Friday, March 28, 2014

Pass The Peas Please - Border Hens Shut Out!

My Borders Love Thawed Frozen Peas added to my nestling food!

 I have expanded the Paul Dee's recipe to 6 cups ABBA Green 92 dry nestling food, 6 hard boiled eggs with shell processed in the food processor and then add 1 package (16 oz) thawed frozen peas.  The frozen peas are covered with hot tap water and drained and then added to mix.

So far, my Borders are feeding it very well! In the past I have complained about needing to supplement the Border hens to save their chicks but now they are enthusiastically leaving me out of the loop!

The first Border hen laid three eggs while I was gone to the Missouri Valley Basketball Tournament in St. Louis to see the Wichita State Shockers big win.  She hatched two chicks and feed very well. When the chicks were five days old,  I saw a lot of fecal material on the nesting material,  I removed the nest and cut the nesting material even with the nest and banded the chicks. I also notices that the hen had sat in the mess and had her vent covered with the chicks fecal material. I wash her vent with warm water, cut any extra feathers around the area and applied the Biodecken salve to her vent area.

This morning I took these pictures. Oops, In my enthusiasm, I have offered fresh nestling food too often and overdosed her with peas!

So yesterday, I added a dish of dry regular oatmeal and sprouted seeds. I am going to feed the oatmeal and sprouted seeds from the beginning and hopefully feeding the pea containing nestling food only three times a day and offering oatmeal and sprouted seeds will help the problem of having so much fecal material. I also offer them a choice of my standard quinoa, cous cous, Biodecken Novafood with peas. Typically when something the birds like is so readily available they pig-out on it and do not eat or feed everything. Once banded, a separate dish of cous cous with a little olive oil and poppy seeds was also added.

Next Day Update: The droppings are going over the side of the nest and the nest only needed minor clean up today.

Note the fluffy baby down, sticky out all over is a sign of a well-fed baby!

The sprouted seed I used is ABBA Soak Seed. The directions call for soaking the seed six hours in water and then draining and letting it set another 18 hours and then rinsing.

Their seeds sprout quickly and are ready to feed in 24hours as soaked seed or in only 48 hours from the initial covering with water as sprouted seed. (Picture is exactly 48 hours.)

Update: Second nest to hatch, 4 Border chicks. These hatched over a three day period and they are all being well fed. Note the baby fuzz standing straight out, no need to wonder about whether they are being fed enough, they obviously are! The hen has failed to fed the last two years. I think the peas and soaked/sprouted seed are the reason for success with her this year!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

New Products - PVC Perches - Sissal Mixed Nesting Fibre

PVC perches are a great addition to my bird cages. They provide sturdy support and varying shape and diameter for great foot exercise.  These were made by Tom Voges, T.VOGES@YAHOO.COM 316 516-8674.

 Looking for an easier way to provide nesting material rather than shredding the garden loose weave burlap, I found this mixed fibre on the internet which is made in Italy and luckily is sold in the US by Terr's Glamorous Gouldians,,

 I especially like the way it easily forms into a near perfect nest. I will add a little more to the center and the hen will finish it nicely.

This German Roller laid her first egg this morning and is sitting quite comfortably in her fibre nest!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Let the Sunshine In - Changing New Birds Daylight Hours

Most people like to buy or sell canaries several months before breeding season before the birds have been conditioned with extended daylight hours, warmer temperature and food. If the birds are on natural day length hours or kept on the same number of day light hours the transfer will like be smooth.

Even then, the change in diet may be stimulating enough to bring the transferred birds into breeding quicker than the rest of the aviary. Successful breeding is just ahead of the rest of the pack.  Even inquiring about diet and trying to follow the other persons diet can still be stimulating as you may be feeding more of it etc.

Since the breeding is successful, it is not really a problem, the problem is when the bird day length is reduced. It is therefore critical to know the birds lighting pattern at the breeders aviary. What time does this bird get up and what time does it go to sleep?

