A bird with a rich history, the Canary (Hen) is a popular house pet. Caring and creating a healthy environment for your canary takes some planning. However, the rewards are well worth the effort. Breeding your canary hen can also be an enriching experience.
The modern canary is descended from the wild canaries of the Canary Islands, off the north-west coast of Africa. These wild birds were an introduced, or non-native, species. Story has it that the birds were loaded into cages upon a galleon near the islands. When the boat started to fail, the boat’s sailor freed the birds to ensure their survival. The birds took flight and settled on the Canary Islands. With the temperate climate and rich resources of the islands, the birds flourished. It was the Spaniards who first appreciated the value of the birds as pets. The Spaniards trapped, bred and altered the coloring of the canaries, making the birds a widely popular pet. While yellow is the color most associated with canaries, brown and red varieties were also developed.
Caring for your canary hen starts with the right cage. The minimum size of your bird’s cage should be fifteen inches high by forty inches long. Canaries need some room to fly from perch to perch, with the recommended distance between perches being approximately 16 inches. Avoid round cages, as they are detrimental to your canary’s mental health. Metal cages will be easier to clean, disinfect, and protect from mite infestation.
Your canary hen’s diet should be mostly consisting of canary seed, or skalora, and a mixture of other seeds. These added ingredients can include millet, niger seeds, canola and hemp. Aniseed can also be added for flavor. Some canary mixtures also include small colored pieces that provide vitamin supplements and a color agents. Along with fresh seeds, fresh water must always be provided for your bird. A canary may perish after sixteen hours if left without water. Finally, it is important to always keep your bird’s food and water containers clean.
Keeping your canary hen’s cage in a suitable condition means keeping it as clean as possible throughout the year. Canaries are prone to mite infection and keeping your bird’s cage clean with help keep it safe. During the winter, your bird’s cage should be cleaned once a week and during the summer, it should be cleaned twice a week to reduce the dropping odor. When taking care of the cage, the perches should be disinfected and the nests cleaned. Nests will attract mites, who will use it for breeding, so they should be frequently cleaned and replaced after several uses.
To help keep your canary hen stay physically healthy, keep it out of draughts. Also, expect your canary to molt during the summer months. Red canaries should be fed color-feed in order for it to retain it colorful plumage. You canary should be left in its cage at this time; it will need to be able to clean and maintain its plumage. Not only will your bird drop feathers during this period, but also it will stop singing.
If you are interested in breeding your canary hen several steps need to be followed to ensure a successful breeding. January marks the start of the canary breeding season and you can start to prepare your female by adding grit to her seed. Grit contains calcium, which helps your canary produce eggs with strong shells. Before the breeding pair is introduced to each other, the cage must be modified by placing a wire mesh divider down the middle. The divider will allow the breeding pair to get to know one another without risk of conflict. Remove the divider after several days and place a nest pan for your canary hen. The nest pan should be provided with nesting material like paper that has been shredded, natural materials like leaves and twigs, and strings.
The canary hen will lay two to six small eggs approximately two weeks after the nest has been built. The eggs will be a light blue with tiny brown dots. After fourteen days of incubation, the eggs will hatch and the chicks will emerge. Tiny, pink, and without feathers and eyesight, the chicks will need to be fed by the hen. You will need to provide fresh egg food at all times. The young chicks will be ready to leave the nest after two weeks.
Sharing your home with a Canary (Hen) can be a great experience. With proper care, a canary will fill your home with years of song and happiness.