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Canary Tips! Your final issue...
January 01, 2005
Hi

Here is your final issue of 2004...

CanaryTips!
Your Guide to Canary Care Success...

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Friday, December 31, 2004

CanaryTips! delivers VALUABLE information about the hobby of keeping
a canary as a pet AND tips for successful canary breeding.

Filled with timely tips, it’s designed to be your UP-TO-DATE canary care
guide
that helps you provide the BEST living conditions for your flying friend. :-)

PROUDLY and JOYOUSLY presented by Darren Walker at CanaryAdvisor.com.

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Table of Contents
1) Is It Cold In Here?--Cold Weather Canary Care.
2) Give Me The GOOD Stuff!--Promote Optimum Health with the Avian Health Package
3) Sit On It!--Nesting Materials For Your Hen.

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Coming SOON to CanaryAdvisor.com...

1) Build YOUR Canary Site!

2) More information on where to find the best deals on canary supplies...complete with special discounts from favorite retailers.

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What's the #1 way to increase canary singing?  Use recorded songs!

Use the same tricks that professional canary breeders and exhibitionists use to train their canaries to sing...Click here.

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Is It Cold In Here?
--Cold Weather Canary Care.

Cold weather need not be anything to worry about for canary owners.  Canaries are surprisingly resilient and are very tolerant of cold weather.

Winter is a time of rest and recuperation for canaries.  The molt is finally over and soon it will be time for breeding.

Outdoor Birds

I have had Canadian breeders tell me that they keep their canaries outside all year-round...even in sub-zero temps!..without problems.  However...

I have had OTHER breeders tell me that they do the same in order to cull off the weakest birds...the weaker ones don’t survive the extreme temps.  So...

Canaries CAN survive very cold temps but sometimes a weak or sick bird WON’T.

If you have an outdoor aviary I recommend heating it to stay above the freezing mark...32 degrees F.  All my birds have been fine at that temp.

One thing you could do--if you have an outdoor or unheated aviary--is get 2 ceramic lamps.  Set them about 3 feet apart—creating a warm “space”.  Your canaries could then move in and out of this warm space as they desire.

For cages that are not big enough to contain a ceramic lamp just set a lamp outside the cage, on one side.  It will keep that side of the cage warm while allowing your bird to move to the other "cool" side if he so desires.

These heat emitters provide heat but NO LIGHT...and that's important because too much light can be a bad thing...more on that in a minute.

Ceramic lamps are great.  Not only for “winterizing” an aviary but for treating sick birds too.

One of the most important things you can do for an ill canary is provide warmth.  The healing process gets a big boost just by keeping the cage toasty. :-)

Click here for more on ceramic lamps.  

 Indoor Birds

If you have just one or two birds that you keep in your home, temp is something you likely won't have to worry about.  If it's comfortable for you--> it's likely comfortable for your canary.  However...

What you need to watch out for are temperature extremes...90 degrees F during the day and 35 F at night are two extremes that may weaken your bird and cause a drop in his immune systems' abilities...which may result in illness.

A wild bird's ability to stay healthy in cold weather is determined by the weather itself.  In other words, a canary can take the cold temps if he has time to acclimate himself to it.  If it's been nice and warm over the summer and then immediately, one day, turns cold, a bird will not be prepared.

I recently read an article about pigeons in Louisiana.  The weather had been nice and warm, then a severe cold front moved through and thousands of pigeons froze to death.  Louisiana pigeons had survived lower temperatures than those brought by this front BUT they weren't prepared for such a sudden change.  The cold temps themselves weren't the problem...it was the quick drop.

In nature, the temp slowly changes with the change of the seasons and so...

A bird's ability to stay comfortable changes with the seasons.  If its a constant 80 degrees F from July to December a bird will not be prepared for any cold temps.  The bottom line...

SUDDEN changes in temp cause SUDDEN changes in health!

Who lets those kinds of extremes occur in their house? Well...nobody I know but...

There are a couple of places in some homes that have high fluctuations in temps...

