Canary Moulting Summer Programme
Summer is potentially dangerous for the health of Canaries because of the combination of many overlapping natural stresses.
The natural stresses of summer include:
Lice & Mites (and other blood sucking/biting insects)
Summer Rains and High Humidity
Juvenile Birds in High Numbers
Canaries cannot withstand extremes in heat. Fresh clean drinking water and regular baths are the quickest methods for cooling your birds during heat spells. Do not spray the roof of your aviary during the heat of the day because the extreme heat will be directed down into the aviary and may kill your birds.
Feathers are extremely durable. They are able to retain their strength and elasticity for a year after which time they become weak and must be replaced with new feathers. Summer is the season during which most seed eating birds replace their old feathers with new ones. The moult requires substantial energy and nutrients without which poor quality feathers are produced and a prolonged time is needed to replace all of the feathers. The moult is a critical time for the future success of your exhibition canaries because the quality of new feathers depends upon the nutrition and health of the feather as it is growing.
The following Moult Programme has been designed to complete the moult as quickly as possible, to produce the best possible feather colour and to protect the health of the flock whilst doing so. Colour food can be added to any of the products in this programme.
Canaries should be allowed to start to moult naturally during January (summer). This is not possible if breeding is allowed to continue. Canaries will stop breeding naturally at this time as the day length extends towards 14 hours. At this time, as long as they are provided with the necessary nutrients, the moult will be completed in the shortest time possible. Three months should provide Canaries with ample time for the completion of their annual moult as long as they are healthy and given energy and nutrient rich foodstuffs. By late April they should have completed their moult. During the moult season, it is important to give mite and lice treatment as well as other medicines to prevent coccidiosis and other diseases.
Additional nutrition must be provided to canaries during the moult because the growth of new feathers is an energy and nutrient draining process. Additionally, external (mites, lice and red mites), internal (cropworms, coccidiosis, canker) parasites and bowel infections (E.coli, streptococcus, moulds) may delay the progress of the moult in canary birds and to achieve the very best quality feathers these conditions must be prevented.
The Moult Programme is very similar to the breeding programme. Soft foods are continued for both young and adult birds. The Moult Programme allows the natural moult to be completed as quickly as possible.
The commencement of this programme is largely determined in Australia by the geographical location and seasonal weather conditions of the aviary. Generally the second week in January is a good time to start the moult. All breeding activity must cease during this programme in order to protect the continuing good health of both adult and juvenile birds. It is during the re-growth of larger feathers, especially those of the wing and tail when a substantial increase in energy and nutrients is needed. Without additional nutrients the replacement of these feathers will be delayed.
The Moult Programme provides the canary with the necessary nutrients to produce the best possible feathers. Turbobooster, an energy supplement and Ioford are the supplements most responsible for a rapid moult. These are usually provided in the form of a soft food mix. Click here for an example of these recipes. These products may also be given in the water or on the seed. They can be mixed with colour food without any problems.
Lice and Mite Protection
Lice and mites are an under-rated cause of ill health in canaries. The intense irritation they elicit prevents the birds from proper rest, predisposing them to illness. As well, red mite is a cause of death and weakness in babies and can also spread blood parasites. Anticipate a poor moult when there is no regular lice and mite control during the summer.
The tri-weekly (each third week) treatment using Ivermectin in the drinking water, Coopex spraying the aviary, regular baths with Water Cleanser are the best means of controlling lice and mites that worry canaries in summer.
External parasites must be totally eliminated during the moult. Water Cleanser baths, Ivermectin in the drinking water and Coopex sprays offer the best means to control lice, mites and flies during the heat of summer.
Ivermectin is effective against cropworms, the main worm seen in canaries. Ivermectin, therefore, has a multiple function for canaries.
Summer Rains: Wet Weather Programme
Coccidiosis is a real threat to canaries. Dr Marshall's coccidiosis control is the treatment of choice for this dangerous parasite. Coccidiosis preventative treatments should be given for three days every month during summer to prevent deaths from coccidiosis, especially in the young birds.
Mould and bacterial infections are controlled with Water Cleanser. Often this is administered for several days each week in susceptible aviaries. Water Cleanser should be given at least once a week and is especially useful in keeping the water containers clean of sludge and harmful bacteria.
Overcrowding of Young Birds
With overcrowded young birds, outbreaks of disease should be anticipated. The moulting programme should protect strong juveniles from the effects of overcrowding, however, overcrowding does not promote the best scenario for the enduring health of young birds.
The protection offered by the medicines mentioned in this article ultimately strengthens the health status of the entire flock allowing the susceptible juveniles through their especially difficult first moult without harm to the natural immunity. In fact this programme protects and strengthens the immune system and natural resistance of the entire flock.
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.