Staffords do need to be color fed once a year during the summer molt.

Here is an easy recipe to do that.

COLORING FOOD

1 pkg of Jiffy corn muffin mix
3 eggs
Quintrex Redaxanthin (purchase from Nutritional Research 1-800-456-4931)

Take 1 jiffy corn pkg, add 3 eggs. 

Take 3 scoops of Quintrex Redaxanthin (scoop that comes with bottle)
mix with a little hot water to dissolve, add to eggs and corn muffin mix. 

Add water to consistency, put in pan
and bake per corn muffin package instructions. 

Let cool, than cube and freeze. 

Feed a small piece to bird daily during molt.  No need to thaw.
CANARY DIET and what I do during the different seasons

Please note these are only suggestions and what I do during the different seasons;
every breeder has their own ideas on what to feed and what to do

FOOD AND SUPPLEMENTS I USE
Canary seed (70/30%) Herman’s Brothers (Detroit) 810-420-5055
Couscous (bought at health food store)
Higgins Protein egg food (Cede, and Orlux is fine too)
Song Food (Nutrional Research is where I purchase mine 1-800-456-4931)
Wheat germ (I get from health food store)
Tylan, (for illness)  www.RevivalAnimal.com

For nesting material, I use material burlap from a material shop (wash, cut into small squares and pull apart).

www.BirdSupplyNH.com is another good place to buy bird supplies.

FALL
In the fall, I start getting my males into condition (after Thanksgiving).  Having them all in single cages, than every other day giving them a finger treat cup of the following mixture;
I cook up couscous as per directions, I boil 2 cups water, add 1 cup couscous to boil, shut burner off and  put lid on and let sit for 20 minutes. 
Then I mix the 2 cups of couscous
1/4 cup song food
3 cups of egg food (protein egg food, cede, or orlux)
Sometimes adding grated carrot or grated broccoli, or thawed peas, grated hard boiled egg
A little bit quick oats (grocery store)
I add wheat germ flakes about one month prior to breeding start date.

My hens I leave in flight cages and only give them some of the above mixture once or twice a week.
I keep the temperature in my bird room 50 to 60 degrees if possible.  Lights should be 9 hours.

WINTER
Starting in late December, I start raising the lights 15 to 30 minutes per week and start putting the hens into single cages. 

I increase the egg food mixture to the males to everyday and add wheat germ flakes

In January, I trim all nails, trim all feathers around the vent areas, and I frontline (frontline spray, I purchase from www.omahavaccine.com) all birds to prevent mites (than do this again after two weeks).  Usually an eye dropper drop on the preening gland of the birds.

The end of January, I start increasing the temps to 65 to 70 degrees.  And I start giving the egg food mixture to the hens once a day. 

SPRING
In February, depending on when your lights reach 13 hours, the hens will start getting into breeding mode. (I do continue with lights till I reach 14 hours.)   I put the nests and nesting materials into the cages, and when the hens start forming the nests I introduce the males to the hens when the hens are ready.

I inspect each male underneath, they should be swollen and singing super strong.   They won’t be fertile if they’re not swollen, and singing strong. 

I continue the couscous/egg food mixture until the hen has laid her 2nd egg.  Than I stop feeding them the treat and only feed them canary seed while she is setting on the eggs. 

Leaving the male in with the hen is an option.  But at least leave male in until after hen has laid her third egg if possible. 

Hopefully, babies will hatch 14 days later.  At 7 to 10 days of age I will band the babies with closed bands.  And I track them in a book; the band numbers and who the parents are, to keep good records on who’s who. 

Some males are great fathers and others are not.  You have to watch and decide whether to leave male in or not.  I rarely do, I’ve had males kill babies before when they’ve just hatched. 

After babies hatch I feed hen couscous/egg food mixture and I add grated hard boiled egg and grated carrots to the mixture.  I use a salad shooter to chop up eggs, carrots, it makes life easier. 

After babies are 21 days old, I take babies away from mom and continue feeding them egg food until they start eating seeds.  Usually after 30 to 40 days they start hulling the seeds, and you can wean them off of the egg mixture. 

I put a new nest in with the hen to let her start a new nest.   Sometimes she will want to start a new nest while the babies are still in with her, when that happens I just put another nest in the other side of the cage.  Sometimes this is tricky because they’ll want to lay eggs in the old nest under the first babies, or she will start plucking her babies and pulling tails out to get them out of the old nest.  This is always a challenge especially with the Staffords, I rarely have this problem with my glosters. 

