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Dr Rob Marshall's Health Programme for Canaries


The Breeding Programme forms the basis of all the health programmes. The seasonal programmes vary from the Breeding Programme in the amount and frequency of nutritional supplements, soft food and sprouted seed provided.



Seasonal Health Programmes


The five seasonal programmes closely follow the natural biological cycles of canaries.


  • Winter: Pre-Breeding Medication Programme and Mid-Season Fitness Programme


  • Spring: Breeding Programme

  • Summer: Moult Programme

  • Autumn: Show Conditioning Programme and/or Pre-Breeding Medication Programme



Pre-Breeding Medication Programme


The Pre-Breeding Medication Programme should be introduced to flocks that have previously experienced infertility and poor breeding results. This programme may start in autumn prior to the show season or in winter at the conclusion of the show season. It is used to improve the breeding and show performance.


Mid-Season Fitness Programme


The Mid-Season Fitness Programme promotes fitness and prevents canaries from becoming fat after the medication administered during the Pre-breeding Health Programme.


Breeding Programme


The spring Breeding Programme stimulates a strong, natural occurring and enduring level of health in breeding pairs for the three month long breeding season.The summer Moult Programme has been designed to accelerate the moult and simultaneously protect the most susceptible (juveniles and breeder hens) from illness.

Show Conditioning Programme


The autumn Show Conditioning Programme should immediately follow the moult. It marks the beginning of the show season and an ideal tie to start a fitness programme.


Details of these programmes may be found in Dr Marshall's "Canary Health Book".


Canary Mid-Season Fitness Programme


This programme should follow the pre-breeding medication programme. It promotes fitness and prevents obesity in potential breeding birds. Fitness is an important part of health and improves breeding outcome.

Breeding Programme


The Breeding Programme is recommended throughout most of the year with minor adjustments made in the amount of Turbobooster, Epowder and soft food given during the moult, show season and winter. Soft food, Turbobooster and Epowder are high in energy and may produce obesity in birds housed in cabinets. These products enhance fitness for birds housed in large aviaries.


The Essentials of the Breeder Programme

Get the nutrition right.

The best quality youngsters are produced when they are fed properly. Rapid growth and development is dependent more upon energy levels than the amount of protein present in the food. Multi-vitamins administered for two days each week in the drinking water and ad lib supply of minerals and trace elements must also be included in the diet of breeding birds.



Concentrate on those individuals that are vital and healthy.


The most vital birds are invariably the first to pair-up, most fertile and the best parents. These traits are hereditary and the offspring of these birds should be retained as future breeders. There is also a strong link between vitality and natural resistance against disease. A strong and naturally resistant flock will be achievable in a much shorter time when youngsters from strong pairs are selected as future breeders as long as the young from the weaker pairs and the weaker pairs themselves are culled from the flock.


Understand the health issues and learn to identify problems.


Monitor the health of breeding birds, their eggs, youngsters and nests for signs of illness. Consider replacing the individuals with poor fertility and parenting skills as these are the birds with poor health. These weaknesses in turn will be passed onto their offspring.

Requirements for successful breeding:
  • Minerals: F-vite mineral powder and grit must be available at all times.


  • Clean drinking water: Water Cleanser should be administered for one day or more each week to clean the water and prevent disease from contaminated foodstuff.

  • Vitamins & trace elements: Dufoplus and Ioford should be added to the drinking water, soft food or soaked seed for two days a week starting the day after Water Cleanser.

  • Protein and energy: Turbobooster & Energy Supplement should be included in the soft food mix or seed each day of breeding.

  • Lice, mites, flies, mosquito and insect control: Regular lice and mite treatments must be given to canaries. Water Cleanser baths should be provided every week if possible but only during warm weather. Coopex should also be used to control other insects in the cabinets and nests. S76 should be used for young birds to kill blood-sucking insects each 6 weeks during summer.

  • Control of disease: Water Cleanser and Megamix are used to maintain good health by keeping the water and crop free of food borne germs.


  1. Water Cleanser is prepared by adding 1gm (¼ teaspoon measure) into a litre of water. Water Cleanser cleanses the bowel of harmful food and water related germs, promoting a stronger natural health in the flock. Mr. Swaveley, champion border breeder, uses Water Cleanser (¼ teaspoon per 2 litres) every day for his breeding and young birds. Water Cleanser can be used together with colour additives such as canthaxanthadine. Water Cleanser should also be used as part of the soaked seed technique. 4gms (1 level teaspoon) into a litre of water is used for in soaked seed.

  2. Dufoplus (2.5ml) and Ioford (5ml) are mixed together into 1 litre of drinking water and safely left for two days, as they are sugar free. They provide the vitamins and trace elements necessary for good health, fertility and quality eggs. The signs of improved health are visible by the increased noise and activity within the bird room. An increased intensity of plumage colour, even in colour fed birds, should be noticed within three weeks of using the products mentioned in this programme.

    Dufoplus and Ioford maybe added to soaked seed or into the soft food mix. This system frees up the water for the Water Cleanser which is added to the drinking water (¼ teaspoon to 2 litres) and may then be left unchanged for three consecutive days.


  3. 3 mls (30 drops) of Turbobooster is mixed thoroughly into 500 grams of dry seed, soaked seed or soft food mix. Chose the system that suits you best. Two level teaspoon (10 grams) of Energy supplement is then added to the above mix. F-vite is best provided in finger drawers or open dishes for breeding birds. The Turbobooster provides canaries with the fatty acids, protein and minerals necessary for good health and excellent fertility and breeding results.

May be used as a substitute for Dufoplus and Ioford and added to the soft food mix.

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.

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