Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Moving Along Toward Breeding Condition

 Although this German Roller hen is three years old, she is moving along nicely toward breeding condition. Hens start out carrying small pieces but after several weeks now of carrying small amounts of paper, they are moving up to almost unmanageable long strips which she places in seed dishes.

Time to add a little more wheat products to the diet. This is a mixture of cous cous with olive oil and poppy seed, quinoa, broccoli, and whole edamame (soybeans in pod).

Moving Toward Breeding Conditioning Softfood Recipe:

Two cups cous cous, add olive oil and poppy seed and cover with hot tap water. Use enough  water to leave about 1/2 water above cous cous. Set aside and let the water absorb.

Rinse two cups of quinoa and place in a pan with 4 cups of water. Cook under low heat till water barely covers the quinoa. Turn off stove and let it set to absorb the rest of the water.

Process fresh or thawed frozen broccoli and set aside. Process thawed whole pod edamame and add to broccoli. Add small amount of dry nestling food to make it fluffy. (I use BioDecken Novafood.)

When cous cous and quinoa are cool mix them together and add broccoli and edamame. A couple times a week I add amino acid Miracle vitamins (ABBA AAMiracle from Italy) starting with 1 teaspoon to a recipe and moving up as needed to 1 tablespoon for four cups depending on their development.

All my birds immediately love it as shown by this Border male.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Timid Male Gets Bullied - Treating the Stressed Bird

Leaving around 10 am Saturday, we spent this weekend in Lawrence enjoying a KU Basketball game.

Unfortunately, I got home so late Sunday afternoon that it was off to the Symphony and dinner and I did not get in the aviary till Monday morning.

As I checked out my birds that morning, I came to the cage that housed my best German Roller team. How sad I was to see my best hollow roll young bird was in bad shape. His eyes were squinted and his body all frumpy, his feathers ruffled and his attitude depressed.

Immediately, I moved him to a small travel cage which I had purchased from The Finch Connection, and placed it on the far south wall away from the other birds. The squinted eyes indicated that he was dehydrated and he was very very thin and his feet were even blue.

I had to get water and food in him quickly if he was going to have a chance to live. The small travel cage advantage is that food and water are easily accessible because the cups are at perch level. Since Monday was his day for once weekly ABBA Fertility E in his water, I went ahead and gave it to him.

I added some sunflower chips (pieces) to his seed mix and a treat cup of song food as it has a lot of thistle. Thistle (niger) is the easiest seed to crack and the first seed chicks learn to crack. In addition, I put 1/4 slice soft white bread opposite the treat cup as it too is easy to eat and will provide much needed calories and a dish of BioDecken Novafood on the floor. Even with this effort, sadly I had very little hope for his survival..

Today (Tuesday), he looks great! I can hardly believe my eyes!
Encouraged, I checked my numerous products and changed his water today to BioDecken Mood, which is a treatment for stress. After his bad time while I was gone to the game, I wanted to send him to the Spa but instead he got Mood in his water!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Big Bird Shoots Presidential Inauguration

This Weeks Questions For Big Bird

Question: Early Egg
My hens have only had one dose of ABBA Fertility E and this morning I found a Stafford crested hen sitting in the seed cup and worse yet she was sitting on an egg! Should I pair her now or disregard?

No matter what we offer our birds, there are outliers who seems super sensitive or resistant to our methods. It is not uncommon for an occasional hen to jump the gun and lay an early "heat" egg. It sometimes is only one darker blue egg and at other times she may lay a whole clutch. One of the problems with pairing her now is that fertility is low when a cock is introduced after the hen starts laying. I also value having groups hatching at the same time so that I have more options should disaster strike! So I would ignore her and set her with the rest. I like the hens to get at least three doses of the ABBA fertility E before setting.

Question: Feather Pulling
Good day Linda,
Can you please assist with some information what do you do to prevent the above from happening. I know I must cut on the animal protein but this continue happening although I try and only give the young birds veg protein.
Kind Regards Riyaad Peterse Cape Town South Africa

In addition to dropping animal protein it is important to offer many perches where only one bird can perch at a time and individual divided perches. I even use clothes pins and small plastic one bird only perches around the cage and then have divided perches where only one bird can perch in a spot.  The ones I have are circles cut in a piece of thin wood with about 5 circles in each piece. The size of the circle depends on type of bird as I want it to stand in appropriate show position. Border ones are bigger circles as they stand upright where rollers sing best when parallel to the floor.

