Guest Author - Diana Geiger
Canaries (Serinus Canarius) are originally from the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa. Most people think of the canary as a yellow bird but the canary also comes in other variations of color. The canary requires less attention and space than parrots. A canary is a songbird that is sure to delight your family.
The male canary is the singer in the family, but the female canary is more social than the male. It is very difficult to tell the difference between the male and female canary. If you are only interested in purchasing a male that you know will sing, purchase after a year old and make sure youíve heard the bird sing before you purchase him. Hopefully you will enjoy and love your canary if it sings or not. Purchase a canary while they are still young.
Canaries are not overly social birds and can be kept as a single. In fact, male birds are very territorial.
Purchasing a Canary
Prices of canaries vary a great deal. If you purchase from a pet store they will likely be more expensive than purchasing from a private breeder. The fancier the variety of canary the more expensive the canary will be. Males are usually more expensive than females.
Make sure you pick out a healthy bird from a reputable breeder. I wouldnít recommend purchasing a canary from an outdoor aviary. Mosquitoes carry canary pox and easily transmit the canary pox to canaries. This is good reason to make sure your screens are in good condition and are secure.
Make sure you find out what the canary has been eating, and continue to feed the same food, changing over to a different diet gradually; if you feel the need.
Cages and Accessories
Canaries donít climb for exercise as parrots do. They need to fly. A good-sized rectangular cage is needed to give them an opportunity for optimal exercise. They enjoy hopping from branch to branch. Never put your canary in a round cage. The minimum sized cage should be 24" long, 16" deep, and 18" tall. The bigger the cage is the better. The bar spacing should be no bigger than one half inch.
You should give the canary perches of different diameters from one quarter inch to one half inch in diameter for optimal foot health. Do not use the sandpaper perches you find in pet stores.
Natural branches are wonderful for optimal foot health but make sure they are not off a poisonous tree or have chemicals such as pesticides on them. Wash and dry the branch thoroughly before using. Sun drying is the best drying method.
The cage and accessories should be cleaned and sanitized on a weekly basis. The cage floor covering and food dishes need to be cleaned daily. Newspaper that doesnít contain colored ink works great for a cage floor covering. You can also purchase cage floor coverings from a pet supply store. The branches need to be washed in hot soapy water, rinsed well and allowed to completely dry.
Canaries enjoy toys. Most any toy suitable for a parakeet is fine for a canary. Keep in mind that the male canary may not sing if he has a mirror. The canary enjoys a swing in its cage.