Friday, February 12, 2016

Canary Breeding Is Like A Symphony - Factors in Concert Bring Best Results

Several independent factors in concert bring the best breeding results. Unfortunately any one of the three can push the hens into laying infertile eggs.

First: Changes in day length and light intensity. Smaller size varieties will breed on as little as 12 hours but even they do better with 14 hours light plus 30 minute dimmer.

Second: Changes in temperature and increasing humidity. Hens like chickens are reluctant to lay when temperatures are below 65F and when the humidity is very low. As temperature warms breeding activity greatly increases. Spring rains also tell the birds conditions are favorable for breeding. I like to wait a bit till Spring rains start to seriously breed my birds.

Third: Changes in Diet. Feeding more quantity or feeding different foods especially those higher in carbohydrates and proteins is very stimulating. Too much vitamin E to the hen and she will not sit but rather want to recycle laying over and over. Males should get vitamin E for six weeks prior to breeding and can continue getting it till breeding is over. Hens maximum of three weeks prior to laying and then not again unless they fail to lay the second clutch.

If any one of the three factors is dramatically increased the hens start laying! Laying eggs is not the same as laying fertile eggs.

This time of year, I get many e-mails or phone calls about problems that are caused by increases in one of the three factors with very unsatisfactory results. A recent caller couldn't understand that when he returned from a trip, many of his hens were laying even though temperature was low and day length was still 10.5 hours. Questioning revealed his wife took very good care of them in fact she feed them egg food every day! Oops, unintentionally she pushed the hens to lay infertile eggs!

Lucca, my Belgian Malinois, took the top bill off the table from the cleaning ladies money and worked on it a bit!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Why Doesn't My Canary Sing - Stimulating Canary Singing

I get quite a few e-mail from people with pet canaries who are concerned and wonder "Why my canary doesn't sing"?

Importance of lighting and total hours of light exposure each day

It is critical that when someone gets a canary that they understand that the birds health is dependent on getting regular hours and that the number of hours of light changes with the season and triggers the seasonal changes in the bird from breeding to molting (many do not sing during the annual molt).

Using a simple wall timer with a table lamp can be used and set to get them up and put them to bed and changed to current sunrise and sunset monthly or the bird can be moved to a dark room at sunset and not covered so that light coming through the window will get it up and put it to bed at the right time or the bird can be covered at sunset with a very heavy cloth so that any light after dark will not keep the bird up and then uncovered when they go to bed so that the morning sun will get it up at the right time.

Unfortunately, many cover the bird at night but uncover at different times depending on their work schedule or decision to sleep in on a day off. A few months of this and the bird first stops singing and if continued eventually leads to illness and an early death.

Once a bird is on longer hours than sunrise and sunset, it is important not to decrease the day length as this will precipitate a molt. Advancing the number of daylight hours will encourage coming into breeding song for smaller varieties that can be as little as 12 hours.

Is the bird healthy?

It is important to observe a bird from a distance so that they don't fool you into thinking they are well when they are just trying to look healthy to protect themselves from predators. Are the feathers tight or puffed out. Puffing out the feathers helps keep the bird warm. They open their beaks when they are too hot. Is there any clicking sounds at night, like air sac mites? Are they too thin?

Stimulating singing with sound and foods

Do not feed the bird immediately upon rising or when you are wanting to hear him sing. Singing varieties are either singing or eating most of the day. So I like to wait until after I have finished listening and then feed them. Of course basic food and water is always available but any new food or topping off seed will be stimulating encouraging them to eat instead of sing.

Sound is stimulating even a sweeper. I like to keep classical music playing all day for the bird. Mine especially love cello music. I have not found recorder bird song to be helpful.

Is this the only canary? A hen in the cage or even seeing one can cause some to sing the breeding song and others not to sing at all. The hen should be in a different cage that is below the male cage so he can not see her.

Some foods stimulate singing. It is good to add toasted wheat germ fortified with extra vitamin E like is available at the grocer or health food store and bee pollen pebbles to the regular diet to improve singing frequency.

My first canary did not sing and I did everything I have mentioned and still no song. Then one day it laid an egg! LOL

Friday, February 5, 2016

Sexual Dimorphism in Lizard Canaries

Don't miss checking out

A blog by Huw Evans promoting the Lizard Canary. I especially liked tips on sexing lizard canaries in the post titled "Sexual dimorphism: theory into practice" posted on 1/2/16. It includes helpful tips on how to sex lizard canaries visually and included a practice test. Answers for the practice test and discussion of the answers were published on that blog 4/2/16. Also has many fantastic lizard photos.

I have really enjoyed this informative blog very much and will continue to visit it over and over!