Molting Coming Soon - Single Long Flight Feathers Dropped
Some of my canaries, especially the ones not currently loaded with raising chicks or incubating eggs, have in some cages dropped a single long flight feather! This is the first sign that you can expect non-breeding birds to be molting in one month.
If you need to hold them off, the best thing is to get them feeding chicks. I had an interesting experience with a border hen once. After she had already raised six border chicks, she laid a final third clutch of three eggs, Thinking she had done enough work, I fostered her last clutch under German roller hens in three different cages. My plan was to band all chicks in the mixed egg nests, with one roller band and one border band and then to cut off the wrong band when it was obvious whether the chick was a border or roller.
The border hen proceeded to drop more long flight feathers and then body feathers in her wing butts until she was clearly molting. Each of the foster German roller hens hatched five chicks but in each nest one chick was doing poorly. After looking for options to move the failing to thrive chicks, the only place was to try the molting border hen. So I moved the three poor chicks under the molting border hen and she immediately started feeding them. Her feeding chicks naturally changed her hormones and she stopped molting and she successfully raised all three chicks! What a border hen, she successfully raised nine chicks in one season!!
To keep the cocks fertile longer, continue giving them their weekly treatment of ABBA water soluble vitamin E once a week. This alone will not stop them from molting but it will preserve their fertility. I have had numerous cock fill eggs when they are clearly molting on their wing butts!