Canaries usually lay from 3 to 6 eggs and incubation takes 14 days.
THE behaviour of a cock Canary in breeding condition also serves as a courtship display, Many cocks carry pieces of material from the cage floor in their beaks and as dusk approaches, they normally roost on the highest available perch. The effectiveness of this behaviour, however, can vary from bird to bird. Many cock Colored Canaries between the ages of three and six settle down more quickly when paired to unflighted mates and there seems to be very little quarrelling. It appears to me that the "old timers" are more sophisticated in their tactics and have developed a better pattern of behaviour to entice hens to accept them more readily. There also seems to be a degree of learning as most older cock Canaries will tread a hen the second she squats. Mating takes place in a few seconds with a minimum of fuss, and is repeated frequently at dusk during the initial stages of introduction. Although the hen's behaviour is less robust than that of the cock it is nevertheless important. The first signs of breeding condition - following the long dark winter months - is a response to the secondary song of the cocks. Increased activity will be evident with the birds flying between the perches in an erratic and swift manner. As the cocks reach full song the hens own behaviour will escalate to the stage where they begin carrying small amounts of material in their beaks. They will also occasionally pluck body feathers from other hens who share their accommodation. By the time the hens have reached full song condition they will be flapping their wings rapidly while remaining stationary on the perch. The hens will take up a squatting position, either on the cage floor or perch, with wings slightly dropped. At the same time they will call out in a high pitched continuous call. This behaviour is very pronounced with small and medium sized breeds of Canaries. To finally convince you that they are ready to accept a cock into their compartment the hens will begin carrying large amounts of material in their beaks. In many instances they will endeavour to soak this material in any available water container. This is the time to introduce the intended mate. If you don't, you will find clear (infertile) eggs on the cage floor within five to eight days. It is wise to introduce the cock Canary once the hens are seen carrying the material in their beaks.

Newcommers should be aware that there is no substitute for experience. These observations on Canary song and behaviour are valid in most cases. However, when dlealing with any form of livestock there are always exceptions to the rule. Experienced Canary fanciers are in a better position than newcomers to interpret the behaviour patterns of their stock. Quite simply, once you concentrate on any particular bloodline the behaviour patterns become predictable. Some Canary strains or studs are louder than others and have different behaviour patterns. Some have been fortunate enough to breed from cock Canaries which have behaved like Rambo and others whose performance has been more like Gene Kelley. The influence of light, whether natural or artificial, on your breeding stock must be emphasised. Newcomers can house their stock in top-class housing and feed the most varied expensive food on the market. But without a constant amount of daylight, the chances of experiencing successful breeding results is somewhat lessened. Replacing a birdroom roof with new plastic sheeting will have a dramatic effect on my Canaries from the new lighting. Lighting is one of the most important factors for getting your birds into breeding condition. Simply, less light means your stock will come into breeding condition much more slowly, while more light will hasten breeding condition.

E-Mail: berniehansen@sympatico.ca



Hamilton & District Budgerigar Society Inc.