Monday, August 10, 2009

Ask Big Bird?

A Place to Post Canary Questions

I started this blog as a teaching tool which would help me instantly share information with many more canary lovers. Most of the ideas for posts come from my aviary observations and the few questions or comments that I have received. A big thank you to those who have shared and interacted on this blog and also to those who have used any of the information and shared it with others!!

Today, I received an e-mail from Paul asking where should he post canary questions that just don't fit any current blog posting? I am investigating if I can have such a place on the blog other than comments to posts.

For now, please post any unrelated questions, a comment, or if you have an idea for something you want addressed, post it to comments on this "Ask Big Bird" blog posting! I will re-post "Ask Big Bird" periodically to keep it in the more recent blogs.


Anonymous said...

I have enjoyed your blog information and daily observations.
Everyone can learn from daily interaction with your methods because you are a breeder and exhibitor. You are working to improve the quality of care of birds as well as the breed qualilty.
Sometimes it is overwhelming to interpret and use all your methods, but just gleaning some information and trying it is beneficial.

Linda Hogan said...


Thanks so much for the feedback and how you try some but not all the options!!

Just recently, my young borders were looking a little rough. Thinking about their rough feathering during their molt, I remembered that I had run out of bee pollen and in all my busyness I had failed to re-order and feed it to them. Once I started them on the bee pollen, the feathers immediately, within six hours, tightened up and my birds looked much better. Things that work in your aviary can be very obvious!

This is typical of the way I observe my birds and think about what could I do to make their life better. I too chose among many options by observing what makes the birds life better. If I see them tightening up and responding in a positive way, I keep it. If not, it is not the answer right then.

It is my hope that bird lovers will connect more closely with their birds and chose from many options, to implement only those which improves their own birds.

Often I have been asked for a table that says first you do this then you do that on this date. I just don't do it that way! I watch my birds and only do what improves them at the time! What they needs changes with the seasons and their challenges.

Let your birds tell you what to do for them. No two aviaries are identical. My techniques are just some options not mandates!

Deb, you really get it!! Thanks for bringing this up, as in my enthusiasm, I forget to tell folks that the most important technique of all is to work with your own birds!

Anonymous said...

Hello Linda,

I have been wondering what are your preventative measures for dealing with air sac mites? I got ivermectin at my vet but I was just a little worried about if it is safe for them. What do you do for all your birds? An if you do use it, is ivermectin safe for birds hatched this year?

Thank you so much for taking the time to write your blog - it has been invaluable to me as this is my first year breeding and I would have never had the success I had without it.

Linda Hogan said...

At one time, I use to treat with ivermectin once a year as a preventative. Now I don't because here in Kansas, I just don't see any air sac mites.

Once a breeder from Maryland gave me a couple of well-bred roller hens at a roller show. I awoke in the hotel room that night to the distinct clicking associated with air sac mites. I was sick to think these priceless birds had air sac mites!

I did bring them home but quarantined them away from the aviary and treated them with ivermectin in the water for 24 hours and then again in a week. They did completely recover.

In all my years of breeding that was the only time I had to deal with air sac mites. Some breeders tell me they like Scatt better than ivermectin but in my aviary in Kansas it just isn't necessary to treat them for mites.

Other climates have different may be a totally different story..

Linda Hogan said...

I meant to write that other climates are a different story but somehow it was nearly midnight after a shift at the hospital and the words just did not come out right. Unfortunately, I must of hit post without proof reading. My mind is always moving forward and I just hate to have to proof read as I am sure you know by now, you sometimes need to read between the lines!

(The actually posting times are correct on the computer but not on this blog. Perhaps I will look for a way to reset the blog time...)

Paul Cruise said...

I have recently revamped my entire birdroom. I replaced my 24" & 30" cages with beautiful white triple breeders which were designed by an experienced breeder in Miami.
I can't say enough about these cages. Without the dividers, they are 40" long. I am trying an experiment for the 2010 breeding season after a disasterous 2009 breeding season. I am almost finished my 2010 pairings by putting a male and two or three hens in the triples in the hope that they will be familiar with each other next spring. I plan to use the wife and girlfriend pairings. In the case of a Stafford that is the son of one of your champions, he may have a wife and three girlfriends.
I can now feed, water, change cage paper and offer a bath EVERY DAY!
This can be done in 3 hours or less.
My only remaining task is to try to get the molt dander problem under control. I have a Friedrich Electrostatic Air Cleaner which turns the air over in the birdroom eight time an hour.
I clean the pre-carbon filter any time it gets dander on it and put the aluminum precipitator in our dishwasher every week.
STILL, I have a very mild dusting of dander and have a mild case of "canary cough."
Would you suggest that I get an exhaust fan for the birdroom. As it is now, the birdroom is 11'X14' and was a former second bedroom. I have 4 stacks of 4 triple breeders and 3 stacks of 4 24" ABBA cages.
I have a total of 81 canaries.
Is there anything I can do to get rid of the mild dusting of dander that I still have.
Paul Cruise
Charleston, South Carolina

Linda Hogan said...


I think the exhaust is the most effective but I use it all an electostatic precipitator mounted on the ceiling with the plates that are run through the dishwasher. A king-air portable unit with replacable filters and a full house exhaust fan. Plus filters on the heat pump unit.

The more I do the more I collect! The air is cleaner though!! It is also worse when the birds are molting as the feather shafts create a lot of dust.

Anonymous said...

Hi Linda,
follow up on Ivomec. Does it matter
what kind of Ivomec is being used?
Meaning for Cattle,Swine or Sheep.
Thanks Peter