Select the aptitude to breed !
Let's first review the value of the word "Breed":
- Provide the care necessary for the development of someone, of an animal, from its birth to a certain point of completion: Breeding your young.
- Nourish, maintain its existence until it has acquired a certain strength.
- Feed and protect animals or plants to promote their development.
The zebra finch is naturally a formidable breeder. Laying, brooding and feeding go smoothly. The couple (both the female and the male) are enthusiastic about it, are completely busy raising their brood.
As an anecdote, I will always remember a father who after the loss of the mother, had given everything to finish raising their offspring. I have the image of this devoted male who could not take it any longer, who waver at the end of the day in front of me, but tirelessly continue to feed his young until weaning. I gave him all the care possible to support him during this period.
1. Role of the breeder
There are sometimes bad parents, who do not brood, who do not feed. They are rare in the zebra finch.
However, we can sometimes see the practice of bringing up by adoptive parents (couples of zebra finches dedicated to this task or Japanese sparrows).
This practice does not jeopardize this ability ! Can this drift help "fix" mandarin diamonds "defective" in front of one of their primary faculty ? ..
The role of us breeders is to cultivate, preserve, perpetuate, and even reinforce this beautiful natural ability !
2. Lived experience
I am going to tell you about a lived experience which led me to understand the right way to keep this quality in a zebra finch :
I experienced an interruption in my passion for zebra finches for 5 years.
The recovery was difficult, the most complicated was to find good starting birds. I ended up acquiring a strain of gray black chest that I liked. The beginnings were very complicated in terms of fertilization, number of births and above all almost non-existent feeding.
So I thought a lot about dealing with these problems, looking for solutions. Thanks to only 2 gray females with good breeding qualities (fertility, good brooding, good nourishment), year after year I have been able to regenerate, reinforce these aptitudes of good breeder by making carriers with these 2 females.
I have also observed them a lot, for example to know their preferences for the nest, its placement and the type of nest.
So I fought for several years to succeed in improving the breeding ability of this strain. To the point of making it a guideline.
What I learned from it: The ability to breed correctly is selected !
I then started my current strain of gray on these bases. The chosen starting zebra finches had to know how to raise! Be autonomous.
For that, one of my first questions to the breeder was "Was this zebra finch was fed by its own parents ?" The observation at the breeder was also important, seeing broods raised by their own parents reassured me. Remembering the layout and the type of nest used can also be useful, in order to recreate the same conditions if necessary in the event of breeding difficulties with the subjects acquired from this breeder.
If, on the contrary, I saw a large number of nurturers .. I asked questions: "What is the goal and why do you have nurturers ? Difficulty of brooding, of feeding ? To multiply the number of a good couple, but raise- does he !?
For me, raising with feeders allows birds that do not know how to properly breed (brood, feed) to perpetuate this non-faculty. This should not become a common practice.
A clue which may put you "the flea in the ear": A zebra finch which was breaded by sparrows from Japan can be recognized by its twittering which will be that of the adoptive parents.
The passage of young from one nest to another (from one pair of parents to another) must be exceptional: Death of one or more parent (s), large brood, etc.
On the other hand, I would say that in the case of a couple (considered exceptional) who have already bred without problem, which therefore has a good aptitude for breeding. We can consider passing eggs to other couples, in order to multiply the beautiful subjects. In this case, we can say that it is in the right direction (we are perpetuating good breeding).
This ability should not be taken for granted by the species, and in my opinion, above all, do not divert the problem with foster parents. A shortcut that generates breeding problems in the long term, or even strains that no longer breed where with difficulty.
What interest to have zebra finches that no longer know how to grow. It is so nice to see the birds raising their own offspring without questioning. So even if it means hurting yourself, separating yourself from certain subjects, this direction is the right one.
It is a behavioral aptitude as selectable as any other criteria (type, designs, etc.).
In my opinion, in the construction of a strong and healthy strain, which has these natural qualities that the breeder must preserve! The long term is to be expected. Which often implies a long work. Patience and perseverance, without subterfuge such as breeding by foster parents (dedicated zebra finch or Japanese sparrows). In breeding, you must never forget heredity.
I give you the proof, you will not see any foster in my breeding. All students their own young people, and it continues.
The ability to breed well is to be taken into account in your selection.
Tony Lombard, amateur breeder of selection.
Article published in 2021.