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Hey. how often do you clean your canary's cage?
January 25, 2007
Your Guide to Canary Care Success.

“The 2 Systems Of Dropping Removal At Bird Farms And How It Applies To Your Canary”



“UUGGHH! The flu got me! Maybe I should just sign this issue as “Sneezy”.

As everyone around me was getting sick I was feeling great. I really thought this last flu bug would pass me by...and then it hit me.

At least it’s not a real bad one. I can still work on today’s ezine and the upcoming eBook, “The Canary Lovers Guide to PREVENTING Your Canary’s Overnight Death”. It’ll be ready soon. I’ll send out a special mailing when it’s ready so you can check it out if you’re interested.


I recently asked successful bird keeper, Julio "Jay" Valella, how often he cleans his birds’ cages. His response is today’s article. I’ve entitled it, “The 2 Systems Of Dropping Removal At Bird Farms And How It Applies To Your Canary”.

I found the info very interesting. It turns out that as long as you keep the bottom of the cage DRY, pathogens will have a hard time surviving, multiplying, and then making your bird sick.

Keep in mind, when you scroll down and begin to read this article, that his opening response is a joke. :-)


As you may have heard, video on the internet is getting bigger and bigger. And now has gotten into the act.

Take a look at the video at...

Scroll about half way down the page. Click the video window once and then click the play button. It’s accompanied by music so make sure your speakers are on and the volume is turned up.

It is a short video that will give you a peek into a working canary aviary. You'll see a hen feeding her babies, several stages of baby canary growth, and how young canaries are leg-banded.


In the next issue we’ll discuss feeding bee pollen. Some breeders swear by it saying this nutrient rich food is beneficial to pet canaries in many ways. We’ll investigate and find out it it’s worth the effort.

Until next time...

Make Your Canary S-I-N-G!

Your Friend,

Darren P.D. Walker
Your Canary is “SPEAKING” to You. Are You “LISTENING”?

HAVE YOU GOTTEN YOURS? The Classic Canary CD is full of beautiful canary song that will keep your canary S-I-N-G-I-N-G! For details and to hear a sample go to...
Canary Song


The 2 Systems Of Dropping Removal At Bird Farms And How It Applies To Your Canary
By Julio "Jay" Valella

When (droppings) approach perch height I remove them and clean the grate. |:)

In reality I clean them thoroughly about once a month which is adequate to prevent unsightly appearance of a dirty cage. I use grates only on certain cages. On those I find the droppings generally dry up quickly and do not pose a problem.

I might add that above is for adult birds on mainly a seed diet.

If one feeds certain greens, such as broccoli, or when feeding egg food it must be done at least weekly. If longer there is an odor problem.

I grew up in an egg farm. We got Tech Support from Purina, Tropical Feeds, and the University Ag Services. Here is what they taught us about waste management. I think it applies to canaries as well as it does to caged egg layer hens.

There are TWO major forms of fresh manure from birds: DRY and WET.

Each requires its own particular process to achieve and maintain a pathogen controlled environment where pathogens are suppressed enough to prevent disease and support a healthy flock.

BOTH need to be UN-CONTAMINATED by the most serious threats, that is the highly contagious pathogens that affect bird flocks. When contamination exists to start it becomes a "raging battle" to avoid disease in the flock.

Prevention is worth far more than cure and it’s easier to achieve.


In DRY systems the droppings are allowed to accumulate in rising "stalagmites" from the floor below the hens’ cages, and are cleaned out once or twice per year.

Each day they are "dusted" with a fine powdered drying agent such as Diatomaceous Earth, or a similar item that helps balance the manure as a fertilizer and dries it out. These droppings are inert and do not support pathogens, mainly due to lack of moisture and a proper PH range, neutral to slightly acidic.

When removed it goes to composting piles turned over and then processed into fertilizers.


In WET systems the receiving trough is kept flooded and that water contains a treatment solution to kill pathogens. It is constantly moved out at a slow flow rate, and into a settling tank. From there it goes to processing tanks and cesspools where it is converted by bacteria and generates gases and it is ultimately dried out, and pelletized for fertilizers.

