Saturday, October 31, 2009

German Roller Training School by Almin

Almin is a dedicated and extremely talent German Roller Canary breeder. I am excited and confident that the future of the fancy is in good hands with Almin!

I had barely arrived late Sunday after the show and been seated before the training school cabinet when Almin's mother brought me a wonderful sandwich with a traditional Bosnia ćevap sandwich and a cup of hot tea! Then Almin began showing his operation.

Spectacular training school is a completely controlled environment with its own lighting, temperature control, and a heater to warm the cabinet as needed. Wonderful hollow toned birds sang beautifully!!

Wireless thermostats and sensors check the temperature between 16 and 18 degrees C at all times. If the temperature is too cool, the heater in the cabinet is activated by Portable/Prewired Thermostat.

Almin pointed out that the best singers have white striations on the top of the head and red lid around the eye. Click on picture for a closer look. Once I was back in Wichita, I checked it out and sure enough my best also have the white striations on the top of there head too! Thanks for sharing Almin, how had I missed seeing that?

Beautifully crafted cabinet and cages!

Wow, look at that show cage door!

Intricate cabinet handle for easy carrying.

Cabinet sides fit right in to the top of the cabinet.

The workmanship on his cabinets and cages and attention to details is a work of real craftsmanship and a work of art!!

Almin learned the roller song in Bosnia before coming to the US fourteen years ago to work as a telecommunications vendor at Microsoft. Since coming here, he has been raising rollers for five years and showing for two years. Both years he won the awards: Novice and Amateur Classes, Grand Champion Team and Champion Young Team at last show!

Flight cages in outside aviary.

Closer view of flight cage in the outside aviary. Note the petitioned perches, canary ferris wheel, and multiple hole swing.

Lower flight of hens showing a rose colored cuttlebone which has extra minerals. On the cage bottom he uses cat pine pellets!

Almin has installed a security camera in his outside aviary.

During our discussion, Almin freely shared information he had gleaned from his experiences with the birds, his wife's translation of the German roller handbook and from his mentor Frank Wördemann in Germany. Basically the German birds are of three lines: Herr Buchhorn, Herr Trier and Herr Gehling. Most of the what I and others here in the US have are from the Buchhorn line.

The best cocks started training school in October. The day length is 10 hours from 8:30 am to 6:30 pm. They are fed and watered at 5:30 pm each day. The diet is unlimited rape seed and finger drawers of a mix with 50% canary, 35% niger, 5% flax, 5% oat groat, and 5% hemp about 1 tsp per day. Extras of apple, broccoli, and 1/4 inches of sliced banana are feed weekly along with sprouted rape seed, CeDe egg food, dry bread crumbs, and sunflower pieces.

Two days before a show and weekly during training his birds are fed grated carrot with honey. To one grated carrot he adds one tablespoon of honey. Feeding this of an alternative of niger, rape, bee pollen and honey two days before a show assures that his birds will sing when it is most important, in front of the judge! He also uses pure mineral water in show cages 10 days before the show for best tone.

Almin gets his bee pollen from He also uses Energize for show stress to calm his birds during the show time from allbirdproducts. He uses petroleum jelly on the birds feet to clean their feet, keep them warm and avoid illness caused by mites.

Thanks so much Almin for a perfect finish before going back to Wichita!! I look forward to continued dialogue with you sharing our passion for the hobby. Take a look at his informative web site at!!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Bird Seed Cleaner

At the Cascade show, Kevin Aldrich club president, demonstrated his turbo-action seed cleaner. The clean attaches to a vacuum or shop vac hose at the top. The seed to be cleaned is put in a small cake pin. When the vacuum is on, only lighter dust and seed hulls are pulled up into the sweeper while heavy intact seeds fall back into the cake pan. One advantage of this method is that the seed can be cleaned from each cage rather than pooling from all cages before cleaning.

Kevin worked six months on the design and now has them for sale. To order, call him at 425 359-3588. The price is $10 and includes US postage.

Roller Breeder Paul Grech

Paul, a member of the Cascade Canary Breeders Association, has raised German Roller Canaries since 1967.

He has won numerous trophy and holds the rank of master breeder. Paul kept his birds up a little late so I would get a chance to see them Sunday evening after the show. He raises about 50 rollers each year. The cage trays are covered with pine shavings.

This is a breeding nest that is designed to slides into the side of the breeding cages pictured below the trophies. Paul likes to have easy access to the babies as he hands feeds each nest of babies three times a day using a syringe filled with Kaytee's Exact.

This is an antique cage he acquired many years ago. The sides are made of glass.

This cage, with an imported German Roller cock, is sitting directly above a flight of young German rollers males.

The young males are in flights with natural wood perches.

