Generally the new starter should use a pair breeding system, keeping one cock for every hen, until some experience has been gained. Birds are often caged individually throughout the year, and introduced together as pairs from April.
After a few initial arguments, the birds will settle down quite happily and begin nestbuilding, using a supply of moss, felt etc as provided by the fancier. The female will spend increasingly more time in the nest, until one morning an egg is found. Most hens lay four eggs, and begin incubating in earnest once the final egg has been laid. Incubation takes the best part of fourteen days, when hatching begins. Canary eggs usually hatch within a few hours of each other, giving all chicks an equal chance of survival.
It is most important to allow the birds enough privacy so that they may raise their families undisturbed, supported by regular small supplies of softfood, soaked seed, greenfood etc. Little and often is a good rule, with the timing of feeds adjusted to suit the needs of the individual fancier as much as the needs of the birds ? they will adapt to suit you, and as long as they can rely upon a regular feeding regime, they will be happy.
After a few days the chicks eyes will begin to open, and they will grow rapidly. After 18-21 days, they will be seen balancing on the side of the nest, ready to take their maiden flight! A new nest pan should be provided, with ample supplies of nesting material, to help discourage the hen from plucking her first young, in order to build her second nest. When the chicks are seen to be picking up food themselves they can be removed from their parents, and this process usually takes place between 21-28 days from hatching.
The birds should be fed primarily softfood until they are six weeks old, when the standard seed mixture, with added red rape seed sprinkled on, should be provided.