December 22, 2017

The Best Advice for Your First Canary

I was fortunate to have received GOOD ADVICE when I was buying my first canaries, from several breeders and hobbyists.  Their words of wisdom have proven helpful since that first day I put my new birds into a cage in my house, and to this day are the basics I follow every day in my bird room.

To those who are thinking of getting a Canary Companion, and to those who have emailed with questions, I will pass along the tips and instructions that I feel guaranteed my enjoyment of canaries as companions and exciting 'housemates'.

# 1 -- The very first TIP:  find a breeder or hobbyist to talk to personally.
If you can find someone close enough to visit, by all means do so.  If you must look online for a 'canary mentor', there are many places to find someone willing to help.  And don't give up if the first person just wants to sell you a bird.  I found three or four breeders online who took the time to ask ME questions about why I wanted a bird, what experience I had, and just what I was hoping to get as a perfect companion.

This person will also be very helpful after you get a canary.  If it appears sick or you have questions about it's behavior, you have that person to contact for an immediate answer.  The right person can be a very enjoyable friend in this new venture into Canary Keeping.

And who knows, you may find a kindred spirit in the process!  I have found several wonderful, interesting people, of all levels of experience raising canaries, whom I count among my best friends.

# 2 -- The second TIP:  buy a bird in person, if at all possible.
You may not find a canary breeder locally, but don't overlook the small hobbyist who may only have a few for sale.  They may have birds more used to daily and individual attention.

If you can see more than one canary, acting normally in an average size cage, you will be more likely to see the differences in personality and activity... and of course, you can hear differences in song.  Many breeders do not allow visitors into their main bird room, but will usually have their birds for sale in an area open to potential buyers.

This was a learning experience for me!  And invaluable!  I learned more in those two hours spent in Bruce's birdhouse, than the days spent reading all those books.  Just observing how they were fed, how their perches were set up, what area of the house they were in, etc.  was wonderful.  Of course, listening to the breeder talking about his birds and their differences was enjoyable --- and his enthusiasm was infectious!

So, PLEASE, search for other canary people within visiting distance, even if you buy your final bird elsewhere!

# 3 -- Third TIP:  Read, read, and read again!
You can find advice online for nearly every topic.  There are many canary associations and clubs with articles on their websites.  There are forums and groups exclusively for canaries.  Browse them all.

And don't forget books.  Some canary books that read like textbooks, but I have found others that are great entertainment besides giving helpful information!
( My Favorite Canary Books by Debbie )

# 4 -- Remember this next TIP:  There is NO ONE PERFECT WAY to care for a canary.
If you asked the same question to 50 canary people, you would get many different answers, and each person is convinced that way is the only way.  Remember, when someone says a certain way is the only way, what he really means is, it is the only way for him.

Everyone's home, climate, daily schedule, and even time spent with the bird will be different.  And what YOU want from a canary companion may be entirely different than everyone else!

# 5 -- TIP number five:  Have fun!  
The basics of having a canary in your home are pretty simple.  And the rewards are so very many!
*** Some of my favorite links: Seeds of Canary Information
*** My Personal Advice: Canary Care Sheet (pdf)

November 30, 2017

November 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!
Sales continued this month.  We had wonderful WARM weather here in Montana, so shipping was possible all month.
I love meeting new people through these sales.... some I hope to stay in touch with for years to come!
I've ordered several hundred pounds of seed as well as other supplies such as vitamins.  It is also the time of year to preorder club bands. 
Also time to begin writing down next year's breeding plans.
And to sit and enjoy the young males coming into full song!  Oh, that is fun!
I am still trying the 'apple experiment' to see if it helps my mature hens to postpone their thoughts of Spring.  I do not want to begin until February of next year.
This past spring, I purposely held my hens back, or ignored their nesting attempts in the flights.  I wasn't entirely happy with the result:  many hens were not in condition, even though they had the desire, when I did pair them up in March.
So, while I don't want them to begin in December, and I will continue to persuade them to wait, I am not going to completely ignore them.
I am ready with my plans for pairing.... and I am feeding a basic seed mix, with a majority of  canary seed and rape, with a minimum of oil and treat seeds.  I am feeding more mineral clays and supplements, as well as a little bee pollen, for it's nutrients.  It also has a reputation for being a breeding stimulant, but I want it's nutritional input, so will just feed small amounts so they are used to eating it.
I also am feeding the Ioford/DufoPlus combination ... but only once this month.
So far, everyone looks happy and healthy.
I have so many NICE youngsters from this year, I have kept too many!  But what a wonderful result of a breeding year!  Next year looks to be excititng!
I have learned a few things.... and will change a few things in the new season.
I will post an annual 'Lessons Learned This Year' on New Year's Eve.  :)

November 28, 2017

Do your birds need a Life Coach?

