records is an essential part of good Canary management. I have a
computer program to track my flock and breeding activities, but use a paper based system
in the bird room and then transcribe the information to the computer
program for a permanent record. Paper based systems are tried and
true, having been used in successful breeding programs for years.
The key here is to have a
system and use it. Keep good, detailed records and keep them up to
Some of the
sections here contain links to forms I've developed. You are welcome
to print the forms and adapt them for your own birdroom.
I keep a calendar
on my desk in which I plan and record various things that happen during the year. This calendar
becomes a sort of diary, or journal, that can
be compared to previous year's calendars for evaluation of the overall success of
the breeding program.
first thing that goes onto the calendar when I set it up for the new
year is the lighting schedule for the birdroom. I
use this for a reference when I am programming my timers each week.
I also record show dates and bird club meeting dates, target dates for
setting up pairs, song training schedules, etc. The note pages in
the back of the calendar book are used to record planned pairings for the breeding
season, and what the hoped for results of the particular pairings will
Linda Hogan, in
her book Canary Tales, states that if your program resulted in 85% of
your total eggs set being fertile, and 85% of those fertile eggs
hatching, and 98% of those hatchlings being raised, you have had a
satisfactory breeding season.
As I build on my
successes, and learn from my failures, these calendars serve to remind
me where I've been and help me plan for the future.
This is an
informational sheet I have on each of my birdroom's inhabitants.
The form describes the individual bird by band number, color, breeder,
and hatch date and has a model to draw out the bird's identifying
The bottom portion of the form is a traditional "family
tree", where the detailed information about the bird's ancestors can be
recorded. The family tree is essential when planning pairings for
the breeding season.
where the bird and its ancestors are identified has enough space to
record the Band Number, the bird's Color, and the Breeder's Last Name. I
also make a note beside any block where the particular bird or ancestor
was a winner at ASC shows, or notations about traits they are carrying.
Breeding Cage Card
This 4x6 card is
used during the breeding season, with one card used for each nest.
I print it on a page of card stock, and cut out the individual cards,
slipping them into sleeves made from the pages of an inexpensive photo
album. The protected cards are hung on each breeding cage, using a
name badge clip that can be purchased at office supply stores. The
name badge clip has a clear plastic loop that snaps easily onto a cage
wire, leaving the hinged metal clip dangling.
As nesting begins
and eggs are set, dates are recorded on the card to remind me of when
certain events should occur (candling, hatching, banding, etc.).
It also allows for recording the number of eggs that are set, the
number of eggs that are fertile, the number of eggs that hatch, the band numbers of
chicks, etc. You can even note how many chicks are successfully
This card has
been very helpful to me in being organized, and allows me to record and
keep important information which will eventually be transferred into my
computer program. The cards, themselves, would give a breeder good
records if kept in a file box. You could even use a different
color of card for different years or family lines if you wanted to color code your
Song Evaluation Sheet
This sheet is
used during training of the young males for exhibition. It is a
versatile sheet that can be used two different ways. One is to
record one particular male's progression in song, using the space in the
upper right corner to put his band number and the left column to record
the various dates you evaluated him. The second method is to use
one sheet to evaluate a group of singers, writing the date of the
evaluation in the upper right corner and the bird's band numbers down
the left column, making notes about what you hear.
A handy way to know "who" is
"where", or to keep track of which cages need special foods,
is to use
tags can represent different things, such as a certain color indicating
certain family lines. Others can be used to show which cages have
breeding pairs, or setting hens, or are feeding chicks.
the yellow tags hanging at the upper left corner of this small
flight cage. These tags were made by cutting rectangles
out of a plastic report cover, punching a hole in one end, and
cutting a slit to the hole.
fine line permanent marker to write the inhabitant's band
number, coloration, and family line.
If a bird
is moved to a different cage, the tag goes with him/her,
and clips onto her new cage.
tags identify occupants.
these home-made tags seemed like a good innovation at the time, I found that some
birds were determined to peck and pull at the tags until they
were on the floor.
look at the cage tags.
replaced these yellow home-made tags with a sturdy plastic tile,
similar to a bread bag closure, that the birds can't remove.
The new tags are inexpensive and "bird proof"