A NEW DIMENSION INTO FIFE CANARIES.I have kept and bred most species of birds throughout my life.I had budgies for over 20 years, both breeding and showing. However, after visitiong Newark Bird Show back in 2003, I spotted a pair of diminitive Fifie Canaries. At that point I started to focus my attention to these eligant birds. I bought all the necessary equipment I needed to begin my new passion.On arriving home, I set up my cage, added a nest pan and nesting material.After about 10 days, the hen produced me my first egg. I stored this in a small cardboard box, filled with cotton wool and replaced her egg with a dummy. Over the next 5 days she produced an egg every day. I took care of these eggs, turning them as necessary. On the 6th day I set the eggs back into her nest. On the 14th day I found the egg shells shrewn accross the cage floor. I thought,time for the soft food; - no problem! She reared all 5 chicks along with the cock bird. When the chicks were about 3 weeks old she went to nest again, 4 this time. (If only every pair were the same!)As I was coming up to retirment we decided that if they were any good we would take it up as a pastime so I went round to the next street to a young man who I knew kept canaries and ask him if he would look at the birds to see if they were any good for showing.The man in question was none other than Gerald Spencer one of the most prolific winners at specialist fife shows around the country.I remember his dad Herbert Spencer visiting my place in the sixtys as he bred budgies and bringing Gerald with him ( he was a lovely little lad then)However I explained what we intended to do , and would he mind looking at the birds we had bred. His comments on seeing the birds was they might be ok at small shows but would struggle at the specialist fife showsBy this time it was the begining august and I asked him if he had any birds for sale he explained that he did not sort his stock out until october and that he would have some for sale then! I asked him if he could let me have four pairs and would he match them up for me which he very kindly did.After seeing his set up I decided to replicate but on a smaller scale and fitted the birdroom with twenty one breeding cages the shed size is 10+6 I added two extractor fans and a air purifier and of course a radio.2004 our first proper breeding season being inexperianced we started too early resulting in clear eggs resulting in a poor season 23 birds bred we had a little success on the show bench however Durham ffcc. best novice green best novice allied to white./2005 two cocks aquired from Gerald a bit better season this time 50 birds bred and a bit better quality picking up a few first prizes and best novice green again at Durham ffcc.2006 a good breeding season 70 birds bred and of much better quality resulting in specialsat North West ffcc second best novice and best novice green.North wales pens ffcc best opp sex best novice three colour specials self green. h/v green. best varigated. Durham ffcc best novice varigated. North of England ffcc best novice and best novice h/v green, there was 300 novice birds our best win so far!! My Wife Marlene. trains all the birds for the shows and does a very good job at that!! Marlene was never interested in all the other birds until we got the Fifes. She gets all the birds used to the show cages. Someone once laughed at her for talking to the Fifes but it's actually paid off, they are so calm when they change cages! The birds are that used to her now, that they use her as an extra perch when she changes their food and tends to them.2007.slow start lost quite a few youngsters for no reason from a few days old to fourteen days old picking up now but we are at the wrong end of the season used!! up all the valium, however the birds we have bred seem to be the right quality.2007 breeding season over, 50 chicks bred some of which seem promising.2007 show season first show shropshire seems a tad too early for us however its been good training for the birds quite a !few not ready headwise shoulld be ok in a couple of weeks, four firsts few seconds and thirds best flighted!! it was a new show hall, very good lighting, very well run !! we have shown at all the major fife shows bit of an up and down season birds have been winning and placed in decent sized classes but were not in tip top condition until december! picked up best variegated at durham. the show season is over for us birds are in the flightes getting them fit for breeding! jan 22 all the hens are in fine form we are moving them about now trying to hold them back we are looking forward to the breeding season we will keep you posted !! Jan 20 cocks moved into breeding room they are all singing we have stepped up the seed mix to 25% condition seed 75% mixed canary the hens will be moved into the breeding pens the second week of Feb they will tell us when to add the nest pans when they start trying to make a nest in the floor covering! MARCH 2008 hens are building nests are laying but with the cold weather some are not showing any interest at all. April 2008 the season has started in ernest a better start than last year mostly greens up to now but we are pleased with the quality !! July 2008 breeding season over, we have achieved our target of 50+. Some of the early round youngsters seem to be a bit special, especially the greens.Looking forward to the show season! 