Basic Canary Care

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default Basic Canary Care

Post  FinchG on Wed Oct 19, 2011 9:59 am

Canaries are grouped into three basic categories:
1. Type (body size and shape, and stance: Border, Fife, Gloster, Norwich, Frill, Yorkshire, etc.)
2. Color (green, blue [white/black/gray], yellow, orange, red, brown, and various combinations)
3. Song (Roller, Waterslager, American Singer, Timbrado, and Chopper or Warbler)

A Fourth type should probably be recognized: the "mixed breed" or "Kitchen Canary". Although they won't win any prizes at canary shows, these colorful little gems make wonderful pets and often have hearty and varied songs.

Like a Star @ heaven Male canaries are very territorial, and two males should never be kept in a cage together. Two males in a cage is a recipe for disaster! Surprising as it may seem, your little songster will not be lonely without feathered friends, so long as you remember that you are his flock. He wants to be your friend, so talk to him, play music for him, let him watch TV with you, and treat him to the canary's all-time favorite sound: your vacuum cleaner. If you must leave him alone for long stretches of time, be kind enough to leave him with a radio or some other audible entertainment. Remember that his ancestors lived in the wild, where a quiet jungle or forest means only one thing: danger. He will feel more secure if his daytime environment has a little bit of "noise".

Like a Star @ heaven If you have your heart set on a pretty flock of canaries, consider a few hens, or perhaps one singer and some hens. Although three or more males may be housed together, they probably won't sing, or only the "top bird" will sing. The male sings for two basic purposes-to flirt with lady birds and to claim his territory. Usually, he must feel like his space is his own for his song to be in top form. Also, if he is surrounded by ladies, well, he's already won, hasn't he? If you must have the pretty flock and the song, and he simply won't oblige, consider putting him in a separate cage. But please don't make him share it with a parakeet--he's liable to get his toes nipped off

Like a Star @ heaven Provide your canary with a small scoop of canary seed/pellet mixture and fresh water in a clean bottle or dish every day. Most fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables are also desirable, and should be offered regularly. Fresh dark greens should be offered every day if possible, especially kale. Try to vary his greens. As a rule, the darker the green, the better. Dandelion leaves, flowers, and seeds still in the pod are excellent if you are certain that they have not been treated with any chemicals.

A small piece of fresh apple should be offered at least once a week-this will help to keep his liver healthy. Good choices for other fruits and vegetables are: wheat grass, raw corn on the cob, grated carrots or yams or sweet potatoes, sliced bell peppers-especially red varieties-with the seeds, broccoli heads, sliced okra, cucumbers and various squash (sliced in half-he'll probably start with the seeds and finish up with the skin), red beets (peeled and grated), and peas.

An occasional piece of hard boiled egg is good, but don't overdo it. Too much protein can stress his liver and make his feet hurt. Never leave any cooked or frozen food in the cage for more than 2 hours, as it can spoil and make your bird very sick.

"Prime", a concentrated vitamin, mineral, amino acid and probiotic supplement is highly recommended to fill in nutritional gaps and bolster your canary's immune system. Sprinkle it daily on his soft foods according to package instructions.

Absolutely avoid feeding your bird avocado, chocolate, caffeine, sugary or salty or fatty foods, and alcohol.

Most houseplants and ornamental flowers are toxic to birds and should be kept away from your canary's cage. If he can reach them, he will probably eat them.

Like a Star @ heaven Many human illnesses are contagious to canaries, so please take extra care not to infect your pet if you are sick. 'Cold sores' can be deadly; if you experience one, consider asking another family member to attend to your bird's needs for a few days. As a general precaution, always wash your hands before handling him or his food.

An avian vet check is recommended for all new birds, but is especially important if you notice any unusual behavior or signs of illness such as: sleeping all day, puffed up feathers, inactivity, sitting on the bottom of the cage, not sleeping on one leg, mucous or crustiness around nostrils or beak, a black spot/lesion on the beak similar to a cold sore, clicking noise when breathing, wheezing or coughing or sneezing frequently, breathing through an open mouth for long periods of time, drooping wings, standing on one leg while awake, a hair or fine string wrapped around a leg (it can cut off circulation), unusual feces, feather loss--especially on the face--not associated with the molt, or anything else that just looks wrong. Call or take your bird to an avian vet ASAP!

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