I'll wager you never thought of introducing a 'Big Brother' ( or Sister ) into a flight of youngsters.
The idea of a Song Tutor is well known in the song breeds, but I am talking about an older bird to act as a leader for young canaries of any breed.

Choose a calm, forgiving adult that goes about his business and ignores all the antics of the 'kids'.
I said 'his'... but I have seen both males and hens who get along well with others.  Of course, if he also has a good song, the youngsters may imitate him in that area as well.

I have one male who is worth his weight in gold simply for his calm, unflappable personality, and he also eats any and all seed mixes, new food items, and veggies.
He loves taking a bath and he never 'spooks' at loud noises, sudden movements, or strangers near his cage.  When I put him in a cage with youngsters, soon, they are following his example!

So, think about your birds, and see if there isn't a 'wise one' among them, and next summer, don't forget to try him as a Life Coach.

October 31, 2017

October 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 have TWO BIG THINGS to face head on this month!
Managing the 'winter rest' period for the birds, and setting a good goal for myself and my bird room!

I have continued the simpler diet and also shut off the heat vents from our central heating system.  The average temperature in the bird room was actually rising, because we had turned on the central heat in the house, and because the sun is lower in the sky at this season in Montana and was shining directly in the large window. 
I now have my adult males caged in groups of three and the hens are in several larger fight cages.  Everyone seems happy, and content to eat and sleep!  No thoughts of nesting!
Everything has settled into a routine.... cleaning the bird room continues  as I sell some of the youngsters and rearrange remaining cages.
So, now to the BIGGEST TASK of all:  setting a realistic and satisfying goal for myself!
Every breeder's situation will be different, depending upon their time, other jobs, space, future breeding plans and your original reason for keeping canaries!
For me, I originally bought canaries for my interaction with them... for watching their individual personalities and how they responded to us humans.
In a few years, I realized I loved making breeding plans and kept a few tame ones that had attached themselves to me!
That began the slippery slope toward buying more breeds, types and colors... of keeping this one and that one 'to see what their pairing would produce'.  This summer I spent my bird room time cleaning, feeding, washing and keeping records!
I did not have time to sit in a rocking chair with a cup of coffee and watch the birds.  I took notes of the ones that were especially tame, were first to sing, or grew long nails and beak.  But no time for anything else!

I do not want to be a COLLECTOR, where I would need a pair of every type that caught my eye.  But it seemed to be where I was heading.  
I want to remember why I began with canaries:  the fun of each individual bird!
I have decided to keep only those that make me smile.. the ones that I have future plans for.  I have five or six family lines of exceptional birds, both in singing and personality... and I have several family lines of American Singers.  Plus, I have been very impressed with the qualities of the agates and opals.
This spring I began with 30+ pairs... and I set a goal of 20+ pairs for next year.
I feel happier already!

October 30, 2017

September 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!
This month, I was busy with ranch and family, so I spent less time in the bird room, which turned out to be a good thing!
I began a 'simple diet' for my adult birds: a basic seed diet, almost no fresh greens or treats, and no egg food.  The young birds were given a few oil seeds, and various treats such as fall dandelion leaves, etc.
All the birds look healthy, happy and are growing like weeds.  I have been VERY HAPPY with my new crop of youngsters this year!  I have 35 set aside that I want to keep for myself!  Yikes!!!
At this time of year, I want my adults to totally forget breeding!!!  They have earned a rest period.  If everyone is coming out of the molt in good condition, I even stop mineral supplements, except for cuttle bone.  The youngsters do continue to have mineral powder in their cages.
I did intend to begin my 'apple-feeding' experiment this fall but I forgot this year!
(I posted last year, how feeding apples to my poultry flock caused them to stop laying eggs... so I feel daily feeding of a small slice of apple may help my canary hens stop tearing paper and laying.)

