December 15, 2021

Questions and Answers #2 --- What color will the chicks be?

Q )  This is a very common question:    If I put this pair of canaries together, what color will the chicks be?

This is a question posted online many times:  what to expect (variegation) from pairing two birds... such as clear, self or variegated.  This is a fairly basic subject.... without definite answers if the birds are not of your own breeding.  The grandparent birds' appearances do influence future generations.  So, these basic guidelines are simply a starting point in guessing what the offspring will look like.

However, these guidelines are a good place to start!  They are quotes from several of the best books there are!  The photos below are from The Practical Canary Handbook:  A Guide To Breeding & Keeping Canaries  by Marie Miley-Russell and Canaries and Related Birds by Horst Bielfeld.  These books also cover other aspects of pairing two birds, such as color, feather type/quality, and other traits.

types of variegation ➞
predicted variegation
in chicks ➞
predicted variegation
and color
in chicks ➟
I cannot stress strongly enough:
Please LEARN all you can about canaries!
Please purchase and read at least one really good canary book.

If you are serious about breeding canaries, these are the best of the best!
All can be found on Amazon or Ebay.
  •  Canaries and Related Birds
    By Horst Bielfeld

    Feeding and housing of canaries in the European tradition, but is good, solid information.
    Good, detailed descriptions and breeding tips of a complete list of breeds, colors, and types!  Includes many helpful photos of good examples of breed/color standards... photos as simple as comparing hard/soft feather birds, and as advanced as comparing subtle differences in breed standards!
  • Coloured, Type and Song Canaries:
    A Complete Guide to Keeping, Breeding and Showing
    by G.B.R. Walker and Dennis Avon

    Descriptions of the various breeds, types and colors of canaries, as well as notes on standards for showing, guidelines for breeding and examples of care/feeding of canaries.  You will find answers to most of your questions in this book. The practical aspects of the genetics of breeding explained. Contains only basic explanations of showing. Some new color mutations are not included.
  •  The Practical Canary Handbook:  A Guide To Breeding & Keeping Canaries
    by Marie Miley-Russell

    Covering many subjects, this book describes the methods and the practices of an experienced breeder. Read this from cover to cover, and you will learn the important principles of successfully breeding canaries! One of the best! 
    NO PHOTOS!! No discussion of color breeding.
A list of all my favorite canary books can be found here:
Good Canary Books.

Questions & Answers #1 --- Letter to an American Singer buyer

Topics in this post:

  • Hens laying few or no eggs.

  • Chicks dying at week of age.

  • Increasing egg laying and fertility.

  • Color Intensity really is Feather Type.

  • American Singer song varies with individual bird.

A customer searching for American Singer canaries had a few questions and I am sharing my thoughts with my blog readers.  I reference articles and show results found on the American Singer Club website.

Dear M---,

Q  #1)  When I asked WHY you wanted American Singers, you said you wanted yellow birds.  And you were disappointed when a breeder sold you dark birds including heavily variegates and a green self.

First, American Singers are not predominately yellow.  The American Singer canary is a cross between a German Roller and an English Border Fancy.  The American Singer canary comes in all colors and melanin, including clears, variegates, and self birds in yellow and white grounds.  There are provisions for red factor colored American Singers and I have seen cinnamon birds on winners lists in the past 20 years.

The point show score system points does not give points for color, and there is to be no preference by judges for color.  If you look over the list of recent show winners, you will see a few clear birds, but many more self or variegated birds.  You may be interested in looking over the current year's list of winners at the ASC song contests in 2021.

Second,  there is the term of 'yellow' being used for hard feather type, or it may be called intensive. 'Buff' is the term for the soft feather type.  Traditionally, most canary breeds and types are bred with a yellow (or hard feather) bird paired with a buff (or soft feather) bird.  

The purpose of breeding 'hard/intensive' to 'soft/buff' is to produce the best possible feather qualities.  A hard feather bird carries color to the very edge of the feather, and produces a tight smooth line.  A soft feather bird will have a paler edge to the feathers, and produces a more fluffy, rounded outline.  Pairing one of each type does keep a very nice feather and carries good bright color in both feather types.

