"General Canary Feeding"
From Red Barn Wings Newsletter 11/10:
Feeding Your Canary
Most authorities agree on the best seeds for canary feeding. However this often times isn't in synch with the big feed companies. Why you ask ???? because the feed companies want you to BUY their products! First I do not agree with feeding pellets or extruded feeds to your birds. First when they extrude a pellet or force it through a machine it is usually under high heat and if you do your research you will find that at anything above 117 degrees, food looses much of its vitamin and potential nutrition content. THAT also applies to OUR human food!
If you observe closely a bag of commercial “feed”, one often sees pretty little things of bright colors, that live in the bag pretending to be food .. Do you really think birds in the wild are attracted to neon green or red things to eat… I think not.. The companies include these colorful items in a bag of feed for YOUR eyes, hoping you will think that its pretty or cute or what have you.. Their objective is for you to BUY their product and not the competitions.
I mix all my own feed by buying single seeds and grains in 50 pound bags. If anyone wants to buy feed from me using my custom mixes, I will gladly help out at nearly my cost. Soooooooo what do I feed?
The primary seed for canaries is called “canary seed” !!!! They can survive on just the one seed ….but I do give them other options. Once per day I also include a teaspoon / bird of a seed mix I put together of niger, thistle, rape, safflower, and a few sunflower seeds. One of my best friends feeds nothing but 80% canary seed and 20% niger all year round. I prefer to not mix the seed treats with the canary seed because often in their quest for the oily seeds they will scatter around the canary seed and waste it.
Make sure that you check to see if the feed cup actually has seed in it! Each bird will shell their seeds to eat and often what you are looking at are the shells and all the real seed is gone and they could starve to death! Canaries love broccoli! I feed it daily but only in small amount… they will also eat apples, carrots shredded and many other vegetables… but only feed them what YOU would eat… not junk food!
I am not going to get into medications today ..perhaps that can be left for anther issue… but I cant leave the topic of feeding without talking about PROBIOTICS. Probiotics are simply healthy bacteria that in a perfect world will live in ones intestines and force out all the bad guys. I take probiotics every day myself and also after much research have located what I think is the best avian specific product on the market. A little goes a long way so I feed it every day on top of my soft food veggie mix. The idea is that when the gut, be it bird or beast has a high population of healthy bacteria (ie probiotics) in their system then there is no where for the “bad germs” to hide. Probiotics is not a medication and you can't overdose on it. What would you rather feed, a healthy product or a drug??? Think about it! The name of this probiotic is called AVI-CULTURE. I will share some details below, it is also included on my web site for ordering purposes. I believed in it so much I inquired about becoming a distributor and as of yesterday I have been accepted as the New England distributor of AVI-Culture. My first shipment is due in about a week if anyone is interested in the product.
"Soft Food Feeding": Here at Red Barn Wings we feed soft food year round. Prior to breeding in late winter, we give soft food 2-3 times per week .. this creates many advantages... the major advantage is that one can mix a variety of vitamins and probiotics into the soft food which most canaries relish. Soft food is given to all youngsters after hatching until weaning and at this point the frequency is less ..however we do continue as stated earlier year round. Most soft food "formulas" are based on 15 minute hard boiled eggs along with other additives. A good friend Marvin Walton has been using Purina pellets as a substitute for eggs with good results. Starting in 2010, we chose to substitute cooked quinoa in place of eggs, also with good results.
"Color Feeding" is an extension of soft food feeding. Note that most if not all color breeders that breed red canaries color feed with a red color food. Red color food should never be fed to a YELLOW OR WHITE canary. Most breeders will mix color food with their soft food, although some manufacturers suggest it can be placed in the drinking water. I have tried mixing with water and for a couple of reasons, no longer use this method. First it makes for very messy and dirty water containers and secondly it can possibly create a bad bacteria situation.
If you want all your young red canaries to grow out all red feathers including wing flights and tails , one must start feeding color food immediately upon hatching. If one waits until the young canary starts to molt in the fall (Canaries as a species do NOT molt wings and tails until the second year), then the canary in question will be red but it's wings and tail will remain yellow. (See photo below of a red frost male that was not color fed until it's fall molt, note yellow tail and wings).