May 28, 2020

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

We are HALF WAY into breeding season in the new bird room!
I did make a Bird Room Make Over video together;  watch it below or larger sized on my YouTube channel.
The 'new' birds I bought last fall were a bit slow to set/hatch, but the hens of my own raising are doing well.  I am most excited over the beautiful American Singers!  Even a couple of older AS hens have given me chicks.  A five year old agate opal-carrying hen is on her second nest!  Several older males are also producing youngsters.

Soon, the FUN of choosing the youngsters to include in next year's breeding BEGINS!
I love to watch the young ones as they mature and begin to show their potential!
This year will be even more exciting as my favorite birds have produced Beautiful Kids!
I will have LOTS of youngsters to choose my own keepers and to sell! (See photo, left, for my Bird Room Numbers!)

I made THREE decisions:
#1)  I will be removing each egg as it is laid, and replacing it with a fake egg... storing each hen's eggs in a little cup, and returning them all when she lays the fourth or last egg.
I just left the eggs with the hens, for all the first round of nests.  And I lost a few chicks!

Half of the hens did okay.... because they laid an egg each day, thus the eggs were hatching day after day.  Most of these same hens also did not begin incubating until the final egg.  And, they fed well after hatching, searching out the youngest ones and feeding them in turn.  The other hens were less efficient, in all aspects of breeding.
The males behaved similarly:  half were skilled, half not so much.

This was a good learning experience for me.... but for this second round of nests, I removed the eggs as they were laid, and returned them all at the same time!  :)

#2)  When/IF I buy new stock birds, no matter how 'well-known' the breeder is, I will carefully, and cautiously, observe them before I mingle them with my own birds!

Ten years ago, when I first began buying 'new birds' in the fall of one year, I would pair some of them with my own birds the very next spring.  And, in the following years, I would pair their offspring with more of my own birds.
Three years ago,  I took a critical look at the 'new birds' and discovered some of them produced good offspring, and others did nothing but pass along serious faults!
In the two breeding seasons since, after culling some birds that 'should have been good' but were NOT, and keeping my own lines clean, I am now seeing some great results!!

After the past 10 years of buying birds, I am convinced the best birds are of my own breeding!  I am learning how to pair birds!  :)

I have found about 6 'good' birds, and several exceptional ones, from various American Singer breeders.  I am building the opals from very good groups of birds I bought from two breeders, both of whom I believe are no longer breeding with the same bloodlines.  I have several great, solid families of yellows from Bruce Thompson.  I am thinking of selling all my bronzes and mahoganies, but they are really very nice birds, from three breeders.

Long story short:  I have LOTS of good families.... with good solid genetics.
From here into the future, I need to remind myself: 
no matter how fun it is to get new birds,  resist the temptation!

#3)  36 pairs are too many!  :) 
I have no idea how I will make the decision of which ones to keep, but I am setting a goal of 25 pairs for 2021!  I'll keep you all updated on how well I am doing toward this goal!