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We hope you gain a broad overview about breeding canaries.

Should we separate hens?

These lovely hens below are mother/daughter. Sometimes one can choose to have them nest in the same cage with no divider and share the same male. This was the case here. It was really funny that the mother did not work on her nest at all, but the daughter did. The first day of laying we were surprised with both hens choosing to lay in the finished nest, at exactly the same time of the morning (7:30am) and we had to quickly build a nest for the other hen and move one egg. After that, they were fine and they laid every day except one (they both skipped laying the same day). All their chicks hatched pretty much together and later on, when they were old enough to venture out of the nest, we would find them moving from nest to nest. At times all the chicks were in one nest and then on the other. The mothers did a great job timesharing and feeding each others babies. This is not always possible, however, and one must be prepared to place a divider in the cage if there is fighting, but it makes sharing one male easier.

General Guidelines.

Generally, if you color feed, red factor canaries must be separated from canaries that are not color fed, otherwise, it is not possible to keep some birds from eating the color food or drinking the color water. The only exception can be a double recessive white canary. These lack the genes which would be affected by the colorant. You may be able to foster a red chick to a white hen and allow her to feed color food.

Should males stay in the cage?

If we are short of males and need them to fertilize another female they are moved back and forth. Generally the female appreciates being fed by the male while she incubates. However, not all of them need it and some are annoyed by that. We've only had one male agreesive enough to disturb the female during these two weeks. Most are helpful. Our procedure is to leave them there and we find them extremely good fathers when the chicks are born and most of the time they take over when the hen starts to lay the next round of eggs, about the 17th day or so.

red bronze in flight
These are mother/daughter hens incubating their 6 eggs each.

On the right is a picture of one of them with the help of the male, feeding the chicks.

Notice that this is a very secure way to hold the nest on the cage. It also makes it easy to remove in order to check the eggs, hatchlings, and to clean the nest later on.