Having spent time setting up suitable housing, now is the time to go collect your stock. November onwards is the preferred time for stock disposal so presuming you purchase your birds at this time they will have six months to settle in before the breeding season. Hens will be happy in small groups with the cock birds housed on their own in double breeders.
The supplier of your birds should verse you with his/her management techniques, which will help maintain the general health of the stud, but you will soon stamp your own mark and develop your own management system, which must fit in with your lifestyle. Your birds will benefit greatly from a routine.
I would be cautious about buying birds direct from an auction but useful contacts can be made for the future. If it is a stud of exhibition birds you wish to develop then the established breeders of your chosen variety must be sought out. The better the quality stock you can buy from day one the better chance there is of developing your exhibition stud. Nothing is guaranteed though, and the National winning cock paired to the club show-winning hen does not guarantee instant success, plus there would be a terrific cost involved if these birds were available. The Crested Canary has a small but dedicated following in the US & UK and there are probably more birds available for sale today that has been for many years.
The price of birds is always a bone of contention. My personal view is that some well known established champion breeders do not help the hobby by asking high prices for their stock. A newcomer is more likely to buy a few more pairs if the price is right, providing them with a better start to become the Champions of the future. In recent times this has come to light in the fact that only one Champion entry was present at the UK’s leading show.
The space available for housing will be a major factor in how many pairs to start with. With breeds that require a crest and non-crested bird to form a breeding pair I would recommend 10 pairs, to begin with, but no less than 6. Purchasing two or three pairs could bring disappointment and the constant need to bring in an outcross. The desired pairing is crest to crest-bred and the resulting offspring will be a mixture of both.
No one factor can predict the crest to crest-bred or male to female ratio of the youngsters. In 2002 I had a situation where 80% of the young were crest-bred cocks. I have read that the young should be a 50/50 mixture of heads and opposite sex but am yet to see this transpire within my own stud. Good luck with your chosen hobby and I hope you find the rest of this website of some interest.
Looking for a complete how-to guide? Be sure to read Common Canary Breeding Problems, Concerns and Care
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