PUBLISHED by the OAKLAND INTERNATIONAL ROLLER CANARY CLUB to improve the advancement, breeding, and exhibition of Roller Canaries.

OIRCC Club Objectives: To advocate the development and advancement of the Roller Canary. To create a better understanding of, and demand for the Roller Canary. To encourage members in scientific breeding. To hold a song contest annually at which birds raised and owned by club members and non-members can be adjudicated upon by an official Judge. The 100 point song standard shall be used. To promote the welfare and prosperity of the club.

Membership REMINDER: Our current Web site is http:www.oircc.com
Membership subscription is still $25.00 per year. This is probably the last year with the current subscription rate. The membership price includes your subscription to the HIGH NOTES Newsletter and all other club privileges. Please remember to provide your GOLD BAND entry at the next regular meeting. Don't miss our show this year, we are sure to have a very competitive show once again. Thanks to all that help make the club beneficial and worthwhile!!!

Master Breeders Corner

By Jim Naquin

To me one of the most fascinating phases of the roller hobby is pairing my birds for the breeding season. Once pairing is made on paper, you must stay the course. If you run a male chosen for a hen and they fight, don't weaken and run another male with her. This is a sure way to take second best during show time. The problem must be solved or don't breed her until later or even the following year.

Raising top quality rollers is like a checker game, where you look three moves down the road. Selections have been made for the manifestation of tone or required tours but also for parentage and good health. If they are in top condition, they will respond quickly to your program.

Hens can come into breeding condition at different times due to age and heredity. As a rule of thumb, those four years or older will go to nest until later in the season. Some breeders will have second-clutch babies by the month, but there is much to be said for going one round or clutch. The biggest reason, in my program, is you can breed your Olympian hens and dominant males several years longer. Stay with the proven lines and stay with the birds, they will keep you near the top. When running a dominant male with a number of hens use him wisely. By nature, birds breed at day-break and dust, make it a point to be there. Take him from the holding cage, place him with several hens with partially built nests, for a few minutes. Do the same with different hens in the evening until the first egg is laid. That is all that is needed if they have mated, at least three days before laying. This has been a proven method for me for many years. Always keep your male in a holding cage when not in use. Checking my records I have used outstanding producers with 10 to 15 hens a year for five or six years. This is where culling comes in, you must know your birds and study them. There is not room for sentiments in rollers. Once you lost the song strain names don't mean much. Also a gene pool must be maintained, hens that will be needed for the second or third, make outstanding breeders, always keep a few extra for your moves down the road.

If you let the dollar signs get in the way and sell needed birds, you hobby will go down the drain. In today's fast pace not many breeders have the time, desire, space, equipment or knowledge to care for big numbers of top quality birds. This may be why the fancy is in trouble, too many feathers not enough quality. If I wanted to put up big numbers I would raise sparrows. Any way if you are happy with your program, go for it, make it happen. Dependability is the key to success.

Good Luck.

Some Practice Selective Breeding

By Justin Agrella

We all know of those new breeders who have met disappointment when they paid little attention to breeding stock and put all of their energy into training. Spending a lot of time on training is fine but let us not forget selective breeding. While it is true that training is more quantifiable, without selecting stock of good genetic value; training is wasted on the inadequate. Endless training will not cure mediocrity. This is where strain and line bred birds have the advantage. It is not my purpose here to differentiate between the two here so let us go on with a supposition that we know the difference. Stock of mixed strains is hard to tutor as they generally do not follow a tutor for long and choose their own path. Strain bred birds follow a set pattern. They do not pick up song not bred into them very quickly. Mixed strain stock also has song patterns which are not set. After their first moult the song can change: sometimes drastically! This is not the breeding material required for repeatability of good results.

We move from training here now as training's sole purpose is to teach the birds when they are required to sing not what they are required to sing. Strain bred birds usually require a lot less training than mixed strain birds. Song qualities are, therefore, what we are after. Learn the most desirable song qualities and breed only those males exhibiting these. For the hens, you should choose those related to the male or those hens that have produced young with desirable song qualities in the past. Once you have a pure strain developed and consequently kept that way, a pedigree is then worthwhile to keep. Pedigrees without strain or of good breeding are simply lists of birds. Keep and breed the clearest and deepest hollow tones. Select the females who are most likely to carry these genes as well. Once you have acquired an ear for quality tone you can recognize it not only in the song of the male but in the calls and twitterings of the hen.

Remember, even if a bird has only one good note range of quality, the breeder can introduce more than if he uses a mixed bird with a great many tours of lesser quality.

