canaries
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The Pleasure of Raising Canaries

BY DAVID CUMMINGS

Before I choose

Choosing a canary is a rather simple mater. Well, no it isnít! Anyhow, there are many factors in choosing the bird I really want.

Do I want a bird that will entertain me with its song and yet not drive me crazy? Do I want to invest a little money or a lot? How about the kind of canary I want: a certain color, a certain body style or, a certain song type? Yes, (L /J ) there are many things to consider when getting into canaries for the long haul.

How much money do I have?

Talking money first is "gotta" be a bummer, right? Not really. Money is an important aspect in each phase of our life.

It tells us what we can wear, how much we can or cannot eat, what kind of car we could possibly drive, what size of home we can live in and rules many additional aspects of our life. Of course, "the love of money is the root of all evil" and so to be too much into it is not a good thing at all.

Since it is one of the three main factors in choosing a canary, we do have to consider it. So, here we go. If I am going to buy a pair of canaries, I am going to have to have a minimum of $100.00 for the bird and a minimum of $70.00 for a cage and its contents. Feed and treats are going to have to be purchased before I get the birds so I must have an additional $12.00 for that. What this means, is that I am going to have to come up with close to $200.00 before I go to get my first pair of birds.

As a fore thought of getting additional birds, I must realize that I am going to be spending approxi-mately $200.00 for every pair of canaries I purchase.

I am also going to have to have enough money to keep the birds up consistently. How much will it cost me to keep a single pair of canaries? If you go with simply the very basics, you are talking no less than five dollars per month per bird. However, if you increase the number of birds, the cost per bird decreases as the number of birds does. I must realize that for each pair of canaries I raise that I plan to keep, I am going to have to spend approximately $70.00 before their first breeding season arrives.

How much space do I have available?

Boy, is this ever a big factor! I am going to have to be careful how many birds I acquire because I am going to have to have enough room to keep them properly. Each pair is going to have to have its own cage in a place where there is no constant breeze (draft) as if the birds cannot get out of the draft, they will get sick very soon. That will be their death.

What size of cage do I need to house a pair of canaries? As a minimum, I need a cage that is (in inches) 24 long, 18 wide and 14 high. A tall cage that is smaller around will not work, as a canary must have flying room. They do not navigate up and down very well and require straight flight in order for their lungs to properly function. (A canary's lungs function primarily by wing movement. They do not operate the way mammals do.) So, if I am going to have more than one pair, I must have the space to house them at the rate of 24x14 each pair. A bird cannot be housed close to the floor. It must be at least 18 inches above it in order to prevent draft, dampness and rodents from affecting them.

[If you have a dog or cat in the house, it will also have to be considered. Nothing within reach of either, no matter how "good" they are.]

Six pair can be housed in an area seven and a half foot high and five foot wide. I will have to have at least two and a half foot of clear space in front of the cages in order to tend them. These are minimums.

As a note on keeping the young until you decide to keep or sale them, you would be good to have at least one six by six by six foot flight for up to thirty birds or, could house twelve each in flights of three by three by two feet wide. If you are keeping a song variety, you will need additional space. Some "type" canaries will require more space, as they are larger birds.

How many birds do I want?

Do I want to raise from just one pair of canaries? If so, that would mean that I would raise some six to twelve babies each year. Raising from a single pair of canaries will not take much of your time and I would recommend that you start out this way, even if you plan to get into the hobby in a medium or even an in depth manor. You want to make sure that you are actually into the style of birds you have chosen before you invest more into them.

Remember, if you have just one pair of birds you will spend five or six minutes per day caring for your pets. That time will expand to the time it takes to prepare the special mixes the young need during breeding season. I would say that you are talking some twenty minutes two of the days each week of additional time. These to clean cages, inside and out, cut the paper to the right size, give the birds their weekly treats and so forth.

If you are going to keep some twelve pair, you will have to have at least five minutes per pair per day to tend them. Of course, after getting into the "grove" you will find that the time needed to tend them will be less, however, some folk never do get down to less time.

Many of us raise from twenty-five, fifty, seventy-five or up to three hundred pair and of course, there is no way we can spend five minutes per pair. What do we do? We automate, assembly line and or hire help. I automate and assembly line in order to care properly for mine.

© David Cummings

Kanaryman@sbcglobal.net

 

 

 

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