Sunday, June 16, 2013

Delicious Green Softfood For Yellow Ground Canaries

Last year, I discovered that broccoli leaves were an excellent coloring agent for yellow ground birds. Click on the photo and notice the processed broccoli leaves have a luscious dark green color!

I feed this along with other egg containing nestling food starting with newly banded newborns (about five days old) through the show season and until I run out which last year was December. (I do not feed any green the first five days because they grow much better when the diet initially is high protein but at banding the chicks are ready to be fed greens.)

Farmers and neighbors were also glad to share broccoli leaves with me and when there was a surplus, I processed them and froze them.

Delicious Green Softfood For Yellow Ground Birds

4 cups Biodecken Novafood nestling food (Ricardo Sanchez) 
4 cups Proteen nestling food (Higgins)
1 Tablespoon Spirulina (Avi-Tech)
1 Tablespoon Pro-Biotic (Avi-Tech)
1 Tablespoon vitamins (Provital Canary Vitamin-Provital Animal Health and Nutrition or A A Miracle-ABBA Products)
Processed Broccoli Leaves or if not available broccoli heads
! package thawed Frozen Peas or Corn (place in hot water to thaw) and drain

Mix ingredients together. The only liquid is from the broccoli leaves and drained peas so it is fairly dry.

 The birds think it is especially delicious! Pictures below are of a couple of young Borders relishing every bite!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Making More Nest Room

When four or more chicks are hatched in one clutch, the nest becomes to small to adequately house them all. Commonly, one or more is prematurely found on the floor as they get squeezed out by the other chicks. Generally the bigger clutch have this problem as they approach 14 days old. (Typically, I expect the first chick to leave the nest on the 18th day.)

At that point, I like to add a second nest as close to the other one as possible and divide the chicks between the two nests. I am always surprised and delighted to see them switch nest and at times three will be in one nest and only one in the other.

The white nest is the original nest and the clay nest is the additional one added around the 14th day.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Most Important Learnings from 2013 Breeding Season - Feed Handrearing Formulas Dry to Hens and Chicks

Click on this photo of the youngest Columbus Fancy chicks and admire the tight feathering. Considering they are yet to go through their baby molt the quality of the feathering is fantastic. I like to see the feathering so tight that it looks like a slick suit rather than obvious individual feathers.

So what did I learn from the 2013 breeding season?

You may recall that in 2012, I was very hot on the CeDe Handrearing Formula but unfortunately, it was quickly out of stock at Higgins and so my experiments with it were cut short and were limited to using the product for hand feeding.

So this year at the National Cage Bird Show, I pre-ordered a case from Higgins. Also this year an equivalent product Biodecken Novafood Neonate first became available when Ricardo Sanchez brought this brand to the US and I had it also to work with.

They are both excellent products for hand feeding chicks. But you must know your breed. My rollers are 99% receptive to anything I do including hand feeding at will.

My borders are the opposite, Almost 100% of my borders will stop feeding or never fed if I even look in the nest to see if they are hatching well. One peak and that it. They have very strong protection instincts. Meddling or hand feeding is not tolerated! So the best thing for my borders is to feed fresh foods twice or three times a day and stay out of the aviary and avoid eye contact!

Recently, I found a border chick on the floor. I warmed it up a bit and hand fed it and gently placed it back under the hen. That was it for the Border hen as she refused to feed it another bite even though it was already a few days old. Wish I would have had a roller available for fostering...

With hand feeding Borders unwise, I decided to provide the handrearing formula, dry just as it comes from the package, in a separate dish starting on the morning of the 13th day to all my breeding pairs.

Did It Work? Did it ever work! The product works even better dry when the hen feeds it than when you supplement hand feed with it! And my best border hens who required their handrearing formula dish refilled each morning, their chicks grew at a fantastic rate!It was most notable on the borders as it seems like since they prefer less egg options their chick have a short growth lag compared to my rollers.

I also learned that handrearing formulas are fantastic weaning food as the chicks readily eat it. I attribute the excellent feathering on my young birds this year to having handrearing formula in the cage for the hens and also continuing to feed it to the chicks. I will continue feeding it dry to all my young birds or potential show birds through the molt...

It is such a healthy formula! I had a couple of older birds that were out of sorts and sure enough within a day or two of having a supplemental dish of handrearing food, they were back to normal!

2013 Last Border Chick's Coming Out Party

Today, the last Border chick of this season decided it was time for its coming out party!

 Its markings are very interesting as on its right side the only clear marking is its eyebrows.

But on its left side it not only has the eyebrow mark but also considerable variegation!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Morning Walk Through The Aviary

As I was walking through the aviary this morning, I shot a few pictures to share with you.

 I really love this Columbus Fancy Chick in the foreground! I need to get some Columbus Fancy show cages as I plan on showing three in Tulsa at the National Cage Bird Show.

Perhaps a Columbus exhibitor will recommend a source.

An excellent mother, hiding the last of 25 Border Chicks this season!

Generally, I like to limit the number of chicks to five for a single mom and six or seven for a pair. This German Roller pair would start laying before the chicks were weaned and thus I would collect and save the eggs not wanting the chicks to soil or crush them. So they trick me into going three rounds.. They raised four chicks in the first nest,  five in the second nest and four in this last nest! The hen is a daughter of Mario so I am anxious to hear the males sing.

Cute nest of Stafford chicks are on the verge of leaving the nest and when I approached with the camera they started hiding!
Lucca likes to play in this old family bath tub. He jumps in for a swim several times a day especially when he is hot from playing fetch with his chuck-it ball or soccer with the ball pictured.

The tub was actually the bath tub used by my husband and his family when he was a child, sixty-two years ago! In addition to family bathing, he remembers also making cucumber boats and floating them in the tub and at times washing his dog Clancy in it!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Chick Doesn't Want To Grow Up - Old Enough To Vote?

My breeding season has went so flawless that I have only hand fed one chick on a regular basis. It was the last to hatch in a nest of four German Rollers and while three chicks thrived, it grew poorly from the start.

At about five days of age, it had a sealed vent and without constant checking, washing the vent and changing this cage's diet to high carb and low protein, it and one other nest mate would have likely died. (only two nests this season had this problem.)

At first, it just would not feather and then what came in were sparse and light colored. He can eat on his own but prefers to have about three hand feedings a day too.

When I work at the hospital, my husband Pat does bird duty and that includes hand feeding "baby". Yesterday, in frustration over the number of cages to feed and then on top of it being called and ask "Did you feed baby?" He remarked "When is this going to stop? He is nearly old enough to vote!"

One of Baby's Siblings

Another sibling - the three nest mates are big and full grown!
Finally, after reading this post on June 6th, Baby decided to be a Big Bird and is finally all on his own!

Way to Go Baby, oops I mean Big Bird!