Molt and Breeding

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default Molt and Breeding

Post  FinchG on Sat Dec 18, 2010 12:49 pm

Health, moult & breeding.

In Nature, the ancient moult pattern evolved to occur when there is 14 hours or more of daylight. In Temperate-type species this coincides with the cessation of breeding activity. Enthusiasts should recognize this behavioural pattern. The exact timing will vary according to the geographic location of the aviary but most species should moult spontaneously when their food supply is rationed and nest boxes removed from the aviary during the heat of summer. Summer is the best time to allow most finches to moult. Tropical-type finches should be given the opportunity to moult a few months earlier. Opportunistic-type finches should not be allowed to breed in the heat of summer.

Although a little organisation is required, the health of finch aviaries can be much better managed when a stipulated time is set aside for an annual moult. The health of finch aviaries is preserved by stopping breeding activity during the assigned time for the moult because the birds are protected from undue stress.

The breeding behaviour of finches housed in aviaries in the main follows the cycles of their wild forebears. Finches need fairly high temperatures and plenty of direct sunlight to breed well. Variations from the time they breed in Nature and the aviary will occur according to the local climatic conditions. Some finches, notably Gouldians thrive in hot weather whilst others like Jacarina, Melba and Green Finches must take a rest from breeding during the heat of summer.

Many types of finch (Red Strawberry, Cut Throat, Cordon Bleus, Orange Breasted, Aberdeen and Blue Parrot Finches) housed in aviaries located near the tropics may breed during winter because temperatures are not too cold but stop in summer when temperatures rise too high. Finches kept in temperate regions that experience cold winters and breeding may stop breeding when temperatures drop too low.

In order to stop breeding and stimulate the moult, nest sites should be removed during December as fledglings leave their nest. This prepares the aviary for the Moult Programme that helps accelerate the moult and synchronise the biological cycles of the entire aviary. In so doing the entire aviary (and especially the juveniles) is better prepared for the hardships of winter. Between two and three months should be provided to allow finches ample time to complete their annual moult.

Advantages of allocating time for the Moult.

Prevents health problems caused by the stress of overlapping natural biological cycles. Improves subsequent breeding success by synchronizing the biological cycles of all ages and species. Eliminates the presence of "late-breds" during winter. These youngsters are more susceptible to illness that may then spread throughout the aviary..

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