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Breeding - a local perspective

Although nowadays well over 200 species are being successfully bred in captivity, the four most commonly bred by Maltese fanciers are canaries, budgerigars, lovebirds and European finches together with their mutations, hybrids and mules. Irrespective of their breed, all birds should be encouraged to breed when conditions are favourab1e, this will be influenced by climatic factors and hours of daylight.

Breeding in cages

Breeding in cages ensures that a chosen pairing has the maximum chance of producing youngsters of a particular type or colour for exhibition purposes. Suitable breeding cages can be purchased ready made. However, most fanciers prefer to construct their own according to their requirements, especially where available space is limited.

The Canary

Canaries are not difficult to maintain. They can be kept quite safely in a mixed aviary with other smaller finches. Although relatively hardy, yet they need adequate protection during cold weather.

Breeding Season

The breeding season of canaries is more closely defined than in the case of many other seedeaters. Most of them will be ready to nest in February in our climatic conditions. Although canaries can be bred successfully in aviaries, yet as we said earlier, cage breeding is more common, and prevents the likelihood of cocks fighting each other, but most important, it is imperative for selective breeding. Before placing the hens in their breeding quarters, their claws should be checked, to ensure these are not overgrown. Otherwise, they could puncture eggs or drag chicks out of the nest. Sexing canaries at this time of the year is not difficult since the cocks sing repeatedly to attract mates. Also, on close examination, their vents are enlarged in size. Various systems of management are used for breeding canaries, and a cock can be used with two or more hens if required.

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