FROM THE PREZ....
Aviculture; or as the Brits say "taking up birds".
I don't often enough get the chance to "chat up" someone about canaries, much less American Singers. However, this year I was lucky enough to speak to three parties who displayed interest. It occurred to me that each one of us who keeps, breeds and shows birds is not in it just for the love, glory and money (right!), but for the fact that we are helping to preserve a hobby whose popularity is dwindling. To preserve the breeds we love in the hope that someone else will come along and want to do the same and still others will covet them as pets. I keep hoping the Boomers will come to their senses and discover the joys and comfort of our feathered friends. Or perhaps this wish is in vain and the coming generations are too fascinated with their technology and running around. I had the chance to realize that at this point in time, that keeping birds, breeding and showing was not so vain an advocation but was an act of PRESERVATION. For how long? For my life at least. Oh yes, and I hope for the new upstart I managed to "hook" this year. Yes I am quite content to know that another fancier to my passion joins me. Isn't this what being part of a club should be?
Doesn't it just amaze you how a flat, compact newspaper fluffs up so well to consume your entire garbage can? Well finally a light came on...WET IT down to compact it! duh?!
Double-check those Lixit bottle nozzles when you put them in the cage, be sure the ball is down to the tip or water won't dispense. Lost one that way... Otherwise these bottles are real time savers; I change and wash once every 5 to 7 days instead of the old daily change.
Check out those twist in perches, easier to position around a cage and much better for their feet as well as a breeze to wash (plastic).
Order your birds, breeding supplies, catalogs, antibiotics, probiotics, egg food, bands, cages etc. It's never too early. Often times suppliers run out and are back ordered. Don't be disappointed.
Right after our Quad I'll start conditioning for breeding as well as increasing my lights to 12 ½ hours of light. I usually set up my first hens on Christmas day.
Listen at those shows, take notes and ask questions of the other breeders. This chance come once a year to share info and swap ideas.
NO WIN TOO SMALL
Remember to be a gracious winner and loser and that no win is too small. Each is a recognition of achievement from one step to the next. Last year one sixth place win netted his owner the $500 lottery grand prize. This was the breeder's only placement that day and a hell of a lot better than a Best in Show!
GIVE THOSE GIRLS ANOTHER LOOK
Plan carefully your hens for next season. Examine her pedigree, do her brothers and father sing a good clean song, with lots of variety? If not let her go. If she has superior body type all the better, Often times our singers aren't the most beautiful in type and we must depend on our hen line for size and type. The exception here is a hen from a great line who is inbred/ linebred and has a scrappy look, use her, chances are she'll throw better type than herself.
When looking for new blood or an outcross, if possible look for a bird who already posses some of your blood already. A total unrelated outcross is risky. You join millions of random genes together into a huge hodge-podge with years of work to redirect a line of birds. If you study our A.S. breeding plan it involves meshing a great song bird by means of line and inbreeding, not just roller and border but great songed rollers and borders carefully bred within a family to produce a line. After bringing in new singer blood, if the resulting males are an improvement over their sire and the hens male line then retain the sisters to breed from. In theory they carry the fathers song and the promise of her brothers. Those first cross males carry much more diversity. If lucky enough to attain a daughter of a great singer, and hopefully her pedigree is linebred, breed her best sons back to her.
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