  • If you keep your bird's cage up near the ceiling, he may be getting too hot...heat rises.  Be especially aware if your bird's cage is in or near the kitchen where there is a lot of cooking going on or close to a heating device.

*****SIDE NOTE*****
By the way, avoid keeping your canary in the kitchen.  Fumes from hot pans and other cooking surfaces can KILL your bird...but that's another article. ;-)  We'll talk more about toxic poisoning in the next issue.
*****SIDE NOTE*****

  • I've also known people who keep their bird in a back room or even a bathroom where it gets very cold at night then warmed up nice and toasty during the day.
     
  • Near a cold window may give your birds chills. 

Feel free though, to place your birds cage near the window on a sunny day.  The sunlight will do him some good providing Vitamin D and relaxing warmth. 

You can also provide some Vitamin D and Vitamin A by adding a little cod liver oil to his seed.  This is especially useful if you live in an area with little sunlight during the winter months.

Just don't let him get overheated in the sun.  Provide a shady spot in the cage by placing a cloth over one side.

  • Anywhere in the midst of a cold draft can weaken your bird also. 

Have you ever been in a nice warm room standing near a drafty window or door?  I have and it creates a very uncomfortable situation...to be warm one one side of your body but have that gentle cold breeze on the other side.  That type of temperature unbalance can cause problems.

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The winter months are also a time of dry air in the house.  We've got our furnaces running or our fireplaces burning and they're sucking all the moisture out of the air.

Help combat dry, itchy skin by offering a bath at least 3 times per week. Baths should be offered EARLY in the day so your bird has all day to dry out...before temps fall in the evening.

See...

http://www.canaryadvisor.com/canary-pet.html?ez

Winter Diet

The canary diet during winter does not change. (Except, as mentioned above, if you live in an area with very little sunlight you may want to add cod liver oil or use a multi-vitamin for birds.  See the article below on the Avian Health Package)  Make sure your bird gets plenty of fresh seed, cuttlebone, clean water, PLUS...

Boiled egg, fresh greens, and fruit twice per week each.  A fatty treat, like millet, a couple times per week will be appreciated too.

When I was in wilderness survival school I was reminded often of two important facts...

  1. Sugary foods give you energy
  2. Fatty foods help keep you warm.

Obviously, provide fatty foods in moderation...your canary doesn't need a lot.  He is not in survival mode. ;-)

For more on canary feeding see...

http://www.canaryadvisor.com/canary-foods.html?ez

Winter Lighting

One of the biggest mistakes canary owners make is allowing too many daylight hours.

Canaries are photosensitive and unnatural long days could result in an off-season molt or off-season egg laying.

It's important that canaries have a few months of rest after molting to regain energy for the upcoming breeding season.  Even if you don't breed your canary, he still needs that time of year for rest.

Keep daylight time to 9 to 12 hours per day during this time of year.  The best way to do this is to cover your birds cage at sundown and remove the cover at sunrise.  This will give him the most "natural" length of day.

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So...During the cold winter months avoid temperature extremes of all kinds including cold drafts, make sure your canary has a well balanced diet, adjust lighting accordingly and you'll have a happy and healthy and SINGING canary!

A very important part of your canary first-aid kit is something to keep him warm-->Number 1 on the list is a ceramic lamp.

Click here for more on ceramic lamps.

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Give Me The GOOD Stuff!
--Promote Optimum Health with the Avian Health Package.

Is your canary operating at optimum health? 

A few weeks ago we talked about beneficial bacteria and how you can protect your birds health with all natural probiotics and herbal supplements. You can review that issue here.

 Well...if you didn't take advantage of those items THEN-->you'll want to NOW!...

The Avian Medicine Chest has provided us a special sale on their "Avian Health Package".  The package includes...

  • The probiotic ProBac for help in absorbing vital nutrients.
  • The herbal supplement Systemajuv for boosting the immune system.
  • Concentrated Trace Minerals to help in absorption of essential vitamins.
  • Vitamin Supplement.  You have a choice between...

