Thursday, January 8, 2009

Importance of Taming Canaries

Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread

Never underestimate the importance of taming your canaries! It is not just an issue for exhibiting them but rather an equally important issue for breeding.

The most basic instinct of a hen is to protect her newly hatched chicks. The more you disturb her with you hand in her cage or even disturb the peace and quiet of the room, the more likely she will sit and protect the chicks rather than feed them. Therefore, she needs to be completely comfortable with you and actually look forward to seeing you!!

I addition to talking to your birds, an easy way to establish trust, is to tame your canaries by offering them pieces of soft white bread each morning. I like to tear off a small piece and push it through the wire. I use about 1/4 slice for three or four birds. If they leave any bread, I remove it the next morning and replace with fresh soft bread. I also reduce the size of that cages piece till they finish it daily.

The first few times, I put the bread at eye level or slightly above and use the area with the highest perch. Bird's prefer the highest perch in the cage and they are most tempted to try new things when they are at or above eye level. Once they are looking forward to the "bread snack", I can move it higher for types that need to stand tall in the show cage or lower for kinds that are suppose to lay down on the perch (German rollers).

In just a few days they will come to eat their first bite while you are pushing the bread through the wire!!

I also feed bread in show cage to help train them to assume the correct position and also to help stop weight loss associated with showing canaries. I wait till after the competition and then put the bread in their cages before the journey home.

The only birds not getting their daily bread, are those cocks that are too fat! Hens need to be fat for breeding but cocks need only a minimal hint of a fat layer or fertility will be diminished or absent.

Here in Wichita, Kansas, we have ALDI stores which sell loaves of white bread for only 79 cents. My aviary must have at least 250 canaries and they eat a loaf a day! I have tried whole wheat but the birds prefer the white colored bread. They also like potato bread but the cost is prohibitive.


Brenda Varhola said...

Is there any time of the year where you don't feed the 'daily bread" and any birds beside the chubby ones that don't get it?

Linda Hogan said...

Hi Brenda:

As you noted, being chubby is the main reason I do not feed the 'DAILY BREAD". It is important to watch weight on show birds and cocks.
Once birds are in show cages, they loose weight easily and can generally have the bread for the trip home. Birds that spend considerable time in the show cage will need the bread to cut the weight loss.

I reduce the frequency to once a week or so during the molt(high protein diet is desirable during the molt) and after the show season for maybe a month and then start again in preparation for breeding.

Another reader commented by e-mail that she didn't feed bread because of the poor nutritional value. I agree but I use it for taming and calories and have plenty of other sources for good nutrition.


DeiLAsh said...

Hello Linda, I am writing to you from Ottawa,On,Canada
My question is should I wash the burlap I bought at the fabric store ( fine Weave) before I give it to the birds......
Also i am trying to get a copy of your book and I am hitting a dead end. Could you plz tell where I can get it in canada?
I am anovice breeder and I can use all the help I can get..... right know I have 4 pairs 2 Agate pairs and 1 yellow waterslagger mix pair and 1 peach pastel and intensive yellow pair I am expexting eggs any day now......
Sorry for running off at the keyboard LOL
Looking forward to reply
FancyFlights A Home Based Aviary

Unknown said...

I tried washing the burlap once. ONCE! It made a HUGE mess.

American Singer Canaries of Western Canada said...

You have to wash it in a pillow case and make sure you tie the pillow case up tight!

Lee said...

What do you use the burlap for?