Thursday, January 15, 2009

Have You Made Out Your Valentines Yet?

Best Cock to Best Hen, Maybe or Maybe Not

Yesterday at work, Margaret Perry Fletcher, fellow medical technologist, ask me the question " Have you made out your valentines yet?" Margaret, a long time canary friend and fellow medical technologist, called me a few months ago to inquire about a good place to work in Wichita. Her mother was needing help and she wanted to move back from Arizona. Luck would have it that there was an opening in the blood bank where I work and what better work environment than working with a fellow canary person!! When I ask her what she meant, she said "you know pairing on paper just who will be with who for the breeding season". So this post will not be about valentines but rather the beingings of several posts about making canary pairing choices.

The most important thing to consider is to breed only the strongest and healthiest birds. The worst thing is not that a bird does not bred but rather that through your outstanding breeding ability you create a whole aviary full of birds that are prone to illness and hard to breed!! I was reminded of that a couple of years ago when I got the German imported rollers. These birds came out of quarantine and bred profusely. Now I thought my rollers were easy to breed but these birds gave new meaning to free breeding!

Next you need a clear idea of what you want to breed and how each suitable bird fits into the plan. If you are considering breeding the best cock to the best hen, what are the good qualities and deficiencies of each bird? A good pair must compliment each other. If you breed two good birds with the same fault, you expect the offspring to have the fault and not be an improvement over the parents!

Some of you will remember Ray Havens, a noted master colorbred breeder. Ray was a good friend until once when I was judging in St. Louis, his birds did not even make the top bench. He was furious and did not even speak to me till after the following show season. Seems the next year the same thing happened to him and it was a different judge! Ray, being a serious breeder, called me and ask if I could come over to his aviary and see if I could tell him what was wrong with his birds. What I saw was a whole aviary full of birds that looked identical! Using exact calipers, we pulled a feather at the wing butt from every bird and as we suspected they were all the same feathering in both length and width! What he had done was keep only birds that looked exactly like the show standard and therefore had nothing to use to balance the birds qualities! Aviaries need to produce show birds and to do that they need non show quality birds that because of their particular exaggerated feature will improve a quality in the offspring!!

Be sure and read the comments on this one!


Crumbly Moist said...

Hi Linda,

Congratulations on the start of your blog, I'm sure that once word gets out, it will be a great success, just like your book "Canary Tales".

You are spot on in your comments about "non show birds" being needed in the breeding room. Or "stockbirds" as we Bordermen call them. As you say, these birds have at least one exaggerated feature, but must be good in other respects also, and of course be part of your linebred stud of birds.
Some of the most desirable features I like in a "stockbird" are exaggerated head, in terms of width and in neck separation. Birds that conform to type, but are larger than the norm, are also useful, but only if genetically linked to your own stock.

Keep up the blogging Linda!!

Linda Hogan said...

Hi Crumbly Moist:

Love your comment and the importance of genetically linked stock!!

As a novice to save money, I would buy only one great bird from a famous breeder instead of a pair or trio. It took awhile before it dawned on me that all I did was scramble the genes and duplicating the great bird from an unrelated pair could take a life time!

Thanks again for your contribution!