The purpose of the Santa Clara Finch Club is to connect folks with a common interest in learning about, and raising finches as pets, learning about their care and health, and showing them in local bird shows. We welcome finch breeders posting "birds for sale" on our forum.
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Beginners: Keeping A Bird Journal
If you are raising some pet birds from hatching onward, or even if you purchase them at first....
We suggest that you begin a simple bird journal. Why keep a journal? It is most useful in the experience of raising them from hatch onward, but if you have already purchased your first birds, start with journaling them. All your observations will provide you with some useful info for the future.
A few minutes every day
If you can make just a few minutes every day to write down your observations of your bird or flock, over time, this becomes a very very valuable reference to you because it is an accurate representation of how birds can and do well (and don't always do well) in your own climate, and your own bird-housing conditions.
If you develop the habit of watching them and writing down what is going on daily, you will be surprised in the future how many things in your birdcare routines you have forgotten could happen or did happen, and how you handled it. Get a notebook and start writing using some sort of ink that wont smear if you have a bird water dish spill on it - yes, we learned that one the hard way too when our journal was sitting open-faced next to the cage at bathtime!
You can purchase nicely-bound bird journals online at Roy Beckham's eFinch.com or if you want to make one of your own - a looseleaf binder will work well for this purpose.
It is really true that someone 2 miles away from you could have the same type of birds and the same cage setups and come out with different breeding results or health results.
Learning by reading bird group-lists on the internet......
Bird-discussion groups are useful as a reference, but in the end you will become your own best reference for what "works' and what doesn't work as well with your own birds. Keep in mind that whatever questions you have - no matter how "basic" you may think they might be - just keep asking on whatever bird group discussion lists you are on. When you attend your club meetings, ask others who are raising the same type of birds.
Many folks are happy to help with useful info. Occasionally you will encounter some member who dominates an online group discussion list and is a "self-proclaimed expert" but just read between the lines.... you will see by the number of replies and the general consistency of suggestions what more people do in any given situation. Remember to take what you read on bird-discussion internet groups with a grain of salt - as following some folks advice (such as the recently ill-advised "never quarantine" your new birds) can be lethal to your birds.
When in doubt.....
Check for cross references on other bird discussion groups, or Google for topics if you are unsure how to proceed. Others don't necessarily live in your same climate, with your housing conditions for the birds and this is always something to keep in mind.
Wishing you the best of good luck as you get started with your birds!
Related article: Benefits of record-keeping
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