Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Breaking News 2015 National Cage Bird Show & Question Fat Male?

The dates for the NCBS Show have been confirmed December 3, 4 & 5.  Pheasant Run Resort, St. Charles Illinois.

Questions For Big Bird? 

Hi Linda,
Speaking of Rollers male
birds' behinds are really fat and round like the large-end of an egg. The color is yellow and the Cloaca is negligible. What can be done to remedy the situation?. Your help with problem will be greatly appreciated!!
Thankyou...wishing you and your family all the best in 2015!

Big Bird says, 
Fat males are a common cause of infertility. First is get him slimmed down pronto. Feed him low calorie. I have successfully trimmed the fat off by feeding just petamine and water and in other cases I have feed water and untreated grass seed (Connie Gahman, Wings & Things). 

Also feed him greens and make him fly as much as possible. One perch up one down, no more than two perches per cage and food or water up the other down. 

In extreme cases, I have put food on the top of one flight and water on another and covered windows with black satin sheets and let him fly. 

Now is the time, take action!!

When pairing trim the hen and cock well but do a little extra trimming on the sides of the hen and cock and trim the lower abdomen of hen too.

Great Britain Border Breeders Visit Dr. Peter Coutteel Belgium Part 2 Diseases: Circovirus, Macrorhabdosis, Coccidial


A disease called “black spot” by European canary breeders has been proven to be caused by a circovirus. The disease is observed in hatchlings and nestlings and has a high mortality. Signs include abdominal enlargement and congestion of the gall bladder (visible as a black spot through the skin) Feather loss and lethargy in finches also have been associated with circovirus. Diagnosis is based on recognizing inclusion bodies on histopathology of the bursa of Fabricius or the presence of 18-nm viral particles on electron microscopy. PCR techniques for psittacine circovirus (psittacine beak and feather disease— PBFD virus) fail to demonstrate viral presence, indicating that the canary circovirus differs genetically from the PBFD virus. Nucleotide sequencing showed the virus to be more closely related to the Columbid circovirus than to the PBFD virus. Differential diagnoses include Atoxoplasma, Isospora, E. coli and other causes of mortality in nestlings. The use of GROG from day of hatch is recommended.


Classically known as a common disease in Canaries (“going light”), this organism was previously termed
“Megabacteria” or “avian gastric yeast”. Observation has been made of this organism in a wide range of passerine species. Historically described as “megabacteriosis” during the last 20 years, there has been frequent debate on the description of this as a large gram-positive bacterium. Recent investigations in Germany proved that the so-called megabacteria are indeed fungi, and Phalen has now renamed the pathogen, Macrorhabdus ornithogaster. Clinical Disease Chronic depression and weight loss are typical of macrorhabdosis. Birds are always hungry and stay close to the food bowl, eating large quantities of soft food. Regurgitation is not a clinical sign in passerines. Droppings often contain undigested seeds. The patient may be anemic with pale muscles. The liver becomes visible due to the proventricular dilatation.

Other diseases that either may have triggered macrorhabdosis or developed as secondary diseases following macrorhabdosis must be considered. Diagnosis is based on microscopic examination of a fecal sample. The organism is easily recognized on a wet mount or following a Gram’s stain using a 1000 magnification. Failure to find Macrorhabdus organisms does not prove that the bird is not infected,
as shedding begins only after a certain stage of disease and then may occur irregularly. Microscopic examination of sequential fecal samples will increase the sensitivity. Pooled fecal samples from an aviary will give good information on the status of infection within a group of birds. The organism appears in proventricular scrapings after necropsy. Note that routine fungal culture will not yield growth of this fastidious organism


The taxonomy of Atoxoplasma is controversial. This disease is also called “Lankesterella” or “big liver disease”. The species affecting canaries has been named Atoxoplasma or Isospora serini. Unlike other Eimeriidae species, the asexual life cycle of Atoxoplasma takes place in internal organs and not in
the intestinal mucosa.59 The life cycle of the organism begins with the host’s oral ingestion of oocysts.81
Oocysts  excyst the sporozoites within the intestinal tract.  Sporozoites penetrate the intestinal wall and spread in lymphocytes and macrophages to parenchymal organs. Affected organs include lung, liver, spleen, pancreas, pericardium and intestinal epithelium. Several generations of asexual schizogony in these organs produce merozoites. Merozoites migrate back to the intestinal mucosa. Gametogony (sexual cycle) of the merozoites produce oocysts. Oocysts are excreted with the faeces. This is a common flock disease in canaries but only occasionally diagnosed in exotic finches