He also uses an outside aviary.

Another view of the outside aviary. Note: he too has Canary Ferris Wheels.

Although I haven't seen it, Paul was videoed with a canary hen who upon hearing Paul whistle the Italian National Anthem, assumed a mating position! Truly unbelievable!!

Thanks for sharing with us Paul!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Learning and Sharing - Brian Johansen

A highlight of the Cascade Canary & Finch Show was a Sunday seminar given by Brian Johansen on his trip to England for the International Gloster Breeders Association Show which benched over 1200 glosters. Brian stewarded at the show and was accompanied by Dustin Browne, also from BC Canada, who was one of the five judges.

To combat structural feather problems that have developed over the years, an emphasis has been placed on feather texture which comes from proper feather pairing of the breeding pair. Often we hear the term buff and assume that simply is referring to a lighter colored bird than the one called yellow. But in reality there are four characteristics of buff that include short or long and fine or coarse (broad) which need to be considered in selecting pairs so that offspring are the result of a balance between two parents of opposite feather types. Offspring produced with too long and broad feathering may develop lumps.

In addition to feather type, pencilling, although not part of the standard, is considered as when it is expressed throughout the bird to make the bird really stand out.

The second consideration is body size. A gloster is considered too long if its tail extended over the second show cage perch. Most birds exhibited were not judged to be too long. If your birds are too long, you can back up this problem by breeding in a shorter yellow feather bird into the line.

The winning gloster is likely to be a corona over a consort, with all of the above positive attributes plus it must have an excellent circular well-placed corona.

Often the winning show birds are for sale as the experienced winning breeders have all the ingredients to make a show bird from their stock birds which they expertly pair using their knowledge of using opposite feather traits to produce the show bird! For this reason, any breeder needs several pair to select the breeding pairs from so that they do not double up on one feather characteristic.

Brian appreciated the show organization which requires all birds to be preregistered and allows for the show manager to plan and divide the judging task among the judges. Any bird that is misclassified by the exhibitor is immediately disqualified but and experienced breeder will personal explain and educate the exhibitor after the judging is over on their classification mistake. When the show is over, all exhibitors help with the tear down and in addition, no birds are released to leave until all 50-70 exhibitors have their birds!

Brian also spent four days with notated breeder and judge, Robert Wright. Brian was amazed that his aviary had no feather dust! Robert mists his birds daily using a paint gun sprayer containing a quart of warm water with a squirt of a mixture containing Bay Rum - Hair Tonic (40%) and glycerin (60%). No bird is wet but all begin to preen making hand bathing for show unnecessary!

On Thursday before a show, he waters his birds with water with organic apple cider ( 5 ml to a quart). He also uses the poultry disinfectant, Vikron 1/2 tsp to a quart of water as a disinfectant for all cages.

Roberts aviary was clean and orderly as he uses a shed to store any equipment etc currently not in use. He also used a specially designed vertical perch that had a triangular peak beneath each bird that protected it from being hit by the above bird's dropping and caught the droppings for easy cleaning. This also prevented birds from picking on the one next to them on a regular perch.

Robert feeds canary, rape, and oat groat with niger and hemp finger drawer feedings 2 or 3 times a week. He does use vitamin E and feeds peas, carrot, apple, and egg food as a condition food two times a week.

I hope you know or will have the opportunity to get to know Brian! He is a totally dedicated fancier and is willing to readily share his knowledge! He actually got back from England the day before the Cascade show and came to help and even stewarded the type birds and shared this information with us even though physically he was suffering considerably with jet lag! Thanks so much Brian!!

Egg Bread Recipe from Jim Teague

As the type birds were getting ready for judging, I talked for a while about canary husbandry. As soon as I finished, Jim Teague, came up and said "I can tell you love your birds. I love mine too and I want to share my egg bread recipe with you!"

Jim's Recipe for Egg Bread:

One box Jiffy corn muffin mix

1/2 box Betty Crocker Moist Yellow Cake Mix

12 to 18 Egg Yolks

add grated carrot if desired.

Bake in 6 by 9 inch pan at 325 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. Cool and cut in cubes.

Jim says it is even better than white bread for taming canaries! Thanks Jim, I can't wait to try it!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Reflexion on the Cascade Show

Many beautiful birds and some rare varieties were shown at the Cascade Show! To me, I feel like viewing each bird exhibited is just as exciting as I remember being as a child when I opened a Christmas present! Seeing the birds is just one good reason to attend a bird show!

But the real hallmark of the 41st Cascade show was the limitless educational opportunities and willingness of members and guests to share information! I always enjoy seeing the birds, meeting the exhibitors and guests and having an opportunity to share my experiences and what my birds taught me but wow, at this show information sharing was everywhere from the hotel lobby for a couple of hours the night before the show, during the show judging, viewing and through the Sunday seminars, while we shared meals whether at the Continental Breakfast at the hotel or lunch at Red Robin or at the well attended banquet, information was flowing like a river!

