March 15, 2019

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

Mid March 2019
I jumped into March with a four day cleaning marathon!   We are now at mid month, and the first pair laid an egg this morning!  Nests and nesting material are ready, and I have printed my record-keeping forms.  I am taking many photos, so I hope to keep up with my resolve to include interesting photos with every blog post!

Washing up is not my favorite chore in the bird room.  I have found several things that help get it over and done quickly:
  1. Keep at least two sets of water tubes and feed dishes.
    You can swap out dirty ones one day each week, and wash them the next day. 
    I also keep extra sets of perches.  Time-saving!
  2. Do one extra thing after the daily chores are done.
    Don't leave all 'clean up' to do in one day.
    Don't say:  I'll wait and catch up later.
    I have one little maintenance job to do on each of the 5 weekdays.  Weekends are for 'enjoying' the birds with a latte and the rocking chair!
I rearranged the room, and now have cages for 32 pairs.  Whew.....

I am beginning this year's breeding season with the largest number of adult birds, ever!
I am so excited to see if my plans and expectations will be as wonderful as I hope!!!  Even if only some of the pairs produce what I want, it will be a great year!!!  

Here are a few of my 'rules' when arranging cages: (continued...)
If I am pairing two birds that spent last year together, I try to put them in the same cage as last year.  
If a pair is friendly, and I expect their offspring to also be friendly or unique in some way,  I will put them in a cage that is near my chair and at eye level.  This increases my interaction with them.
Several hens like their privacy while nesting, so they go either in the corner or I will hang up a piece of cardboard between their cage and the others.
The most experienced pairs are put on the very top levels.  I can feed and water them without getting on the step ladder, but I can't really see their whole cage.  If I trust a pair to know what they are doing, I feel comfortable using the ladder only on alternate days.  :)
Of course, young hens are usually paired with males that have proven to be a good feeders. 
Last but not least:  pairs that produced great chicks last year will be together again this year.  I also have several pairings based on pedigree only... hoping they produce offspring combining good traits from both parents' families!

Please note:  the towel on the ladder is NOT for cleaning.  It is the perfect towel for recapturing any canaries that escape!!
It is a flour sack towel (an old, soft one) and works perfectly for dropping gently over the occasional canary that escaped as I was sorting them.  It is light enough to toss lightly over birds on the floor or on the sides of cages.  :)