Breeding Your Canary

Breeding your canary is not as simple as it sounds. It is a decision that should only be made after a lot of research and after talking with experienced breeders. You need to be able to handle any situation you encounter to safeguard the health of your birds and their offspring.

Make sure you have the time and money necessary, as well as easy access to an experienced avian veterinarian. Also make sure you already have homes lined up for the new babies. If you are properly prepared, breeding can be a positive experience.


To breed canaries, make sure that they are mature and healthy. The birds must be well fed, and their new spacious cage must be clean. Give them time to bond with each other and to get familiar with their surroundings.

Breeding season for canaries is usually in the spring (March to July) in North America. Canaries can breed when they are 1 year old.

The classic breeding cage size is approximately 24 inches long, 14 inches tall and 10 inches wide. The ideal breeding cage should have a partition that can slide into the cage to separate the male from the female. Selecting a nesting box is easy. Just ask your local bird shop and they will direct you to the correct one. For a canary, a small nest box is ideal.

A few days after mating, the hen begins to lay eggs. Typically, a clutch will consist of four to six eggs. There can be quite a size difference between the oldest and youngest chicks in the clutch, and some chicks may be lost if they are too small to compete with their siblings. For this reason, some breeders remove eggs as they are laid, replacing them with artificial eggs. When the entire clutch is laid, the breeder will return all the eggs to the nest to start incubation, which lasts 13 days.

Care of Chicks

You will need to check the nesting box every day to make sure the chicks are being fed properly. Offer fresh food and plenty of water daily. If the parents care for their young, you will not have to worry too much. However, first time or inexperienced parents may not care for their young. You will have to care for them.

Hand rearing chicks takes time and the right equipment. You may need to place them in an incubator and hand feed them every 2 hours (commercial diets are available, to which you just add water). The feeding technique is not difficult to learn, but you should have your avian veterinarian show you how to do it properly. This is a critical period in the life of the new birds, and it is the time you may encounter a high rate of complications and mortality.

Soon the new chicks will slowly start to pick at smaller (cracked) seeds you offer. Once you are sure they can eat by themselves, it is time to separate the chicks, some sooner than others, from the parents and start the taming the process.