Post this weeks special questions to this posting.
Question: Mohammad writes that he has a pair whose eggs were not fertile, that was their 4th try. The male is singing a lot, I tried vitamin E and wheat germ but next eggs were infertile too. The number of eggs has reduced from five to four.
Answer: The best predictor of whether eggs are going to be fertile is whether the cock feeds the hen. If he does feed her the likelihood of mating is high.
Some males fail to fertilize the eggs because they are too fat or perhaps they are long feathered and need the feathers trimmed around the vent and even on the vent when very long (actually I trim around the vent on all males). Catch the male and examine his vent. If he is under weight, the vent will develop poorly. It should be red and engorged on the sides. Sometimes he is infertile because he is old. I would take a look at him but likely change males.
The best thing to do when a hen has infertile eggs is let her set as long as she will before encouraging her with egg containing food to re-cycle.
Starting The Breeding Process
Question: Vivie writes When do you typically start the breeding process? I live in Southern California, so I was wondering if it had to do with the amount of daylight hours or if you simply watch your canaries closely to see if they exhibit any breeding behaviors?
Answer: Don't laugh but one important factor for me is how long I am willing to get up early before daylight savings time starts! When the first chick arrives, I get up when the light comes on and offer food immediately and this continues until all chicks are weaned. I find that having fresh food immediately greatly increases the odds that the hen will feed them well.
I also take a look at the weather. Have the Spring rains started? Is it an average year for temperature or are the days warmer than usual? Are the wild goldfinch males starting to hint of yellow or are they drab green. Am I going out of town for a basketball tournament?
How do the birds look and act? If I do not advance the lights artificially, I think my birds would be ready for pairing around March 8th.
After some thought, I decided when I want to start breeding and begin extending the lights and working first with the cocks and finally including the hens so that pairing will be about six weeks after I start this process.