Breeding canaries is fun, exciting, and simple, but there is a science behind that you should know. In this article, you will learn how to breed canaries and how to prepare them for a successful breeding season. So let us dive into it.
The canary breeding season usually begins in March in temperate climates. After the breeding season ends in July, canaries enter the molting phase (the shedding of feathers), which lasts for up to 10 weeks and usually ends in October in the first few weeks of autumn. Then, canaries enter the resting phase during the rest of autumn and most of the winter, and after that, they prepare for a new breeding season, which usually starts with the commencement of spring.
Canaries go through this cycle every year, so the novice breeder must not interrupt this cycle if he were to keep his birds healthy and ready to reproduce each spring. As you read further down, you will understand the importance of this cycle and how it works.
Factors that influence the canary to breed and reproduce
It is essential to know the factors that influence canaries to breed at the expected time of the year in our aviaries. The factors are daylight, temperature, and nutrition. Canaries must get:
- At least 12 hours of daytime
- An average temperature of 15 degrees Celsius
- A diet rich in protein, fats, minerals, and vitamins, especially vitamin E.
In temperate regions, all these factors gradually and naturally intersect with the commencement of the spring in March. Therefore, if the breeder were to see his canaries breed during spring as expected, he should let them sleep at sunset and wake up at sunrise with or without artificial heat. Artificial light during daytime hours causes no issue, but additional light after sunset or before sunrise does.
Using artificial heat during winter is not an issue, either, but I don’t recommend increasing temperatures higher than 15 degrees celsius; it is unnecessary and a waste of energy. Besides, canaries can withstand cold temperatures indoors if they are well maintained and fed. Without enough daylight hours, canaries don’t breed even if temperatures rise to or above 15 celsius.
Canaries can also breed on an inadequate diet without improving food quality by using the available seed mixture but expect to deal with many breeding problems such as infertility, poor hatchability, egg binding, and so much more. A successful breeding season requires healthy and well-fed birds. So, you should gradually improve food quality and variety at least three weeks before the start of spring, which marks the beginning of the breeding season.
So all you have to do to prepare your canaries to breed at the expected time is to let them follow the natural rhythm of daylight and temperatures throughout the year. And as the breeding season approaches, you should also improve food quality by offering safe fruits and vegetables and boiled eggs and egg foo, and other supplements that especially contain vitamin E and D.
Now we understand the factors that influence the canary to breed and the requirements of a successful breeding season. Now let’s see how we can prepare and set up a canary pair for breeding and how we can use nutrition to enhance breeding performance.
Preparing and setting your canary pair to breed
First, you must have all the equipment and accessories required for canary breeding. If you have a canary pair you would need a breeding cage. The most popular breeding cage size is 60*26*34. However, you can buy larger or smaller depending on your preference and budget. The bigger the cage, the better for the bird. But it is not necessary to make the breeding cage too big. I have successfully bred canaries in a cage as small as 40*26*34.
Breeding cages usually come with two metal or plastic dividers, one is solid, and the other has meshed, and each has a purpose. However, a meshed divider alone is sufficient for breeding. I will explain the usage and importance of each divider in the next section. For each pair, you also need two drinkers, two nests and nesting material, and mites powder. You also need an extra cage for newcomers.
How and when to pair your canary couple
During molt and the winter, you can keep males and females together in one cage unless they fight often. Some breedings keep all females together and each male in a separate cage. As we come closer to the breeding season and progress into the middle of the winter in February, we must place a pair of our liking in the breeding cage. But we must also keep the metal divider between them, the solid divider conceals the couple from each other, and we use it to create curiosity and excitement for the pair as they cannot see each other yet. solid
As we reach the middle of February, we place the meshed divider and let the couple see each other and get used to each other. At this point, we start to improve food quality by adding supplements that stimulate canaries to breeds such as E-selenium (supplements help canaries reach optimal breeding conditions and increase their breeding performance). At this point, you must also add the nest and the nesting material.
If you see the couples feed each behind bars, waste no time and remove the divider. If the female starts building the nest and the male is singing his heart out, this is also a sign to remove the divider and join them together. We can also tell if both are ready to mate by examining their sexual organs. But this is another topic we will discuss in a separate article.
Nutrition and supplements
Food quality should improve at least three weeks before the start of the breeding season. Some breeders resort to providing nutritional supplements that contain vitamin E, and other minerals and vitamins, and amino acids when food choice is limited and unavailable or hard to offer consistently.
Supplements are essential because some vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin D are hard to get from seed mixtures and other natural foods. When you buy a supplement designed for breeding preparation, you should read the instructions and follow them. This way, the birds will reach optimal breeding conditions. They will also be ready to mate without encountering problems, such as infertility, poor hatchability, and egg binding due to inadequate nutrition. Stop using supplements once the female lays her first egg.
So there you have it, now you know how to set up and prepare your canary for breeding.