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  1. #1
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    Kelly
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    Question Canary Behavior - Mating VS Aggression

    We built a fairly large bird habitat and have had great success with a wide variety of finches and thought we would add a canary to the mix. Approximately 1 week ago we introduced one canary. It did very well- followed the other finches and made a soft, short chirping sound- no song. We listened to female canary "songs" on various sites and it seemed that it was indeed a female. We then went to an actual breeder and got a known male canary (Spanish Timbrado Blue) and introduced him last night. Immediately the original canary (brown/yellow) started hopping after him everywhere he went. He did not reciprocate the attention of the original one. Both were silent and they slept side-by-side. This morning the blue male was singing and the original one was occasionally chirping, however now they are taking turns following each other around the enclosure- not openly fighting, but touching beaks while eating and sometimes opening their beaks. There is no mounting but they are whetting their beaks. We're now monitoring them closely and wondering if the original one is indeed a female or maybe a male with a short, weak song? I think by the end of today we will probably separate them- but any suggestions?

    http://www.facebook.com/album.php?ai...8&l=81a1f70824

    Shame on us for impulse buying and not going to the regular breeder.
    Last edited by AgapePaws; 02-23-2011 at 06:53 AM. Reason: add picture

  2. #2
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    Re: Canary Behavior - Mating VS Aggression

    Kelly,
    What you described, sounds like the actions of the beginning of a pair, (male to female). This is not an exact science without visually watching them. Birds that are young also can do what you described in a new environment, to each other and between a younger and older bird. This is a natural dominant display, to submissive behavior as a reassuring response of acceptance or safety. During the onset of spring, and breeding, two birds of the same sex or even opposite can confuse you in their actions. One male may chase and even mount another, simply to establish a dominant position. Same can occur if the female is more dominant, she may mount a male if she feels she needs to put him in his place. The onset of a couple usually begins with posturing, then moves to acceptance by what you described; feeding each other and sleeping near each other. If they are not ready to breed yet; (not in breeding condition due to the big three, (1) Light length = at least 13 hours, (2) temperature and (3) diet. All three of these aspects effects canaries, and moves them into breeding. When they are ready they may just move to mounting, and nest building. Some people think their birds are fighting when in reality they are in the throes of mating. The male will begin to sing vigorously, full throated. He will also chase her around, head down, almost staring at her, while he extends his wings just a bit, and open mouthed. She in turn will flit around and when ready, lower her head and offer herself by flittering her wings. When the hen is not ready and the male is, it will appear as if they are fighting. He will harass her and attack over and over, while she will fight his advances off. When she is ready, she will finally accept his advances, but if she does not, he will continue. This is where it can get dangerous, a male can and sometimes does kill the hen. She can be bloodied, but it is usually from stress of being harassed, and the inability to eat, because she never gets the chance to stand still and eat, from the constant harassment. Keep in mind this does occur in the opposite way as well, meaning the hen will bloody the male because she doesn’t want him or she is not ready. I would leave them together and watch longer since they aren’t harming each other. Observation will tell you what you need to know. You could also remove who you think is the female and place her in a separate cage just outside the other bird. Sit back and watch. If it begins to sing, which should get stronger after it settles, it may be a male. There are distinct physical changes the birds will go thru only at this time of year. Research canary anatomy and understand what the sexual differences are when they become ready to mate. This is the only time you can visually see the differences, the rest of the year they look the same. Every breeder has sexed a bird or two wrong many times, do to this fact. I don’t care who you are, or how much experience one has, there are internationally known canary judges who get this wrong. Also, I have many females who sing the heads off, so this is not a fail proof way either. I even have birds I received from people who had them DNA tested in which were wrong as well. Nothing beats observation or an egg. Lastly to reiterate, if they are getting along and feeding one another as well as sitting next to each other, I would leave them and continue to watch.
    M/R

  3. #3
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    Re: Canary Behavior - Mating VS Aggression

    Rudi~
    Thank you so much for your very in depth response and reassurance. We did read about how to sex them but to be honest, we couldn't see a difference. We will continue to monitor their behavior.

    Thanks again, Kelly

  4. #4
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    Re: Canary Behavior - Mating VS Aggression

    Kelly,
    That is exactly what I was alluding too, many people cannot and you’re definitely not alone. Even very seasoned breeders make mistakes all the time in regard to visually sexing. Unless the bird is in full breeding condition it is not obvious. The male; you hold in your hand belly up, blow the feathers away and you will see what will appear as what you would expect a male to look like. It will not be pronounced but will be small and protruding. The female if not in condition will appear the same; this is where mistakes are made. When the female is in condition, she will lose the feathers on her abdomen and what is called a breeding patch will occur. The feathers fall away and part, there then will be a bare skin patch the size of a nickel or quarter. It should appear pink; due to it is now bare skin. This is so when she is set on her eggs, there is no barrier between her skin and the eggs for heat/warmth to the eggs. This also the main cause many breeders have with infertile eggs. They introduce the pairs to early and the male is ready but the female is not in condition yet. They mate, she lays and then sets. Her body, since it is not in condition, has not achieved this patch and the eggs do not receive the needed temperature to incubate. The eggs will begin to but will stall, or rather never develop properly and die. To reiterate from my first response, I would leave them alone and continue to watch. If they are a pair and one or the other is not ready, this will work its way out naturally. They/you may lose the first clutch but this will stabilize for the second. Also, if they are a pair, watch if she lays and then what occurs. Canary hens can be stressed by many things. If other birds are around, she may sit tight and not feed herself. This is where the male must feed her for her to make it. In a good pair this comes naturally and he will. The other problem is, she may not sit at all because of other birds and nerves on her part, and this obviously will not yield young. Good luck
    M/R

  5. #5
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    Re: Canary Behavior - Mating VS Aggression

    I Have 2 Canaries I beleive one is a male and The other is a female when I seperate them one begins calling for the other especially the female when i put them in the same cage the male avoids the female as much as possible the female also attaks the male if he gets too close the male used to sing but now stopped Please tell me Please tell me what to do Thank you in Advance

  6. #6
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    Re: Canary Behavior - Mating VS Aggression

    Try an old test. You can buy breeder cages that have a partition in the center that can be left in or removed; they are around $30-$40. Put each bird in opposing sides with the divider in. Outfit their sides identically and watch them. It will give them their own space, but put them right next to each other. During this time of year, breeding season, the bird’s demeanor will change. Usually it is the male who gets more aggressive, but females can as well. If they are content with this arrangement it will be apparent. If they want to be together they will start sitting close to each other on opposite sides. If you want them to really bond, start adding special items to the males portion only, such as dandelion, spinach, ect., leafy greens, broccoli works also. She will want some and start begging, if he responds, he will start feeding her thru the partition and she will continue to beg. This will create a relationship between them and the partition will be able to be removed. At this time of year be ready, after you remove the divider they will most likely mate.

  7. #7
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    Re: Canary Behavior - Mating VS Aggression

    Thanks Rudi I'll Try to buy a New Cage But Can't 2 big cages next to each other Work ? I have a Round One for the male and a square one for the female . I Think My male isn't agressive at all because when i put them in one cage even in this time of season he is scared to come close he never fights her back He's 2.5 years old the female is 6 months old and I used To give him Food so that he can feed her thru the cages but he never does

  8. #8
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    Re: Canary Behavior - Mating VS Aggression

    Rayan,
    What I said was just an idea. You can of coarse put them togther and see. Seperate cages no mater what type always work. Sometimes even where they can not see each other but can hear each other works as well. Thi is an old way of seeing male readiness to breed creating a territory aspect. Males are territorial and will demenstrate this by singing strong.
    M/R

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