Pet Care Information
Many people find the song of a canary sweeter than that of just about any other cage bird. They would have to be one of the best known breeds of cage birds and have bought joy to many owners who listen to their magnificent whistle. Canaries are an easy to maintain pet, requiring little more than fresh food, water and a cage designed to let them hop freely from perch to perch.
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Use this handy list to help you select the necessary items to care for your canary:
- Canary mix
- Cuttlebone or calcium bell
- Sandsheets or shellgrit
- Worming medication
- Night cover for the cage
- Colour enhancer (if desired)
- Seed bells
- Millet sprays
- egg & biscuit
Although both hen (female) and cock (male) canaries look similar, only cock canaries whistle. Whistling is the cock canaryís way of establishing and defending itís territory and attracting a hen. Whistling occurs in Australia between May and October each year in the cooler months. Throughout summer canaries stop whistling while they molt.
Canaries are unable to climb around a cage like parrots and budgies, the shape of their beak makes it impossible to hold the bars. Therefore canaries should be given as wide a cage as possible to allow them to jump and flutter from perch to perch. Your canary will at times flutter considerably whilst holding the perch, it will not be able to actually fly around the cage unless it is quite wide.
Most cages come with either plastic or wooden dowel perches, which force the canary to always have itís feet in the same position. We recommend removing at least one of the perches and replacing it with a tree branch, this will allow the canary to stretch itís feet when it lands.
The cage should be positioned in an area free from draughts and at a reasonably constant temperature. Never place the canary right next to a window, fireplace or heater, or in the direct path of an air conditioner. The vast fluctuations in temperature may result in chills which can be severe. Your canary may enjoy being hung outside during the day, ensure that the cage is secure and will have some shade all day. Remember to bring the bird in before it gets too cold in the afternoon.
At dusk it is a good idea to cover the canary cage with a cover or towel, this allows the bird to roost at a natural hour and provides it with security.
Hygiene is important with all pets, we recommend cleaning your canary cage at least once a week and using Sandsheets or Shellgrit in the base of the tray.
Canaries do not usually play with toys in their cage but will enjoy a swing in the cage and the occasional bath. You can use either a small dish in the cage or one of the external baths that hang on the cage door. Ensure that the bath is only given on warm days and is removed by afternoon when it is cooling.
Always feed your canary fresh quality seed and water that is replaced daily. Your canary should be given a piece of Cuttlebone which will help file its beak and provide calcium in the diet.
Canaries will also eat Millet Sprays and Seedbells as well as some vegetables and fruits. Some of their favourites are apple, spinach and lettuce, always feed vegetables and fruits in small amounts. Egg & Biscuit is a favourite soft food of canaries and can be mixed daily.
Your canary should be wormed every three months along with all other pets and members of the household. We recommend using Avitrol Plus bird wormer.
Birdís moult in the warm months which is perfectly normal. During this time the bird is under stress and will not usually whistle. Birds usually cope quiet well with moulting but if the bird is going through a severe moult Vitamin Supplements are available.
You may notice that some canaries are brighter in colour than others, this is often due to Colour Enhancers being added to the birdís water. They do not effect the bird in any way other than feather colour. If you would like a bright coloured canary add the Colour Enhancers when the bird is regrowing its feathers during a moult, the new feathers will regrow darker in colour.
If you notice that your canaryís toenails are overgrown they must be clipped. If left they will be uncomfortable for the bird and may catch in the cage wire. When clipping ensure that you do not cut the blood vein that runs into the nail.
If you would like further information about canaries we recommend reading 'Canaries' by Barons Books.