Thursday, January 8, 2009
Importance of Taming Canaries
Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread
Never underestimate the importance of taming your canaries! It is not just an issue for exhibiting them but rather an equally important issue for breeding.
The most basic instinct of a hen is to protect her newly hatched chicks. The more you disturb her with you hand in her cage or even disturb the peace and quiet of the room, the more likely she will sit and protect the chicks rather than feed them. Therefore, she needs to be completely comfortable with you and actually look forward to seeing you!!
I addition to talking to your birds, an easy way to establish trust, is to tame your canaries by offering them pieces of soft white bread each morning. I like to tear off a small piece and push it through the wire. I use about 1/4 slice for three or four birds. If they leave any bread, I remove it the next morning and replace with fresh soft bread. I also reduce the size of that cages piece till they finish it daily.
The first few times, I put the bread at eye level or slightly above and use the area with the highest perch. Bird's prefer the highest perch in the cage and they are most tempted to try new things when they are at or above eye level. Once they are looking forward to the "bread snack", I can move it higher for types that need to stand tall in the show cage or lower for kinds that are suppose to lay down on the perch (German rollers).
In just a few days they will come to eat their first bite while you are pushing the bread through the wire!!
I also feed bread in show cage to help train them to assume the correct position and also to help stop weight loss associated with showing canaries. I wait till after the competition and then put the bread in their cages before the journey home.
The only birds not getting their daily bread, are those cocks that are too fat! Hens need to be fat for breeding but cocks need only a minimal hint of a fat layer or fertility will be diminished or absent.
Here in Wichita, Kansas, we have ALDI stores which sell loaves of white bread for only 79 cents. My aviary must have at least 250 canaries and they eat a loaf a day! I have tried whole wheat but the birds prefer the white colored bread. They also like potato bread but the cost is prohibitive.