One of the methods I have used to increase my knowledge of our entertaining hobby is to locate and visit other hobbyists or fanciers as they are known in the ‘trade’.
As a member of the Brentwood CBS (yet another acronym! stands for the Cage Bird Society for all those uninitiated) I have met many bird breeding enthusiasts and when Jimmy Holgate of Basildon invited me to view his birdroom he didn’t have to ask twice! On my visit I found Jimmy to be very passionate about his Yorkie and Gloster canaries and took great pains to explain to a relatively inexperienced canary breeder the different types of Gloster & Yorkie canaries he has bred over the years. The tips and general knowledge one can pick up is invaluable in assessing and attaining your own breeding successes whether as in this case canaries or in my case foreign finches. However Jimmy did have a couple of pairs of Gouldians and several Bengalese to achieve variety! But Jimmy’s main purpose in life is to show his Yorkies and Glosters which over the years has won him a basket full of rosettes and cups which were proudly displayed in his lounge.
Jimmy believes in feeding his birds a good class of canary seed and to test the seed he makes sure that it can sprout after a couple of days in soak. However Jimmy also pointed out that a quick taste of the seed would tell you that if it is bitter and if bitter the seed should not be given to your birds. I would welcome any comments from other breeders!! He ensures his birds are kept in tip top condition by various remedies including Organic Cider Vinegar (which is fully explained on the health tips page) and a preventative mite treatment called RED STOP.
There are many more tips which will appear in later articles so watch this space