SUMMER
After breeding season, I put all hens in flights and let them molt.  I trim all their nails before flighting them, and I do frontline as a precaution to get rid of any mites they might have gotten during the breeding time.

I will feed the molting birds the couscous/egg mixture.

In September I start cutting lights back down to ½ hour less per week until I reach 9 hours.

I always keep my males in separate cages, I never house them together, they will fight, if I’m able, I do stretch out the cages (I have dividers in my breeding cages) and I’ll give them more room to exercise.

For Staffords to color feed during the summer molt:
Bring 2 parts of water to a boil; add 1 part couscous, plus dissolved red coloring agent, shut heat off and put lid on and let sit for 15 minutes or so.   (I use redexathin from nutritional research)
Than I add 2 parts  egg food to the soaked couscous mixture.

CAGES AND DRINKERS
My cages are closed on all sides except for the fronts.  This helps keep all the mess inside the cages.
When I clean the cages (usually right after breeding season and in the fall) I wash down the insides with a bleach and water mixture. 

I always check for dirty perches, and dirty perches are removed when they get soiled and replaced with clean ones.  The perches are than washed in bleach and water and dried.

I use seed tube and water tube drinkers.  Daily I dunk the drinkers in bleach and water, rinse and refill with fresh water.

I use the wooden or plastic twist perches, so they can be removed from the outside of cages easily without disturbing the birds to much.

I use Aspen chips on the bottom of my cages, which I purchase from a store near me and am not sure how available they are across the country.  The phone number I have for the Aspen chip company is 1-800-873-8233 to see if they can be located near you. 

In my cages, prior to adding the chips I put a layer of Ortho 5% dust, which will kill any bugs that might be around the cage area.  Than I add the chips on top. 

MOLTING TIME
Molting time is very stressful on all birds.  I give the birds the egg food mixture.  This is given to the birds every other day during the molting time, than I taper it off when they’re done molting. 

ILLNESS
For illness of birds I do recommend taking your bird to a qualified aviary vet.

Sometimes the feathers on the birds get into the way of the birds expelling.  This happens frequently on the glosters, because of their extremely heavy feathers.  Be sure to trim this area at least twice a year: after molting time, and before breeding season. 

PAIRING BIRDS FOR BREEDING
Stafford’s; When pairing Staffords, you must first always breed a crested to a noncrested, than you must always breed a frosted to a nonfrosted.  Frosted is the white tip on the end of each feather.  The nonfrosted birds have little or no white at the tip of their feathers.  When you breed two frosted birds together you will end up with feather lumps in your offspring.  When you breed two nonfrosted birds together, you end up with very skinny looking sticks with no body type.

You also can never breed two crested birds together because this is a lethal factor and can result in babies dying in the shell, or very weak offspring.

Also, things to know when pairing birds, you try to breed birds to get them as close to the standard for the breed.  Each pure bred canary has a standard that has been established by each breeds club. 
All birds will have some faults, and you never breed two birds with the same fault because this will just intensive the fault and make the fault even worse in the offspring.  You should always breed a bird with a certain fault to another bird that is good in that area. 

Glosters;  When breeding glosters some of the same rules apply that apply to the Staffords accept the fact that you can breed two buff (frosted) birds together in the gloster.  99% of glosters are buff (frosted) birds, there are a small number of hard feather (nonfrosted) birds which the terminology for this type of feather in the glosters is called a yellow.  A hard feather yellow does come in cinnamon yellow, and green yellow. 

Gloster buff birds will come in short feather, medium feather and long feather.  You can breed a short feathered gloster to a long feathered gloster.  And you can breed two medium feathered buff glosters together.  But you never breed two long feathered glosters together.  This type of pairing can produce feathered cysts in the offspring. 

Feathered cysts are feathers that grow underneath the skin and do not penetrate the skin, resulting in lumps of feather under the skin that are very unsightly.  There are several reasons for feather cysts, which are very common in all type birds.  Sometimes it can be in the diet if the birds are lacking nutrients in their system.

The basic color of the gloster is green, and the green feather is a strong structured feather.  
  • Glosters come in the following colors;
  • Green (yellow ground)
  • Blue (white ground)
  • Cinnamon (yellow ground)
  • Fawn (white ground)
  • White (white ground)
  • Light variegated (mostly buff yellow in color, with some dark variegation) (yellow ground)

When pairing glosters you can pair two yellow ground birds together, and you can breed a yellow ground with a white ground together.  But you never breed two white ground birds together, this is a lethal factor and can result in the babies dieing in the shell or if they do hatch be very weak birds.
Champion Bloodlines
by Jan Davie, St. Charles, Illinois
630-878-6068