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Canaries (Serinus canaria) An introduction

15 August 2014 Comments::DISQUS_COMMENTS

History of canaries

Like all domestic animals, the canary too in its different forms and breeds is descended from a wild form.
The wild canary is a small finch native to the Canary Islands, basically green in colour and feeding on the seeds found in the grass lands of the region.

Canaries had been adopted by man since the second half of the 15th century. The canary has been the favorite cage bird the world over for the past five centuries. They have also been used in coal mines as an indicator for the air quality present in the depth of the mines as their deaths would trigger off an alarm indicating the presence of poisonous fumes.

The Germans were most interested in the canaries singing and several centuries ago they developed the popular soft singing German canaries “Rollers” and also the “Choppers”with its louder song.

The English concentrated on breeding small, compact canaries with short, brightly coloured feathers.

It is generally believed that all canaries are of a plain yellow colour but there are many varieties known as variegated bird the diverse markings of which form a basis of classification.

The following sub divisions are generally recognized in the classification of most breeds of canaries.
   Clear: No dark feathering at all.
   Varigated: More or less irregularly marked with dark and light areas.
   Self: Dark birds with no light-feathering showing anywhere in any part of the body, wings or tail. We also have white      varieties. This is a very brief list of colours common to all breeds.

The Cage
Canaries are lively birds and exercise is vital. I keep my birds in 6 feet flight Cages during the non breeding seasons.The males and females are kept in separate flight cages allowing maximum exercise. The perches inside the cage should be apart far enough for the birds to get maximum flight from end to end.
A pair, which perhaps one intends to breed,needs a cage with a maximum length of 50 cm.

The best place for a bird’s cage is a spot that receives sunlight for a few hours each day.A canary enjoys to the fullest the warm rays of the sun. It ruffles up the feathers, spreads out the wings, and exposes the greatest possible surface area to the sunshine. The bird should be able to enjoy regular bathing, fresh air, some direct sunlight and maximum flight than can be provided.

When males are kept in one cage, trouble may result and fierce fighting may occur until dominance is established. To avoid this unnecessary squabbling, it is always better to introduce all the birds into the cage simultaneously. It is also advisable to put numerous seed / water cups to enable the weaker birds to feed without interference.

Foods and Feeding.
A bird that has been domesticated like the canary, for example, has completely lost touch with its original environment.The canary is primarily a seed eating bird.

Seed Mix :
I feed a mixture of millet, niger, a little linseed and white/black “til”.
You can also add canary seed and oats and imported seed mix, but the bird fare well even without this addition. I mix a small amount of imported seed to the local seeds when available. It must be noted, the canaries enjoy a varied diet and an assorted seed mix allows the bird to choose its preference seed.

Soft food preparation :
A hard boiled egg is grated and “Cream Cracker” non salted or non sweetened biscuit powder is added .This is an important rearing food for young canaries. The biscuit powder is added to the egg mix to absorb the excess moisture in the egg food allowing it to stay longer. Please note, all egg food must be replaced regularly as it tends to spoil in hot humid weather and can cause a stomach upset.

Grit :
I use a mixture of the following :
Black building sand washed thoroughly and dried
Cuttle fish bone powdered
Egg shell powder
These are mixed together in equal quantities and given throughout the year. The sand ingested assists the crop in grinding the seeds ingested. The bone and shell grit are Calcium additives to all cage birds.
Kindly note, pre-prepared grit is now available commercially.

Greens, fruit and carrots :
Greens have vitamin and mineral value. I give lettuce twice a week. Lettuce increasing to daily as the breeding season approaches. Canaries also enjoy a slice of sweet apple and grated carrots as supplements to their diets. These supplements add to the overall nutrition for the bird.

One must follow the above basics to ensure that your Pet Canary is happy and content.

Last modified on Sunday, 14 September 2014 14:51