July 31, 2019

No Guts: No Glory! Taking a Chance Pays Off!

I learned two valuable lessons, and they will make me a better breeder, so I am sharing them with  you.

Lesson # ONE:
Every year has different and various 'out side' factors, besides the breeder's work, that influence the final outcome of a breeding season! 
Some of these influences are easy to see, but others are vague and uncertain.  USUALLY, other breeders in your area, maybe even worldwide, are having the same 'problems' in their bird rooms!  So, remember not to take bird room problems to heart!

An EXAMPLE from this season:
  • Problem:  Lack of Bonding Resulting in Infertile Eggs
    This year, I had an unusually high number of pairs fail to 'bond'.  They just didn't like each other.  They did not fight, but they paid no attention to each other, that I observed while I was in the room.  Normally, I would expect mating to happen when I was not watching.  In the past, I have seen pairs that did not bond at first, become faithful and loyal partners as soon as the chicks hatched and needed feeding.  BUT, this year, they did not produce any fertile eggs.
    Possible Cause:
    In years past, I never used split cages to slowly introduce the pairs.  This year, I purchased several sets of split breeding cages for most of my pairs!
    I should have had more success, not less!
    Other People:
    Several of my breeder-friends reported similar or identical problems, even with experienced two-year old birds!  Also, Red Factor Man uploaded a video in which he stated that what started out as a good season has ended up being a poor one for him.  He then goes on to show several pairs who did not produce fertile eggs, or did not feed!
    He said he had seen videos posted by other breeders with similar problems.
    My Solution:
    I swapped mates, and with time and new partners, they began to hatch youngsters.
Another problem I had was the newly purchased birds not producing, and actually dying!
I bought 12 new birds last fall, and 4 have died!
I have a total of 7 chicks from those 12 new birds!
The story how I got THOSE 7 is my second lesson-learned!
I decided taking a chance, trying unfamiliar things.... might be just what I needed to reach my goals!  I decided to follow my instincts!

So, I interfered! I am a very vocal advocate for a 'hands off' approach to in the bird room during breeding season.  But this spring, I meddled in the birds' lives!  And, WOW, am I glad I did!  (continued-->)

I made several quick decisions, that turned out well!
First:  After one new pair didn't produce any chicks during their two attempts at nesting, I split them up, and put them with mates of my own birds.  The new American Singer male produced three promising beautiful youngsters.

Second: The other hen, also a new one, I really, really wanted chicks from!
I paired her with my best older male, who may be in his last year with me..... and dreamed of all the great chicks they would produce!  She laid 4 beautiful eggs, which I took out one by one as she laid them.  On the fourth morning, I returned the first three eggs to her nest, and I stopped dreaming, and began planning for next year!
The following morning, I found her dead on the floor.  :(  OH, DEAR!

So, I made a quick decision, and I think these are the moments that experienced breeders have that make them good!  (Not saying I AM a great breeder... just saying, I have the idea that these little day to day decisions are what WILL make me better!)

I gave those four eggs to a hen that had begun setting her eggs just several days earlier.
The second hen's eggs went to a third hen who was setting on a single egg of her own.  The third hen's egg went under a fourth hen that was with a disinterested male.
The hens were in order of decreasing importance.  The second hen was a great setter and mother... her and her mate had already raised two nests of strong youngsters.  So, I knew she would be a good foster mother for those valuable eggs from the dead hen!
The third hen was an idiot... setting well, but not feeding her chicks when they hatched.

Bird Room Selfie
I am so glad I decided to intervene! 
The four prized eggs all hatched under the good second foster mama!
The third hen hatched one of her adopted eggs and I immediately gave it to another hen hatching the same day.
Alas, the final hen did not hatch.
But, I have the 4 lovely youngsters (several shown in the photo above) ... growing well and beginning to leave the nest!

I repeat the Great Truth of my lesson:
I do not feel I AM now a great breeder... but I believe these little day to day decisions are what WILL make me a skilled breeder! 
Nothing great was built in a day.
We are too impatient!  Wisdom comes with experience.
Hopefully, I am still breeding canaries 20 years from now.

And, I will take chances again and try new things!