PREPARING CANARIES FOR NEXT SEASON
As the Canary show season comes to an end, the wise fancier will begin immediate preparations for the forthcoming breeding season. Although pairing up is still several months away, the birds will need time to recover from the stress encountered on their excursions to the various shows, so the coming weeks should be used in preparing the stock and the birdroom. By doing this you will find the breeding season easier to cope with and hopefully more productive. The first thing to do is to decide which birds you wish to keep for breeding. If you have shown some unflighted Canaries you will have a good idea of their quality when compared to other exhibits. For older birds you will have a record of how they performed during the last breeding season. So you should know which birds to retain.
Other things to consider when deciding which birds are to be used for breeding include the size of the birdroom and any specific objectives you may have for the forthcoming breeding season such as colours and feather type. Once this task is completed, calculate roughly how many Canaries you will have at the end of the breeding season by multiplying the number of hens you are going to use by three and then add the number of adult birds you are starting with. Spare hens are more useful than spare cocks. This will leave you with surplus stock to dispose of, and the sooner this is done, the sooner you will have more space in your birdroom to devote to the Canaries that you have retained. Space is vital to the fitness of a Canany and the more space you can give each bird the better. lf you have internal flights it would be ideal to put the hens in them to let them exercise. Do not however, turn the birds into an outdoor flight at this time of the year if they have been inside the birdroom in stock cages, as the change in temperature could be fatal. Allowing the birds access to outside flights on the odd bright day would do no harm provided you ensure that thay are back inside before dark. In addition, the cocks can also be placed into an inside flight, provided it is spacious enough, otherwise they may fight. It may be wiser to keep cocks singly in large stock cages, but whatever way you decide to winter the birds, make the most of the available space. During this period keep their diet plain and simple, and only occasionally provide extras. A good quality canary seed mixture, topped up daily, together with fresh clean water eveny day will be adequate. Once a week each bird can be given a drawer of the eggfood that is to be used during the breeding season. This will get the birds used to the eggfood by the time the breeding season arrives. The birds should be given a bath as often as possible as Canaries love to bathe, and even a few pass up the chance to have a dip. However, make sure that the baths are removed early enough so that the birds can dry properly before roosting. It is now the ideal time for birdroom maintenance. Cages can be repainted if required or at least thoroughly washed down with warm soapy waAe that has a measure of mild disinfectant which will kill any lurking germs. Cage fronts can also be attended to, in addition to all the spare drinkers, seed hoppers and other utensils which are to be used during the breeding season. Everything should be spotlessly clean and ready in plenty of time for the breeding season. Once evenything in the birdroom has breen thoroughly cleaned you must allow ths birds those vital few weeks to recover their vigour and allow them to come into breeding condition naturally. Final preparation for the breeding season is several weeks away yet, but it is the foundation work carried out now which will go a long way to ensuring success at nesting time.
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Hamilton & District Budgerigar Society Inc.