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CANARIES (Serinus canaria) Breeding and rearing the Canary (Part 2)

15 August 2014 Comments::DISQUS_COMMENTS


The best time to commence breeding canaries is when you see the wild birds beginning to nest in your locality. In India, it is in the beginning of winter ie. October end, beginning November.

Before the breeding season, the bird keeper must ensure that the breeding pairs have been housed separately ie. males in one flight and females in the other. Just before the onset of the season, one must increase the special feed ie. soft food, greens, tit-bits etc. to get the mature birds into condition.




Conditioned males when ready to breed will be singing lustily and will lower their wings and dance about on the perches. The hens, when ready will have an enlarged vent and will also respond by calling their mates frequently.

The keeper must get the breeding cage ready. The optimum size of cage for breeding canaries is 24”(L) x 18”(H) x 12”(D). Introduce the pair together simultaneously. Some amount of squabbling may occur, however, if severe fighting occurs, then the birds are not quite ready to begin breeding and one should separate the birds for a week or so for another stretch of conditioning. Usually beginners are too eager to begin and this causes much grief. It is always better to start late than too early.


If the male begins to feed the hen, one must introduce the nest pan. The nest pan must be lined with towel which must be sewn to the nest. Nesting material can be given to the birds in very small quantities at first. They will usually play with this nesting material for a while, then the hen will begin to build the nest in earnest. More nesting material should be made available, enough for the hen to build a nice cozy nest. After the nest is complete, you can expect the first egg in a week or a bit longer as you will observe the male frequently straddling and mating the female regularly.

The canaries may lay about four to six bluish eggs with mottled brown dots. The hen starts hatching the eggs after the second egg is laid. The eggs are laid consecutively. It is advisable to mark the dates so that you know when the chicks are due. If the eggs do not hatch in usually 14 days, leave them alone for a few more days as they take slightly longer during the colder months.


It is best to leave the cock with the hen as he will help tremendously in feeding the young and rearing the chicks. It is essential to keep on feeding the rearing pair with adequate soft rearing egg food with increasing quantities as canaries are very good feeders. Most hens do not feed their young in your presence however canaries are good parents and invariable if fed properly can rear upto four chick very easily.

The ideal way to feed young birds in the nest is as follows:

• Start feeding egg food soon after daylight

• At noon a fresh supply of egg food

• Lettuce and conditioning seeds at frequent intervals
The feeding time should be fairly uniform. The main idea is to have fresh egg food throughout the day. Sour egg food is like poison to the chicks so one must remove any un-eaten foods before it becomes rancid.

The hen usually starts to nest again before the off-spring can feed themselves. When she does, one must place another nest pan after placing the old nest with chicks onto the base of the cage. The male shall more often then not, continue to feed the youngsters till they are fully capable of eating themselves. The hen, meanwhile starts to lay and the cycle continues.

When you are sure that the youngsters can feed and fend for themselves, place them in another cage. Keep on feeding them the usual conditioning seed, egg food and lettuce. At this stage, the young males do try to sing and can be sexed by the experienced bird-keeper.

To succeed with birds, one must have a genuine liking for them and strange as it may seem, a person may not always know until he she keeps a few birds. The greatest mistake we all make is thinking that we can learn the ART of breeding in a very short time but the really successful hobbyist are the ones who have years of experience to back them. If you are content to begin at the bottom and steadily climb upwards, then you will succeed.

Last modified on Sunday, 14 September 2014 14:56
Chandrahas Rajda

A senior in the field of aviculture, has been very successful in managing and breeding of the smaller cage bird variety. His methods of extracting “maximum out of the minimum” spacewise, through intensive study of bird behaviour, diet and husbandry has brought him oodles of success in the hobby.