1st show will be Shropshire & Salop, sunday12 october,The year seems to flown since packing the show cages away to now! one or two prominant fanciers have left the hobby lets hope we get some new replacments. Since our problem with the sparrow hawk one or two people have been in touch saying the same thing has happend to them .Shropshire ∧Salop 20 birds entered on opening the carriers we found quite a few flight feathers on the cage bottoms however the birds did quite well gaining 4 firsts 4 seconds and 18 out of the 20 in the cards!!October 26 NWFFCC second show for us we are quite pleased with the results 15 birds entered -3 firsts 4 seconds 3 thirds 1 fourth 2 fifths 1 sixth 1 seventh-- fourth and fifth best novice and best h/v green!! November 9 North Wales FFCC monsoon weather rain sto as rms all day results were=2nd in var yellow cock first time he as been beat 2and;3 in a very strong class of h/v buff cocks 2nd in h/v buff hens, 1and;2 in a very good class of self greens 1st in self green buff cocks there were ten in this class!! next show is the North Of Englands FFCC there is over 1200 birds entered . November 16 North of England FFCC What a show this is some of the best birds in the country were at this show there were classes of 40+ anyone who as not been to this show should put it in their diary for 2009 and visit!. we were quite pleased with our results we had three firsts and most of our others in the cards the white cock in our picture gallery won his class also his sister a white hen won hers our other winner was a h/v green yellow cock and is unbeaten up to now!! Next stop Durham FFCC! December 14 Durham FFCC This is a nice show run by nice people there were over 500 birds this was our fifth year showing there and we have won a colour special every year our two whites brother and sister won and we thought unlucky not to win best allied to white however our h/v green yellow cock won best h/v green this young bird as gone all through the show season unbeaten!! all the birds will now be moved into the flight cages we will start to feed vitamins and tonic also soft food and soaked seed twice a week in the run up to the breeding season. January 2009 the birds are more advanced in breeding condition than they were this time last year we may start a bit early as i may be going into hospital sometime in march so if we can get them going it might save a few problems but we cannot force them to breed we have heating and lights so we will hope and see! Feb 2009 the birds are in really good condition far in advance of last year the cocks are rocking and rolling and the hens are building nests and laying eggs this is the start we was hoping for! March 2009 We have our first batch of youngsters weaned and rung and now have 12 hens at various stages rearing sitting eggs and laying and a few hens in the flight going mad to breed these are kept as spares in case anything goes wrong we tried a new addetive about 8 months ago OREGO STIM. and we are surprized at the fittness of the birds they have been in breeding condition since mid january the recommended mix is 10ml to 2 1/2 ltrs of water however our birds seemed a bit loose so we lowered the strength to 7ml and every thing seems fine and we have some nice healthy chicks as a result!! May 2009 The season as gone so quick its unbelievabl, We now have over forty youngsters and another six nests to come, hopefully we will finish at the end of may and all the young birds will be transfered to the outside flight until the first week in August after which they will be brought in for training ready for the show season! July 7 all the youngsters are in the outside flight bathing every day the breeding room as been stripped-washed down and sprayed with an insecticide ready for painting! We aim to be completed by the first week in August the youngsters will then be brought in for training ready for the show season.This will be our first season as champion exhibitors and we are looking forward to meeting old friends again. the fife fanciers are a very sociable set of people.August 3 forty two youngsters moved from outside flight to breeding room ready for training !! Marlene takes over now she will have the birds bomb proof in about a month we will be showing in the champion section this year so we need to give the birds that bit extra training so that they will have every chance!! October 11 2009 Hull Canary Club our first show of the year in the champion section we were quite pleased with the results 16 birds shown 11 in the cards! all in good sized classes, first with self green yellow cock winning a specialist club special for best champ fife one second four thirds one fourth the rest up to seventh all in all a good result for us! October 25 our first show in the champion section at the North West Fife Fancy Canary Club well over six hundred birds entered a lot of the top champion exhibitors in the country where there our results were Clear yellow cock fourth in a class of seventeen-Clear yellow hen third in a class of twenty one-Variegated yellow cock second in a class of twenty