Beginning in January, a simple plain diet will keep the birds in condition, consisting of a standard mixed canary seed and fresh water. A proprietary soft-food mixture should be given once a week throughout January building up to two or three times per week in February and March in preparation for breeding. A teaspoonful of condition seed should be supplied once a week as a tit-bit.
Cuttlefish can be clipped to the cage, or mixed into the softfood, or many fanciers are now using one of several calcium additives in preparation for breeding. Grit can be scattered onto the floor covering each time the cage is cleaned, which the birds will enjoy pecking through, or if preferred, supplied in a separate dish. To this feeding programme can be adding a little carrot, sprout, broccoli, lettuce, cress, or wild greenfood, if it can be collected safely. Some fanciers including myself, use supplements to ensure a healthy, balanced diet. I favour products from The Birdcare Company, which continues to provide sound advice to it?s customers.
From April to June, the Yorkshire Canary breeding season is in progress, and the same diet, with a more regular provision of softfood to feeding hens, and the addition of soaked seeds, is provided. Many books have been written on the subject of feeding birds for breeding, and these provide sound advice which the beginner should to follow. There is no magic formula for success, and newcomers may adjust their feeding regimes to suit their own circumstances and the needs of their birds, throughout the year.
July sees the start of the moult. Yorkshires are colour-fed using a specialist product, (Carophyl Orange TMRoche Products) to help the birds obtain that beautiful deep orange or salmon pink colour which suits them so well. Carophyl is added into the softfood which is supplied daily throughout the moult, between July and September, and then perhaps once a week to December, to ensure any feathers which are dropped through the year are regrown to match the new feather colour. Only minute quantities of Carophyl are required, following the makers instructions. This advanced foodstuff is extracted from natural sources, and guarantees an attractive colour however unskilled the user!
After the moult, a basic diet only is required, mixed canary seed and fresh water daily, to reduce the birds from breeding condition to show condition. A small amount of softfood once per week, and no condition seed, is all that is required, until January, when the feeding cycle repeats.