Our Canaries Have Chicks!

Our Canaries have been singing their hearts out as the breeding season gets into full swing.
About four weeks ago we separated the males from the females. The males are generally the singers so based on this we separated them from what we thought were females (non singers). Male Canaries can become aggressive as the longer days of spring trigger natural breeding behaviour which involves homing in on a female and chasing her around the cage. For successful breeding results both male and female birds should come into the breeding cycle at the same time. After two weeks of separation, we introduced a male bird to a female and placed an artificial nest pan into each cage along with nesting fibres that are made up of raw cotton and soft wood fibres.

Canary Chick Nest
A ball of fluff – the diameter of the nest cavity is 5cm | The chicks showing the feeding reflex

Nesting: The females had previously shown signs of wanting to nest by carrying nesting material and feathers in their beak. Two of the pairs made their nests within a day – which was rather quick and the first egg was laid two days later. One of females laid a single egg every day for 6 days, the other laid four. Both started to incubate their eggs once the clutch was complete – ensuring that all fertile eggs hatch on the same day thereby increasing the chances of survival of individual chicks. This is very different to our parrots which lay an egg every alternate day and incubate from the first day that the first egg is laid. Hence a nest of parrot chicks is made up of birds at various stages of development and usually the strongest chicks will survive so it is not uncommon for only one or two chicks to survive to fledge from the nest. The incubation period for canaries is just 14 days.

The First Eggs Arrive: Our first clutch of eggs hatched on Easter Sunday and the other pair are four days behind. The female left the nest briefly today so we were able to take some pictures of the chicks which were tiny as they hatched from eggs that are barely 15mm in length. We could make out at least five heads from this nest but there may be six which would make this a large brood from a female that has nested for the first time. The males feed the females throughout the day while the female sits tight on the nest and keeps the eggs/chicks warm. The chicks should fledge from the nest after 15 – 17 days and will be independent at 31 days of age – capable of feeding by themselves. We will update the progress of the chicks in the coming weeks.

Female and Male Canary
The female gets back into the nest after a brief break | The male showing off his frilly feathers

Our Canaries are a rare breed known as Fiorino Frills. Different to classic yellow Border Canaries as they have frilly feathers and look rather glamorous! Frill Canaries originated in Holland in the 1800’s and the Fiorino Frill variety was developed from these birds in Firenze, Italy and was recognised as a show variety of Canary in 1982.