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    Canary CareSheet

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    Metal Maniac
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    Male Number of posts : 2242
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    Location : From the River Bed of the Rio Negro
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    Registration date : 2009-03-05

    Canary CareSheet

    Post by Metal Maniac on Fri 03 Apr 2009, 15:19

    Canary CareSheet

    Canaries need only a few things to keep them both healthy and happy:

    A clean, roomy, secure cage out of direct sunlight (too hot in the afternoon) or drafts (too cold)—a single bird requires a cage of about 12’’ x 12’’ x 10’’ at a minimum, and bigger is better! The cage needs to have at least 2 perches as well as food and water containers that the bird understands. Avoid the tall and narrow cages designed for budgies.


    Clean, fresh food and water—canaries are usually very open to new foods, but to start with find out what the breeder has been feeding and stick to that. Later on, you may decide to change. For now, however, getting used to a new home will be as much change as the bird will want. If you do change foods, do so gradually, following the manufacturer’s directions. Also provide fresh fruit (apple, orange, banana, berry, grape half) or vegetable (corn, spinach, dark leaf lettuce, broccoli, carrot, zucchini), each carefully washed and only dime-sized pieces about 3 times a week, and organic produce should be preferred. A little boiled egg or egg food should be given about once a week. Water should be clean and changed often. It sometimes takes more time than one would think for birds to find the food and water vessels in their new homes, so it is wise to sprinkle a little seed and offer a bit of moist fruit on the floor of the cage at the start, just in case! If the bird looks droopy like it is half asleep, with lower eye lids half raised, and puffed up, a day or so after moving into its new home, it could mean it is dehydrated. Give it a small jar lid, etc. of water on the floor of the cage in plain view immediately! Once the bird finds its permanent source of water, this can be removed. Birds can also be given calcium blocks, cuttlebone, grit, or oyster shell, and one of these is a must for breeding hens before and during nesting time. Breeding canaries can prove difficult, and you should read up on it before you start.


    A clean, fairly stable environment—rooms like small kitchens and bathrooms are not usually good locations to keep birds. Temperatures can vary greatly due to hot showers or baking, strong chemicals are often present, and fumes from these or from non-stick cookware can be deadly! Rooms such as well-lit bedrooms, family rooms, or living rooms are ideal. Especially for the first week or so, the bird should be in a calm location; if the bird must be housed in a noisy, high traffic area, get it used to it gradually (cover it when it seems to be stressed or over stimulated). You will notice that lots of activity, as long as the bird cage doesn’t get bumped, will bother the bird less and less as time goes buy, and a male will actually enjoy singing along with a radio, a loud conversation, or a vacuum once he is really settled in.

    Health issues:

    Any kind of bird can become ill very quickly. They live at a much faster rate than people do, and things which could take years to hurt us could hurt them in days or even hours! In addition to the things mentioned above, the following can hurt your bird: cigarette smoke in an enclosed area, inconsistent diet or care, prolonged teasing by people or other pets, any stressful events, too much artificial light. Most of the items seem pretty obvious, but the item about light may not be. Birds’ lives are virtually run by light; when day length is around 9 or 10 hours a day in late fall and winter, canary song is at its mellow best, and the birds are sort of on standby (they have finished their late-summer molt, but aren’t ready for breeding—this is when song contests are held). When day length reaches about 11 or 12 hours, the song starts to sound a bit more strident, and hens may start carrying bits of string or even paper around. When days are about 13 hours long the song can sound downright harsh or desperate, and hens will lay eggs. At about 14 hours, canaries will begin to molt again. Birds kept at about 14 hours or more of light a day over a prolonged period may get stuck in molt; they will be constantly replacing a few feathers at a time until this wears them down and uses up all their energy. In rooms that get a lot of artificial light each day, be sure to cover the cage with a dark colored cloth once the bird has received more than about 12 hours of total light (or even better, follow the natural day length according to the seasons). You can allow a naturally longer light period on the longest summer days to allow for a natural molt. Males will sing much less or not at all during the molt; this is natural. Right after the molt, however, every male canary sets his voice for the year. First he goes through a plastic voice period when he experiments and forms his song (this is especially true for birds going through their first molt). It is said that canaries are excellent mimics, and it is at this stage that your bird could pick up stray sounds or wild bird calls. Some people play recordings of good canary singers at this time to help make their birds’ songs the best they can be. However, unless a male canary has what is called song intelligence which he inherits from his parents, he will never be able to sing a complete typical song for his particular breed or variety. Each breed or variety (and sometimes even strain) will have its own proper song, and it will have an effect to expose a roller to a waterslager song or a waterslager to a timbrado song, etc. at the formative period. Later his song pattern will solidify into the notes and tours he will use for the next year. One should never attempt to train show birds or birds which will act as tutors with a recording as the song will never sound as good as one learned from a real bird which is related to the student.


    You should be on the lookout for the following signs of illness: puffy feathers, wheezing, sneezing, loose stool over a long period, and change of appetite. Illness can move very quickly, so consult a veterinarian, a knowledgeable bird professional or good bird care book immediately. When in doubt, provide extra warmth for a sick bird.


    If given proper care, a canary may live for 10 to 15 years and continue to sing into old age.
    More than one bird?

    Even 2 males which have been raised together should not be housed in the same cage. Peace may reign for a while but eventually territorial instinct will come back and fighting will occur. The best way to enjoy 2 male canaries is to house them apart in such a way that they can hear, but not see, each other. This method will take full advantage of a canary’s natural instinct to let competing male neighbors know that he is defending a territory. In the wild, songbirds sit within their territories calling to their rivals all day long, and by this method you can get much more singing from your birds.


    Some, but not all, male/female pairs can be housed together all year once they have been properly acclimated to each other. Remember, gentle introductions will be necessary when putting birds together. Start by housing the birds next to each other in separate cages until they are used to each other. This can be quick or take days and days to accomplish. It should be noted that one of the reasons a bird sings is the need to find a mate; in this housing method that need is met, so the male may sing somewhat less than if housed alone. The pair will eventually nest, so the male and female should be of the same breed or variety to ensure that any young are of good quality.


    Group housing will work with canaries as long as they are not crowded into too small a space. Any squabbles will usually be fairly minor and temporary. The social interaction of 3 or more birds will usually prevent any one bird picking on any other individual for long. In this situation only one dominant bird will sing most often (not necessarily your best singer either) unless song perches or other ways of blocking the birds’ view are used. A song perch has many cardboard, plywood, or fiberboard dividers of about 4 or 5 inches square, through the centers of which a piece of doweling is run; the dividers are then set at about 3 or 4 inches apart. This will allow a number of birds to sit on the same perch and not be seen by each other. Be sure that the cage is large enough for the number of birds you are planning to keep in it.

      Current date/time is Tue 16 Oct 2018, 20:54