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!