Monday, August 31, 2009

Do You Have Canary Fever?

The Road to Master Breeder is Paved with Learning from Experienced Breeders at Bird Shows

Like many of you, once I got canary fever I immersed myself in reading, asking and trying to learn everything about the Fancy! It quickly became my passion to breed the most beautiful and the best singing birds ever bred. I wanted to be a Master Breeder. My family could not believe my new obsession and my focus changed so much that my husband even started referring to the earlier time in our marriage before I raised canaries as BC!

In my quest, I first found another fancier, the late Janice Klein, who answered my canary ad in the local paper. We both had the bug and were so happy to find another who wanted to talk about anything bird related, even the color, frequency and consistency of their poop! She had bought some birds from Margaret Perry (Fletcher) and so we went to see her birds and of course we bought some different kinds including my first pair of Borders.

Somehow one of us happened to see a notice of a bird club meeting being held at the local library and behold their were more people just like us who were equally infected with the fever. At one of the meetings, someone told us about a Bird Show in Oklahoma and even being 3 hours away, we could car pooled and even though we had never attended a bird show we took a few birds with us to show. I remember showing some colorbred, hartz, and even a border.

I was so proud to earned a class ribbon but more than the ribbon I was intrigued by the judges comment about my long legged border. It was like he was comparing my bird to a standard. What was the standard for my birds? I was somewhat embarrassed by the fact that I was breeding birds and had never seen the standard for any of my varieties.

To make a long story short, our local club began hosting bird shows and I joined several speciality clubs and started attending the National Cage Bird Show. If you have the fever, and you must to read this blog, I highly recommend you get involved with bird clubs at the local and national level. A wealth of knowledge is there just waiting for you to experience!

Check out the National Cage Bird Web Site, and click on Annual Show to see the above page and then click on show winners photos! What fantastic birds and to see them in person is the ultimate feast!

There is no better treatment for bird fever than attending bird shows and maybe like me, you will find a bird or two you just can't wait to take home!!

Blogging is fun but what I really would like is to talk birds directly with you at the shows!

Bloggers please post your local show information to this post!!

Be sure and read Rich's comments on this blog!! Thanks Rich!!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Evaluating the Roller Profile

The German Roller on the left has a rounded chest and although it could be bigger its OK. The roller on the right is about the same chest size but standing upright it is less apparent.

This one is heavier than the other two birds. Note how the fullness is not only in the chest area but in the vent area.

This cock does not have a full chest or vent and needs to be fattened up a bit before show training.

Note the fat layer on this cock! I like them like that when I cage them up as they will lose some weight during show training.

This roller is way too thin! There is no fat layer visible and pelvic bones are sharp! This one needs to be put in a cage with other thin ones or by itself. It is high risk to get sick and die!

Plump is Beautiful

Time to check the weight on the German Rollers. I look at their profile and catch the medium and thin ones to look for a fat layer in the vent area.

To fatten them, I will first separate them from the plump ones and move them to smaller cages with more perches. Additional feed dishes are placed near perches to make food more readily available. Feed them a higher fat (oily seeds such as sunflower) and a higher carbohydrate diet but stop feeding them any hard boiled egg. Should they not fatten before show training time, they will not even be caged up as they would certainly be No Song at the show!

Be sure to feed petamine breeding formula to the plump ones along with a fattening diet for now. When show training begins, I stop high carbohydrate, high fat diet and limit the feed to 40/60 canary/canola rape and a few sprouted hemp with white bread. You can buy plain 60/40 canary/rape and add extra rape to it. Feeding more rape is desired because it keeps the song sweet and mellow.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Being a Canary Jock Has Its Problems

Is There No Privacy?

The Camera Keeps Shooting Even When I Haven't Had a Chance to Dry Myself!

Seems Like Big Bird Is Stalking Me?

Is This What It Means To Have a Number One Fan?

What's a Paparazzi?

Is there no place I can hide?

