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Administration of Red Colour

food or…

…the proper start of feeding

Red Colourants

Every canary bird (also yellow) can

change the colour to a shade of orange

by adding paprika cayenne pepper or

red pepper to its food. In some of the

type canaries, such as Norwich,

Yorkshire, and Lizard is the red colour

feeding for exhibitions also allowed.

Please read carefully the description for

exhibitions of your association, because

for exhibitions Gloster Fancy canaries

and many other Type canaries is the

colour feeding not allowed or not


However, for every red factor

canary we need a carotenoid

colourant to exploit the full colour


Trial, error and experience are the principles of perfect feeding red colourants for exhibition canaries. Feather plucking, when the plumage (specifically the flight and tail feathers) is unevenly coloured, is not only animal cruelty and to avoid in the sense of animal welfare, it is loathing.
The personal perfect start of feeding red colourants depends on various conditions. The colour food works only when the blood-flow to the feathers is at its greatest. If the feathers are closed up, the colouring is impossible. This would be one reason to feeding red colourants only in the moulting period. Then would be the time of a perfect start up one week before begin of the moult. Note, that normally canary birds in first year of life do not moult the flight and tail feathers. In the example described above, may be the flight and tail feathers would then not red coloured. An important aspect for the start of red colourant feeding is for exhibition canaries is the standard description of the association(s) in your country. In some countries is the colouring of the flight feathers not a requirement for the exhibition. In contrast to this is in Europe and for the Confédération Ornithologique Mondiale (C.O.M.) the requirement for red factor canaries a purity and uniformity lipochrom colour including the flight and tail feathers in intensive and non intensive birds. 
The red not-intensive (image top) and the red intensive canary (image below) show a very well colour include the flight and tail feathers                                           
In addition the red factor canary will only get as red as its genes pool permits, regardless of how much red colourant the bird eat. Due to these facts is a selective breeding needed to produce a perfect red factor canary for an exhibition. Another additional and recommended fact is the control of the ingredients of the daily food, such as seed mixtures, egg-/softfood or vegetables. All ingredients that support a yellow colouring is to avoid, e.g. rape seeds. Only a yellow shade in the feathers, specifically in the flight and tail feathers is a fault on exhibitions. Use day light for the control of colour shades. With poor lighting you cannot see the difference.
My personal experience is that for a purity and uniformity red plumage (include flight and tail feathers) the begin of the red colourant feeding is the time before egg laying. Then the red colourant is absorbed into the egg yolk of the laid egg and the flight and tail feathers of the unflighted canaries will be red. Some product descriptions recommend to start after the 3rd day of life of the nestlings. I wouldn't like to contradict, because the administration are based on trial and error or the experience of the breeder.  To administer colour food in small quantities throughout the year, claiming that a more intense plumage colour is achieved, based also on this principle.   NOTE: For red Mosaic Canaries it is recommended to give any kind of red colour food from the 45th day on. Also in this case is the standard description a reason for the begin of feeding red colourants. If feeding before this time, the red colourants move with the blood -flow in unwanted plumage zones.