Tuesday, January 27, 2015

You Tube Videos Canaries Worldshow

Wish you could have gone to the World Bird Show?  I have watched part 1 through 10 of colour canaries and am looking for more! I googled:

Colour canaries firstprice winners Mondial COM 2015 

 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Pre-breeding Season Kicking It Up A Notch

Kicking the Nestling Food Base Up A Notch!

At the end of December, I posted the bases for my nestling food.

Big Bird's Nestling Food Base 

Six cups golden cous cous (Golden cous cous, most of what I get is from France but you can also get it from Bob's Red Mill golden cous cous for information see their web site.) 

Cover well with hot tap water leaving a little water above the level of cous cous. Stir occasionally until cools. It should be light and fluffy when cool. If lumpy, mix the cool cous cous with your hands till it is light and fluffy.

Couscous is a traditional North African and Middle Eastern dish made from precooked coarsely ground semolina, the rich endosperm extracted from durum wheat and is 16% protein. Ingredients: parboiled, coarsely ground duram wheat. (This is not pearl cous cous.)

Add six cups dry nestling food (I am currently using Belgium nestling food from Bird Supply of New Hampshire)

Add two cups additional dry nestling food (I am currently using Higgins)

(If want to increase the carbohydrate I would use CeDe and if I want to increase the protein I will add quinoa and switch to BioDecken Novafood for dry nestling food.)

Add one cup neonatal handrearing formula (I prefer CeDe Premium Handrearing Food - African Grey Parrot on box) Bird Supply of New Hampshire have agreed to carry it. CeDe Premium Handrearing Food is the best for hand feeding canaries and excellent for weaning chicks who will eat it plain straight from a dish before they eat any other food!

Thaw l 1b package frozen peas with hot water and drain and add to the mixture.

This keeps well in the refrigerator and I use it 3 or 4 days till gone or you can freeze. (This is a large recipe that eventually totally fills the large plastic tupperware bowl.)

New Adds:

To the above base, I am now cooking 6 cups quinoa and adding to above base along with a couple of tablespoons of this vitamin/mineral supplement pigeon product, available worldwide from pigeon suppliers.

On particularly cold days, I also add a little porridge dry uncooked oatmeal.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Early Pre-Conditioning For Cocks








As I look around the bird room today, I noticed a young Border hen cage with three birds, where paper is being pulled through the wire bottom. They are not carrying paper yet but breeding thoughts are beginning to formulate! Seeing this what should I do?

The general target date for breeding in my aviary is Mid March, pairing around March 10 after I return from the Missouri Valley Basketball Tournament.

Giving them extras is stimulating and will likely bring hens in 3 to 6 weeks and I sure do not want that now. So what am I doing about this? Nothing!

I could lower the cage position so they get less light . But my oldest daughter, Sandy has been coming over each week day and if I end up setting them up sooner, she could handle it and perhaps she might catch the canary bug herself. She has had chickens for at least twenty years and over the years has occasionally hatched the chicken eggs and so she just maybe susceptible.

Should these hens continue to progress and get way ahead of the cocks, I could lose the first round with infertile eggs. So the hens are not getting anything extra,

What I am starting is giving the cocks some toasted wheat germ (for a light dose of vitamin E) mixed 50/50 with Lewis Lab Brand Brewer's Yeast for amino acids, and feeding no more than a teaspoon per bird about three times a week.



Handsome Dude spotted straight across from hens!



Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Sunrise --- Sunset


Even though it is more than six weeks until my planned breeding time,  the days are naturally getting a few minutes longer everyday. Currently in Wichita  sunrise is (7:44 am) and sunset is (17:25 pm).

While all varieties breed better on 14 to 14.5 hour days, once the day length is 12 hours, smaller varieties will start breeding. Since I want to have ideal day length for all my varieties, I will start adding additional lighting 30 minutes weekly before the natural day length reaches 12 hours.

For right now, the aviary lights come on 30 minutes after sunrise and go off 30 minutes before sunset. Every couple of weeks I adjust it but nature is taking care of the daily updates!



Saturday, January 3, 2015

Send Your Questions or Suggest Topics To Big Bird - Banding - Hen False Start


The blog has 936 posts and I have tried to not be too repetitive so it seems like a good time to ask for questions or topics that you would like to have discussed. Please send your questions or topics to this post.

Banding Question: Which is the proper leg to band for closed bands, left or right? Which way should the number face?

Answer:

I code my bands by which leg I band. Then at a glance I can tell what line I am looking at.  I have also added codes to whether the band reads upright or upside down. Without catching the bird, I have lots of information.

Hen Problems Questions: Mike writes I would like to some advice on some of my Hens. I have about 30 pairs that I am getting ready for breeding. The problem is that two of my Hens have laid eggs in the food cup. I am not sure if I should set her up for breeding. All males and females are separated by a wire.

Will these extra infertile eggs make the Hen lay less eggs later on?

Answer:

Three things bring birds into breeding behavior, Increase in Day Light Hours, Increase in Foods or Change in Diet and Improvement in Environmental conditions (raise in temperature and humidity).

The problem comes when one or more of the three factors gets ahead of the the others. Patiently working with the birds and supporting breeding behavior but at the same time not pushing them is the secret to success!

When deciding whether the hen needs to be set up, consider her total breeding condition and behavior.  Invariably though we try not to push a few may jump the gun and make a false start!  Hens that jump start are often laying only a couple eggs that are bluer colored egg called heat eggs, the result of pushing or the hen pigging out on stimulating foods.

If you let her set on the eggs you will slow her down, if you pair her after she starts laying, the eggs are likely going to be infertile as it is hard to get fertile eggs when eggs are already in the process of being laid. On occasion I have tried this and gotten maybe the sixth egg but that is hardly worth it where if I patiently wait and catch her next cycle correctly, she will produce normally.

If her abdomen is glossy, red and hot and I believe the problem is my not pairing her, I would move her to a different cage that even faces another direction if possible so that she has to reconsider her laying plan totally, pair her and give her several nests etc to try and get her to start all over with only a loss of down due to her illegal procedure!!

If she is in good condition, she will lay normally the next round. Hens that over lay one year may not produce the following year however.

More Hen Problem Questions: Brian writes: In the past I have had problems with hens laying eggs before they were even responding to the cocks and before the hens had developed their brood patch. Linda, what do you suggest may have been the problem, and how can I prevent it?

Answer: 

Good example of pushing. Patience, Patience, take it slow.... follow the birds clues ...make your methods forward moving and not jerky just slow and steady toward breeding.


Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year to You and Your Birds!





Temperatures have dropped very low and snow is covering everything. The birds are happy they got a space heater for Christmas which keeps the aviary at least 55 F (12.7 C). (Their AC/heat pump window unit is temporarily out of order and waiting for the repairman to get it fixed.)

Cold weather also brings extra carbs including soft white bread, pre-breeding nestling food which I have added some uncooked porridge oatmeal when it is very cold and some free choice dishes of dry ABBA green. I like to keep the aviary cool till breeding season to prevent the hens from laying prematurely due to dietary stimulation.




My favorite 2014 Stafford hen is looking forward to a very happy and productive new year!

When I show my birds to non-bird people they always come back to this bird and tell me she is really special.

I like the way she has a light colored highlight on the edge of her crest over her eye and its on both sides evenly!