I was also late at photographing the young birds for sale... I just ran out of time.
I began my 'deep clean' of the bird room and all breeding supplies such as nests, cages, fake eggs, etc.
Both the cleaning task,and the realization of just how many birds I had for sale, made me realize... really and truly realize, I had begun this breeding season with TOO many pairs!  ( I will address this top next month!) 

October 20, 2017

Can Canaries Share a Cage? and No, He Won't Be Lonely!

You may think:  what a strange question!  Of course, canaries can share a cage!
Yes, they can share a cage... in fact, you can put many canaries in a cage.
Remember our grade school language lesson:  'Can' means you are physically able; 'May' means you have permission and it's a good idea!
In many situations, two or more canaries can co-exist in the same cage.  I've heard of two male canaries living peacefully in the same small cage for years.  Only one would sing at a time.. one did not sing much until the other one died.
My dad had a pair who lived happily side by side also for years.  Recently, my mom bought a pair, and they did not exist peacefully!  The hen was the Boss, and would not let the male eat until she had eaten her favorites and was full.
I've seen birds who died of a broken heart soon after their mate passed away.
One lady had a beautiful aviary and tried many times to set up a flock of multiple canaries.  Time after time, they fought and squabbled until all were dead but the strongest one.  How sad.

PLEASE watch your birds.... please separate any that have personality conflicts! 
Some canaries will peacefully share a cage.... others will not stop fighting, picking feathers, keeping others from eating... often times until one or more are dead!

Are you thinking:  won't a single bird be lonely?
Like other companion pets, such as cats, one bird alone will attach itself to you, if you give it any attention at all.  If you have more than one canary, they will be more interested and entertained by each other, and won't be as devoted to you!  Just like a two-cat household.... what trouble one doesn't think of, the other one will!
A cage that is in a room where people spend time, such as a kitchen or living room, is ideal for a single canary.  Make sure you feed him everyday, and that is all the time and attention he needs.  He will appreciate and respond to more time spent talking to him, feeding him treats, or having your chair close to his cage.  But if you have a busy schedule, throw away the cups that hold feed and water for a week... and simply give him seed, water, and treats every day.

Here are two interesting articles to read, and then make your decision of how many birds to buy, how many to put in a single cage, and how a canary or two will fit in your life and your house!
And read this article:
Canaries are particular about their Territorial Rights!

August 22, 2017

August 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 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!

May 31, 2017

May 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!
Things went well this month!!
      I do return my seed mix to the 'basic mix', instead of the enriched mix with all the 'goodies' I have been feeding for a few months.  The reason:  I don't want to push my hens too hard.  I don't want them laying larger than normal eggs, more eggs per nest than normal, or laying too closely together.  Each hen has her own 'schedule'... some hens lay an egg every day... other hens wait a day or two between producing eggs.
     I feel a hen that has been fed a healthy, strong diet will lay properly.  : )  I do continue the Ioford and DufoPlus combination.  And of course, there is cuttlebone and mineral powder in their cages.
    As they begin hatching clutches, I am careful to provide eggfood to parents twice a day.  I feed as soon as possible in the mornings, and again late afternoon.
    The precautions about spoiling egg or soft food are something to remember! 
    I do several things that I think help prevent my eggfood from souring:
  • Each time I add fresh soft/egg food, I remove any food remaining from previous feeding.
  • I wash the dish at least once a day.
  • I prepare the soft food immediately before serving to the birds. DO NOT SAVE the food in your fridge.  You may freeze small amounts in freezer bags, pressing out excess air before placing in the freezer.  It crumbles apart while still frozen, and may be placed in their cage frozen.  
  • Use fresh ingredients... including eggs and any other ingredients. Do not use any greens that have spoilage, oats that have been in a warm cupboard for months, or eggs that are anywhere close to their expiration dates.
    I use eggs from my own hens, and I am very fortunate that I know how many hours old they are!  : )
  • I feed in small, flat dishes with low sides... such as dipping saucers, lids such as spaghetti sauce or pickle jar lids, or espresso cup saucers.  I have heard of breeders using small paper plates, the plastic lids from Pringles chip canisters, etc.
    These flat containers let any left over food dry out... rather than stay moist!  This extends the time the food remains edible and does not need removing immediately.
    I would not recommend re-using the dried leftovers!!!

