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The Calcium reserves of a Zeba Finch Scientist reported that zebra finches will deplete the calcium reserve after the 5th egg. The study showed a five-egg clutch has a total calcium requirement of 89 mg, but the total calcium reserve of a female is only 90 mg.
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The most common problems during the breeding season are - clear eggs; - eggs (chicks) which die before hatching; - chicks which die in the first few days of life.

Clear (infertile) Eggs

Clear eggs are the eggs which never begin development because of being infertile. The problem is usually found in the first round. Wrong breeding preparations are the reasons for this.The testicle in the cocks get quiescent during the shorter daylight periods. Breeding activity reawakens them and they begin producing sperm and testosterone at a higher level. If a male is mated to the females too early, the complete development is not yet complete. The same applies to a too early mating, in which the development of the reproductive organs are also not completed. While this process is under way, there is often a low sperm count and a lower sex drive in females. Frequently the breeding vigor and frequency is decreased as well a there being diminished sperm in the ejaculate. Also the weather can plays some role in this. Colder, darker periods increase the problem. These influences leads inevitably to unfertilized eggs.

Death in Eggs

- Eggs which begin developing but fail to fully develop and die in the shell can be the result of several things. Poor incubation can cause embryo death. - Eggs getting jarred excessively at critical points of development may also lead to death in egg. - Not infrequently is an infection in the egg the most common cause. The infection may be incorporated in the egg by females having an oviduct infection. But more infections occurs through the shell. The last mentioned cause is more frequently. Eggs can come into contact with feces direct after laying or another frequently reason is defecating in the nest or tracking feces in the nest on their feet. During damp periods, nesting material often gets high numbers of bacteria in it from parents tracking feces and the dampness and warmth of the sitting parents encourage bacterial growth. The higher the numbers of bacteria around the eggs the easier it is to have penetration of the shell and subsequent infection of the embryo which leads at long last to death in the egg.

Chicks dying in the first few days of life

This fact occurs when they are infected either in the egg, resulting in weak hatchlings, or they become infected after hatching. After hatching they can become infected by feeding from either parent. Likewise through bacteria infected nesting material is a bacterial infection possible. That is why it is advisable during damp periods or in countries with a high humidity - as far as possible - to change contaminated nesting material just prior to the eggs hatching as infection enters the squabs easiest just after hatching through the umbilical area which is yet unsealed. To pay attention to the condition of the nesting material during the times mentioned above is therefore an important prerequisite to avoid loss.
<<<TO ENLARGE PLEASE CLICK ON THE IMAGE >>> Here it can be clearly seen that the nest has no bedding that absorbs the moisture. The droppings are moist and do not dry. This can quickly lead to an bacterial infection with death episode.