Dr Rob Marshall's soon to be released book explores novel health programmes designed to improve the breeding performance of canaries in order to make this challenging hobby more enjoyable. Dr. Marshall acknowledges with gratitude the help he received from the eminent canary breeders, Mr. Don Swavely, Mr. Maurice Hunt, Mr. Stan Nichol, Mr. Sam Cavallaro, Mr. Fogarty and Mr. Mal Coulston.
Breeding canaries for competitive exhibition has always been an extremely difficult challenge for seasoned fanciers let alone newcomers to the hobby, largely because the canary of today is so much larger than the original birds. There is a strong correlation between the best show quality and breeding ability. It is this diminished ability of the best quality exhibition birds to breed that creates the difficulties experienced by canary breeders because this heritable characteristic is passed onto future generations. Exhibition budgerigar and show pigeon fanciers also share these breeding problems.
Fanciers must rely upon the "laws of nature" in order to improve breeding performance and produce more canaries to "show standard". An understanding of the notion of "breeding condition" and the special nutritional needs of the delicate "top quality" birds must be developed before improved breeding results can be enjoyed. This book addresses these important issues and provides the canary fancier with new knowledge and practical solutions to help improve breeding outcomes.
The systems used to breed canaries have been passed down from generation to generation and have remained basically unchanged for the past 50 years. Some canary varieties, notably the Border Fancy and Yorkshire, are large and may have reached their size limitation. These are more difficult to breed than the smaller varieties, such as the Gloucesters, and require more precise and refined breeding programmes. The programmes outlined in this book incorporate the latest knowledge of the biology, diseases and nutrition of canaries with tried and true systems used by successful fanciers of the past and present.
The fragile and delicate nature of canaries necessitates a planned approach to the breeding season.
Knowledge of the canary's breeding behaviour and its nutritional requirements during the breeding cycle is essential for breeding success. In the aviary situation, where all ages and sexes fly together, the natural forces for breeding success move spontaneously from one stage to the next. Exhibition canaries, however, are separated by sex into flights or cabinets and introduced to each other when they show signs of breeding condition. It is more difficult to breed birds using this type of system. Some of the best fanciers take complete control of the breeding cycle and use a "bull" system where the cocks are introduced to the hens for copulation alone, after which time the hen accepts sole responsibility for incubating and rearing the young. This system reaps the reward of producing more young of show quality standard but also places enormous strain upon the breeding hen. She must receive the exact amount and quality of nutritional and husbandry resources to remain healthy and fit. Other fanciers introduce the breeding pairs as they show signs of breeding activity allowing them to pair up and breed in a more natural manner. Difficulties remain, however, with either system because of the inherent "breeding" weakness of exhibition quality canaries. Many of the best quality birds fail or are slow to come into "breeding condition" and are often infertile. To overcome the breeding weaknesses of canaries a breeding system that mimics that of nature must be adopted. This tenet is the basis of Dr Marshall's health programmes for canaries.
Alan Simpson's soft food recipe uses hard boiled eggs, breeding crumbles, and Dr Rob Marshall's health supplements to produce excellent breeding outcomes.
A comprehensive guide to achieving a superior level of health and happiness in both the exhibition and pet canary.