Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Making Breeding Simple - In Step With Nature

Sunday, I made rounds in my front yard and shot a few of the Spring Flowers coming up. Budding Crocus

Tulips Bulbs




This is fantastic news as the timing is going very well!!! Today the cocks get their fourth weekly dose of the ABBA vitamin E fertility vitamin and the hens get their first weekly dose. After three or four weekly doses, the hens will be ready for pairing. So today, I will turn the lights up to 14 1/2 hours plus 1/2 hour dimmer! Cocks respond to sudden increased day length by producing more sperm and strongly singing the breeding song to attract a hen.

I sit at my kitchen table, pouring over breeding records and occasionally gaze out in the back yard as I take a sip of my PG Tips hot tea with milk. It is a perfect day and finally I see a pair of Goldfinches and sure enough the male is wearing his beautiful yellow vest!! He, like the cardinal, is chasing the hen. It is just not warm enough yet for the hens to nest. Cooler than usual temperatures are holding her back a bit!

It has been cooler in Wichita this year. In fact, cooler than usual temperatures have broke records having been kept since the 1800's !! Although not hitting any record lows, the record was broken for no 60 degrees or above temperatures in December, January or February! Sunday, for the first time this season, the temperature is predicted to be 60!!

When the outside temperature hits 60, the aviary with its skylights and windows, will heat up to high sixties and the hens will become frantic, flying first one way and then changing direction in mid-air and feeding each other and soon calling to the cocks! They are getting ready to mate and lay in about three or four weeks!

CRITICAL CONCEPT: It is common practice to remove canary eggs daily, place one plastic egg in the nest when the first egg is removed, and then hold the eggs till the fourth or last egg is laid so that the chicks will hatch in a two day period and have more equal chance to compete for food. Held eggs should not be subject to temperature extremes but rather kept at temperatures between 55 to 75 degrees F.

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