March 5, 2019

The FIVE Things That Guide My Bird Room

There are five things that I think are most important in my canary hobby.
I thought it would be fun to share my priorities;  have you thought about your Canary Goals and Priorities?
  • Keep the JOY in my canary-keeping!
  • Healthy Environment for myself and the birds
  • Keeping the Four Seasons in my bird room.
  • Quality Water
  • Proper Diet
First, I need to ENJOY the time spent in the bird room, and cannot rush through the 'chores'!  I am continually tempted to keep too many birds!  The thrill and pride in a 'Collection' are always sitting on my shoulder, telling me just one more pair won't be too many!  I admit I currently have TOO MANY BIRDS!  Extra time spent in the bird room is time taken from my family and other work.
Secondly, old-timers used to talk about Bird-Keeper's Lung, but most of us don't think of ourselves when we are talking about HEALTH.  I buy this or that vitamin supplement.  I make sure my seed is fresh and grind my own soft food mix.  I buy water that is pure.  All those are for the birds.

➽  I also have several air purifiers!  They are for MY HEALTH!  When they are turned on, there is obviously less white 'feather dander' on the windowsills, blinds, floors, and furniture in the bird room.  I am also breathing in less!  I cannot say enough good things about the air purifiers!  I love them.  I fear developing allergies, and being unable to keep canaries;  wouldn't that be terrible?
Right now, I have one purifier in the bird room.
Below is the pre-filter, which I clean every two weeks.  It is completely covered with the white dust.  I had no idea there was so much until I began running air purifiers!

(Increasing the number of baths for the birds will also decrease the amount of dander.)
Other things to do:  a vacuum stirs up less dust into the air than a broom.  An open window introduces fresh air for me as well as the birds.  Wearing gloves while cleaning cages reduces my exposure to disinfectants/cleansers as well as bird waste.

Thirdly, I am firmly convinced that allowing our canaries to go through the four seasons in our bird keeping areas/rooms is the one factor that determines the success in all other areas:  breeding, song, health, color/condition, long life, and even our own enjoyment of this hobby. 
Controlling the length of daylight and the temperature in the bird room have been the two things that have determined everything else in the areas where my cages are set up.  I have also adapted my other ranch work to fit the hours most suitable for work in the bird room.  My family hears: No, don't!  Don't turn on the lights.  Don't turn on the washing machine at night.  Don't eat that; it's for the birds!
Fourth and Fifth are related to each other.
I buy water from a store filtration station for the birds.  In my first two breeding seasons, I had many weaned youngsters die for no apparent reason.  As I tried to eliminate causes, I learned the USDA cautions against well water for various poultry types, and actually has a list of the TDS (total dissolved solids) tolerance levels of various farm animals. I am convinced that our well water was the cause of the young birds' death.
I order all bird seed and other food supplies, and shipping into Montana will cost more than the seed itself!  For example, when I order a basic seed mix from Herman Brothers, I pay 74 cents per pound for the seed, and $1.15 per pound for the shipping!
I have learned the 'hard way' to take money from other hobbies, if needed, when the bird seed is expensive and goes over budget!  Cheap seed is never a 'bargain'.
I hope to always remember the JOY I felt with my first three pairs of canaries,
some years ago!
When all is said and done, my goal is enjoying my canaries as individuals and pets.  But I also enjoy breeding top quality birds as well.
I have learned WHAT WORKS FOR ME, both for my enjoyment and for the well-being of the birds.
I have PROVEN these five things can 'make or break' how happy both I and the birds are!  They are not complicated or difficult.  The hardest part is convincing myself to follow them!  I have set these goals for myself, and sincerely hope I have the willpower to achieve them!