seven the third bird in this class was best in show at Shropshire Variegared buff hen third in a class of twenty six-H/v green yellow cock second in a class of nineteen- Green self yellow hen sixth in a class of twenty three-Green self buff cock third in a class of eighteen -We are pleased with these results as the competition was very strong! This is a well run show and well organised. Best in show at this event was a well marked H/V green yellow hen well presented by Graham Holdsworth a novice exhibitor.Nov 9 North wales 630 birds entered strong teams from all over the country not much rain for a change our results were! Clear yellow cock seventh in a class of twenty one -Clear yellow hen fifth in a class of nineteen-Variegated yellow cock third in a class of twenty four-H/v green yellow cock third in a class of twenty seven-Green self buff cock first in a class of nineteen ! another show in the champ section under our belts once again we are pleased with the results!! November 15 North of England FFCC just short of fifteen hundred birds some of the top fifes in the country were there! some of the classes in the champion section were in the fortys and fiftys our results were-Clear yellow cock seventh in a class of forty seven Clear buff hen sixth in a class of forty five-Variegated yellow cock fourth in a class of fifty four a bit dissapointed with our greens however this is the fife show of the year and a lot of seasond exhibitors were not in the cards! November 29 Midland FFCC this was their second annual show with an increased entry of 960 birds once again all the top exhibitors were there from all over the country, We were well pleased with our results H/V green yellow cock first in a class of thirty four and second best champion h/v green the best h/v green was best in show--Self green yellow hen first in a class of thirty seven and second best champion green--Self green buff cock first in a class of twenty eight and third best champion green---Self green yellow cock sixth in a class of twenty nine once again a very good result for us!! December 13 Northumberland&Durham FFCC. once again we were pleased with the results- H/v yellow cock first in a class of sixteen--H/v yellow hen first and third in a class of nineteen--H/v buff cock first in a class of fourteen This bird won the colour special for best h/v green --H/v buff hen fifth in a class of seventeen--Green self or foul yellow cock seventh in a class of nineteen --Green self or foul buff cock first in a class of fiteen this is the last show for us we will now put the hens into the breeding pens ready for next year if next year is as good as this year we will be delighted!! Jan 24 2010 all the pairs have been selected for the first round and are in thier breeding cages the hens are in fine form up to now we have four nests built the cocks are singing thier heads off this in turn helps bring the hens into breeding condition, we have been giving soaked seed and soft food apple and broccilli every other day for the last two weeks this wil be given every day if and when the chicks hatch we are looking forward to seeing the results of our pairings as our birds are of better quality this year April 1 the breeding season is well under way with one or two minor upsets one hen hatched six youngsters last week and by the end of the week had thrown them all out and started to nest again but we have to take the rough with the smooth! the good side of our hobby far outweighs the bad days We have had one or two young hens leaving their eggs for some unknown reason however even though the eggs seemed cold we have farmed them out and the eggs have hatched so dont throw the eggs away if they have been deserted you may be lucky and get one or two extra chicks!!JULY 2010 the breeding season is over for us finished up with forty chicks some of which have moulted out and we are pleased with the quality! two cocks in particular stand out, All the youngsters are in the outside flight getting built up ready for the show season! October10 2010 our first show Hull Canary Club !! Best Fife best and fourth best champion both green colour specials -first and second in a class of 15 h/v buff cock-first and second in a class of 12 self green yellow cock- first in a class of 11 h/v buff hen there were just short of 400 fifes! October 24 North west fife fancy canary club just short of 600 birds in a very strong champion section our results were-- H/v green buff cock third and fifth in a class of 24- Green h/v yellow hen fifth in a class of 12- Green h/v buff hen seventh in a class of 24- Self green buff cock third in a class of 19. This show as allways was well organised and a must in the Fife show calender!! Nov 14 North of England FFCC a very good entry of quality fifes over fourteen hundred birds! Our results were H/V Buff cock sixth in a class of 41 Self green yellow cock fifth and seventh in a class of 41. Foul green yellow cock seventh in a class of 12. November 21 North wales FFCC.H/V yellow hen first in a class of 24- H/Vbuff cock third and seventh in a class of 18-Self green yellow cock first and second in a class of 16.this winner was Best self green- Self green yellow hen seventh in a class of 23.Self green buff cock sixth in a class of14. Nov 