Discover how to care for your baby canaries
from hatching to weaning...
OK, so you've been breeding your canaries. That's AWESOME.
It's really fun to set up a breeding pair of birds and witness the whole process happen.
Before you know it, the eggs start arrivinging. You'll probably get a new egg every couple of days until your hen has about 4 to 7 eggs in her nest.
If she's a good momma, she'll spend most of her time on the nest while her mate stops by to feed her.
You can expect your canary eggs to hatch around 12-14 days after being laid.
The newborn canaries are tiny, naked, helpless, and well, kinda ugly. But they grow into beautiful adult birds quickly...if they’re fed properly.
And your young canaries will be born HUNGRY.
Before they hatch, on the 12th day of incubation start providing nestling food.
Nestling food is a soft food that your parent canaries will feed their babies...and once your baby canaries leave the nest they will begin to eat nestling food on their own and eventually will learn to eat the normal dry seed as well.
Nestling food is a protein and nutrient rich food that will not only support the fast growing baby chicks but their overworked parents as well.
You can make your own nestling food which should include at a bare minimum...
-->Soft Seed (either boiled, soaked, or sprouted--see below)
There are other things that can be mixed into nestling food such as grated carrot, rolled oats, soft fruit, and Cream of Wheat.
You can even buy some pre-mixed egg food to add to it. It's a nice addition because it's been scientifically created to provide the most important nutrients.
They'll love it.
But the soft seed, egg, and greens are a "must-do". The greens are mostly for the Momma canary...she will need the extra nutrition during this stressful time.
1. Just boil your canary’s normal seed for 20 minutes.
Let cool and place a tablespoon of this soft seed in the cage in the morning and another tablespoon in the afternoon along with the boiled egg. This soft seed will be used by both parents to feed the canary babies for the next 3 to 4 weeks.
I have stored boiled seed in the refrigerator for up to 7 days without having any problems with spoilage. To be on the safe side though, it's best to throw it out around day 3 as it is probably beginning to spoil.
2. Soak It. You can use any seed mix you have on hand. But many canary breeders will recommend that you use a specific blend of canary seed specially mixed for soaking and feeding to your babies.
This "soak seed" is soaked in water, rinsed, soaked again, rinsed a few more times over a 24 to 72 hour period...then it will begin to sprout. Now you can feed it to your parent and your hatchlings.
Soaked seed is high in vitamins and minerals and closely resembles a natural food source that canaries find in the wild during spring that helps keep your canaries in a state of premium health.
All in all, it is the BEST soft seed to use but, my canary loving friend, I don't always have that much time to soak, rinse, soak, rinse, rinse, rinse....
That's why I often boil instead. In a 30 minute period I have soft seed ready for my chicks. I have never had any problems with unhealthy or malnutritioned baby canaries using boiled seed instead of using the specialized "soak seed". And they devour it like it's the best thing they've ever had.
Along with this soft seed you should provide boiled egg for an important source of healthy protein and fat.
You can also buy dry nestling food or "egg food" which can be mixed with the soft seed.
Or you can keep it simple...Boil an egg for 20 minutes, mash it up and serve 1/2 of a boiled egg next to the soft seed twice per day.
A tablespoon of raw greens like romaine, kale, or spinach adds important nutrients to the diet of your parent birds and your baby canaries.
And a treat they will appreciate is a small chunk of apple or banana. This will help keep all your birds healthy and happy.
Greens and fruit can be provided just once per day. Serve it along with your baby canaries "breakfast".
All of these tasty treats will be used to feed the baby canaries plus it will help keep up the strength of your busy parents.
Make sure you know what a sick canary looks like so you can attend to any illness immediately.
You can also add...a small piece of whole wheat bread, boiled brown rice, soaked shredded wheat, cooked or dry oatmeal, and cooked peas to name just a few.
Feed this nestling food once in the morning and once in the early afternoon removing any left over from the previous feeding. This stuff can spoil and grow bacteria in just a few hours so protect your canaries and remove it before it goes bad.
Make sure your pet birds have all the nestling food they want. If they eat all of their "breakfast" by the time you bring the early afternoon feeding than give them some extra until they are getting a little more than they can consume.
They baby canary's appetite will double then double again before he is finally weaned as long as they stay healthy.
You can expect your canary babies to grow rapidly and will leave the nest roughly 2 to 3 weeks after hatching.
The parents will continue to feed the baby canaries, even outside of the nest, until they start eating on their own which will occur around the 4th week.
In the meantime you might find your female has started another clutch of eggs even before the first group of babies have left the nest. That is why it is a good idea to have a second canary nest available for the next clutch of eggs.
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