April 27, 2020

April In The Bird Room --- Month by Month Journal

Breeding season is in FULL SWING here! 
So far, things are going as planned.

For this first round of nesting, I did NOT remove the eggs as laid.
I just made a note of the dates each egg was lay'd, and I will do some study after I see how they hatch.
For the past eight or nine years, I have taken out each egg and return all the eggs when the fourth egg appears. 
Following several other breeders' lead, I decided to experiment with the first round of nests.  I'll know more in a couple of weeks, but so far the eggs are hatching at nearly the same time, and the parents are feeding well.

The hens began building nests almost immediately after I paired up the males and hens.
Eggs appeared within a week of caging.

I was a bit worried that there would be many infertile eggs in this first round.  But, so far, all hens seem to be hatching on schedule, with multiple chicks.
None are old enough to band yet.  I have literally just started, 4 days ago!  :)

I am feeding a basic 'heavy on canary' seed mix, with a little added oat groats.  My soft food for laying or feeding hens is my basic recipe (found on Page Five of My Canary Diet Research article).

I did update the way I keep records.
In the past, I used a calendar and loose leaf filler sheets to keep a running diary of who began setting, when they began incubation, and dates of hatching.  As I banded the youngsters, I used a 'hatch record' to write down the final description/family/band numbers.

This year, I made my own forms.
1) I wanted a quick way to see at a glance who was expected to hatch on what date.  I also wanted to have a record of each nest, just to give me an idea of each pair's good or bad points.
2) I wanted my hatch records in order by DATE of hatch, rather than in order of band numbers.  I also wanted to be able to quickly count how many chicks hatched.

I made a 'Pair Worksheet' , with the first column being the date DUE to HATCH.
Each pair gets a line on the form when they begin a nest... then I write down the date of first egg.  Then date incubation begins, and number of eggs. I figure date of expected hatch and put that in the first column, easy to see!  After hatch, there is space to add number of chicks, and any notes of their behavior.
I put the chicks each on my new 'Hatch Record' , by date each nest hatched. This also helps me keep track of when chicks need to be banded... a reminder of their age.
At the bottom of this hatch record, I make note of the week of these hatchings.  I will go back later to see if early hatches are more successful, contain more hens or males, and other things, such as how long between nests, etc. 

I also make notes as to possible sex while banding.
I watch for these hints:  males often have more 'fuzz' on the tops of their heads at this age.  Males are often more 'jumpy' than the females.  Some people say the males have a longer middle toe when young. 
Here is a list of possible 'indicators' of sex:
Tips On Determining Sex of Your Chick.

If any of these 'indicators' were absolutely true, all canary breeders worldwide would give a collective sigh of relief... as our largest question IS determining sex as soon as possible.
But the question remains, so these indicators are just that:  something that MAY indicate if a chick is male or female.

List of CANARY LINKS has been updated!

The list of CANARY LINKS has been updated.
Broken links have been deleted or corrected.
Several new links have been added!

Seed Moths -- Cause, Prevention, Eradication

Moths and other bugs in our seed, and bird rooms, are NOT FUN!
Here is my post on Facebook, for a few hints on the subject.