28 Midlands FFCC. Very good entry 1379 birds our results were H/V green yellow cock fourth in a class of 43. H/V green buff cock fifth and sixth in a class of 45. H/V green buff hen sixth in a class of 46. Green self yellow cock fifth in a class of 41. Green self buff cock fourth in a class of 23. we are quite pleased with the results as there were a lot of quality fifes not in the cards!! This show is going from strength to strength and is a must for the fife calender a show well run with friendly people! Feb 22 birds are coming into breeding condition fast its been a problem holding them back the most advanced pairs are laying eggs Marlene has two pair sitting we have checked the eggs and they are all full which is good news as its still early the flighted birds are more forward this year which is strange as the unflighted birds are usually the first to nest we think by the first week in march they will all be nesting fingers crossed !! March 24 The breeding season is well under way we have six chicks weaned and the parents are nesting again for the second round! we have 12 hens at various stages with chicks,sitting or laying.The young self green yellow cock who was best in show at Hull has taken over from his father ,up to now he has mated four hens.his parents have four chicks and if they turn out like him we will be well pleased. June 2011 the breeding season seems to have flown this year The first round youngsters are well through the moult,in the outside flight enjoying the bath and drying out in the sunshine we hung some wire baskets up inside the flight they seem to enjoy playing in them it stopped them plucking at the feathers i think it stopped them getting bored they are like small children if they are kept amused they dont get up to mischief!! October 9 Hull Canary Club our first show of the season just short of 400 quality fifes our results were!! Clear yellow cock first in a class of 19. this bird was second in colour to the best in show .Clear yellow hen sixth in a class of 22 . Clear buff hen second in a class of 21. Variegated buff cock second in a class of 10 .H/V yellow cock third and fourth in a class of twelve. H/V buff hen third and fifth in a class of 11. Self green yellow cock second in a class of 8 all in all a very enjoyable day out !! North Wales f.f.c.c. 13 November 760 birds entered First time it did not rain sunshine all the way!! Clear Yellow cock first in a class of 19 this bird went on to be best champion clear -H/V Green yellow cock fifth in a class of 22-Self green yellow cock fifth in a class of 29. This was the last time David Shelbourne would be running the show! We would like to thank him for all the work he has put in over the years and wish him well for the future. North of England F.F.C.C. November 20 -1490 birds entered . Clear yellow cock fourth in a class of 55- H/V Green yellow cock third in a class of 44- Self Green yellow cock fifth in a class of 49 This show had exibitors from all over England Scotland and Wales the quality of birds not in the cards was outstanding let alone the prize winners all in all a good show of fifes!! November 27 Midlands F.F.C.C this has become the largest fife show in the country with an entry of 1623 birds!! Our results were first flighted Self green buff hen -H/V Green yellow cock sixth in a class 54-Buff cock 10% ticked seventh in a class of 24 - Lots of top class exhibitors who have been consistant winners on the fife circuit had moderate results. having said that its not an easy tasks judging classes of fifty plus.This was our last show as Durham FFCC has been cancelled this year but all being well will continue in 2012! January 2012 here we go again the breeding season is aproaching fast all the hen birds are in their breeding cages and their selected partners next to them ! three hens are showing signs of nesting the cocks are feeding through the gap in the partition slide the nest pans were hung up and gven nesting material two hens built their nests in a day !! up to now the cocks are not pulling the nests apart which sometimes happens. March 2012 breeding season well under way chicks starting to hatch our five year old buff cock doing the business again its the first time we have left him with the hen she only laid three eggs but we have three lovely chicks ! his son first time young cock filled all the eggs, when the hen comes off the nest he's on the eggs straight away ! Marlenes clears are doing well she has chicks and four pair laying and sitting Aug.Breeding season as been over for about six weeks sad news we have lost the old boy mentioned above we checked our records and he has produced since he started breeding at one year old 85 chicks every green bird in our birdroom is related to him ,We have a H/V Green yellow cock his exact double let hope he is as good in the breeding pens as his dad!! October 14 Hull Canary Club 332 fifes our first show this year we had 2 firsts 2 seconds two thirds and best champion green this is the h/v green yellow cock mentioned above this is a nice show run by nice people!! March 2013 hens have been in thier pens about a week four of them have built nests and have been interduced to the cocks up to now there as been no fighting things are looking good!!