It is time to bring our birds into breeding condition by feeding less carbohydrate and more protein. Haith’s have a good range of egg foods and conditioning foods and we also recommend our newly improved Prosecto Insectivorous mixture, even for those birds we consider seedeaters. Just sprinkle a little over the bird’s normal diet to increase the variety of nutrients available. No bird in the wild is completely dependent on seed.
Bring your birds into breeding condition with:
February - March
As the dim winter light begins to brighten so the behaviour of our birds should begin to change. While cock birds may be going through the motions of feeding the cage bars and ends of perch ends, the hens may seen squatting or hovering over the perches and calling as if to demand attention of the cocks. It is a good sign that they are interested in breeding but hold back for a couple of weeks before introducing any nesting paraphernalia. Experience tells us that early clutches are less successful than those that are delayed until April arrives. During this time the softfood, fruit and vegetable routine introduced last month can be increased to once every two or three days.
As the weather warms up and daylight increases in April we should be seeing wild birds feeding on young plant shoots and buds; a combination of factors that triggers their breeding cycle. We have already begun to mirror this behaviour and introduced softfoods to our captive birds but now we must increase the softfood and cut back on the high-energy winter Conditioning Seed. For those who did not pair up their birds in late March, now is the time to do it and we can introduce the nest pans or bowls and ensure that the linings fit snugly in order to prevent mishaps.
April - July
The wild common greenfoods normally offered such as chickweed and dandelions, are ready to be picked as further supplements to their diet and softfood can also be offered daily. Frequently sitting hens will not take softfood, preferring their basic seed but as soon as the eggs are due to hatch, softfood should be available to enable it to be fed to the youngsters. On hatching, a three-times daily routine for softfood feeding is customary, with regular removal of any surplus to prevent its becoming rancid. At five days of age, soaked and sprouted seed – like Haith’s Easisoak Seed - can also be given, with some bird-keepers adding chopped greenstuff to the softfood. Haith's Easisoak is a blend of seeds chosen for their ease of germination and suitability for both soaking and sprouting. Continue with this diet until the young are five or six weeks old which is usually just into July. By that time, the first signs of moult may be evident and it is time to wean youngsters onto hard seed.