Canaries are well known for their beauty and varied colours. Male canaries are loved for their sweet singing. Canaries do well when they are kept on their own or in pairs. Varieties include yellow and red-factor canaries.
Average adult size: 3-4 inches long from head to tail
Average life span: 10+ years with proper care
Shopping list for your new canary:
- Appropriately sized cage
- Cage cover
- High quality canary food
- Millet spray
- Cuttlebone/Millet holder
- Cage paper or litter
- Food and water dishes
- Variety of perches
- Variety of toys
- Bird bath
- Grooming supplies
- Vitamins and supplements
Because all canaries are potential carriers of infectious diseases, such as Chlamydiosis, always wash your hands before and after handling your canary and the content of its cage. This helps to prevent the spread of diseases.
A well balanced bird diet should consist of a high quality seed mix, fresh fruit and vegetables and constant access to fresh drinking water.
Birds should not be fed avocado, fruit seeds, caffeine or alcohol as these can cause serious medical conditions. Also avoid treats that are high in fat and sugar.
Always remember to give your bird constant access to fresh food and water. Fruit and vegetables that haven’t been eaten should be thrown away within a few hours. Treats should make up no more than 10% of your birds diet.
Birds acclimate well to average household temperatures that do not exceed 27˚C. A birds home should be placed off the floor in an area that is well lit and away from drafts. We recommend providing your bird with the biggest cage possible, this gives them room to fly and stretch.
Perches should be at least 3” long and ¼-½” in diameter. Provide your bird with a variety of perch sizes so they can exercise their feet and help to prevent arthritis.
Placing a metal grate over their droppings tray will help keep your bird away from droppings. Line the tray with cage paper for easier cleaning. Avoid contamination by not placing food and water containers under perches.
Canaries can be kept alone to bond with human companions or in pairs or more to bond with each other. Male canaries should not be housed together. Different types of bird should not be housed together.
Male canaries are known for their singing. Females chirp rather than sing. They need a cage that is big enough for them to fly in as, not just exercise and stretch. A male canary kept in a cage with mirrors may not sing. Provide your canary with foraging toys to provide them with important mental stimulation.
Cages and perches should be cleaned and disinfected regularly. Cage liners should be replaced at least once a week. Toys, perches and dishes should be replaced when they are worn or damaged and introduce new toys into the cage regularly. Make sure all cage accessories and toys do not contain lead, zinc or lead based paints as these can cause medical issues if your bird ingests them.
Do not use too many cleaning agents around your bird as the fumes can be harmful to them.
Grooming and Hygiene
Mist your bird using a spray bottle with fresh, clean lukewarm water. Clipping your birds’ flight feathers is not necessary, but when it is done correctly it can help them prevent injury or escape. Consult your vet to see what is best for your bird. Their nails should be trimmed by a qualified professional in order to prevent injury.
Signs of a Healthy Animal
An active bird is a happy bird; they should be alert and sociable. A good sign of a healthy canary is seeing them regularly eating and drinking. Their nostrils and eyes should be dry and bright and their beaks, legs and feet appear normal. Their feathers should be clean, smooth and well groomed and their bottom should be clean and dry.
Common Health Issues
|HEALTH ISSUE||SYMPTOMS OR CAUSES||SUGGESTED ACTION|
|Diarrhoea||Faecal portion of stool is not formed. Multiple causes from diet change to internal parasites||Consult with your vet and ensure a proper diet|
|Lice or feather mites||Restlessness, scratching, feather picking||Consult with your vet and clean their cage|
|Mites (scaly face and leg disease)||White deposits on eyes, beaks, legs and feet||Seek medical advice from your vet|
|Avian pox||Lesions in the mouth, scabs on the eyes and face||Isolate the bird and consult a vet|
- Beak swelling or accumulations
- Fluffed, plucked or soiled feathers
- Sitting on the cage floor
- Wheezing or coughing
- Runny or discoloured stools
- Eye or nasal discharge
- Red or swollen eyes
- Loss of appetite
If you see any of the signs in your bird, then please seek professional advice.