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!