It is the lengthening total day light hours that brings birds into breeding and then shortening day light hours that brings them into molting. Many new canary owners do not understand the importance of day length and will keep the bird on late hours in the family room and then wonder why the bird does not molt or more commonly after a year or two of extended or irratic day length their bird first stops singing than gets sick and eventually dies prematurely. Simply moving the bird to another room where the sun can put it to bed and leaving it uncovered so the morning light will get it up and then moving it to a family area after sunrise will help keep the bird healthy. Simply let the sunshine in!

To avoid decreasing the birds day length, the first day when you get a new bird, put it to sleep at the same time as the seller. The next day you can change to the same total hours but not necessarily the same time of day. Lengthen the total day light hours is fine even on the first day if it is continued thereafter but never shorten a birds total day light hours as the expected result is pushing the bird into a molt unless the breeding season is over and you want your birds to molt!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Failed Nest Inspection - Deep Wide Open Nests

A few Border hens were given nest and mates before I left for the MVC Basketball Tournment in St. Louis.  How disappointed I was when I checked this nest. Actually when I removed the nest the eggs were not even touching as the nest was too wide and deep.

Luckily another older hen had built a nice nest but had laid just one extremely small egg consistent with an egg with no yolk and she cheerfully donated her nest to the other poor builder. Had I been here, she might have built an ok nest if I was giving her more nesting material. What I had left her was soiled on the floor.

I have my doubts about some of her eggs as they look glossy like infertile eggs instead of dull like fertile developing eggs.

Regardless mom is content and sitting tight and enjoying her dish of hulled hemp and if her eggs are infertile she will likely be a foster mom. In that case, I will move extra fertile eggs under her, if her eggs have a good incubation temperature, the 12th night so that they will hatch under her even if they hatch a day early.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Pairing Time

 These Border hens are not quite ready to be paired. I have placed a nest in their cage with nesting material and they show no interest in it. I keep a vigilant watch and any who start building are immediately paired either in that cage (other hens moved) or she is moved. If I must move the building hen, I make sure it is to a cage where the nest is facing the same direction.  Once a hen is paired, I do not move her but once I had to move a number of setting hens and the most successful was when I moved them to a cage with the nests facing the same direction.

About a week ago, I added cooked cous cous and wheat products to their quinoa recipe as we are getting close to pairing. This week, I also added the Biodecken breeding novafood 1 1/2 cups to the huge tupperware bowl. I am also adding Miracle vitamin from Italy (called AA Miracle by ABBA Products US) as the amino acids it contains increase the number of eggs per clutch.

This hen passed the nest building test so she has been paired. I like to see the male immediately start his breeding song and the hen invite mating.

Once paired, you can introduce nestling food that contains hard boiled egg till the hen finishes laying her clutch. Then all nestling food is stopped until the first chick hatches. While sitting she gets a small dish of hulled hemp seed in addition to her seed mix.

Today, I made up a nestling food recipe shared by highly successful Border Breeder Paul Dee. He uses one cup ABBA green 92 dry nestling food (15% protein, 5% fat) to one hard boiled egg. Process whole egg with shell in the blender. Before serving, add 1/2 cup thawed green peas. (Thaw with hot water and drain.) I will be testing this recipe along with others on my Borders this season.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Tip: Trimming Scissors

I like to trim the cocks feathers around his vent and off the side to make fertilization easier. Seems like my scissors were dull and the trim was ragged. When I went to my hair stylist, I was lamenting my problem and she said "Why don't you go to the beauty supply shop and buy some real scissors?"

At the beauty supply store I learned that the most common hair stylist scissors are 5.5 inches long and can cost several hundred dollars.  For trimming my birds feathers she recommend this inexpensive pair at $9.99.  I have never used scissors that worked this well! She warned me that they are so sharp that you must be very careful not to cut the bird!

 Wichita is really excited as our Wichita State University Shockers just won the Missouri Valley Tournament and hopefully will get a number 1 seat in the NCAA Tournament!

We are undefeated at 34 - 0!

Coach Marshall thanks the 9,200 fans that came to support our team!

Team cutting down the nest. I had a wonderful time but glad to be back with my birds!