It’s molting season in our aviary, which means stressed out birds. We do everything we can to ensure our birds get plenty of rest during this time. We want them to be healthy and strong so they can endure the upcoming breeding season.
Here are some precautions we take during this time:
- We stop ALL canaries from breeding. This is a season of rest for them, so we make sure the canaries are all in flight cages, not the smaller breeding cages. This typically prevents them from breeding.
- We also try to keep an eye on how the canaries are behaving when grouped in flight cages. Any birds that appear to be the “runt” of the group, we take them out and give them a cage of their own. We look out for if other canaries are plucking any feathers or bullying type behaviors. If one canary is too aggressive we will also remove them from the flight cage and give them a space of their own.
- We set the clock on our SunFlex aviary light dimmer for the lights to go out at an earlier time. During breeding season the lights will stay on up until 10:00 PM. Once we stop breeding we reduce the time to 9:30 PM. Then each week we turn the timer back by 30 minutes until the timer is off by 5:00 PM. We also adjust the timer on our radio to shut off at the same time as the SunFlex light.
- We feed the canaries special nutrient dense foods to support the canaries during molting season. High protein and high sulfur foods are best (broccoli, hard boiled eggs).
Now even though we take these precautions, we still encounter birds that get sick and over-stressed. Here are some photos of some tell tale signs of birds that are sick and/or over stressed:
If you click on the pics you can see in more detail the problem with this bird. She has her feathers puffed out and is sitting lower on the perch. She was no longer jumping around in her cage like the other birds. She just sat there with her feathers puffed out. This is a tell-tale sign when the canary is over stressed and not getting enough nutrition. Other birds will be at the floor of the cage, puffed out and not moving. When the birds begin to get that puffy look, it’s important to be quick with supplementing their diet. If you notice the canary is not eating, you must hand feed it.
In these pics Ciro took the canaries and turned them over so he could observe the chest. Upon blowing on the feathers, he could see the chest bone is very prominent. When he touched the chest the bone stuck out, which was a sign the canary was undernourished and sick. These two birds are infected with coccidia (a parasite found in pets that affect the chest of birds). When canaries are sick with this, it’s important that you medicate them quickly because coccidia is contagious and can easily kill off an entire aviary if you don’t act quickly. You will also need to separate these birds from other birds in the aviary.