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Special Canary Care "Question and Answer" Session
November 21, 2006
Your Guide to Canary Care Success.


1. Do we have the right to keep our canaries in cages?

2. My canaries want to breed right now! What do I do?

3. Do I need to feed commercial conditioning food?



It looks like our extended summer here in central California has ended. The cool weather and fog are finally starting to roll in. I was really enjoying the sunny fall days, too. ;-)

In this issue we have a special canary care Q and A session. It covers a broad range of topics...

• Ethics

• Breeding

• Feeding

Let’s get right in to it...



“Hello Darren,

The canary tips are really good. Keep them coming. The site you have is really good. Keep up the good work.

I have a question... I’ve had homing pigeons for a long time, since I was a kid. And the question is, Do we have the right to keep an animal in a cage?

I found an article in an animal magazine and some one else asked the same question. What do you think? The response from the mag was that birds have been domesticated for a long time. What is your response????”

Thank you
Joe in NYC


Hi Joe,

I have a lot of "naturalist" in me so my preference is to let all animals be free and yet, somehow, still be close to them. Unfortunately, this isn't possible. In wild settings canaries seem to want nothing to do with us. BUMMER!

So, we do the next best thing. We keep them in a cage so we can have that “closeness”. I believe we were designed that way from the beginning. Just about everybody I know has a pet of some kind. It’s human nature to want animals around.

Do we have the "right"? Yes, I think so. As long as we treat our birds and other pets with respect and kindness they appear to be happy and content.

What does my office canary do when he's out of his cage and sunset approaches? He returns to his cage, where he feels comfortable, to sleep for the night. He doesn’t seem to mind the cage at all. If fact, he seems to prefer it much of the time. Indeed, I believe many animals WANT to be closer to humans but their natural fears prevent them from doing so.

One of the things I do to relax is sit outside in my yard and read. I’ve noticed that some of the wild birds will find a place nearby and watch me with curiosity. On some days they’ll get closer and closer as if they want to be friendly.

My point is, I don’t think there is anything wrong with keeping our birds in cages. I believe it can be good for both us and the birds IF, like I said, the birds are treated with respect and kindness.

Your Friend,
Darren P.D. Walker
Your Canary is “speaking” to you. Are you “LISTENING”?



“Hi Darren,

I am very new at this. Your helping me is greatly appreciated.

I have several canaries and my males have been in full song, singing loud all day. My hens were answering them with chirps.

I was told to put them together. If not, the hens would lay heat eggs which are no good.(is that True?)

I was also told that the breeding season is Dec to July (is this true?).

Well I have eggs in all the nests...4 and 5 eggs. Will they hatch?”



Hi Chris,

Welcome to the wonderful world of canary breeding! :-)

The natural season for breeding is spring but using artificial lighting most breeders trick their birds into breeding in the winter.

That's what you've done, although, by accident.

Since the very demanding molt has just finished, this is the time of year for canaries to rest and get ready for another demanding season...breeding.

In your case, you don’t need to put the birds together. Most breeders pair up their birds around mid-January or February when they are primed and ready to breed. The hens are allowed to raise 2 or 3 clutches only per year. Obviously, your birds are primed for breeding because of an inappropriate lighting schedule. See...

Breeding Primer

It’s true; your hens may lay eggs even without a male present. You can prevent separated hens from laying infertile eggs by giving them fake eggs from a craft store or even marbles. They'll sit but won't lay more. At least, that’s the theory. It’s not fool-proof but it works most of the time.

At this point, if your canaries are paired up, you've probably got fertile eggs so you might as well let them hatch and raise the young. Then give them fake eggs so they won't lay again. You won’t want to breed again until winter/spring of 2008. YES, I said “2008”. If your hens are laying now you definitely DONT want to breed them again in winter/spring 2007.

Laying is very hard on hens and breeding them again so soon may actually kill them. Even normal breeding routines will drastically reduce their life span.

If your canaries are NOT paired up then I would leave it that way. Reduce their daylight hours to 9 per day and let the hens rest.

Your Friend,
Darren P.D. Walker
Your Canary is “speaking” to you. Are you “LISTENING”?



Hi Darren,

I just got an American Singer Canary (male) and he's 5 months old.

I'm feeding him Katee pellets (Original Formula for Finches and Canaries) as recommended by the breeder.

In addition, he gets cuttlebone, greens, fruit, vegetables, and a special seed mix for a treat once in a while.

My cage is 36" long so he can get quality exercise.

When summer returns, I will take him outside for some sun.

I've seen a lot of supplements on the market and everyone has a different opinion on them. So many of them mention conditioning and breeding. My bird is just a pet and will not be breed, so do I really need them in addition to what I'm already providing?



Hi Mark,

Good to hear from you.

It sounds like you're doing a great job of feeding your canary.

Extra commercial supplements are not necessary. The only thing I recommend is a Molting Seed Blend during the summer months. But even then not on a daily basis.

Each bird will react differently to these nutrient rich blends. Some will immediately develop Gout-like symptoms in their legs. If your bird tolerates a daily feeding then obviously there’s no problem with it. If you feed any of these blends watch closely for these kinds of symptoms. This is one of the reasons I created “The Canary Lovers Guide to LISTENING To Your Pet Canary Bird”. Many canary owners simply don’t yet know how to keep their eyes peeled for subtle symptoms.

Feeding Guidelines

--For fruit, a couple of times per week is enough.

--Greens can be fed daily with many canaries but 3 or 4 days per week may be suitable if there is a tolerance problem (runny droppings).

There are 2 things I recommend you add...

1. Boiled egg 2 or 3 days per week. Just boil the egg and mash it up, shell and all. Give him about a teaspoon full each time.

2. Soak seed 2 or 3 days per week. See... Soak Seed

The bottom line...

Commercial supplements can be beneficial to your canaries health and they make a nice easy treat on occasion but they’re just not necessary IF your canary is getting a healthy supply of seed, greens, fruit, cuttlebone, and grains(corn, dry oatmeal, cooked brown rice).

Your Friend,
Darren P.D. Walker
Your Canary is “speaking” to you. Are you “LISTENING”?

P.S. The Canary Lovers Guide to LISTENING to Your Pet Canary Bird is now available. Discover 27 ways of KNOWING when your canary is sick so you can take care of your bird the way he deserves. For details visit


That wraps up today’s issue of CanaryTips! Ezine. Next time we’ll discuss more important ways of keeping your canary happy and healthy.

Until then,
Make Your Canary S-I-N-G!

Your Friend,
Darren P.D. Walker
Your Canary is “speaking” to you. Are you “LISTENING”?

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