In part 2 of his interview with Angelo Citro, Paolo Vicidomini tells us how he cares for his birds during the breeding and show seasons.
Describe your bird room? Do you have a photo?
My bird room is about 6 square meters, characterized by a large central window that provides a broad illumination.
How many pairs of lizard canaries do you mate every year?
I mate eight pairs, maximum nine pairs.
How many lizard do you produce every year?
An average of 35/40 birds.
Could you tell us how you breed your birds, the daylight hours, the type of cages, nests, etc?
I breed with natural light. At the beginning of February I start the preparation of the adults.
I place the cocks alone in cages of 55cm of length, and I give them pastoncino dry (soft food) and a mix consisting of: 75% canary seed, 12% hemp, 10% niger and 3% linseed. I keep the hens in the aviary until the beginning of March. The hens eat a semi-soft pastoncino and a mixture of: 70% canary, 15% niger, 10% hemp, 3% perilla and 2% linseed. Generally on 19th March I put the nests (internal) in the cage where the cocks stay.
How do you feed your birds? What kind of pastoncino (soft food) do you use?
I follow the course of the seasons and thus the variation of temperature. I try to balance the black seeds according to the various breeding stages: preparation, hatching and breeding, moulting. During the hatching period I administer a protein mixture with the addition of peeled oats, and perilla . For the moult, however, to support the new generation of feathers I administer a richer mixture of fats by adding rape and nano sunflower.
How do you prepare the birds for the shows? What do you give to your birds?
Assuming that each race requires specific measures to prepare for the show, I consider the preparation for the show of the lizard canaries an arduous and constant daily commitment for the breeder. This is, in my opinion, the reason that many breeders abandon the selection of lizard in favour of other races of canaries. From weaning, which occurs approximately at the 28th day of life, I place the young (maximum number of 7) in aviaries of 1 meter and I give them daily pastoncino soft (9% fat) with the addition of corn flour, polygonum dry (as commonly sold in bird stores, I usually prefer one prepared by me) and boiled egg every day. To improve the quality and luster of feathers I give them daily fresh polygonum, chicory, alfalfa and grass from the lawn. At 60 days (approximately) I accommodate each Lizard in a single cage of 45cm to avoid the phenomenon of plucking and position its two perches approximately 10 cm apart. Subsequently (at the end of moult) I keep the best birds for 4/5 days (in rotation) in the exhibition cages.
The oxidation of your lizard canaries is amongst the best in Italy. How do you do it?
The aim which unites all lizard breeders is the obtaining of a good oxidation that allows a subject to become excellent. This can, in my view, be achieved through a combination of: genetics (by selecting subjects that have a strong charge of black eumelanin), the food and exposure (not direct) to sunlight. In addition to the polygonum I provide marine algae, (seaweed) which with its high calcium content, potassium, magnesium and iodine allow not only to promote a good expression of the black, but also to protect the birds from intestinal infections. I never expose the young Lizard to direct sunlight, I prefer to keep them in a cool and enlightened room to ensure homogeneous and long lasting oxidation.
Do you use yellow colourant ?
I am extremely opposed to any type of colour feed, I believe that with the selection and a natural diet you can still get a great background colour.
Do you pair a cock to a single hen or a cock with several hens?
I prefer the fixed pair, although this year I will use for the first time one cock with two hens.
What features should the ideal pair have?
I do not think there is an ideal pair, as the combination of excellent subjects does not always guarantee a high level of offspring. Personally I follow: genetics (every year I write on a register the characteristics of the various birds), the shape of the feather, the shape and the legs (indicative of the skeletal structure) of each subject. Later I try to reconcile these characteristics with the cap, avoiding to pair birds that are over-capped.
My thanks to Angelo Citro for conducting and translating the interview.
My thanks to Paolo Vicidomini for the photographs.