Monday, April 21, 2014

Subtle Difference in Canary Varieties

Have you discovered breeding differences among canary varieties? Here's a great opportunity to share with your fellow bloggers! This could really be a great post but only if you either add comments or send an e-mail to for me to post for you.

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Big Bird Shares: I have noticed considerable difference in the protein requirements and preference between Border canaries and German rollers, Stafford. and Colorbred. I think the Columbus Fancy are more similar to Borders but still learning about that breed optimum. Borders prefer lower protein levels likely somewhere around 16 - 18% while the others like 20% and even higher during the first five days.  Whether the hen feeds and the growth rate is best when you get their protein levels right.

For those liking a higher protein level, I offer 1/4 hard boiled egg daily each morning till the chicks are banding age in addition to the usual nesting foods. Normally, it is no greens for them till their chicks are banded and usually that is at five days. Should any of the chicks show red skin tone, I immediately drop the pure egg and offer greens and plain dry nestling food. (You can pretty quickly roughly figure out if the bred likes high protein by offering the 1/4 hard boiled and they will either eat it or not.) Adding the peas to the nestling food delayed the banding age by about a day to six days rather than five.

For Borders: Higher protein levels upset seem to even discourage hens from feeding. Even last year, I was grumbling about how my Border Hens were almost universially poor feeders. I am really impressed with how much better they feed if thawed frozen peas, 1 lb package peas to 6 cups nestling food, is offered from day one!

In fact, every Border hen is now a good to great feeder just by dropping the pure hard boiled egg for them and adding the peas to their nestling food! I have older Border hens that never fed last year or in their past and they are raising full nests of chicks with just that change! I am so glad I listened to them and hear them say "Peas Please."


Anonymous said...

I breed several of the Old Variety Canaries; Lizards, Frills, Gibber Italicus, Yorks etc. This year, I have noticed that although the hens are feeding, the chicks are not plump. Eggfood is made fresh daily with Proteen 25, couscous, etc. Their diet includes Vita Canary Mix and a fruit flavored canary pellet. I grow my own greens, and occasionally add finely grated carrots, soaked buckwheat and/or collards to the mix. For years I have also used green peas as you have commented on in your mix. In order to get the hens to eat and feed more, for plumper chicks, I've added finely ground fresh wheat bread along with the peas. The dishes are picked clean quickly. The only difference this year is that our weather is different, cooler and darker days, then bright hot sunny days and then cool, etc. Even though my room has heat and air conditioning, I think this has had an effect on the birds.
The clutches are smaller and fertility varies with breed etc. Has anyone else had this with thinner chicks, smaller clutch size, etc. ? I also use AvioMed Fertical for calcium and fertility which has always worked well. Frills and Gibbers are never plump birds, so I feel they need the extra carbs, the lizards never have had a problem with weight and are often chubby, just not this year. I tried feeding hard boiled egg the first 3-4 days straight to the hens to give the chicks a good jump start, but this had not been successful this year.
Your thoughts?

Linda Hogan said...

Cause and Effect are tricky since there are so many variables. I too have had some difficulty with birds being thin but mine have been the parents rather than the chicks. The balance between protein and carbohydrate is difficult.

I go a lot by the chicks skin color. When it is red the first few days, cut back on egg protein. When the skin is yellow, add more egg protein.

When the skin color is dessert rose color and I can see fat deposits on rump, I celebrate the fact it is nearly perfect!

Are all pairs treated the same? Absolutely not!