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page Should You Breed Your Birds
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Basic Equipment Needs
You will need a number of things to
breed a pair of canaries. (To breed more than one pair, multiply the items
by the number of pairs you plan on breeding.) It is beneficial to have at
least doubles of each item to allow for clean up with minimal disturbance
to the birds.
Three (3) cages - two breeding
sized (or larger) cages and a larger flight cage. You will need one cage
for the hen and her mate, one cage to place the male in if he becomes
troublesome to the hen, and a cage to house the offspring.
Providing the offspring with the
largest cage you can will head off a number of problems caused by
overcrowding. A general rule of thumb is that each bird requires one cubic
foot of space in a cage- a cage with 5 cubic feet of space could hold 5
birds. This is not a hard and fast rule, though- some birds require more
space and certain housing situations allow you to get away with less. In
general, though, this is a good place to start.
A word of caution: young birds
will find any problem with a cage that exists and get bands, legs, and
wings caught on cages, accessories, etc. Be diligent about checking your
young birds as often as possible!
At least two perches for each
of the breeding cages and an appropriate number for the young bird's cage.
Feeding cups, water dishes, etc.
for all cages. Shallow floor dishes are preferred for weanling chicks.
Two (2) Nests - open plastic
or metal nest cups are preferred, although I have heard of the creative
use of strawberry baskets. Wicker baskets commonly sold in pet shops leave
much to be desired. You will need a pair of nests as when the babies are
banded at 5-7 days, they usually get a nice clean nest, too. You can
purchase nest cups through many online retailers including
Nest liners - these can be
purchased, but I have found that an appropriately sized coffee basket
liner attached to the nest sup with masking tape around the edges works
well and is less expensive. Use several layers and if the birds mess in
the nest cup before building a nest, you can just remove the top layer!
Nesting material - my birds
prefer jute to the sisal that many breeders use. Both types are available
in large bags at Abba,
Birds2Grow, and many
other online retailers. Don't bother with the little boxes of nesting
material sold at pet shops- a canary hen will need several boxes to build
a nest and it is expensive. When the hen is nearly finished building her
nest, you can offer some small pieces of paper towel for her to line the
inside of the nest with.
Index cards or another
record-keeping tool. You need to keep track of when eggs are laid,
when the hen is set on her eggs if you decide to pull them, expected and
actual date of hatch, date of banding, band numbers, etc. I find a simple
4"x6" index card attached to the cage with a clothes pin to work great.
Whatever you decide to use, have it on had when you pair your birds.
Nestling food - homemade
and/or commercial egg food. The parents will need this to feed to their
young. You can find more information on egg food