You can also get perches with metal dividers that do the same, accommodate only one bird. I also like giving them swings and canary ferris wheel (google on this blog) and cut the number of birds. 

It is also important when you move birds into a cage, you move all to a new cage and not add birds to an established peck order. Be sure to also separate male and female birds as soon as possible. If you can't tell the sex, separate thinner ones away from others.

Question: Aggressive Cocks
Margaret says "Help, Help my cock birds are really fighting bad! I am separating them and selling lots but what is going to happen when I pair them, won't they also be too aggressive with the hen?"

Fighting can be so bad that they draw blood especially on the head or over the beak and without separating some are going to be badly hurt. The worst I ever had aggression was when I gave some baked chicken to a flight of lackadaisical old cocks and when I returned a few hours later, there was blood everywhere!

Immediately stop giving them any hard boiled egg or animal protein, instead use plant protein such as soybean containing products or soy powder, dry or frozen soybeans in your foods to condition. This will help but it is easier to prevent by not using hard boiled egg or animal protein than stop because the aggressive testosterone hormone levels have to come down.

When pairing, used a divided cage and make sure the cock feeds the hen and courts her before opening the divider. If he courts her, she will be receptive to mating and if he behaves he can stay with her but keep a careful watch on him as he may turn on her and have to be removed. If mating does not occur, return him to the other side of a divider and try again once he feeds her through the wire. Feeding usually leads to receptive mating. If you do not have a divided cage fasten two cages together or use a wire show cage so that the wires are close enough for him to feed her through the wire.

My oldest daughter Sandy made this cover for my tea pot and it really works to keep by PG Tips hot tea hot while I read the paper or meditate on what to write.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Ever Have Bird Fever?

Luckily even with Flu all around me, I have escaped it so far. But I caught Bird Fever a number of years ago, my husband refers to the time before I caught Bird Fever as BC (before canaries), and I just never ever get over it. Yes, I should have plenty of birds but when I see something special, I just got to have more birds! Even adding more birds just eases it a bit but I never recover!

After hearing Almin's German Roller Dentler (Germany) line at the Northwest, I just had to have that tone.

So he graciously shared a cock and two hens with me and shipped them via Delta to me in Wichita Kansas.

Almin builds his shipping boxes. Note air space on two sides at the top.
On the other two sides he has air holes.
The lid has a sliding middle panel which when closed hold firmly shut.
To open you just slide the middle section back and you can easily retrieve the birds.

In addition to the lovely cock, he sent me two beautiful hens of the same line to go with him.  Looking forward to breeding more and more!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Breaking News: BioDecken Trial Sampler Kit

At my request, Ricardo Sanchez has made up a Trial Sampler Kit of my favorite BioDecken Products.  

The  Special Trial Sampler Kit contains:

2.5 kilo bag Novafood Offer dry to all birds during conditioning phase and to feeding hens. I also use Novafood in Doyle's eggless nestling food recipe on blog, currently during condition and plan on using for Borders with chicks.

1.0 lb Neonate Hand Feeding Formula Use for hand feeding chicks and provide dry to feeding hens. This is a new product that I am experimenting with this season.

1/2 liter bottle Essentials Multi-vitamins
1/2 liter bottle Defensor Immune Support 

I make up drinking water with both Essential Multi-vitamins and Defensor Immune Support for a "cocktail effect"and give the cocktail to my birds 2 to 3 times a week year round.

Cocktail Recipe: Add 10 ml Essentials Multi-vitamin and 10 ml Defensor Immune Support to 1000 ml water.  For less birds, use 1 ml or each to 100 ml water. I especially appreciate the extra selenium it contains.

The price of the Sampler Kit is $50 plus shipping. If interested contact Ricardo Sanchez at 214 998-7474

Ricardo, Thank you so much for making BioDecken Bird Products available in the US and for making up the special introductory package for my bloggers who want to try it.

Friday, January 18, 2013

What's That? - Name That Bird Contest

As Sarah cleans a cage she temporarily puts the birds in a large carrier. As she is learning about canaries, she often ask what's that?

