs - hardboiled plus shell 1 cup broccoli 1 small carrot finely grated 1/2 cup nestling food (we use either Petamine or Cede) 2 tblsp. soy protein w/spirulina (from the health food store) 1 tblsp. calcium suppliment for birds 35-45 3-oz. dixie cups We have tried making this in a blender and it doesn't come out very good so we went back to the food processor -- much easier. We throw the carrot into the food processor first until it's finely ground then add the broccoli and pulse a couple times until it starts to look finely chopped then add only the eggwhites because they don't seem to want to process as easily as the yellow centers. When it looks like the eggwhites are finely chopped, then we add the yellows and everything else, giving it only a few more pulses until it looks pretty well mixed. It should be slightly crumbly. We use a digital...

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Filed under: Soft Food

So, You Want to Breed Your Birds, Eh?

Research Your Resources No matter what you want to learn, your best resource will always be your ability to research a subject. It will be well worth your while to spend a little time developing this skill – it will prove itself invaluable, and quite probably in short order, too! When it comes to birds, even if you can’t find any books on breeding the species you’re interested in, you can still learn a lot by researching their native environment. Check out seasons, annual daylength and temperature variations, and note the extremes, both daily and seasonal. Look up what types of plants grow there, and find out which foods tend to be available, and when. Look at what other kinds of birds, animals, or insects share the environment, and as much as possible try to find out how they are known to interact with each other. Another great resource for learning about breeding your birds, is bird clubs. If you...

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Filed under: Canary Breeding

Conditioning Canaries

Trying to sort out just what procedures are involved in conditioning a canary can be very confusing to a newcomer, who is still trying to assimilate all the ins and outs of keeping this sometimes rather complex species, and usually prefers to pin down each definition with terms as exact as possible. It doesn’t help matters that this word is used for entirely different actions, too! Canaries are conditioned for show; or they are conditioned for breeding. The procedure in each case is quite different, and again, often varies quite widely. Each fancier has his or her methods, often arrived at over years of trial and error, that work best for him or her; often each is firmly convinced that his or her method is the best. In fact, what works best for who, really depends on a wide variety of factors, among them what breed you’re working with, along with the personality, inheritance, and gender of the bird. Then...

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