December 31, 2018

December In The Bird Room --- Month By Month Journal

December 2018 In Summary:
I fed a different diet than usual.  Not by choice!
Was it wrong?  We will see!
One of the most important things to success with breeding canaries is the canary seed mix, in my opinion.  I prefer a plain mix of canary seed and rape.
In fact, this seed mix is the Number One thing that I feel is responsible for success or failure in breeding canaries.  There are several other factors to do in canary breeding, but what you feed them is number one.
Most canary/finch mixes, especially the ones available in 2 pound bags at pet shops, contain too many other types of seeds, such as millet.  The bits of pellet or egg food and dehydrated fruits such as coconut are not necessary and I think of them as 'candy'.  I have nothing against pellets, but I feel the ones in a seed mix are of inferior quality.  These mixes also contain broken oat hulls which lower the overall protein of the canary's diet. 
They LOVE to take a bath in the Ioford/DufoPlus water!

Oh, and I learned several new things about genetics.... and I bought 15 new birds!

December 22, 2018

Email Updates from my blog --- fixed, I hope!

SORRY to everyone signed up to receive updates when I post to my blog!!!
There are several old posts tacked on the end of the email!
I think I have that fixed!  :)

THANK YOU for your interest in my blog.

I will be starting the Canary Fun and Games in early January, so your patience will be rewarded!

December 21, 2018

2018 Surprised Me With Some Good Things!

I learned a few things in the past year!
Several experiments gave me answers... and an article on hen genetics explained the subject clearly.
I had some good things happen, even though the year was so chaotic.  You'll never believe all that happened!

First, I'll begin with last fall, November 2017.  I kept extra birds, because they were so nice.  :)  What an exciting time I had making plans for 2018!  I had 82 birds, which is 'way more than I had planned, but such nice birds that I just had to keep them for one year's breeding!

I also began The Apple Experiment.  Several years ago, I discovered, by accident, that consuming a large amount of apple stopped my chickens from laying!  I was given about 80# of fallen apples and I dumped them out in my poultry yard.  Within a week, my hens were not laying a single egg!  Several elderly farmers cautioned me to feed small amounts, instead of all they wanted to eat each day. Plus,  I have read that putting water cleansers in their water may also slow the canary hens' egg laying (canarytales.blogspot).  The water cleanser mentioned contained citric acids.  So, I began to feed apple, with an occasional water treatment, as an experiment.
And I also began a simpler seed diet.   Well, it worked.... the majority of the hens delayed egg laying for several months. (continued)

