Sunday, June 27, 2010

Questions, Breeder Reports and Tips for Big Bird!

Use this post for tips, breeder reports, and questions unrelated to current posts.


Carol Stone sent me this lightweight plastic band tool which she like to use for hand feeding. I have started using it and its lightweight and easy cleaning is making it a favorite!! Thanks Carol....


Having a full nest has stopped the German Roller hen from throwing her banded babies out of the nest!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

It Works Every Time!!!

It works every time that Cry Baby Border gets this sad look on its face and starts that irresistible crying, Big Bird steps up and feeds him!! He is so good at it, he has me trained to feed him every couple of hours!

So far, even though he is a couple of weeks past weaning age, he only will eat a few bites of corn and peas and maybe a few sunflower sprouts.

My grandson Jeff, took a few of these pictures and afterward enjoyed playing with Cry Baby!!

He is reluctant to nibble on my finger and prefers to instead open wide like a baby bird! He is just cruisin'!
This Baby Border was hatched the same day as Cry Baby and it is confident and wants nothing to do with me!!

I first started feeding Cry Baby June 16th. Cry baby is the sad looking yellow border on that days post. He quickly learned to beg only Big Bird. He ignores his birth mother and foster mother, he is my baby!!!

I normally don't name my birds but anyone got a good name for Cry Baby??

Thursday, June 24, 2010

National Cage Bird Show Cancelled

Date: June 24th , 2010

Subject: Official Cancellation of the National Cage Bird Show - Jacksonville , FL

Exhibitors, Friends, and members of NCBS,

It is with great disappointment that I must make this announcement to you. Due to issues out of our control, the 62nd National Cage Bird Show to be held in Jacksonville this November is being officially cancelled.

The NCBS Board had been working with the Hyatt hotel since January of this year trying to procure more floor space and rooms for the projected large entries in two of the Song Bird Divisions. John Muscato and I took an extra day and arrived early to the March Board meeting to try to resolve the issue with the hotel staff. We have literally contacted the hotel weekly trying to resolve the issue. The hotel was non-responsive and not willing to bring closure to the issue. We wanted to close the issue so we could direct these societies on acquiring space or extra judges to process their entries. We were straining our relationship with the clubs.

On Friday June 18th, NCBS was contacted by the Sales Manager from the Hyatt hotel in Jacksonville . He informed me that another group that had an event at the hotel, during the same time as NCBS, has requested more floor space as they are expanding. This group is a repeat group to the venue. After numerous discussions between their event staff and me over the last 4 days, the hotel made a business decision to honor the other group’s legacy attendance at the facility and informed us that they were exercising the Cancellation Option in our contract. I now have the formal cancellation letter from the Hyatt Riverfront Jacksonville.

On Monday June 21st, I contacted a few of the NCBS executive Board and apprised them of the situation and we have been exploring optional venues. While I am hopeful that we can find some solution I am not convinced we can. With only a few short months to plan what we typically take 12-18 months to do we cannot afford any type of negotiations with a new site over the contract details so we are contacting the last few show sites to see if first the venue is available on our date, and secondly if they would honor the last contract or help us out in light of the inconvenience we are experiencing. My hope is that we can in the near future report to you a new site. In the event that we do we will utilize email lists, yahoo groups, the NCBS Website etc. to keep you informed.

As pain As painful as this is at this late of date I felt it necessary to inform you as early as I could knowing that we may have a possibility of a new location and have to do this communication again. Understand we did not take this lightly and have spent an enormous amount of time trying to negotiate what is best for our membership. We will do all we can to find a resolution and host a 2010 show in the best fashion we can. It is OK to be disappointed and we hope you understand.

Respectfully submitted,
Gary Morgan,
President – National Cage Bird Show

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Questions, Breeder Reports and Tips for Big Bird!

Use this blog post for this weeks unrelated questions and tips and for Breeder Reports.

