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Breeding Canaries


The subject of breeding is a complex issue which cannot be completely covered on any website, even if the site was entirely dedicated to breeding. Breeding canaries is both a science and an art and the one thing I can guarantee you is that if you breed for decades, you still will not have seen everything! With experience you will develop enough experience to know how to deal with things as they arise, however.

Below, you will find some general guidelines. All breeds of canaries (and family lines within those breeds) have slightly different management requirements - for example, in general larger-bodied breeds require a longer day length to come into breeding condition. If you are breeding Norwich canaries in the same bird room with Rollers, the Rollers could well begin to molt when the Norwichs are just beginning to breed. Obviously, this will lead to significant problems if you intend to breed both in the same room.

My birds breed very well at thirteen hours of light a day, but I have friends who breed at fifteen. My birds would all be molting heavily at fifteen hours of light! If you are a novice breeder- or are bringing a new line of birds into your room- be sure to ask the breeder you get your birds from about his lighting schedule. This information can save you a considerable amount of avoidable difficulty.

Below are web pages dedicated to the particular breeding - related subject. Click on the link to travel to that page.

Breeding Condition




Weaning Chicks


A Word of Caution

I cannot count the number of times folks have bought birds from me and tried to breed the canaries in the same room as parrotlets. Despite my warnings that the canaries will molt at the number of hours the parrotlets require to breed, folks continue to try it - and always experience disastrous results (usually the loss of an entire breeding season). Now these folks breed Gloster canaries with their parrotlets with no problem- but the Glosters need a longer day length than American Singers.

Note: It is sometimes possible to acclimate Singers to a longer day length (as those AS breeders mentioned above who breed at fifteen hours of light have done) but it must be done gradually and with the understanding that some lines simply will not be able to tolerate that length of day.

If you wish to breed American Singers AND parrotlets, you need to be able to dedicate separate rooms for each bird. In fact, this is advisable if you breed ANY other kind of bird and American Singers as American Singers are excellent mimics and are likely to pick up the songs of other types of birds. If you wish to show your Singers successfully, keep them segregated from birth!

Top Resources For Novice Breeders

Helpful Off-Site Articles:

Advice to the Novice- How to Buy Stock

Breeding Tips by Quynh Le.

Genetic Stress Defined written by Stephen Fowler. Excellent article on inbreeding, line-breeding, etc. Discusses budgerigars, but much of the information is applicable to breeding canaries as well.

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Last modified: 06/30/15