Canary Assisted Insemination for the purpose of selective breeding

Note: Do not perform the Assisted Insemination if you do not know what you are doing, which might result in injuring the Canaries and causing them to bleed.

Assisted Insemination and not Artificial Insemination

Assisted Insemination is method of inducing fertility by assisting with the introduction of viable sperm into the vent of a Canary Hen for the purpose of selective breeding.

Assisted Insemination or the collection of semen is not artificial. We are just assisting the sperm via a tube to the cloaca of the female and from here nature takes over. The normal mating procedure is, after courting the male mounts the female, the cloaca of each join and actually turn inside out, semen is released and the sperm travel up to the ovary area. This sperm can remain ‘active’ for a long period of time up to 16 days.


The typical male reproductive cell, which is known as a sperm, is a motile (moving spontaneously) cell with a head containing the nucleus and a whip (like a tail with which it swims). The typical female reproductive cell, which is known as an egg or ovum, is a rounded cell many times larger than the sperm, and containing large amounts of cytoplasm surrounding the nucleus.

Sperm Production Enhanced

In the shorter daylight months (not breeding season) the testicles of a Canary are about the size of a pinhead after the shortest day. As daylight hours increase, the size of the testicles increases gradually to the size of a pea, giving a better chance of producing quality sperm in quantity.


Preparation for Assisted Insemination  

  1. The Pair is required to be in breeding condition (when the daylight is over 12 ½ hours).
  2. You must ‘guess’ that an egg is due to be laid in a day or two before doing this procedure and start the Assisted Insemination process.
  3. A good guide to readiness is the Hen’s droppings become large and loose in appearance.
  4. Prepare a clean plain glass capillary tube (the tube must not be Heparin coated as Heparin is toxic to sperm).
  5. Catch the Cock bird and hold in a way that exposes the vent area. Use a soft stroking motion drawing up from just under the vent. The tail is positioned dorsally, and with continued stroking, pressure is placed laterally on the cloaca to encourage ejaculation. If semen is not present after 6 -7 strokes, the Cock does not have semen readily available. This could mean ‘not in breeding condition’ or perhaps ‘already ejaculated’ prior to your attempted intervention. If there is semen present, put the capillary tube in the vent (not too deep because might injure the Cock and making him to bleed). Give some slow rotation to the capillary tube, which will suck the sperm in. The capillary tube will draw around 0.5 cm of yellow sperm liquid. A modified massage technique is to simply apply pressure on both sides of the cloaca to empty the sperm content.
  6. Catch the Hen and hold her, exposing the vent, stroke under the vent area to encourage the release of all fecal material. It is suggested that a tissue be used to ‘mop’ the vent area to ensure no feces remains and in particular urates, which are even more toxic than the feces to sperm.
  7. Add further pressure to the vent area to expose the moist pink fleshy internal of the exposed cloaca.
  8. Insert the capillary tube 1-2 ml (do not insert the tube too deep because you might hurt the Hen causing her to bleed) and give it a little blow with mouth and the ‘suction action’ of the vent will start and draw the sperm in.
  9. Relax pressure on the Hen’s body as soon as possible after insemination so the oviduct can return to its normal position, drawing the semen inward.

To be considered:

  • Successful semen collection usually results from an experienced and knowledge breeder. Do not perform the Assisted Insemination if you do not know what you are doing, which might result in injuring the Canaries and causing them to bleed.
  • From removal of the sperm from the cock bird to the insertion to the hen should not go any longer than 5 minutes of time as the sperm will harden and become glue like after this period and be of no value.
  • If all the feces have not been removed from the hen prior to insertion of the semen, the hen may go to the perch after release and defecate, thus wasting the exercise.
  • If the cock defecates while semen collection is taking place, the exercise should be aborted at that point.
  • If a Cock or Hen has been injured thus unable to mate, the procedure would be beneficial.
  • A quality Cock bird can be used to fertilize numbers of hens.
  • Successful fertile eggs can normally be obtained 36 to 48 hours after insemination and up to 16 days
  • Use clean glass Capillary Tube with inner diameter 0.5 millimeters and external diameter not bigger than 2 millimeters


Yours in fancy,

Arben Bebeti