I think this is one important aspect of breeding that is most often ignored by novices and more experienced breeders alike, of all canary breeds!

An article on the American Singer Club website is quoted as "Some breeders claim we have bred the yellow out of our American Singers..." and goes on to describe a buff - rich description of feather.  I agree with this, and have seen the buff - rich effect in my own American Singers.  For a good, short article on this topic, see Yellow Ground Color in Canaries.

Buff/Soft Feather

Intensive/Hard Feather

All breeders have personal preferences for different song notes... AND for birds with certain appearances or color.  Of course , that is as it should be.  But to say:  'American Singers should be yellow' is not a part of the American Singer Club constitution.  At the very beginning in the 1950's, song contests were divided into color classifications, but within a few years, the classes in song contests became Old and Young.

Yellow Variegated Buff

October 5, 2021

Photos of Extra Birds are ONLINE!


*** Photos of Birds For Sale ***

Please read :  TERMS of SALE

Don't hesitate to contact me if you have questions!

August 21, 2021

It is time to begin thinking of NEXT YEAR! 😍

Now is a GREAT TIME in the bird room, as I am watching the youngsters and will soon begin to make my plans for next year's breeding season!  I am also receiving messages from people looking for a singing companion or new birds for their breeding plans next year.  All inquiries about new birds are welcome.  Stay updated about available birds by following my Facebook page or visiting Montana Canaries where I will post photos of all individual birds beginning the first week in September!

June 16, 2021

2021 has been a GREAT year, so far!

 I have not taped any videos from the birdroom in 2021, and these blog posts have been few and far between.  I post a few things to my Facebook page, so make sure you follow Savoy Singers Aviary on Facebook.  :)

I am on the down hill side of breeding season, with GREAT results so far.  There are three favorite hens that have produced chicks that are just what I wanted!  Two new hens have not given me a single egg, even though they seem to love building nests.  The remaining twenty hens did well.  Nearly every hen laid a good number of eggs, with nearly a 100% hatch... I lost only one little chick when he was tossed out of the nest.

Another chick faded away after being rejected by his parents.  He was eating on his own, but not enough I suppose.  I tried hand feeding, but he was not willing.  I forced in a little formula, but he only lasted a couple of days.

Two casualties and 73 lively and healthy chicks makes me happy!  My final number may not reach 100, but anything over 65 gives me enough to chose ones to keep for next year!

The weaning flights are filling up.  Most of the hens have either hatched or will soon hatch their second nests.  It won't be long and I will be sorting and evaluating the youngsters.

Hope everyone has some promising youngsters!  I'll be back with a video soon!

May 13, 2021

Breeding Season 2021 is Well Underway!

There are nests of little chicks hatching all around the bird room!  So far, most pairs are producing fertile eggs, hatching normally, and seem to be feeding well. 
I set a small group of hens in early April and a second larger group the very end of April, which are hatching this week.  A third group of hens are due to hatch next week.  A fourth small number of hens are building nests, or beginning to lay eggs.

For 2021, I have roughly 31 hens, most of which are set up as pairs with a male.  Most are birds of my own raising.  There are 13 American Singer pairs, 3 Fife hens, 6 pairs of the Thompson line of yellows, 1 pair of bronzes, and 8 agate or opal hens. 

For the past 8 months I have worried about some way to keep my total numbers down.  I had too many birds last year... too many pairs, and too many youngsters.  Oh, I had FUN!  And I raised so many really NICE youngsters!

I proved several theories about the various families in my bird room.  Plus, I met some wonderful people as I sold my extras last fall and this spring!  But, I did not have as much time for leisurely observation of the birds, seated in a rocker in the bird room, and sipping a coffee drink!  

My goal is to maintain approx 20 pairs, with only a little wiggle room for extras!  :)
At the moment, I have no idea how to drop approximately one third of my plans!

But that problem can be postponed until later this summer!  :)