And Another Thing, What Makes Big Bird Think That Making Me Stretch to Get the Bread, Will Teach Me to Stand Up on the Perch?

Well, This is So Fun, I Almost Forget that Big Bird is Shooting Again!

No Sympathy Here....

I am so good that I can land on top and rotate the Canary Ferris Wheel a Full Half Turn!

I can do it clockwise or counterclockwise! Sometimes I rotate it a quarter turn clockwise and then jump to a higher perch and rotate it a quarter turn counterclockwise!

And Even Stop It at the Bottom of the Rotation without bumping me off!! I can start it rotating again by pumping or by jumping to another perch!

At times, I rock the Canary Ferris Wheel Back and Forth Like A Regular Swing...

Oh Well, Guess It Is Just The Price I Have To Pay For Being Famous!! And Can You Believe I Have Only Had the Canary Ferris Wheel for a Week?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Here We Go A-Grain

Click on this and note the balance involved! His left leg is on the moving multiple hole swing and his right is on the moving millet spray!

Millet Spray Swings

The Borders in the Acrobatic Academy cage gave me an idea. I had attached a millet spray loosely to the side of the cage with clothes pins as shown in the bottom two photos and the Borders immediately thought it was another swing!

So I used some ties to tie two pieces of millet sprays together and then with two more ties I attached each end to the top of the cage forming a swing. Well they loved it!

Can you beat an exercise machine that also serves snacks?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Time For A Higher Carbohydrate Diet

Some Stafford canaries enjoying some spray millet with their slice of fresh soft bread.

Finishing the molt
As molting will be finished within the month, it is time to add still more carbohydrate to the diet. I have added some millet both spray and grey to the diet. The Borders are especially fond of the grey millet!

The spray millet is really more golden yellow than in the picture and was purchased from Herman Bros. Pet Products out of Marine City, Michigan 810-420-5055 (5 lbs for $13.00).

The grey millet is from Harrison's Bird Foods

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Canary Ferris Wheel

Canary Ferris Wheel designed and made by John Groenfelt (Carol's husband).

After reading my blog about the Acrobatic Academy Border Cage, Richard Rolloff sent me a link to his video YouTube of a Canary Ferris Wheel in his aviary. The Ferris Wheel turns very easily and requires a lot of balance to keep from being thrown off. I liked it so much that he got me one!!

I installed the Canary Ferris wheel in one section of the Border Cage along with the various swings.

It is easy now to get all four Border to perch on the swing with a simple hand command. As they perch they like to make the multi-hole swing move either back and forth or from side to side.

On command they all perched and watched as I installed the new Ferris Wheel. The one green border looking at us is especially good on all the swings and I just knew he would be first to give it a try.

Just as I suspected, the green border was the first to attempt the Ferris Wheel. What a shock for him that when you land it rotates and as it turns around it causes you to lose your balance and bumps you off.

So that first day the Borders just did touch down landings and quick flight to a more secure spot and spent most of their time in the swings.

On the second day, the green Border leader was able to land and spend a few seconds perching and kept increasing his time as he practiced balancing to prevent rotation.

By the third day, the Green Border leader could not only land and balance to prevent the wheel from rotating but he could walk the Ferris wheel perch without being bumped off!! While he did this difficult maneuver, the other three Borders were still practicing touch landings!

Finally the other green Border started making progress.

Second Border: OK, this landing is not too bad.

I can even stand up and steady myself today!

Oops! Well maybe after more practice!!

Be Sure and Check out the Comments to this blog for information on the youtube canary ferris wheel sites by Richard and Carol.

August 23rd, This Weeks Questions For Big Bird

Got a question but it does not fit any of the current blogs. Post it here!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Browsing at Pets World

Healthy Canaries For Sale

As I was in Pets World today to buy some more swings and I could not resist taking a look at the three canaries which were for sale. I of course do not need anymore canaries, but who knows what one might find that they just can't do without!

