I was born Limasol Cyprus.My name is Prof. Dr. Ali UNYAYAR and I’m a canary breeder who specializes in Lancashaire, Yorkshires and Parisian Frills. I’ve been breeding birds for over 5 years. My interest, or should I say my passion for breeding these there types of canaries started after my heart attack. However, my real interest in birds began when I was a young boy in Cyprus, where I was exposed to a wide range of birds . I used to catch and breed goldfinches as well as green finches. A couple of years later, when I emigrated to north cyprus than educated to Turkey, I felt that something was missing, and that something was breeding and housing birds. That’s when I decided to purchase a few couple of canaries, in order to breed them .
Tell us about the area where you live.
Mersin is Turkey’s second-largest harbour city, near the Adana.. Located in southeastern Turkey is actually near the mediterran sea. Mersin industries include textile, citrus, and apparel manufacturing, tobacco and transportation.
How long have you raised Yorkshire?
I have been raising canaries for the past 35 years and started raising Yorkshire 5 years ago.
Was the Yorkshire the first canary that you raised?
Like most canary breeders, my first canaries were Malinua canaries and Gloster that I had bought at a local pet store. After attending my first canary show in Gaziantep, I was introduced to all the different varieties of birds and immediately felt in love with type canaries, specifically Parisian and Yorkshire.
Do you raise other canaries now?
I have been raising lancashaire, Yorkshire and Parisian Frills for the past 5 years. Over the years, I have raised other type canaries such as colour canaries and Glosters etc., but lost interest as my main focus always remained on raising these three type canaries: Lancashaire, Yorkshire and Parisian Frills.
When did you decide to show your birds?
For me, it was clear that I had to compete in order to improve myself. After attending my first show in Gaziantep, I realized that I had to bring my game to a higher level by participating in different canary shows and not exclusively local shows. After my first season, I joined the Mersin Canary Association and started to be involved in the organization as the director of the show.
How many pairs of Yorkshire do you set up each year?
Each year, I set up 20 pairs of Yorkshire, with an extra 5 females in case something goes wrong.
Do you use fosters?
I do use fosters for my Yorkshire canaries, especially for the young inexperienced
females, but when a young female shows me that she can raise her own birds, the following year I will leave her eggs without using fosters. My foster birds are color canaries that I have been raising for a long time, and are only kept for their abilities to raise birds and not for their beauty.
Please describe your bird room for us.
My bird room is 5 meter long by 3meter wide and consists of some 65 English style cages. The bird room is also equipped with an electronic air cleaner and ionizer. This instrument is very important in order to keep the bird room virus and dust free, which can avoid you many respiratory problems.
On average, how many Yorkshire do you raise each year?
For the past several years, I have been raising on average 60 to 80 birds, 60 being a bad season and 80 a good season.
How do you feed your birds throughout the year to bring them into breeding condition?
Throughout the year, I feed my canaries Natural mix canary seeds. Once a week I feed them egg food and condition seeds. In order to have a successful year, I separate my males from the females 1 month earlier and feed them appropriately.
What is your egg food recipe?
My egg food recipe consist of 1 cup couscous, l cup water, 4 cups Orlux/CD, 1 cup soak seeds and 4 boiled eggs. To this I add vitamins, minerals, proteins and 1cup breedmax.
What products do you use to color feed your birds?
The product I use to color feed my red factor canary is Canthaxanthin and Beta-Carotene . In 2 liters of hot water, I add 10mg Canthaxanthin of and 5mg of Beta-Carotene . My recipe consists of 1 cup couscous, l cup of coloring agent and 1 cup of bread crumbs.
How do you prepare your birds for show? Are there any special grooming tips that you could share?
At an early age, I train my birds by putting them in a show cage in order to get them use to it. Right before a show, I hand wash each bird. I try not to stress them too much by manipulating them, as my experience showed my that the more you try to clean them and manipulate them, the chances of them braking feathers are higher.
How large are the Yorkshire entries at the shows that you attend? Are there many Yoekshire breeders in your area?
In Mersin the number of Yorkshire entries varies from 10 to 15 birds per year. There are only 6 Yorkshire breeders in Mersin, and most of us focus on higher level of competition and show the majority of our birds in bigger shows such as İstanbul Club and Turkey National.
What do you see as the biggest challenge to raising good Yorkshire today?
Although raising Yorkshire can be a big challenge at times, I feel that today’s Yorkshire are much easier to breed than ever. I think that in order to be successful, you have to be patient with your birds and always work harder year after year in order to improve the quality of your birds.