Thursday, January 15, 2009
Have You Made Out Your Valentines Yet?
Best Cock to Best Hen, Maybe or Maybe Not
Yesterday at work, Margaret Perry Fletcher, fellow medical technologist, ask me the question " Have you made out your valentines yet?" Margaret, a long time canary friend and fellow medical technologist, called me a few months ago to inquire about a good place to work in Wichita. Her mother was needing help and she wanted to move back from Arizona. Luck would have it that there was an opening in the blood bank where I work and what better work environment than working with a fellow canary person!! When I ask her what she meant, she said "you know pairing on paper just who will be with who for the breeding season". So this post will not be about valentines but rather the beingings of several posts about making canary pairing choices.
The most important thing to consider is to breed only the strongest and healthiest birds. The worst thing is not that a bird does not bred but rather that through your outstanding breeding ability you create a whole aviary full of birds that are prone to illness and hard to breed!! I was reminded of that a couple of years ago when I got the German imported rollers. These birds came out of quarantine and bred profusely. Now I thought my rollers were easy to breed but these birds gave new meaning to free breeding!
Next you need a clear idea of what you want to breed and how each suitable bird fits into the plan. If you are considering breeding the best cock to the best hen, what are the good qualities and deficiencies of each bird? A good pair must compliment each other. If you breed two good birds with the same fault, you expect the offspring to have the fault and not be an improvement over the parents!
Some of you will remember Ray Havens, a noted master colorbred breeder. Ray was a good friend until once when I was judging in St. Louis, his birds did not even make the top bench. He was furious and did not even speak to me till after the following show season. Seems the next year the same thing happened to him and it was a different judge! Ray, being a serious breeder, called me and ask if I could come over to his aviary and see if I could tell him what was wrong with his birds. What I saw was a whole aviary full of birds that looked identical! Using exact calipers, we pulled a feather at the wing butt from every bird and as we suspected they were all the same feathering in both length and width! What he had done was keep only birds that looked exactly like the show standard and therefore had nothing to use to balance the birds qualities! Aviaries need to produce show birds and to do that they need non show quality birds that because of their particular exaggerated feature will improve a quality in the offspring!!
Be sure and read the comments on this one!