Saturday, May 06, 2006

Canary News

Katha Sheehan, the Key West Chicken Lady and our "canary consultant" stopped by this afternoon to look in on Arnold and Peaches, our canary pair that occupies the second floor cage of our aviary. They've both been looking unwell, puffed up it seemed, and wobbly on their perches. Peaches, the female of the pair, seemed more stressed than Arnold. They were cagemates with Sunny, who died a few weeks ago from unknown causes.

She made several recommendations for things we might do, beginning with adding a drop or two of vinegar to their drinking water, in case they're exhibiting symptoms of a fungal infection. She suggested that we throw out the rest of their songbird food, as it smelled a little off. Songbird food is an oily seed mixture that can turn bad if kept too long or if let get too warm. Canaries like heat when they are sick, so we moved the cages to the French doors to the patio where they'll get sun and warmth. Now that we're into the warm season and will be using the air conditioner more, it's a better spot for them as it gets them out of whatever draft is produced by the a/c and the overhead fan.

Downstairs, there's excitement as Zöe begins to make a nest, with some help from Joey. Nest building indicates that Zöe is ready to mate. They've started the nest a couple of times then pulled it apart to begin over again. Typical behavior, the books say. Janet is excited at the prospect of babies. We're down to four canaries now, two pair, now that Sunny is gone. The books say that Zöe could produce as many as six eggs, although 3-4 is more typical.

Janet is using the Handbook of Canaries by Dr. Matthew M. Vriends, as a guide. Copyright 1980, but still full of good information.

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