Sarah quickly became invaluable to me! She loaded this carrier with five hens from the flight she was cleaning.

Name the #1 white bird (her favorite) White Border

Name bird #2 Clear Yellow Border

 Name bird #3 Light Buff Variegated Border

 Name bird #4 3 Part Dark Yellow Border

Oh no, another green bird in the foreground

Take another look at her.

Last view of bird #5. She is .........Columbus Fancy Green Hen

Remember the story about the two birds that the breeder hid under the bed and then confessed and let me buy them the next day, which do you think they were?

Send in your answers, only correct ones will be posted, so give it your best shot!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Update Moving Right Along Toward Breeding Season

Recently as posted, I introduced thin cock birds and all hens to white bread. (I will continue giving the white bread to fatten as needed every couple of days.) Continuing along with increasing wheat products,  this week, I have  made up some quinoa (2 cups washed and cooked on the stove with 4 cups water, turn off when the water no longer covers the top and let set to finish)  and  cous cous (2 cups with some olive oil and poppy seeds and covered with hot water either hot tap or boiling about 1/2 inch above the cous cous/poppyseed), cool these and add 1 cup processed broccoli and 2 cups Biodecken Novafood, 1 Tablespoon egg shell (shells collected air dry and microwaved 1 1/2 minutes and processed fine), and 1 Tablespoon AA Miracle Vitamin (amino acid enriched vitamin made in Italy purchased from ABBA Products).  I now feed this mix to all birds once or twice a week.

I am getting ready to introduce the cocks to wheat germ mixed 50/50 with Lewis Lab Brand Brewer's Yeast (health food store) a couple times a week starting by weekend. Hens will get this too but not till they are paired and I am ready to encourage them to lay (approximately 3 weeks from now). 

I have posted that I started the cocks on the ABBA fertility E once a week, starting them six weeks before anticipated breeding and hens start this week (cocks will be getting their 4th week dose). Also this week I have started the wheat germ oil fortified blend oil coated seeds for all birds till breeding season is over.

Continuing the Biodecken Novafood food plain available free choice till end of breeding season. (I think a number of hens will feed Novafood dry to chicks.) I also mix Novafood with the Higgins Proteen and broccoli as posted recently and as I am moving toward breeding season I now add can add AA Miracle 1 teaspoon to recipe posted. I like the birds to get something with Miracle in it twice a week whether twice in the quinoa, cous/cous mix or the Novafood/Proteen mix.

Continuing Calcium gluconate in the water every day till breeding season over. Twice weekly the Biodecken Multi-vitamin and Immune Support cocktail or Orlux Omi-vit.

Lights were advanced suddenly to 14 hours a few days ago with an additional 30 minutes dim light.

Every day now the level of sound is higher!! Girls abdomens are becoming bare and hot to touch.

Birds are advancing nicely.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Finger Licking Good - Breeding Season Seed Mix

Big Bird's Finger Licking Breeding Season Seed Mix Recipe for 50 lbs: In a large bowl place a total of 5 lbs of seed mix (I used regular canary/rape mixed with 2 lbs of Higgins Song Food and 1 cup hulled hemp seed (health food store). Add one cup wheat germ oil blend (horse product fortified with extra vitamin A, D and E from feed store). Stir frequently for two or three days.

In a large container add 45 more lbs of seeds and mix in the 5 lbs wheat germ oil coated seeds. I used what seeds that I had on hand which was 25 lbs of L'Avian Plus and added more seeds to make up the 45 lbs (regular canary, rape seed, thistle, yellow millet, side kick (3 lbs) and grass seed ( 3 lbs) from Connie Gahman, more Higgins Song Food (3 lbs), flax seed (1 lb), more hulled hemp (1 lb),  and Steel Cut Oats ( 2 lbs). Serious red color feeders should omit rape seed and use more golden millet or grey millet (Wild Wings from Harrisons). (I would have added some grey millet today but I am out right now.)

This Border male is spreading the word to all who will listen that Big Bird has made something delicious! A German Roller in the adjacent cage is taking note.

Topping off the seed container usually results in a few checking it out but today their appetites were stimulated and everyone wanted to eat at once!

Young Border hen adds her approval!

I will continue serving the wheat germ oil coated seed mix daily till breeding season is over.