    1.)  Fertility Supplement--if you are planning on breeding birds this year you'll probably want to select the Fertility Supplement

OR

2.)  Vita Pak.  If breeding is NOT in your canary's plans, Vita Pak is what you want.

By getting all of these at once in the "Health Package" you save BIG money!

To learn more about how this health package can improve the health and vitality of your bird...click here.

This special sale is only good until the 5th of January.  That's this coming Wednesday-->You don't have much time!  Go there now and see how you can improve your canary's health AND save some cash on these important supplements.

Avian Health Package...Click here now.

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Sit On it!
--Nesting Materials For Your Hen.

As you know...canaries like to line their nest with some kind of fibrous material in order to create a comfortable place to raise their babies.  In the wild they will use grass, leaves, and small twigs.

You can go about providing liner material in two ways...

With or Without a Liner

The Pre-formed liner.  These are made out of felt, cotton, and even rope and are used to line the wire, bamboo, or plastic canary nesting bowl.  Pre-formed liners are inexpensive enough to throw away at the end of breeding season but some breeders like to wash and re-use them.

Some have even used nursing pads or a simple wash cloth folded twice then sown to the nest.  Also used are...coffee filters--dampened then formed into the nest to let dry.

When using a liner you must still provide some loose materials--see below--so your hen can build the nest to her preferred shape. 

Liners are not absolutely needed.  They're used mainly to keep nesting materials like short strings and small pieces of paper from falling through the nesting bowl.  It depends on the type of nesting bowl your using...

Wire and plastic nests have relatively large spaces allowing things to fall through.  If you use a bamboo nest you won't need the liner...it's already weaved tightly together.  Although,

Using a liner will help keep your nesting bowl clean.  When the nest is abandoned just pull out the liner, materials and all, and through it away.

Some fibrous nest building materials include...

  • shredded tissue paper (unscented)
  • shredded napkins
  • coconut fibers
  • gunny sac (burlap) twine cut into 2" pieces
  • thick cotton twine cut into 2" pieces
  • dried grass
  • shredded paper
  • feathers
  • goat and horse mane and tail hair
  • sisal fibers

Just place the materials in the cage and the hen will keep herself busy with the work of nest building.

The material considered the best for canary nest is sisal fibers.  Sisal is a soft fiber, allows for good ventilation, and canaries seem to prefer its' light coloring.

To see a picture of sisal fibers as well as other materials AND to get an idea of how much they cost go to...

Rockport Roost.

As you can see there is a multitude of material you can provide for your nesting hen. There are also a couple of things you should NOT use...

Don't use long lengths.  Anything longer than two inches and you run the risk of a bird getting tangled.  Cut all materials down to one to two inches in length.

Flax is often used but I recommend you stay away from it.  The bird could get it's claws caught in its felty mass.

Also avoid thin threadlike strings.  A piece of thin thread wrapped around a leg could cause obvious problems.

You can use grass from your yard but make sure it is well dried, clean, and chemical free.  To sterilize, bake at 200 degrees F for 10 minutes.

When I first began breeding canaries I used a bamboo nest with the gunny sack or burlap fibers, cut to two inch lengths, and then offered some unscented toilet paper.  A canary hen can make a great nest out of just these two items.  Of course, it's a lot of work for you cutting up the gunny sack!

Now days I lean more toward purchasing a good quality nesting material...that's ALREADY cut up. ;-)    Nesting materials are super INexpensive.  Once again, a good supplier of canary supplies including an impressive selection of nests and nesting materials is...

Rockport Roost.

You only need one of the materials listed but canaries, like people, have different tastes.  Get 3 or 4 different materials for your hen.  Place a small amount of each in the cage to find out which one she prefers.  A happy and comfortable canary will be a better mother. :-)

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In the Next Issue of Canary Tips!...
1) "The Toxic Canary--Preventing and Treating Toxic Poisoning in Your Bird."
2) "Building Strength for Love--Preparing for Breeding Season."

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Written by Darren Walker
CanaryAdvisor.com
(c) copyright 2004
CanaryAdvisor.com

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