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Severn Counties Foreign  & British Bird Society
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British Hardbills
The breeding of British Birds in captivity is a long standing tradition, but successive laws with regards to legalising this branch of the hobby were finally clarified with the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 which laid out clear conditions for the buying, selling and exhibiting of certain British Birds.  Any British Birds kept in captivity or offered for sale, whether they are Hardbills or Softbills, must have been bred in captivity and close ringed with an approved size ring for the species.
HOUSING
It is generally accepted that an aviary of 6ft long by 6 ft high by 3ft wide is the standard unit of accommodation for one pair of birds..
FEEDING
Several British Finch Mixtures are readily available. These contain a richer mixture of seeds than the canary mixes. Canary mixtures can be used, but hemp, niger, sunflower and safflower should be given as extras. This is all supplemented by greenfood, fruit, and egg-biscuit to enhance the diet. Water for drinking and bathing together with a mineralised grit, will complete the general management of feeding.
NESTING
Canary nest pans and wicker baskets are generally concealed in bunches of conifer, fixed around the aviary, and nesting materials such as moss. grass, coconut fibre and hamster bedding supplied. When nests have been built, and often up to 5 eggs laid, count 13 days from the 3rd egg to assess the hatch date. When the young have hatched, some egg-biscuit, soaked seed and small insects such as greenfly, plus clean chickweed, will all be beneficial The young are then preferably close ringed at around 5 days old with rings obtained from the British Bird Council or the International Ornithological Association.
THE MOULT
This is the most important time of the year for the adult bird, which replaces all of its feathers. (The young birds replace the body feathers only). For the 4 to 6 weeks duration, they will need peace and quiet, warmth and good food.
AFTER MOULT CARE
If the intention is not to exhibit,  then general management will suffice. If the intention is to exhibit, then the chosen birds are housed separately in cages, where they can be kept clean, feather perfect and fattened up, this will emphasize the shape and type of the species. After the show season, the birds diet is reduced to allow the excess fat to be burnt off.  If the weather is good enough, the birds may be released into their aviary to await the breeding season.
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A few of the birds you may wish to keep.
Click on the picture for larger image.
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Siskin -  Carduelis spinus
Nesting:      Lays 3-5 pale blue eggs, spotted & streaked with purple-red.
Incubation:  11-12 days by female only, fed by female only at first.
Fledge:        15 days.
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Bullfinch - Pyrrhula pileata
Nesting:       Lays 4-5 light blue eggs with dark brown spots.
Incubation:   12-14 days mainly by female, both parents feed the young.
Fledge:        14 days.
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Chaffinch -  Fringilla coelebs gengleri
Nesting:        Lays 3-6 off-white eggs with red-brown blotches.
Incubation:    12-14 days by female only, both parents feed the young.
Fledge:         12-15 days
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Goldfinch -  Carduelis carduelis britannica
Nesting:        Lays 5-6 pale blue eggs, lightly spotted with brown.
Incubation:    12-13 days by female only, both parents feed the young.
Fledge:         13-14 days.
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Greenfinch -  Carduelis choiris
Nesting:       Lays 3-6 off-white eggs with red-brown bloches.
Incubation:  12-14 days by female only, both parents feed the young.
Fledge:        12-15 days.
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Updated  May 2012