April 30, 2017

April 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!
I continue preparing my birds for breeding.
     A few hens are beginning to tear at cage papers... so I am moving them into the cages they will breed in.  I am also adding the males... but watch to see the pair gets along!
If there is any bickering, remove the male until the hen has her nest almost completed.
     The birdroom is slowly coming together!  : )

March 28, 2017

March in the Bird Room -- Month by Month Journal

Month by Month

March came in like a lion here in Montana... it seems to be ending with nice SPRING weather!     COMMENTS are enabled for these journal posts so please jump in with your advice or questions!
This month was spent in preparing my birds for breeding.  I have gradually increased the variety and nutrient-dense seeds and grains.  And the natural light from outdoors has increased by hours as spring is nearing! 
    Please watch your birds!  I noticed they are consuming much more water and seed!  : )
    I mixed a small amount of pellets in their  basic seed mix, and for the first time, they loved it!  I believe a GOOD fresh seed mix should be the largest part of my canary food.... but I do want any birds I sell to be willing to eat anything, including pellets.  In years past, whenever I fed pellets, most of my birds were unwilling to try them.  But this year, all but two males seems to love them.
    I am also feeding black and white lettuce seeds.  Several years ago, I saved lettuce seed from my garden, and found my canaries loved them.  I read several books that listed the good nutrients in lettuce seed, so I ordered several bags to use this month.
    Washing nests, ordering new water tubes, and printing off my hatch records are all done.  And I nearly have all the cages restacked, the bird room rearranged, and cage liner sheets cut in bulk.
     PLEASE, set up some sort of record keeping system, even a simple blank notebook.  For some ideas of what I use and what other breeders like, see:
*** Record Keeping -- Worth Your Time! (what I use)
*** Keeping Records
     It is now the last week of March, and by April 1st, all my pairs will be set, and Spring will have sprung in my bird room!  : )

March 3, 2017

Record Keeping -- Worth Your Time! (Updated 2021)

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: (links to my forms are at end of this post)
  • 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 (links are pdfs) :
Keep records, even if in a simple notebook!

March 2, 2017

Canary 'Seeds' of Information

It is a busy time of year in our bird rooms!
We may have questions or need answers to problems.
I just updated my list of great canary links:
'Seeds' of Canary Information
and, again, I am amazed by the wealth of canary information by solid breeders!
Take a look at the list of articles, and I'll bet you find much to learn!
Also, if your favorite link or website is not listed, please send me an email, or add a comment to this post!
I cannot guarantee to list every one, but I know there are many good articles that I have not yet found!

February 28, 2017

February in the Bird Room -- Month by Month Journal

Month by Month

This is the last day of February!
     COMMENTS are enabled for these journal posts so please jump in with your advice or questions!
     My first goal for the month is to transition from the austerity/winter diet to a preparation diet.  I don't want to force the hens into breeding condition, but I don't want them to be lacking in some nutrient when they do begin laying eggs. 
    I am VERY not to overfeed carbs and protein.  The hens are still getting a basic canary seed mix, mostly plain canary seed, although I am increasing the amount fed each day.
    I am also feeding Ioford and DufoPlus together in their water for 2 days consecutively every other week.
    I am also eliminating the apple in the hens' diet.

January 31, 2017

January in the Bird Room -- Month by Month Journal

Month by Month
I am posting this entry in my new 'Month by Month In the Bird Room' Journal a month late!  LIFE outside my canary room has been full of new things, so I've been busy, busy!
But, LIFE also goes on in the birdroom!
     COMMENTS are enabled for these journal posts so please jump in with your advice or questions!
    Let me say:  hoping all of your birdrooms are filled with SINGING!!! 
    My first goal for the month is to 'CONTINUE'!.  I want my hens to continue resting and passing time until March.  I am encouraging my males to sing, and all to co-exist peacefully for another month.  I am continuing my observations of the young ones I've kept.
   Most of the cultural conditions and feed will continue, except I am adding variety to the basic seed mix.  By adding some of the foods I will be adding during breeding months.  When they are feeding youngsters, they will quickly accept the wheat flakes, pellets, softfoods, and misc. seeds.