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FEEDING

I am not afraid to say that feeding is the most important factor in the canary breeding. It is no doubt in my mind that without correct feeding there would be no successful breeding. Whatever we will say on next pages about feeding, it will be never end of the story. All the time we hear about new research and new development regarding birds’ nutrition. I will repeat myself again and again; we forcefully and against their will, removed the canaries from their own territory, from their proper environment. They’re previous environment were vast fields of grass and sand, trees and abundant fresh air with easy access to plenty of grass seeds, berries and fruits. We must now supply all this elements if we would like, if we hope to have prosperous breeding.

The basic food requirements for canaries is different for canaries kept for color breeding or so named fancy canaries, and different for singing canaries as German Rollers.

So far as the first group of canaries is concern, their basic food should be the seed in the hoppers. These hoppers should always be kept filled. The birds themselves will know how much seed to eat. Over the years a basic seed mixture of three parts plain canary seed to one part of red or black rape seed was used by majority of breeders. In addition the birds were given a small amount of mixed seed twice a week; this included hemp, teazle, Niger and linseed. On a top of it, once or twice a week a "tonic mixture" of maw, dandelion, gold of pleasure, lettuce and some other wild seeds were given. Sometimes proportions are a bit different according to particular breeder’s conviction.

The singing canaries are fed basically with the same seeds but the proportions are strictly prescribed and different in a different part of the year and birds’ activities.

They are breeders who say it is not necessary to be fussy with elaborated seed mixture. And that it is absolutely not necessary to limit an amount of this seed mixture to ˝ teaspoon per bird, because the birds know better what and how many to eat. That school of thinking prevails among fancy and color canaries’ breeder. The singing canaries and especially German Rollers are subjected to rather very strict content of seeds in the mixture. The content depends of the season and birds activities in particular season. Below there are the seed mixtures for the different seasons.  The seasons are for the Southern Hemisphere with northern equivalent in brackets

COKS  FROM AUGUST TO JANUARY     BREEDING HENS FROM AUGUST TO JANUARY COKS IN TRAINING FROM MAY TO JULY     HENS FROM MARCH TO JUNE   

  HENS IN WINTER JUNE/SEPTEMBER         YOUNG CANARIES IN OWN CAGES

COCKS AND HENS DURING MOLTING

I have been using the above formula all my life.  They are many more recipes for seed mixtures. Nearly every breeder has his own, which according to him is the best. In the past I was using hemp seeds in place of Niger, but for the last 25 years hemp is a forbidden seed and the most popular name for hemp is marihuana.

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09 September, 1999 11:44 AM