You’ve made your decision. A Canary will be moving into your home. How exciting! Before you bring your new pet home, you have to make preparations. Your bird will need a cage, with at least two perches, three dishes, food suitable for a canary, cuttlebone and a couple of toys that a canary may enjoy.
First we will talk about the cage. A canary loves to hop around quite a bit, so please make sure the cage gives him plenty of room to move. The cage should be long enough that he gets to flap his wings moving from one end to another. Canaries do not climb on the bars, like a budgie does, so the bars on a canary suitable cage are usually vertical instead of horizontal. The more room your canary has to move around, the happier he will be. Many people allow their canary outside the cage to fly around for a little while each day. Try to place the cage in a location where he will see and hear his people frequently. He will love the attention. Do not place the cage in a spot where he will be subject to drafts from a heat vent or air conditioner. He will like to be near a window, but not where he will receive too much sun at any time of the day.
Next, we will talk about the perches. The cage probably came with two perches – either wood dowel or plastic. If they are plastic, please throw them away and find some wood perches for your bird. You can purchase wood perches from a pet supply store or cut a branch from a tree that you are sure has not had any pesticide sprayed on it. Apple tree branches make great perches if you know someone who has an apple tree in their yard and doesn’t mind letting you cut small branches off. If you have two perches, one on each end works great as long as you have them far enough from the end of the cage that your canary does not hit his tail every time he turns around. If you have a third perch, it is good to put one down lower, so he can hop down and back up again. Please do not use the sandpaper covers for perches. Those are very hard on a bird’s feet and do not keep the nails trimmed as they say they do.
Next, we will talk about the dishes. Many cages come with two dishes – one at each end near the bottom of the cage. I find that these dishes placed in those places usually end up with bird droppings in them on top of the food and in the water. I prefer to purchase three dishes that hook onto the cage bars and allow me to place them where bird droppings will not fall into them. I usually place them on both ends of the lower perch – the two food dishes (regular canary seed and treats and/or fruits/vegetables) at one end and water at the other end of the perch. A cuttlebone provides your canary with something to chew on as well as needed calcium and should be attached to the cage bars where it will not have droppings falling on it.
Now – about the toys. I bet you thought that canaries didn’t play with toys, didn’t you? Canary toys are certainly different from macaw toys, but they do like canary appropriate toys. Canaries love swings, mirrors, small bells and small things to peck at. Take a look at a pet supply store for more ideas of canary toys.
Have the cage and supplies all set up before your bring your new canary home. Remove him from the travel box that you brought him home in and place him into his new cage. Often it works best to just open the container and let him hop into his cage after placing it right at the open door.
Leave him to settle in, but talk to him to get him used to your voice. If this is a young canary, it might take a couple of weeks before he begins to sing, but if he is a little older, he may begin to sing almost immediately. If he has not started to sing after a month, it is quite possible that you have a female canary. It is impossible to determine the sex of canaries visually, but many breeders watch and listen to their birds and will place all singing birds together. Sometimes a mistake is made and a female will be sold as a male or a male will be sold as a female though. Most breeders will exchange if you ask them.