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A wire birdcage with a removable tray will make a wonderful home for your new canary. Canaries love to fly so the taller and bigger your cage is, the happier your canary will be. It is best to remove the wire bottom above the cage's tray. This can trap small feet and can be very difficult to clean. Line the try with newspaper and a sprinkle of shell grit. Your cage should be cleaned twice a week as it is better to do frequent small cleans, then irregular large ones. There are a variety of different cage cleaners available.
When Keeping Canaries, here is a rule of thumb: Everything in 3's!
- 3 Wing lengths per Bird: A good cage should be three times the birds' wingspan.
- 3 Perches: Have perches of different widths, this will exercise the Canaries feet.
- 3 Bowls: Most cages have two. One bowl for food and another for water, an extra bowl is good for treats!
- 3 Toys: Swings and simple bells are great fun...avoid mirrors though.
Canaries also enjoy playing in a water bath. Pet Magic stock a range of baths to suit most cages.
There are numerous brands of canary food and Pet Magic bag a fully balanced 'Canary Seed Mix', which is available in numerous sizes. Your canaries will also like to eat charcoal and calcium treats such as cuttle bone.
Fresh water daily is a must, and should be provided in a bowl. To keep the water clean during the day place some mint in the bowl as it will control bacteria in the water if the bird accidentally toilets in it.
Your canary will love treats but it is important to remember which are the safe options.
SAFEapple, pear, strawberry, broccoli, cauliflower, cuttlebone, capsicum, carrot, dried fruit, Chinese greens, sprouts, millet sprays
AVOID:avocado, beetroot, rhubarb, oxalis, potato, cherry, beetroot, cabbage, eggplant, beans, onion, lettuce.
Red factor canaries will need enhanced colour dilution. There are many brands available, which are usually diluted in your canary’s drinking water. This should be done every 3 months. If the red colour enhancer is not given regularly, your canary will fade to a dull yellow.
Canaries are social animals, so it is a good idea to get two or more. They are more active and fun to watch in groups, though the males may not sing as often. Male canaries can be left alone which may cause him to sing louder and more often. Having vegetation in the cage such as freshly cut green grass can keep your flock or pair happy.
Canaries need little grooming and a healthy canary will groom themself regularly. If your canary appears un-groomed this is usually a sign of illness and they may need some vitamin or medication supplements.
Canaries kept inside may suffer from moulting issues as moulting is based on seasonal changes in the environment. In a controlled area (like an air conditioned room) the bird doesn't experience seasonal fluctuations, which can cause moulting irregularities. Moulting tonics are available and should be given every month for inside canaries.
Canaries can be difficult to breed, unless you have the right conditions. Canaries can breed at around 4 months of age and it can be difficult to differentiate between males and females as during the non-breeding season there is almost no difference.
During the breeding season, males sing and will have long guide feather under the tail. The female’s feathers under the tail will fan out, the cloaca will also be pronounced. If breeding Canaries, always have extra sources of calcium to aid in egg laying. This will help egg formation and prevent "egg bounding" which is potentially fatal.
Canaries need a cane nest to breed. They will also need extra nesting material placed on the bottom of the cage, as your canaries will choose the best pieces to fill the nest. Pet Magic stock a variety of nesting materials including swamp grass and hygienic nesting feathers. These keep the chicks incredibly warm and snug. Place the nest in the highest corner of the cage and the pair will make their nest inside the nest frame.
It’s best to breed canaries in spring and autumn, avoiding the extreme seasons of summer and winter. If you don't want you canaries to breed simply remove the nest and nesting material.
There are usually 4-5 eggs in each clutch, which hatch 14 days after the last egg is laid. The eggs usually hatch one day after another, so there may be a week age difference between the oldest and youngest chicks. Only the female will incubate the eggs but once the chicks hatch both parents share caring duties. Make sure you give the parents plenty of fruit, vegetables and extra vitamin supplements while they are rearing their chicks. Mealworms and 'egg & biscuit' mix are a great source of protein during this time.
Usually fledging occurs at around 3-4 weeks of age and the babies can go to new homes once they turn 6 weeks old.
Health "Prevention is the Best Cure"
Canaries need to be wormed every 3 months. There are many brands to choose from but Pet Magic recommends Aristopet® Complete Bird Wormer. Dosage for canaries is easy as it is a simple dilution in the drinking water. During worming, don't give your canaries any fresh fruits or vegetables 48 hours before or after.
Canaries need to be treated against mite and lice every 6 weeks. We use and recommend Aristopet® Bird Mite and Lice Spray. Just a small spray on each canary in the cage at the same time is all that is needed. Make sure to spray the cage, toys and perches, remembering to remove food and water bowls before spraying. Any new perches should be sprayed before being placed in the cage. If your canary is not treated regularly they can become infected, which leads to feather plucking.
When introducing a new canary, worm and lice spray the entire flock. Canaries from Pet Magic have been frequently wormed and lice sprayed.