Clinical Disease
Typically, this is a disease of young canaries aged 2 to 9 months. The affected bird will appear fluffed up and will be debilitated and anorectic. It will have diarrhea and a red, swollen vent. Hepatomegaly is visible through the abdominal wall caudal to the sternum. Mortality is variable, but up to 80%. Occasionally, a patient will exhibit neurologic signs, such as epileptiform seizures and intermittent weakness. It may exhibit respiratory distress.

Definitive antemortem diagnosis is difficult because after the acute phase, only a few Atoxoplasma oocysts are excreted. Fecal flotation shows oocysts with 2 sporocysts, each containing 4 sporozoites. Microscopic differentiation from Isospora is not easy: Atoxoplasma serini oocysts = 20.1 x 19.2 μm, Isospora canaria oocysts = 24.6 x 21.8 μm. A PCR assaye has been developed that will detect an DNA fragment of Atoxoplasma species in faeces, blood and tissues of infected birds.

Necropsy reveals severe splenomegaly, hepatomegaly and dilated bowel loops. Intracytoplasmic inclusion bodies will appear in mononuclear cells in impression smears or on histopathology of the lung, liver and spleen.

Sound husbandry practices must be observed: avoid overcrowding, practice good hygiene and provide
proper nutrition. Newly acquired birds must be quarantined and screened with multiple fecal flotations for the presence of Atoxoplasma. Adult canaries can be asymptomatic carriers and will shed oocysts
 sporadically. In collections with recurrent disease, consider annual coccidial treatment prior to the breeding season.

Clinically diseased individuals usually die before they respond to treatment. Anticoccidial drugs such as
toltrazuril, sulfachloropyridazine (Esb3 30%) or other sulfonamides may be given. Atoxoplasmosis is considered resistant to treatment; however, Esb3 30% at 150mg/L of drinking water 5 days a week every week from the moment of diagnosis until after moulting has proven to stop production of oocysts, although it will not influence the intracellular stages.

Grog powder and other Products available by mail from Dr. Peter Coutteel's vet nurse 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Great Britain Border Breeders Visit Dr. Peter Coutteel Belgium Part 1 Lighting, Temperature, Humidity and Breeding

  Feedback from GB Border Canary Breeders making visit to Dr Peter Coutteel (Belgium)

Stuart Mason                                         Alan Scott                               Simon Hughes
Bob Hodges                                             Stuart Percy                          Bob Turner
Rob Harris                                                Graham Burgess                George McGougan
Colin Egner                                              Ian Southgate                      Mark Symonds
Mark Lowry                                             Mick Donovan

The group of  GB Border Canary Breeders had the idea that it would be a good idea to pay a visit to the surgery of Dr Peter Coutteel to learn from him about 2 things mainly, these were:

  1. Pre-breeding season preparation of our Borders – fertility etc
  2. Factual insight into canary diseases and research in to possible prevention

Doctor Peter Coutteel graduated at the State University of Ghent in 1983. From the beginning of his profession as a veterinarian, he has focused on the field of birds.  He has developed a number of bird products under the Dr. Couteel Trigenio brand which are part of his bird program.  For information:

Technical aspects of Lighting
Normal fluorescent lamps do not give continuous light, but flicker like a stroboscope at approximately 50 times per second (50 Hz). The human eye does not discern this frequency and the effect on the behaviour of birds is not completely known. However, recent studies reveal that birds may have a spatial difference of 160 frames per second. The stroboscopic effect of fluorescent light may lead to stress and may negatively influence the general condition of the bird. If many lamps are used at the same time or a combination of bulb lamps and fluorescent light is used, the stroboscopic effects will be less marked.
The latest development is the HF (high frequency) lamp. These lamps have a frequency of 28,000 Hz, have a longer life and make dimming possible. When using artificial light, a dimmer should be used to simulate dawn and twilight. In Belgium, 92% of the breeders are using fluorescent lamps and 8% are using bulb lamps.

