December 2, 2016

December in the Bird Room -- Month by Month Journal

Month by Month

This is the first post in my new 'Month by Month In the Bird Room' Journal!  I am hoping to share some of the tips and tricks I've found help me in the care of my canaries all year.  It will also be fun to share some of the JOY I find while watching and working with my birds!
     COMMENTS are enabled for these journal posts so please jump in with your advice or questions!
     My first goal for the month is to finish my paperwork for 2016.  This includes my master hatch record, records of birds sold, and updating my Bird Book with new birds purchased and youngsters kept.  I will explain my record keeping when I begin printing the new forms ready for next year.
  •      December is the month I deep clean my bird room!  That means walls, floors, cages, seed containers, watering bottles, table, chairs, and anything else that I find in my bird room!  :)
         I will also go over this past year... and if something needs changing for next year, now is the time to plan for it.  I will rearrange my cages, and use a few smaller cages, since my breeding plans for 2017 include over 30 pairs.  I also need to invent some way to mobilize the row of cages on the north wall;  the main breaker box for the whole house is on that wall... and I live in fear that we will need to flip a breaker in the middle of my favorite hen's incubation!  Yikes! 
  •      I will also begin to make my softfood mix.  (The recipe is included in my Care Sheet.)  I freeze the dry mix in quart bags or deli tubs.  If I make it now, when I am not busy, the mix will be more uniform, plus it is FUN! 
  •     I treated my adult birds with S76 in their water, as per instructions, in November.  This month, I will treat all the birds. 
  •     This is also the time to check all birds for overgrown beaks or toenails.  It's not a difficult task, after the first time.
  •     Now to the topic of DIET.
        The males and youngsters are on a 'normal winter' diet of an enriched canary seed mix, which has a few treat seeds included, with a small amount of veggies occasionally.  The hens are on a modified 'austerity' diet of a basic canary seed mix, with apple slices once or twice a week.
         The austerity diet was began in September when the adult hens seemed to be over the molt.  I placed them in a larger flight and moved them into a different room.  I also began to simplify their seed mix, and cutting out some of the 'treats', both greens and eggfood.  Mineral powder and cuttlebone were kept in front of them all the time.  And they have all the seed they want.
         I feed the young canaries and males with a slightly 'richer' seed mix, with more oil-rich seeds.  And I feed them the occasional treat.
         BUT, I am trying to prolong the beginning of the hens' breeding impulses.
         The apple is an experiment!  I discovered, by accident, that consuming a large amount of apple stopped my chickens from laying!   And I have read that putting water cleansers in their water may also slow the canary hens' egg laying.  The water cleanser mentioned contained citric acids.  So, I am trying the apple, with an occasional water treatment, as an experiment this winter.
         I will begin to gradually increase the variety of raw foods and treats, first with the males and young birds, then with the adult hens.... beginning in December for the males.
  •     I also have a curtain I draw across the open doorway to the birdroom, so they are not kept awake when we are moving around the house, with lights on, in the early mornings and late evenings. I want the light hours in the bird room the same as outdoors!
    I just received seed from Herman Brothers...and I love it!  I ordered a simple mix of canary seed and rape seed, plus other special supplemental seeds such as thistle, fennel, anise, white and black lettuces.  Oh, and cuttlebone!  : )
   I am also rearranging and cleaning the bird room!  : )