Breeder Report: Tom Ressel

I believe I read on your blog that you gave the hen fattening food like song food and sunflower while sitting on eggs so that she would generate more heat to incubate the eggs.
I had been in the habit of removing the cock while the hen was on the eggs so he would not get too fat, also this allowed me to use him with hens. I had not been in the habit of returning the cocks back to the original hen until just before the chicks had fledged.
After reading in your blog how important it was to get the cock back with the hen early to get more fertile eggs, I started putting him back in her nest shortly after I banded the chicks.
It worked, this year I raised 30 babies from four hens.


As you break up your breeding pairs, take a moment to trim their nail, oil their legs and trim the overgrowth tip off their beak before putting in a flight. I trim nails and beaks with regular trim nail clippers. When you trim nails, be sure and not cut the blood vessel in the nail. If you do, stop the bleeding with quik stop or regular flour.



When I hand feed some of the border weaning age chicks, they just nibble air and don't get the feed. Surely they will die...


Aren't you afraid to band those German chicks as their mother threw the last chick out of the nest and resulted in its death? What will you differently this time? For Answer and tips to avoid this problem: click on comments on the posting Amazing Third Chance!!!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Amazing Third Chance!

Newborn chicks!
Same German Roller chicks at three days old!

On May 19, 2010, I wrote an article entitled "Beware of Making Momma Mad". This was the story of one of my DKB imported hens from breeder 3503 bird #32. This hen came out of quarantine in Canada on January 26 and was bred to A DKB Bartel male in Canada and raised four chicks in February before coming to the states.

With a long car ride to Ohio and a half day delay at the border and then a frightful flight in a storm from Ohio to Atlanta and then instead of arriving in Wichita at 4 in the afternoon, the birds set out in the storm in Atlanta and were soaked before arriving in Wichita at 1 AM!

It took a lot to get her back in breeding condition but she finally reluctantly bred once while mostly fighting with my 3501 male. On May 19th, I banded her one chick right before I left for work. This was a bad mistake as without my knowing it, she had promptly threw the stuffed large chick out of the nest. The next day when I found the dead chick, I put it back in the nest for closure and within a minute she had stripped the band off the dead chick!!

Feeling so sad about losing this precious chick, I decided to try one more time with my 3501 male even though her first nest was February in Canada. To my absolute delight, she hatch five chicks!!! She is feeding well and both she and I are happy!!! The fifth chick hatch later then the others so I have fostered it to another hen.

I am totally amazed that after all her travel etc that she actually produced this nice clutch and it is so late in the season!!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

From Force Feeding to Finger Feeding

Kaytee Exact Handfeeding formula mixed with hot tap water is used to hand feed banded chicks. When I was a young girl, my mother taught me to hand feed with wooden match sticks or round toothpicks if we happen to have any.

It is generally a bad idea to hand feed unbanded chicks as it upset the mother and she will protect them from you and not feed at all but at times it is the only shot at trying to save a chick. This three day Stafford chick's back had started to shrivel and it was apparent that he would not make it another day at this rate. His mother had dropped about a dozen long flight feathers and was trying to molt!

If she will feed, the molting will stop until she has the chick raised but I need to buy a little time to get her going...So I started handfeeding once yesterday morning. I have not made up my mind about using the Kaytee formula for hand feeding unbanded chicks as I rarely do that so I decided to use it instead of my old favorite, ABBA green 92 mixed with hot tap water. In the afternoon the chick had been fed. Today, again the chick was not being feed so I hand fed it. I will check it again this afternoon and feed it again if necessary.

The removal nest pans make hand feeding easy. When the chicks are small, I gently brush them under the chin to get them to open up or sometimes jiggle the nest. In small ones like this, I use my finger to steady the head.

Chicks that are fully feathered with a rare exception prefer to die rather than be hand feed. This Stafford chick is thin and crying and his parents decided to feed only his sibling. I noticed that one of his eyes was closed and one open and his parents had given up on him. To open his camera side eye, I moisten it with warm tap water and it opened easily. Probably something was sealing his eye shut.

To feed him, I pry the beak open and keep it open with my thumb. Sometimes a chick will nibble but be taking in only air. In this case, a couple of times of force feeding and he will nibble and swallow food!