Gradually Increasing Daylight Length

Using this technique, the amount of daylight is gradually increased on a weekly basis. Depending on how quickly this is done, it may take a period of 2 months to extend the 8 to 10 hours of natural daylight to 15 hours. If a weekly addition of 30 minutes (5 additional minutes per day) is used, it will take approximately 10 weeks to obtain this result. This means that the fancier needs 2 to 3 months preparation before breeding can begin. Gradually increasing the length of the day is closest to natural stimuli and is used by more than 80% of the fanciers. Fifteen hours of daylight length appears to be ideal. Poor annual breeding results with higher chick mortality occur when the daylight length exceeds 17 hours.

Immediate Increase to Full Daylight Length

The daylight length can also be increased suddenly from 10 to 15 hours. In this case, the birds reach breeding condition after 3 to 4 weeks, but most are unable to maintain good results throughout the full breeding season. However, some fanciers do have good results with this method. This method of sudden increase, used by approximately 10% of the breeders, often leads to poor fertilization of the first clutch, which normalizes subsequently, and higher mortality of females.

Temperature and Humidity

Most fanciers maintain the temperature in the breeding room at approximately 15° C (59° F) at the start of the breeding season. If the temperature is higher, the females start laying eggs even before pairing. Temperature is regulated with various heating devices (electrical, central heating, gas and fuel oil). During the breeding season and summer, the temperature may fluctuate. Therefore, good ventilation should be provided to remove exhaust gas and to eliminate temperature extremes. The temperatures should range from 15° to 25° C (59-77° F). In the authors’ experience the temperature should not exceed 35° C (95° F).

The humidity in the breeding room should be kept within the range of 60 to 80%. Maintaining the humidity at the lower end of this range minimizes the development of pathogens. It is important to have sufficient humidity at the time of hatching. Therefore, breeders often moisturize the eggs just prior to hatching with a spray of warm tap water in the nest or by plunging the eggs for a second into a cup of warm water (40° C, 104° F).


It is important to predetermine the sex of the individual birds in order to ensure they are paired appropriately. In males, the caudal end of the ductus deferens forms a mass called the seminal glomerulus. During the breeding season, the seminal glomerula push the cloaca walls

into a “cloacal promontory”. Females do not develop this projection and have a flatter vent. Cocks and hens should be trimmed and in breeding condition. The male is placed into the female’s cage when the birds are ready for pairing. In the classic situation, one male and one female are together for the whole breeding season and rear the youngsters together.
Alternatively, one high-quality cock may be used for pairing with several females. After copulation, the male is separated, and each female will rear her youngsters alone. Fertile sperm may be stored in the female’s sperm glands (tubular glands within the oviductal wall located at the uterovaginal junction) and may fertilize eggs for approximately 8 to 10 days.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Did It Work? Shawn From South Africa Shares Eggless Bumper Crop Results

Hi Linda,
I've just finished breeding and the base of my softfood is very similar to yours. I can confirm that I have had a bumper year on it having reared 21 borders from 6 pairs, about 70 new colours from 10 pairs and 10 fifes from a single pair. I use Orlux, cous cous with olive oil and poppy seeds, into which I process about 5 slices of white bread, or garlic bread or even plain sponge cake. I add my vitamins and palm oil to the mixture and sprouts with peas and sweet corn (thawed) I have had zero wastage and my birds are looking awesome, despite being totally broken from the moult right now. Just thought is share. By the way I haven't used any eggs at all. I also offer all pairs with babies dry hand rearing formula free choice.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Share A Tip Canary Foot Care Julio Valella

Twice a year, Julio and Brenda routinely apply Bag Balm to all their canaries feet to keep the feet in tip top shape! Some birds get more frequent treatment as needed.

Bag Balm has been treating chapping in people and animals since 1899!

I remember using it on our hands and on the cows udders when I was growing up. We called it the udderly incredible cream at the time!

Now days, it is especially popular with gardeners! Can't wait to give it a try on my canaries!

Currently, I have been using an Aloe Vera bird product by BioDecken which comes plain or with fungicide that works very well too.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Pre-Breeding Season Extra

During the pre-breeding season, I like to introduce the base of my nestling food recipe which I will add to once I am within a couple of months of breeding season and then again once birds are paired. Click on the photos and note the texture.