In fact, I have four more great posts to follow from this show! Thanks so much to all of you who made this possible and a special thank you for breeders from Oregon and Canada who helped make this such a fantastic show!!

This weekend I will be judging type at the Central California Bird Club Show and Bird Mart in Modesto, California! Come on out and join the fun!!

Canary/Finch High Protein Dry Nestling Food

High Protein Dry Mix for Canaries & Finches by Linda Brown/Jeepers Peepers Aviary

Feeding soft food to breeding birds remains a standard practice for successful canary and finch breeders and there are as many recipes out there as there are breeders. If your recipe and program has been successful, stay with it. However the dry mix we use (see recipe below) can be utilized to enhance your feeding program.

There are situations where feeding fresh egg food several times a day can’t happen. For many, it’s due to work schedules and for others like us, it’s due to the large size of our aviary. Over the years as we increased in size, we found that the time required made it impossible to maintain a soft food practice. Feeding large numbers of cages several times a day with perishable food became impossible for us to manage safely. As a result we found it necessary to come up with a Plan B.

Our solution was to develop a dry mix that could replace the soft food. The mix can also serve as a backup to soft food throughout the breeding season. During the molt, the dry mix provides a source of high protein which will be of benefit as often the molting birds are no longer fed the fresh egg food. The dry mix offers more than just protein, serving much like a daily vitamin and mineral supplement and can be fed throughout the year.

Every cage and flight in our aviary has an appropriately sized cup of our dry mix available to them at all times. We serve a quantity that can be consumed in a week’s time and change it out once a week. Time and observation will determine the quantity you will need to feed. Do not be discouraged if your birds initially seem uninterested, as it takes time for them to adjust to new foods. As your flock adapts to the dry mix, you will find that the birds will instinctively choose what part of the mix that they need at any given time. If you are currently providing dry egg food, the dry mix would be its replacement as the recipe incorporates dry egg food and so much more.

Click on image for a list of where to find items.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Interesting Canary and Finch Breeder - K J Brown

Exhibitor KJ Brown with His Winning Finch!

Best Finch in Show, Serinus mozambicus - Green Singer Cock

European Black Grey Society

Japanese Pearl Society

Rare Opal Isabel Java, A Rare Mutation, One of Only a Few in the US!

Four Raza Espanola, Rarely Seen at US Shows

Nice Body and Size Especially Nice Head

Cinnamon Variegated

The finches and canaries pictured in this posting are just some of the birds exhibited by KJ Brown, Jeepers Peepers Aviary, at the Cascade Show. His green singer finch was selected best finch in the show! He also is a developmental breeder and is working on producing a black and white society finch.

He likes to show birds that the exhibitor rarely has an opportunity to see. Not only did he exhibit a very rare finch but he also brought four examples of Raza Espanola which are very rarely seen in the US.

KJ told me that he likes to stay in the background but when I told him that I wanted to promote bird shows he thought only a moment about what he could do to help and so he stepped up and without me even asking, he started readily sharing information with me! In addition to our bird review, he also said that his large aviary uses a dry nestling food and that his canaries and finches are reared with including the Raza exhibited! The next blog post is an article on their dry nestling food written by Linda Brown his wife.

Cascade Color Canary Winners

Best Colorbred Canary in Show, Yellow Ground Intensive, Exhibited by Carol Groenevelt

Second Best Colorbred Canary in Show, Bronze Intensive, Exhibited by Michael Sparks

Third Best Colorbred Canary, Gold Agate Opal Mosaic, Exhibited by Marie White

Judges Special Award, Yellow Mosaic Hen, Exhibited by Sandra Foote-Gregory

Monday, October 26, 2009

Big Bird Is Not In Kansas Anymore

Cascade 41st Annual Show and Exhibition October 24th and 25th Monroe, Washington, Type Canary Winners

Best Type Canary in Show, Yellow Cinnamon Variegated Fife Fancy, Exhibited by Coleen Andersen

Second Best Type Canary in Show, Buff Heavy Variegated Norwich, Exhibited by Kris Rigdon

Third Best Type Canary in Show, Buff Green Consort, Exhibited by Kaye Simeon

Fourth Best Type Canary in Show, White Northern Dutch Frill, Exhibited by Michael Sparks

Fifth Best Type Canary in Show, White Crested Columbus Fancy, Exhibited by Sandra Foote-Gregory

Judges Special Type Canary Award, Variegated Non-crested Red Ground Frost Stafford, Exhibited by Carol Groenevelt