Using my toothpicks, I fill up his mouth with the handfeeding formula. Then I take my thumb out of his mouth and he swallows the formula.

Once he has had a mouth full of formula, usually he will nibble it off the toothpicks which at first are being used to also pry his mouth open. A few times of that and I turn the toothpicks the other direction and he will nibble formula between the sticks. I work him up to taking directly from the sticks.

This Border chick has left the nest but his foster mother has decided to go to nest again. He took the food easily from toothpicks after a time or two of forced open. When you finish feeding him, be sure and wipe the extra formula off his beak!

The goal is to get the chick to nibble from my finger. This Border chick is slow to wean but it won't be long now that he enthusiastically gobbles formula from my finger!!!!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Failure to Thrive - Wasting Away

This nest of three Stafford Chicks were well fed but one chick failed to thrive!

Although all three chicks hatched on the same day, one lagged far behind. It grew very slowly compared to its siblings and was banded three days later then they were. At about that same time, the other two chicks were ravished and I began supplementing their feedings a couple of times a day with Kaytee Exact Handfeeding Formula.

While two of the siblings stuffed themselves and kept begging till their crops were unbelievably full, the poor growing chick would take a bite and then act like it was chocking. Its crop just would not expand like it does normally when a chick is fed.

Having seen this once before last year in the same line, I am certain that this was a congenital birth defect. This chick lived another week but then expired. Even though it was a week after banding, his band had fallen off because he was so emaciated. This is a sad scenario but much less so than if it had been caused by a virus and was contagious.

Questions and Tips for Big Bird!

Please post this weeks unrelated tips, breeding season reports, and questions to this post.

Breeding Season Report:

Too Much Success

Robert Vrablic called to share that this has been a fantastic breeding season, perhaps his best ever!! He set Seven German Roller Hens around Valentines Day and with just two nest, those hens produced 62 chicks!

He credits much of his success to using ABBA water soluble vitamin E high fertility vitamin in the water to condition his birds for breeding!! He also uses other ABBA products and in addition to the ABBA seed he uses some Prestige canary mix from Belgium which he purchases locally at Kings Cages.

His problem now is babies are everywhere and all his cages are full!! I suggested that he add numerous clothes pins on the side of the cages to give more places for chick to have their own privacy perch.

To learn more about this conditioning technique check out "Making Breeding Simple - Conditioning Vitamin E posted on this blog on January 22, 2010.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Failure to Breed

Late Nest of Staffords. Staffords, as a breed, are the easiest canary I have ever raised!!

Second round German Roller hen and her chicks.

E-Mail: Failure to Come Into Breeding Condition

"I have been breeding canaries for a few years already and I have been puzzled when some birds fail to come into breeding condition even though all others seem OK. I have a pair of 2009 yellow dimorphic which I bought at a show. This pair is very promising but yet they did not come into breeding condition. The pair was housed in a flight with the rest of my birds and had the same food as the others. What went wrong?"

A Combination of Sex Hormones, Good Health and Physical Fitness Bring Birds Into Breeding Condition.

Even though we provide all the ingredients for a successful breeding, some birds still fail to come into breeding condition. Since the majority of your birds did fine, I imagine the basics such as environmental conditions and nutrition were good. Yet the hardship of breeding was too big a task for your yellow dimorphics to undertake.

The major reasons for failure given these facts is the weight of the birds. Cocks which are too thin will not come into breeding condition. This is a major reason when the cocks are recently imported or perhaps in this case, show birds.

Birds lose lots of weight at bird shows. Some birds win trophies but other just lose weight! As a last resort when I am trying to slim down a prized bird, I will show it even though it is chubby. For only a dollar or two, they can win the biggest loser! This week it is hardly given a look and maybe called "Dolly Parton" but in a couple more shows, watch out!

Likewise the cocks that are too fat will come into breeding condition but their fat belly impedes contact. Hens also fail to come into breeding condition when they are too thin or too fat.

Other things to consider are genetic weakness due to inbreeding and carrying disease.

Critical Concept: Experience Is What You Get .........when you don't get what you want!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Inexpensive Calcium Fed Free Choice

While shopping at the poultry feed dealer, I bought 50 lbs of pullet size oyster shell for $10.