Big Bird's Nestling Food Base 

Six cups golden cous cous (Golden cous cous, most of what I get is from France but you can also get it from Bob's Red Mill golden cous cous for information see their web site.) 

Cover well with hot tap water leaving a little water above the level of cous cous. Stir occasionally until cools. It should be light and fluffy when cool. If lumpy, mix the cool cous cous with your hands till it is light and fluffy.

Couscous is a traditional North African and Middle Eastern dish made from precooked coarsely ground semolina, the rich endosperm extracted from durum wheat and is 16% protein. Ingredients: parboiled, coarsely ground duram wheat. (This is not pearl cous cous.)

Add six cups dry nestling food (I am currently using Belgium nestling food from Bird Supply of New Hampshire)

Add two cups additional dry nestling food (I am currently using Higgins)

(If want to increase the carbohydrate I would use CeDe and if I want to increase the protein I will add quinoa and switch to BioDecken Novafood for dry nestling food.)

Add one cup neonatal handrearing formula (I prefer CeDe Premium Handrearing Food - African Grey Parrot on box) Bird Supply of New Hampshire have agreed to carry it. CeDe Premium Handrearing Food is the best for hand feeding canaries and excellent for weaning chicks who will eat it plain straight from a dish before they eat any other food!

Thaw l 1b package frozen peas with hot water and drain and add to the mixture.

This keeps well in the refrigerator and I use it 3 or 4 days till gone or you can freeze. (This is a large recipe that eventually totally fills the large plastic tupperware bowl.)

Thursday, December 25, 2014


Happy Holidays

My daughter Kellie ask for a car for Christmas

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Share Your Seasons Greeting

Share A Photo Henry Vela La Asociacion de canaricultura de Puerto Rico Show Nov 29 - 30, 2014

Best Lipochrome Red Intensive

Best Melanin Rec Agate


Best New Color Recessive Opal

Best Type Lizard

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

United Spanish Timbrado Fanciers Florida Show Part 9

Two separate Timbrado Division were held at the Florida Canary Fanciers Show. Many exhibitors showed birds in both Timbrado divisions.

Tim Cann winner of Best Team pictured with judge Patty Roberts

Representatives of the 3 major clubs here in the US.
Left to right:
Louis Gil from Spain; FOE and OMJ judge
Orlando Perez, President of AASTB
Patty Roberts, Judge for USTF and the FECC in Spain
Louis Calvo, President of the CSTA and now a new judge for the FOE

Sunday Florida Canary Fanciers Part 8 - Timbrados

Sunday morning, I decided to take advantage of an opportunity to sit in on the remaining Timbrado judging.

Sr. Luis Gil Gonzales, Spanish Timbrado Judge, scoring a team.

The very impressive trophies were brought from Spain and really are big and nice, each had a carved canary on top! As I listened to the teams, I especially liked a team of Sara Palmer because it had exceptional tone..

Best in Show Miguel Merine, Best Team Tim Cann

Too soon it was time to go to the airport. These birds were being taken back by an exhibitor to Canada.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Florida Canary Fanciers Part 7 More Lovely Top Bench Type Winners Judge Linda Hogan

Best Lizard Exhibited by Gary and Mindy Wargowsky

Best Norwich Exhibited by Will Burdett

Best Yorkshire Exhibited by Alfred Vivar

Best Gloster Consort Exhibited by Julio Masferrer

Best German Crest Exhibited by Julio Valella

Best Raza Espanola Exhibited by Julio Masferrer

Best Columbus Fancy Exhibited by Raul Beatancourt

2nd Best Gloster Corona Exhibited by Juan Chavez

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Florida Canary Fanciers Part 6 Lovely Top Bench Type Winners Judge Linda Hogan

Best Type Very Nice Irish Fancy  Exhibited by Brian Bryne

2nd Best Type Gloster Corona Exhibited by Juan Chavez

3rd Best Type Fife Fancy Exhibited by Alfred Vivar

4th Best Type Stafford Exhibited by Biers & Cromwell

5th Best Type Scot Fancy Exhibited by Adriana Gonzales

6th Best Type Parisian Frill Exhibited by Mike Corbeil

7th Best Type Border Fancy Exhibited by Brian Byrne

Nearly 200 Type birds, 17 different varieties were exhibited!