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Weaning time is a challenging time for canary breeders. As soon as the first chick in a clutch leaves the nest, I start weaning by supplying a quarter of hard boiled eggs for the chicks to nibble on. Once in the perchless weaning cage, they learn to eat other foods including wheat germ, nestling food, dry nestling food, soft white bread, bee pollen, oatmeal, non- medicated poultry flock raiser, greens such as thawed frozen peas and romaine lettuce as well as thawed frozen corn.
With all these healthy choices you would think they would quickly show tight feathering and piped (narrow) tails, which signifies excellent health. Yet this does not happen until the chicks are eating high calorie canary mix.
While all of the above foods encourage nibbling, I have found that shelled hemp seed gets them interested in cracking seed at an earlier stage. Usually, chicks will eat the shelled hemp after just a few days in the weaning cage. Once they are eating it well, I introduce thistle seed as it is the easiest seed to crack.
Once they are eating thistle well, I offer canary mix and they quickly make the switch to eating mostly seeds. Regular egg containing nestling food is continued once a day through the molt.
Thanks Richard for introducing me to shelled hemp! Are you also using it to help transition the chicks to cracking seed?