All praise of strain and line birds aside we must realize that no strain is or will be entirely free of faults. Minor faults in otherwise good birds are nothing to worry about. Fine birds, property scored, are able to take point deductions for minor faults and still win. Superior birds with a slight fault are still far better than average birds without faults deducted is what I am trying to express here.

Depth, Clarity and Volume (Better Characterized as Power)

You can only expect so much out of your birds. Genetically, the birds are limited to that of their progenitors. Geneticists tell us that genes can be thought of as a finite line on a piece of paper. Along this line from left to right a characteristic is determined. By breeding in a wrong direction (such as that of the mixed strain bird), we move to the left and obtain stock with mediocre song but by breeding correctly (as in the strain or line bred bird) we move to the right along the line toward excellent song. Within each of our birds there is this " genetic line." The bird can be expected to fall somewhere on this line based upon some extraneous factors such as: diet, tutoring, training and breeding. As we perfect each of these, our birds can move within their genetic limits to the better traits in song but only to a limit. Remember the word used here is limit. All living things are limited by their genes. Our Roller Canaries are no exception. We can strive for perfection but we must learn to accept a little less.
The physical manifestation of this limitation can be seen in body structure. The song muscle apparatus (syrinx) in Roller Canaries is a limiting factor. Birds that sing deep clear tours with power and volume have almost overdeveloped syrinxes. They get the depth of tone from that which is genetically transmitted. Birds without a well developed syrinx are called "thin threats." They cannot be expected to deliver tours that require power and depth because they are limited physically as a result of genetics. This is a powerful, pardon the pun, argument for strain or line breeding and the like breeds like theories.

It is fortunate for us that this genetic characteristic is manifested physically and is able to be heard from our Roller Canaries. If we find a male in our stock that is exceptionally deep and powerful, then we breed him in hopes that like breeds like.

Don't Forget the Hen

Canaries are somewhat of an anomaly to the mammalian world. In most mammals, the male is the heterogametic sex (his genes determine the sex of the offspring). In the avian world, it is the female that is the heterogametic sex. We know from scientific experiments that song is a sex based characteristic. So it is the hen who carries the song characteristics to be passed on to the young. This does not make the choice of a male mute, however. lf that male with deep powerful song has an owner lucky enough to have a related female to breed back to it, then you are set. If the male has been purchased and you have hens of a different strain that have not previously produced deep powerful birds, then do not expect to clone that tone!
All of these details are what is meant when breeders tell of expecting that which is unobtainable. Genetics are limiting factors. Song is a genetically based characteristic. Therefore song is limited by genetics.

Returning to Strain

Returning to our friend without a hen to breed with a purchased male's strain, we find that is why breeders not only obtain a good male of a strain but also a hen or two to match. This is the basis of our selective breeding program. It is also why my contention is not to breed song to song haphazardly but to breed strain to strain scientifically. Only through strain breeding do we obtain repeatable results. Song to song breeding has nothing to do with genetic factors relying purely on the phenotype (tangible factors) and forgetting that the genotype (deeply ingrained hereditary factors) is what constitutes a strain. If we breed with disregard for genetic relationship, we leave song transmission to luck not genetic skill.

Breeding Season Tips and Techniques

By Steve Billmire

By now most of you have breed most of your birds. Some may be finished while others are only half through. In talking with more inexperienced breeders it seems like a mediocre year.
For the novice breeder one must remember to be patient with the birds. Its easy to try and do too much in the breeding room. Pitfalls such as starting pairing too early in the year can produce clear eggs, primarily since the male is not ready.
Observe and inspect your candidate males prior to introduction to the breeding cage with your hen. His vent should be pinkish red and elongated. If he's too fat he may not be ready. Let his actions dictate (fighting, singing aggressively, etc ...) if he's ready. If he doesn't fertilize a nest in May he may be sterile.
During May most birds will come in to breeding naturally, so work hard during that month. It's argued that breeding birds in after May is not good practice. The argument is based primarily on the fact our Song Contest is the first full week on December, so a late born bird may not have a mature enough song for competition. Further, breeding past June risks a molting mother abandoning a nest. Lastly, birds born late will not come into breeding condition until later the following year. This last point may be the best reason to not pair birds up past Memorial Day if you have breed enough birds.
I believe breeders need to find out for themselves. One test is worth a thousand theories.! I've seen too many novice breeders take advice and try to implement new practices in their programs without careful thought. Stick to what works for you and keep it simple.
Breeders must remember that they are the Masters of their own bird rooms. Use common sense and follow your instincts. For example, waiting a day to transfer a runt baby from one nest to another usually results in a lost bird.

Good Luck to all.

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