August 22, 2017

August in the Bird Room -- Momth by Month Journal

Month by Month Journal

 COMMENTS are enabled for these journal posts so please jump in with your advice or questions!
I really like the Ioford/DufoPlus combination!!!
I have changed my softfood ingredients, as usual for this time of year.  I cut back on the actual hard boiled egg... reducing the protein.

In my opinion, too much protein in the diet of young canaries causes leg soreness and excessive beak growth.
Too many carbohydrates can cause obesity and poor health in future years.

Before weaning from the parents' cage, I like to feed high protein softfoods, and for a few weeks after they are in their own cage, I continue to feed egg food.
But as they get older, and are eating well... I begin to add raw grated carrots, even more greens, and a bit more oats to their soft food.
To help with molting and to keep them growing well, I make sure they have a good mineral supplement and all the basic seed mix they want.
This is the month I love, because I get to hear them begin to twitter!
The first ones to begin really singing are the ones I get the most excited about!

This year has been a great one... I see improvements in color, size and shape that I am excited about!
I am photographing each bird for sale, and the SALES pages will soon be online!

Watch your flights of youngsters....!!!!!

Please watch your young canaries, especially if they are in groups in flights.
There is always some noise as they flock to the seed dishes, with hens bickering.  Young males will often compete for a favorite perch. 
Some of these disagreements become out and out battles.  You notice tattered and broken feathers.
Other times, a weaker bird may simply be kept from eating and drinking.

I watch for a few minutes each morning for a couple of days, and can usually pick out the ones that are starting these conflicts... and they are moved to their own cages.

This advice comes from another breeder:  as you begin to see which are hens and which are males, separate them by sex.  She says this is one way to 'keep peace'.

July 31, 2017

July in the Bird Room -- Month by Month Journal

Month by Month Journal

 COMMENTS are enabled for these journal posts so please jump in with your advice or questions!
I also learned something this month:
If you suspect the seed mix you have trusted is NOT as good as it was in the past, stop using it and find another source for fresh seed!!!

For the past four months, I have battled seed/flour moths that I KNOW came from the 25# bags of seed mix.  I also cringed every time I emptied the bottom 'dust' of each bag into the garbage.
Last fall, I purchased 100's of pounds of canary seed mixes from two sources.  I had good storage areas and I was hoping not to worry about buying seed for some time. Well......
From the first bag, one of the mixes was less than ideal.  I kept thinking the next bag would be better.  It wasn't.

Poor mixes with stale seed and low quality ingredients WILL have a noticeable effect on your birds!
I 'got by' because I also had a good seed mix to feed... and my soft food mix recipe is very nutritious.
But as soon as I bought a new brand of FRESH seed mix, there was an immediate improvement in the youngsters' condition!!!

So, do not ignore your instincts!  If you think something is not quite right, change it.

Another tip:  Watch your youngsters for cage mates who fight.  Sometimes it is simply a normal squabble around the feed dishes.  Or it could be something really serious, such as young males fighting.  Even if they don't show broken, tattered feathers, the more dominate birds usually keep one or more of the more timid ones away from the food.
Please watch for slower, thinner birds in cages where you have multiple canaries... they may not be eating or drinking enough. 
I always keep extra cages ready so I can move out any that are causing disruptions in the flights.

June 30, 2017

June in the Bird Room -- Month by Month Journal

Month by Month

 COMMENTS are enabled for these journal posts so please jump in with your advice or questions!
This month was a month of DON'Ts and mistakes!!!
      There were some exciting, big events happening in my family, and I was needed many places besides the bird room.  I had made plans for several SHORTCUTS, that I thought would let me spend less time in the bird room.
     Well, I discovered there is no substitute for TIME.
     First, the things I did right:
  • I had placed a calendar on the wall of the birdroom, with three pencils!  : )  That made it easy for me to jot down when a hen began laying, when I returned the eggs to her nest, etc.  Definitely will do that next year!
  • I also made an 'egg box' to store/organize the eggs as I took them out of the nests.  It was simply a large cardboard box, with a piece of paper as a lid.  ( I will do something a little more sophisticated next year!)  I padded 12 little foam cups with cotton balls, numbered them and 12 clothespins.  Inside each I placed 4 plastic eggs.
    When a hen layed her first egg, I put a clothespin on her cage, placed her egg in the corresponding cup, and placed a fake egg in her nest.  When I got busy and wasn't paying as much attention, the four eggs were a reminder that I was supposed to return all her eggs to her nest.  Sometimes if I was busy, and saw there was only one plastic egg left in the cup, I would simply return all the eggs to her that morning.
    The box also was a reminder for me to check the hens' nests.... I counted how many little cups had hen eggs, and would make sure I had check that many cages.
    You can tell how rushed I was!!!!!
  • I also made sure I was stocked up with everything I would need for breeding:  extra nests and nesting material, extra bags of feed and seed, etc. 
  • I also recommend, if you are rushed on time, to have twice as many feed dishes and waterers as needed..... this way, you will have a clean dish without washing the same one.
    Just remember, a tray of dirty dishes and water tubes do not wash themselves!  One of my chores just before bed was washing a sinkfull of canary stuff!
     Now... on to the things I did wrong!
  • I did not schedule days to band chicks... sometimes chicks in each nest grow at different rates  and of course, different hatch dates mean clutches are ready for bands at different times.
    I just didn't have time for banding... but I do think two scheduled days each week would have made it possible, even with little time to spend in the birdroom.  Next year.....
  • I did not feed softfood twice a day every day.  And the hens that were raising a nest by themselves, a poor feeding pair, and an older pair did not do well by themselves!  I did lose 4 young chicks that I think were because I did not provide softfood as often as was needed.
    :(  That was a sobering lesson to learn.
  • I did not sweep the floor every day, and there was birdseed all over the rest of the house! 
  • I did not write down my observations right that day.... and when I did scribble something on the calendar, often times I cannot read my writing or do not understand what I meant!!!
    I do remember which hens fought with which males, and which males were good fathers, etc., but I did not have any observations about the youngsters, which I will miss!
  • I left some chicks with their parents too long.  Several hens plucked the tail feathers of their first kids while building their second nests. One hen is a sweetheart, and still has two of her first clutch while she is nesting now, but I am taking them out today!
     Got the bad out of the way, now on to the GOOD!   I was very pleased with my pairing plans.... I have some great youngsters!  I have already begun making plans for next year.  But more on that in the next two months!