Choosing a Canary

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Canaries love baths and small bird baths can be purchased that will fit into the door of a standard canary cage. This can be filled with lukewarm water. Allow the bird to enter as he chooses. Canaries can also be offered a shallow bowl of water in the floor of the cage. They should be allowed to bathe twice weekly to maintain excellent plumage.

Wing clipping is uncommon for canaries as they are not usually handled. If you do choose to let your bird fly in the house, there are safely concerns. Accidents are often associated with ceiling fans, birds falling into open toilets, swimming pools.

Nails should be kept to an appropriate length, as overgrown nails can be a hazard as well. They can be clipped with fingernail clippers watching for the quick (vein) inside the nail.


Breeding season 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. They are usually constructed so a partition can be slid into the cage to separate the male from the female.

A few days after mating the hen begins to lay and will lay 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.

Common Diseases and Disorders

Canaries are relatively healthy birds but are susceptible to the following:

  • Canary pox
  • Atoxoplasmosis
  • Coccidiosis (Isospora canaria)
  • Trichomonas
  • Toxoplasmosis
  • Psittacosis or parrot fever
  • Scaly face and scaly leg mite (Cnemodocoptes)
  • Liver disease
  • Airsac mites or tracheal mites
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