As you embark on a breeding season, here I give you some tips for preparing your zebra finches for the next few months.
Our birds are certainly easy to breed, but perhaps these are details that will encourage reluctant couples to breed or produce more fertilized eggs. This article does not pretend to give the method to prepare your zebra finches for a breeding season but simply to inform about a possible organization for an optimal breeding season. This is the one I put in place.
The selection of breeders was made at the end of the summer. The choice of couplings is of course essential, and always chosen according to the qualities to be improved and defects to be corrected in relation to the zebra finch sought, while trying to respect as much as possible the "rule" of chimmel couplings on intensive and vice versa. It will take the necessary time to form breeding pairs; many criteria must be taken into account depending on its objectives (show birds, working birds, carrier birds, etc.). It has happened that very good animals have not been mated because they have not found the perfect match. Better to be patient than to mate to “number”. Quality will always take precedence over quantity.
In countries with mild climatic conditions and ideal for our birds, this allows them to be reared outdoors or with sufficient light in a room thanks to the sun.
It is different in other countries and depending on the period or the breeder decides to mate his birds. Sometimes to make this period coincide with the holidays or others.
In this article, I describe solutions that I know to overcome the lack of light and give the right conditions to our birds according to the different periods of their life in our breeding rooms.
1. What lighting brings
Suitable artificial lighting can ensure the activation of vitamin D3 essential for the growth of young zebrafinch.
Vitamin D3 deficiency can result in a misshapen or limp beak or paw. Conversely, do not overdo the administration of vitamin supplements which will produce even more harmful effects.
2. What we are looking for when managing the light
This makes it possible to be able to breed in the unfavorable seasons to recreate the ideal conditions. Simulate in some ways at best which will stimulate the birds to reproduction or to rest.
In winter, prolonging the light can also give birds more time to feed in order to withstand low temperatures (I am thinking of the case of outdoor breeding).
Conversely, reducing the length of the day can help calm a bird. For example, an overly excited male who destroys the nest to start a new lay. Giving it a break in a dark place can temper it before another attempt.
The changes in brightness duration between 2 periods must be gradual. Too abrupt a change can cause false moult or unusual behavior. A change of 5 minutes per day is suitable. You will notice as changes in behavior, excitations during the increase of this duration.
3. Solutions to manage light
a) Cycle with 2 programmers and 1 night light
The most economical will be to use 2 programmers (mechanical or electronic) and a night light.
The problem of eggs that do not hatch, despite being fertilized, encountered by breeders gave me the idea of this topic.
The importance of the humidity level during egg development and hatching in our rearing rooms pushes us to find solutions to regulate it, especially during dry periods.
I use an ultrasonic humidifier, adjustable and ideal:
I also use, either in parallel with the humidifier or when there is only a need for a small adjustment of the humidity level, a much less expensive solution: Ceramic saturators (around 5 euros per unit in DIY stores) :
I hang them on the oil bath radiator (which dries the air less than electric radiators of the radiant type or commonly called "Toaster").
The principle of evaporation caused by heat from the radiator works well, however it takes about a day to see the effects.