Essex-Kent Cage Bird Society Logo  Canary Care at Breeding Season
Email Us


Our Annual Shows





Care Sheets:





Bird Articles

        Hopefully, most of you are in the middle or end of the breeding season by now.  If you haven’t started yet, it will soon be too late, because the daylight will be too long and the hot weather will make it difficult to keep the eggs from drying out. If you are still breeding, provide incubating hens with a daily bath.  Most hens will take a quick dip to get their breast feathers wet and then return to the nest.  This will raise the humidity around the eggs.  
      A common mistake of new canary breeders is to let a pair raise too many families.  Just because a hen lays eggs doesn’t mean you have to let her incubate them.  Limit each pair to two families a year or they may become exhausted and not survive the summer molt.  If a hen lays a third clutch, wail until you are sure it is complete, then remove her from the breeding cage.
       If possible, put the hen in a flight cage out of sight of her mate.  Do not give her a nest.  If she pulls her own feathers out, you can give her some burlap or other nesting material to shred to keep her busy, but don’t let her construct a nest.  She may lay some eggs on the floor of the cage, but without a nest, she cannot incubate and the hormone cycle will eventually shut off for the year. 
       If you have another hen, who has not raised two families yet this year, you can try to give her the eggs to incubate and raise if you want to save the third family of the first pair.  This works best if the foster hen has just laid a clutch herself.  However, some old hens can pick up the cycle at any stage because they are relying more on memory than instinct.  It is handy to keep a proven good mother for fostering, even is she is too old to be fertile anymore.
      Young birds should be weaned slowly to prevent them from “going light.”  If you feed your birds seed, do not give dry, hard seed to baby canaries until they are at least six weeks old.  They will eat more if you feed them egg food and soaked seed.  To make soaked seed, buy a mix that contains only whole seeds like millet, rape, canary, small black sunflower and whole oats. Put about 2 heaping tablespoons in a jar, cut out a piece of plastic screen to cover and fasten with a large elastic.  Rise, then cover seed with tepid water.  Soak for two days, rinsing once a day with tepid to cool water.  Never use hot water.   Start a new batch daily so that you have freshly soaked seeds available daily.  To sprout them.  use a jar as above.  But, on the third day, you don’t soak anymore.  You rise twice in cool water and put the jar on it’s side at 45 degrees.  Roll seed in jar to cover the sides so that they can breath.  Rinse twice to three times a day.   After the 5th day you will see spouts.  The nutritional builds up unbelievable in the first 7 days.  And then they start to go down.  Try feeding sprouts within ten days.  They can be refrigerated.  Watch out for any signs of bacteria and mold.   Frequent rinsing usually stops this from happening.  The adults love them when feeding chicks as well.   Sprouts or soaked seed as well as egg food is great to get those little ones started.  The soaked seed teaches them to take the shell off the seed with a little ease.  They get practice for the harder seed.

Back to main page

Last updated: November 16, 2004