My Canary Housing Set Up
After moving house in 2002, I opted for two separate buildings so the youngsters, when weaned, can be transferred away from their parents, caged individually and the artificial lights brought down earlier to assist the young birds through the molt in preparation for the early shows.
Here you can see the new accommodation for my stud. The cabin at the back will be used for breeding purposes, containing
Eighty plastic cages each around 40cm long, these cages were purchased through Amazon and after some slight modification, I find them invaluable. Each pair will have a triple breeder, single hens a double so, retaining around 24 hens, I will still have ample room. with daylight tubes.
Second Canary Cabin
In the second cabin, I installed cages from my previous bird room. These are constructed from painted timber and measure 35cm in length. I have installed them in an E shape configuration allowing space for 84 cages. Each cabin has a separate light dimmer and heating thermostats, plus extraction fans at both ends. Due to strict planning and development stipulations both cabins had to be sited in not so favorable positions for natural daylight. As such, the lights are fitted.
Living on the edge of open countryside, each cabin is raised ten inches from the ground on railway sleepers. The floor and ten inches up the sides are plated with steel sheets to distract the entry of any vermin. The walls are boarded out with insulation board and the floors are tiled with 30cm ceramic tiles, again to try and deter any vermin and help keep the heat down in summer. The roof is also fastened to the sidewalls with steel plates.
Original Bird Room
I could not find any of my pictures from the original bird-room at my old house. The wooden cages were 14inches x 12inches but the cage fronts were only ten inches high. I do not think the height is necessary. I had a portable flight which was really useful after the breeding season. I still use the original bird-room to house youngsters in the second of my new bird-rooms.
The new housing for my stud will be completely finished for the 2003 breeding season. I found the damp weather produced a lot of condensation on the windows and in the atmosphere so I decided to purchase a dehumidifier. They are quite expensive but I was lucky enough to find a suitable one in the January sales. This made a vast difference to the air inside the cabin, not only were the windows clear, the air was fresh and dry too.
The heating is set to keep a stable temperature of 48 degrees. This also helps the dehumidifier which will go into a defrost mode if operated in temperatures below this and as such will not work as effectively. I wish I had bought one earlier in the year as the damp from all the wet weather had affected the show birds plumage slightly and a few frills and splits had appeared. If you are thinking of buying a dehumidifier, one thing to look out for is where the air is expelled from the machine. I found with mine it is expelled upwards from the top of the machine hence creating a bit of a draught. This is clean filtered air but obviously does not want to be blowing near to your stock. I understand some machines also expel air from the side so if you have a confined space this might be worth looking into. For a small set up this dehumidifier will do, but for a larger set up you’ll want a dehumidifier that will keep your birds’ air quality in tip-top shape, like this one.
Housing & Equipment
A moderate shed of around 12 x 8 should be adequate for most and some of those available are very aesthetically pleasing and can become part of the garden landscape. Even if space is tight and you have to go for a smaller shed.
Think out the layout, the size of the cages and even a small flight if possible. If you have space for the larger shed (12×8) you should comfortably fit in at least fifty cages and a small flight. This will give you ample room to develop your stud over the future years. Apart from the Yorkshire Canary and perhaps the Parisian Frill, cage fronts need only be 10 inches high, which will enable you to go five cages high. An ideal length is between 14 and 16 inches.
For breeds like the Crest, Gloster Corona and Frills, I am a believer in one bird per cage. At show time the chance of a good exhibition bird becoming spoilt by feather plucking is eliminated if they are housed in single cages.
Flight cages can be tucked away in all sorts of places and are so useful for groups of hens or youngsters. Blocks of cages can be made easily from plywood four or five long, which can be converted into flight cages by removing dividers.
The first bird room I had I built myself and got a lot of enjoyment and satisfaction from the task. Nowadays it can be cheaper to buy one purpose built. Better still if you have a garden shed already surplus to requirements that can be converted. Second-hand cage blocks are also regularly advertised for sale in the UK in the weekly paper, Cage & Aviary Birds. Also, check out your local Cage bird Auction. The non-exhibition side of our hobby is thriving and these places are an Aladdin’s cave for bargains like seed hoppers and drinkers, nest pans and the like.
Points to consider before bringing your birds home –
- Lighting is very useful, so a power supply to the bird-room is essential.
- Insulation of the housing to keep the internal temperature stable is a plus.
- Windows allowing early morning sunshine into the bird-room are useful and you cannot have enough air vents to allow fresh air access.
- If possible the bird-room should be raised at least ten inches above ground level, enough for cats to crawl underneath and hinder access for bird keepers enemy number one, the mouse.
- Any opening window should be covered with a wire screen to stop access into the bird-room by cats or hawks. A wire inner door can also be useful for summer months but I would make the lower half solid and only the top portion wire mesh.
- The internal décor of the bird-room is an individual choice but practical applications have an advantage especially where hygiene and cleanliness are concerned.
Above you can see the interior of my breeding room. The cages are made of plastic and can be built to form any length of flight cage. The manufacturer recommends no more than four high.
Perches and Feeders
A wooden twist on perches is preferred.
The cage front has a large square feeder hole to accommodate the continental style feeder supplied with the cages. This feeder projects into the inside of the cage and the bird must perch on it to feed. I prefer conventional seed hopper. This fits nicely over the hole and allows plenty of access for feeding. Crests are not damaged by being forced through small feeding holes. I also favor the tubular drinker at the breeding time, as the open top hat drinkers tend to fill with nesting material and food. A wooden twist on perch is placed beneath the seed hopper.
A few essential items
- Baths come in all sizes, here are two example baths. Open baths can be messier but some birds are reluctant to enter an enclosed plastic bath.
- Egg food dishes (my rack holds around 20), a seed hopper, nesting material, and nest pan.
- A must for all bird-rooms – Mite repellent. This is available in an aerosol spray and powder as seen here. It is also available in liquid form.
- A corner of your shed can be used for training young birds for the show-bench.
Looking for a complete how-to guide? Be sure to read Common Canary Breeding Problems, Concerns and Care