March 3, 2017

Record Keeping -- Worth Your Time!

It is that time of year!  I am ready to begin breeding, and many breeders are well under way!
You may not want to think of it, or you may even laugh at it, but RECORD-KEEPING is an important part of breeding canaries!  In all aspects of animal breeding, record keeping is a tool to improving your herd or flock.
By using records, you can pair birds that produce strong and beautiful offspring.  You will be able to keep the best for your own bird room, and you can be confident of your advice to other breeders buying your birds.
  • Observation of youngsters is important, but only IF you actually take notes!
  • These notes are only useful IF you can find them when you want them, and
  • IF you understand what you wrote!
Your records may be as simple as making notes in a small pocket notebook during the breeding season.  At the end of the year, enter all the information into a simple student notebook.
Or you may use a computer software program, either using a simple spreadsheet or purchasing avian breeding software.
There are many methods that fall between those two extremes.  I think every breeder will eventually work out a way to keep records that suits his/her time and expectations.
Most canary clubs offer forms, and their online websites will have forms and suggestions available.
My only suggestion is:  KEEP RECORDS of some sort!  I don't think HOW you keep the records as important as DOING it!
Here is what I am using:
  • a calendar as a place to quickly note things such as:
    when I changed diet, or lighting, or administered medication
    when I put a pair together, first egg laid, first chick hatched, when weaned, etc.
  • a clipboard with notepaper to quickly note youngsters singing, older males fighting, hens plucking young, etc.
  • a hatch record in the bird room, to note dates of hatching, descriptions of youngsters, with space to also note band numbers
  • an identical hatch record in my bird record file.  Once a month, I transfer the information from the sheet in the bird room into the 'good record'.  The sheet in the bird room tends to get smudged!  : )
  • a notebook to enter notes about each pair.  This can be a simple notebook or a three ring binder with more detailed printed forms.
  • pedigrees of your parent birds.  This could be optional, as you can look up the information through the past year's records, but I love seeing the past two to four years at a glance.
Record keeping does not have to take lots of time.... it will actually save time later, maybe years breeding with pairs that do not produce as well as other pairs!
I use the following forms:
Keep records, even if in a simple notebook!