BOTH methods seek to eliminate "UN-Treated WET conditions" that become breeding and culture environments for pathogens.

OK, so what does all this have to teach us about our cage bottoms?

Well, several lessons:

1) If we use grates, newspapers, and have healthy birds with normal droppings it is a DRY system.

NOW, if we allow untreated bath water, untreated drink water, or ANY untreated water from spills, or moisture in soft foods, whatever the source and however small to CONTAMINATE our DRY system we open the door to pathogens. Ditto if we wash the grates and reinstall them while they are still wet or moist. It breaks the DRY system and opens up pathogen entry doors.

Anyone who washes trays, grates, cages, perches, etc. MUST ensure thorough DRYING before installing them.

ALL spills in the cages must be eliminated, and those that occur, cleaned up and DRIED quickly. Otherwise all hygiene efforts are compromised minute by minute when untreated wet conditions are allowed to stand.

2) If we allow droppings to accumulate in grates, trays, paper liners, etc we must be sure they are and remain DRY. The moment anything happens that gets them WET they must be removed. Or treated with a drying agent that is an effective pathogen inhibitor or killer. Such as Lye, D.E., etc. And the procedure must be immediate and 100% effective to achieve DRY conditions quickly.

3) If for any reason, and I've not seen any; the bird keeper chooses a WET system, this happens in Zoos and commercial Aviaries where water birds are in confined ponds, or in water habitats... then proper treatments must be routinely maintained to keep the manure sludge pathogen free or pathogen levels well below threat levels. Hardly any hobby cage bird keepers fall into this category, just mentioned it for completeness.

Bottom line, what matters is NOT the frequency of cleaning itself. What matters is the integrity of the system in use to be and remain pathogen free and NOT become an incubator for disease pathogens. To achieve it the bird keeper should know how the system works, and notice, and ACT, immediately when it is compromised.


There is an adjunct issue to this, and that is Odor Control. Some odors are related to pathogens, some are not, they are related to the chemicals found in manure. Wet systems are notorious for odor. Dry systems are prone to generate odor IF subjected to air movement, when the outer driest powdered material can become airborne. Dry systems should not be subjected to winds or excessive air movement by ventilation.

Disinfecting with liquids requires understanding of the liquid disinfectant, especially as to "does it need to be dried?", or "does it have residual effect and can be allowed to dry by evaporation?"

Some disinfectants active ingredients are effective then vaporize, leaving the carrier water behind with no lasting effect. THAT can become later a WET problem, those must be dried...

In hospitals and labs some floor & wall cleaners & disinfectants are applied then dried, others are applied and allowed to self dry; depending on which type they are.

Julio "Jay" Valella is a lifelong lover and breeder of various birds but canaries have always been his first and all consuming love. Jay is the current President of the Lone Star State Canary Club in Texas and is a member of 5 other regional and national canary clubs. He enjoys breeding and showing red, yellow, and white color canaries as well as Lizard Canaries.

=====DARREN’S COMMENTS=================
So, the bottom line is...As long as you keep your bird’s cage DRY, the level of cleanliness is not necessarily an issue.

In an extremely dry environment you can easily get by with cleaning your canary’s cage once per month. The more moisture in your bird’s cage and in the air surrounding the cage (humid geographical areas) the more often you should clean and disinfect.

Of course, appearance will come into play too. If you hate the way a dirty cage bottom looks then you can remove old droppings, seed hulls, and other waste as often as every day if you want to. However, disinfecting every day is certainly not necessary.

, Feel free to forward this email on to any friends or family that may be interested in the content. Let’s see how many canary owners we can help out. :-)

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While every attempt has been made to verify the information provided in this writing, neither the author nor his affiliates/partners assume any responsibility for errors, inaccuracies or omissions. Any slights of people or organizations are unintentional. If advice concerning animal health or related matters is needed, the services of a fully qualified professional should be sought. This report is not intended for use as a source of animal health care advice. You should be aware of any laws which govern animal health care or other related practices in your country and state.

Written by Darren P.D. Walker
(c) copyright 2007

All rights reserved. No portion of this lesson or Ecourse may be reproduced in any way without the expressed written permission of Darren P.D. Walker.

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