Canaries

Canaries originate from the Canary Islands. The Spanish introduced these fascinating and popular birds into Europe as long ago as the fifteenth century.

Popular in this country are Borders, Yorkshires, Glosters, Rollers, Norwich, Lizard and Red Factors. Colours range from yellow, green, brown, variegated, red and various pastel shades. New varieties have been bred by crossing with other similar types of finches and are noted for their song as well as their colours. Hens may twitter, but only cocks really sing. There is no easy way to sex canaries so please seek advice from your pet shop, local Dobbies pet centre. Changes of environment sometimes affect a bird's singing. This is quite natural and normally the singing returns once settled into his new home. If your canary goes into a moult in its new surroundings resumption of song can take six weeks or more. Cock birds kept singly tend to sing better. Properly cared for your canary will live for many years.

Housing

Your canary should be housed in a roomy cage in an environment free from draughts and kept at an even temperature. Do not position the cage in front of a window.

Feeding

A good quality prepared canary mixture is available from your pet shop or local Dobbies pet centre. Grit helps digestion and should always be available, placed in a small dish. Cuttlefish bone is a good source of calcium. Fresh, thoroughly washed, greens, lettuce, dandelion, chickweed and sweet apple can all be given.

Bathing

Canaries love a daily birdbath. This helps to tone them up and keeps their feathers in good condition. A suitable bath is available from your pet shop or local Dobbies pet centre. Always give a bath early in the day so that your bird has plenty of time to dry off before roosting for the night.

Moulting

This is perfectly natural and usually occurs during the last few weeks of the summer; at this time your canary will rarely sing and should be given a moulting tonic, which helps to grow the new feathers. A soft moult at other times is usually caused by a chill or by being exposed to draughts. Again feed a moulting tonic and keep the bird warm.

Toenails

Overgrown claws need to be clipped. If left they will endanger the bird by becoming caught in the cage wires. When clipping care must be taken not to cut the blood vein. If in doubt consult your pet shop, local Dobbies pet centre or vet.

Mites

Usually red mite, this is a parasite, which at night feeds on the bird’s blood, causing itching and loss of weight. The mite hides away during the day, but it is simple to destroy them by using a suitable spray.

Diarrhoea

This commonly caused by an excess of green food. The remedy is to stop feeding greens until the droppings return to normal. If the problem persists consult a vet.

Colds

Extremes of temperature may lead to colds. The bird will be listless, with dull eyes, and loss of appetite. It will stop singing. Keep it in a very warm temperature (80F/28C) and stop the daily bath. Treat with remedies from your pet shop, local Dobbies pet centre or consult your vet.

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