As I admire the birds, I noticed just a seed cup and water yet these birds look very healthy without all those extras. They had been in the shop for a couple of months and were happily eating only a seed mix diet with water. Now seeds alone are deficient in a number of nutrients and just any seed mix would not produce those pip tails and glossy feet! (They are still just a little loose in the flanks but that should tighten up too when they finish the molt.)

Upon inquire, I learned they are fed the fortified seed mix prepared by Bird of Paradise from Wall's Seed store here in Wichita, Kansas 1-800-878-2473 or 316 263-0850. It is a special blend of seeds that are coated just right with wheat germ oil and a special vitamins preparation containing numerous amino acids. Wouldn't you know this was a favorite of mine a few years ago and I had forgotten just how good it is! It makes providing an excellent diet so easy. Wall's makes special blends upon request so I am going to have Nancy make me a special mix of just fortified canary seed to try just on my borders as I will be changing their seeds to straight canary in about a month or so in preparation for the shows.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Distinct Striation in Melanin Mosiac Staffords

Click on the photo to see the enlargement of this beauty!

Mosaic Feathering Makes Striations More Pronounced

Mosaic Feathering changes a birds appearance whether crested or non-crested. It makes their penciling-like striations wider and distinct on the head, on the back, and on the flanks. It also results in white feathering in the vent area.

Checking for a white area in the vent is a good way to know if mosaic genes are present. Although a white vent is expected in a mosaic, if a bird is being shown as a non-mosaic bronze for example, it is a fault if it has a white vent.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

More Questions For Big Bird?

A Place to Post Canary Questions

Got a question that does not fit the posted blogs? Post it to this posting for a quick response!

Identifying A Super German Roller Singer and Breeder By Its Mark

The Special Outstanding Singer Mark is a distinct or faint melanic mark on right or left side of the neck with cheek curve and a peak or point that points toward the eye or extends to the eye.

Note how the mark curves with the cheek.

Here the mark is part of the variegation patter, heavier melanic pigment but it is distinctly curved with the cheek and has a point that is pointing to the eye.

This mark extends to the eye.

Less obvious mark that points to its eye.

Nice mark that is obvious when the bird perches. When the mark is grizzled it is less distinct.

This mark in the photo appears a little high but does curve and point to the eye and does not look so high when the bird perches. The mark is missing the low broad neck part.

Faint mark hard to see unless you brush the feathers. These appear high because the lower part of the mark at the neckline is missing but instead show only the curving and point. This one has a fantastic hollow roll.

Tough to see because it is almost invisible mark that lacks the neck mark and curving is not as apparent unless you draw an imaginary line from the top of the streaks and you will also note that it also points to the eye. This one has a beautiful tone and fantastic bass!

Recognizing the Super Singer and Breeder Mark

Many years ago, I noticed that my highest scoring rollers all had a distinct mark on the right side of their neck. Starting at the neck line just above the shoulders was a base and curving mark that pointed or reached the eye.

Being fairly new to roller breeding at the time, I contacted the now late Jim Naquin, a well known outstanding roller master breeder from California, and ask if my observations were correct. Not being an easy guy to get answers from, I was thrilled when he enthusiastically told me that yes my observation of the curved pointing mark and high scoring was correct but that the mark could be on either side or both. He also agreed that these bird's offspring are consistently the best of the bunch! Now so many years later, I finally just this year have some double marked birds which I think are probably hens.

When I attended the German Meisterschaft Roller Shows in Germany, I was not surprised by the high number top scoring birds which displayed the Super Singer Mark. If was at least 80 or more %!

Breeding quality roller song is a challenge because it is not simply one gene producing a desired note. Most of the genes are not directly expressed but the sound observed is the result of not only having the gene but also the right regulator genes that control its expression.

Song genes are located on the same sex chromosomes with genes for pigmentation. Some traits on top of that, such as Schockel, are recessive and must be inherited from both parents to be sung.