Monday, July 20, 2009

Working With the Weather

Using Changes in the Weather to Shorten the Molt

Kansas is known for abrupt weather changes and last week was a good example. One day we had a high of 107 F and a low of 86 F. Last night the low was 60 F and the high was 78 F! Changing temperatures in the aviary, along with the hours of sunlight which are either shortening or lengthening throughout the year, that clearly communicate changing seasons.

My aviary is heated and cooled with a heat pump unit in the window. In addition, I have a separate full size house exhaust fan in the aviary attic with a large ceiling vent to pull out air. Some people are concerned about keeping canaries out of drafts. To that I say, Rubbish!! You can not imagine the draft in my aviary when I open the windows and turn on the big exhaust fan!!

In addition to the exhaust fan, I have a ceiling mounted large electronic precipitator air cleaning machine. With the windows closed, the air cleaning machine will completely clean the aviary air ever six minutes. This unit is similar to what you find collecting pollutants in a club.

Amazingly, exhausting is actually more effective at removing feather dust than filtering the air with a clean air machine! It is also more energy efficient so I keep the exhaust on day and night year round when temperatures are between 60 and 90 F. Together the exhaust fan and the clean air machine remove feather dust from the air making it safer for me and the birds to breathe the air.

When it is hot during the summer, I usually let the aviary get to 90 F but last week when it was 107, I let it get to 95 F. That extra hot weather made everyone one shed clothing and feathers! Clearly the temperature communicated that it is hot and very safe to molt. In the evening, I turned off the heat pump as usual and opened the windows and turned on the exhaust fan. That night the room never got below 86 F.

Now that we have a cool spell, I have the exhaust on all day and night. Having a cold spell is new warning cautioning the birds that they need to get this molt over, as cool weather is just around the corner. I especially like these cold spells during show season as it really helps tighten up their feathers!

Don't miss Shawn's Comments to this posting!


Anonymous said...

Howzit Linda and the rest of the Bloggers!

I was also taught that draughts and canaries dont go together. I have used a home air conditioner in the last moult as the feather dust was a bit too much. The air conditioner is a three in one, cooler, cleaner (water filtration) and ioniser. It basically draws in the dirty air and takes it through the filter and water and then expells clean fresh air. I was worried that it may cause the birds to go into soft moult so I discontinued using it, but now I feel comfortable to give it another shot. When sunlight filters through my windows and I can see dust particles suspended in mid air then it does make me feel that things are not so lekker! I have silently thought that it must be bad for me and the birds and secretly thought of using a surgical mask for myself, but I thought that might just add fat to the fire in the domestic situation - I hate I told you so's!

Since you guys are moulting here's a tip that I learned this moult. Citric Soda, helps to get the moult done with quiker. I added 1 tsp to 2lt water and shake it up to get the effervescence gone and then feed to the birds one day a week for about three weeks in succession. It definately got the looseness gone very quickly. I dont know, but have a suspicion that it must be high in Vit C. It is sold in the regular grocery stores in the baking aisles. I think they use it to make fizzy drinks like ginger beer etc. If you can get it, please give it a shot!

Be good,

Linda Hogan said...


The citric soda interests me but tell me more about it. Is it powder or liquid? What does the ingredient list say?

Anyone out there know about this product?

Anonymous said...

Hi Linda,

It is a small granule almost like epsom salts. I loaned mine to George to help him also with moulting birds and he used it once and could see a difference immediately. I will get it back from him and then forward you more info. I suppose it would be manufactured by the same people who make bicarb, epsom salts etc. Usually in the baking aisles. If you cant get it, let me know and I will send you some. It has a citrus taste to it, but does not colour the water. Another natural product that I have used successfully in the moult is green peppers. I simply cut it into stips and feed to about 3 or four birds one piece. The seeds are also readily taken by the birds. I also like to use some in the lead up to breeding as it makes the cocks, well how do I put it... excited???