The oyster shell is white and is mixed with ABBA mineral.

I marvel at how hens have the ability to adjust their intake of calcium according to their individual needs. When mineral is fed free choice, the hens will dramatically increase their mineral consumption when their chicks are about ten days old and continue eating a small dish a day until the subsequent clutch is laid.

If the hen is raising the chicks by herself, when she starts eating more mineral, it is time to re-introduce the male again!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Questions and Tips for Big Bird!

Please use this post for tips and questions which are not related to current posts.


Separate male and female chicks as soon as possible

This young roller is assertive, brighter yellow than some of his nest mates, bold-eyed, and his eye is in a straight line with the center of his beak. He should be housed with his brothers.

In contrast, this young roller is timid, lighter colored than nest mates, and her eye is above the mid line of her beak. She is housed with like females. Any that sing at two or three months old, are moved to the cage of related males.

If you can not tell the sexes early before the males sing, separate the thin ones from the others. They are likely females and high risk to go light and die.

Observe the youngsters from a distance and separate any ill acting. They are likely very thin and need a stress free environment. When you approach the cage, this chick will fool you and act and look just like one of the bunch.



Do you have some kind of standard treatment you use with the thin and/or puffing up youngsters? Lloyd


I have had a very successful breeding season but the last mating was not good. It was the hens third nest - 5 babies before - a different cock. She laid three eggs - hatched three but the first one died by day 4 and the other two by day 9. When I moved the hen to the flight cage today I notices that she was much lighter than the cock. Any comments. Janet Hemesasth

Critical Concepts:

Separate the sexes early and thin ones away from normal weight ones. Observe from a distance to pick out the stressed chicks who need to be moved away from the others.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Privacy Perches

Richard Rolloff sent in this fantastic idea for privacy perches!!

They come with S hooks so they can be attached to cages or
screwed to flight walls, like I did. They are loosely mounted and
easily removed.

Their are some who believe their is a visual portion to
tutoring/learning song. When I used the more typical wood
dividers,they were constantly trying to peek around.

I thought visually seeing each other would yield to attacks
and bullying. Quite the opposite!

I got mine from Darrell Horst:

Darrell is temporarily out of the privacy perches but has
more on order from Germany. They are expected in late July.

Thanks so much Richard!!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Fatal Newborn Black Spot

This photo was submitted by a breeder who lost all the chicks in one clutch within the first three days of hatching. A subsequent clutch did not have the black spot and no deaths.

Neonatal Black Spot

Death in nestlings less than five days old, with an enlarged gall bladder appearing as a black spot on the right side of the abdomen, is most likely due to a viral infection with a single stranded DNA virus known as circovirus. Weak chicks that fail to beg for food and show the black spot may appear in nestlings as young as one day old. It is more common in the first and third clutches.

The canary circovirus, known as CaCV is transmitted by "carrier" birds and can be found worldwide. Circovirus, although a different virus, belongs to the same genera of circovirus that cause psittacine beak and feather disease but CaCV is species specific for canaries.

Circovirus in passerine birds was first documented in 1995. It is highly contagious and difficult to kill even with disinfectants and can survive on surfaces for up to six months. Breeding with identified known carriers should be discontinued and the aviary thoroughly cleaned.

Like other virus diseases it is unaffected by treatment with antibiotics. Careful records and selective breeding of birds free from this problem is critical. Working with an avian vet, diagnosis can be confirmed by necropsy or by PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing for the virus in questionable carriers. Keeping birds free from other diseases will help control the problem. A vaccine is being developed.

Although I have not used Dr. Rob Marshall's KD powder (google for source), theoretically it could help protect healthy members of the flock and strengthen the flock's natural resistance.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Miracle Border Baby Leaves Home

Miracle Baby has made it to the weaning cage and he is now special not just because of his "Miracle" birth where I took him out of dented smashed shell but also because he has turned out to be a real looker!!

He has a feisty personality and with cage doors open to get these baby pictures, he flew out and checked out the aviary twice!