May 31, 2018

Less IS More

Less IS More
    The morning "coffee crowd" is busy chirping away, squabbling over broccoli bits, and I
imagine them gossiping about their neighbors. I am in the bird room, taking a break from work,  sipping my cup of Joe as the happy conversations of the canaries fill the room.
     My chair is squeezed into a small space between a floor-to-ceiling flight and a stack of
breeding cages. From here, I can see most of the room and am watching the flights of
youngsters, taking notes on their behavior.
    In the beginning of this 'bird obsession' I call a hobby, my bird room had a very different
appearance. There was room for a rocking chair with footstool, a small table for my coffee and notebooks, with hanging plants and lace curtains at the window. But as the number of birds grew from 6 pair to 40 pair, the space for "non-essentials" shrank.
    Last year, I spent three hours in the birdroom each day, plus washing water tubes, seed
dishes, and nests added two more hours each week. I spent the time sweeping, feeding,
banding, and cleaning cages I would rather have watched the parents feed their chicks or sat next to a young male with personality to listen to his first teenage song.
    I am trying to remind myself why I bought my first bird, and the things that I most enjoy. I don’t regret the hours spent in the bird room, but if I kept fewer birds, I’d have more time for play rather than work.
     Less is more. Simple is better than complicated. That principle works for many things.
    Whenever I am asked the question: 'What do you feed your birds?', my answer is
always the same: less is more. I am not talking about putting your birds on a diet. I am talking about keeping things simple rather than complicated.
    The basic diet for all cage birds begins with just a few guidelines. And these principles
apply to a single bird companion, or a bird room full of breeding pairs. Their food must provide nutrients to keep them healthy and be clean and fresh. The diet should be items we can buy easily and, let's face it, must also be priced within our budgets.
     Keep it simple. Some bird breeds have special requirements, but all need protein, fats and carbohydrates. The different types of seeds contain all of these, but in different proportions.  Many bird breeders mix their own seed types; others buy a bag of premixed seed for their general type of bird. It can be fun to do the research and make your own mix, but in all honesty, a packaged mix designed for your bird's breed will fill their need for seed.
     Pellets are popular and contain seed products with other nutrients. Personally, I like to begin with the seed and add supplements and other foodstuffs. Somehow, I keep comparing myself to the birds, and I would much rather eat a variety of interesting foods than a bowl of concentrated All-Food flakes, even if it was a complete meal.
     Seed only supplies a portion of their nutritional need, so we add other items. Following the example of the songbirds outside our homes, our indoor pets will benefit from green leafy vegetables, carrots, green peas, cucumbers and others such as seeds from a green pepper. Feed a small amount, lightly chopped or grated. You can feed these every day, or as an irregular treat on the days you have more time.
    At various times throughout the year, our birds need additional protein and supplements.  During breeding, while feeding chicks, and during the annual molt, add a small amount of animal or plant protein. This can be mashed hard-boiled egg, mixed with whole wheat bread crumbs, or soy protein, mealworms, or sprouted seed. Here again, you can buy packaged foods or prepare them from scratch. There are powdered vitamin-mineral supplements created to be fed separately in a small dish or sprinkled onto the soft mix.
    Now take that simple diet of seed, vegetables, and make sure every bit is fresh. Don't feed stale seed. Don't feed wilted veggies, and don't let the protein mix spoil, if you use moist food.
     Maybe you enjoy creating a complicated diet for your bird. I admit to real satisfaction when I have mixed a bowl of mashed hard-boiled egg, grated carrots, and dried bread crumbs.   Even the crumbs are from bread that I made specially for the birds. But if you keep the list of ingredients small, and you use the same mix every day, you will find it saves time. You can spend several of those saved moments to watch them enjoy their meal.
     Speaking of happy birds, back to my birdroom. One young opal male is perched right up against the front of his cage, very still and watching me. He trills lowly, insisting that I feed him a special  treat. He will eat broccoli and he received a portion with the rest of the room. But he really desires a few flakes of oatmeal, which I always feed him after he asks politely.
     I must keep that opal male, because he returns my affection. So, add one more to my growing list of keeping birds. Less is more? If only I could simplify my Bird Life.

Q: What plants can I grow in my own garden to feed my birds?
A: We can grow many of the vegetables for our cage birds. Some are very easy, such as
green leaf lettuces, kale and carrots which are commonly grown for our own tables.
Other vegetables are more demanding. Green peppers can take three months to grow to full
size. Cabbage and broccoli are often attacked by insects, so I cover them with special netting to keep the butterflies out. Cucumbers are an example of the plants that need lots of space to ramble as they grow.
Don't forget to pull dandelion leaves (from lawns that are not sprayed or fertilized). They are a special treat much enjoyed by my birds.

March 22, 2018

Making bread for the birds....

After making an angel food cake, there were 13 egg yolks left....
It took me a few minutes to think of making 'bird bread'.
I can't believe I didn't think of it immediately! :)

I tore the bread into pieces, pulverized them in my food processor and dried them on large sheet pans in my oven. I expect to be making lots of nestling food  in a few weeks!  :)

Someone will ask about my bread recipe, and I didn't use one.  I do have many 'bird bread' recipes, and most of them have turned out fine.  But this time, I made it simple:  I just started with the extra egg yolks, added whole wheat flour,  quick oatmeal, ....

January 6, 2018

Montana Canary Friends Meet

Sharing a photo of three canary breeders in Montana!

Left:  Debbie of Savoy Singers Aviary
Middle:  Bruce of Canary One Aviary
Right:  Tom of The Bird Connection