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The finch is a colourful native of Australia and Ray already has 13 chicks with one breeding pair and two other pairs nesting, with more chicks expected.
“It’s my first year breeding with them and they are a beautifully coloured bird, and about as big as my Red Factor canaries.”
The chicks will be sold, but only after they have developed their full colour potential.
Ray is a a member of the Ashburton Bird Club and has spent close to 60 years around birds of the feathered kind.
Each season for the last 10 years he’s bred an average of 70 canary chicks and sells most on after careful nurturing.
His favourite canary variety remains the robust, broad bodied Norwich.
He also breeds Red Factors and for the last three years has bred the skinnier, longer Yorkshire canary.
His aviaries also contain finch varieties, turks and bourkes.
“If you can breed livestock, you can breed birds as well,” said Ray, who is a former farm worker.
Good breeding was about wise bird management, good feed and breeding with fit and healthy birds.
“My birds tell me when its time to breed. The females starts collecting more greens and store it for nest making, while the male birds fly wildly around the cage in anticipation.
“I’ll pair when I think each bird is ready and if it doesn’t work out and they’re fighting, it’s time to try another pairing.”
His birds get freshly made soft food every morning and eat a variety of seed.
There is beach sand in the cages, which offer salt and soft shell, and the birds also get greens and chick weed.
Ray is still weighing up what birds he will put in the Ashburton Bird Club’s sale day on August 8.
The club’s big annual show and sale in June was canned because of the covid situation, so a decent turnout is expected at the Tinwald Memorial Hall bird sale.
The bird and accessory sale runs from 9am until 2pm and everyone is welcome.
-By Mick Jensen