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How to Care for a Canary

Canaries are colorful little birds that are known for their beautiful singing. They can be shy, but their sweet personalities will win your heart.


  • Step 1: Do your homework Before bringing your canary home, do your bird homework. What are you looking for in a canary? Singing? Bright plumage? Do you want one bird or several? Different breeds have different needs.
  • TIP: Although female canaries can sing, males are the real melody-makers of the species. Some breeds, such as Rollers, are especially known for their beautiful singing.
  • Step 2: Get a sizable cage Make sure your canary’s cage is the biggest you can afford, with room for at least two fixed perches and a swing. Canaries love a change in perspective.
  • Step 3: Get high-quality birdseed Provide your bird with an ever-present supply of high-quality seed mixture that’s been specially prepared for canaries. The main ingredient in the mixture should be listed as 'canary grass seed.'
  • TIP: Canaries should eat from open bowls; they don’t like sticking their heads into covered dishes.
  • Step 4: Offer greens In addition to a good seed mix, offer your canary a variety of dark, leafy greens every day. Unlike kids, canaries are great at eating green stuff--they like raw or cooked veggies, too.
  • Step 5: Offer vitamins and minerals Canaries need a good vitamin-mineral supplement every day. Mix this in with their food.
  • Step 6: Skip the junk food Just as with your kids--or yourself--skip the junk food. 'Bird treat sticks' and the like are just empty calories.
  • TIP: Contrary to popular belief, canaries do not need a source of 'grit.' They can digest their food just fine without it.
  • Step 7: Provide plenty of water Provide your canary with both a water bowl and a birdbath. Canaries are big water-lovers: they’ve got to have a constant source, both for drinking and for daily bathing.
  • Step 8: Offer toys Make sure your feathered friend has plenty of entertainment in the form of swings and bird toys. Canaries especially love to shred toys made of rope or feathers.
  • Step 9: Change cage lining Change the lining of your canary’s cage every day, if possible, and give the whole cage a thorough cleaning once a week. Better cage hygiene equals better health for your canary.
  • Step 10: Keep the cage safe and quiet Keep the cage in a quiet spot that is at least partially shaded and is sheltered by a wall on one side so your canary feels safe. Canaries sleep when the sun goes down, so if the room does not get very dark at night, cover the cage with a blackout cover.
  • Step 11: Interact Canaries love company! The more you can interact with your canary, the better. Make a point of visiting her cage to 'talk' with her as much as possible, and encourage your friends and family to do the same.
  • FACT: Frilled canaries, which look like little fluffballs, originated in a Dutch mutation that occurred around the year 1800.

You Will Need

  • A birdcage
  • Bird perches
  • A bird swing
  • High-quality birdseed
  • Dark
  • leafy greens
  • A vitamin-mineral supplement
  • A birdbath
  • Bird toys

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