It’s not hard to fall in love with keeping canaries as a pet!
These beautiful little birds are smart, filled with personality, and are more than happy to spend time all on their own or with their “human family” – chirping away and bobbing around inside of their enclosure.
But while these birds are easy enough to keep as a pet breeding them is something else entirely.
Plenty of canary owners jump headfirst into the world of breeding these birds because of how much they love them, not realizing at first just how much work and just how much planning is required (at least at first, anyway).
But that’s why we put together this detailed guide
Getting Canaries Ready to Breed
As we highlighted a moment ago, there are a lot of things you need to think about before you even consider getting your hands on a breeding pair of canaries.
This is not the kind of thing you do on a whim or on the fly, not if you want to raise happy and healthy birds, anyway.
Here are a few things to think about when getting ready to breed your birds!
Invest in Quality Breeding Supplies
For starters, you need to make sure that you are investing in quality breeding supplies – particularly when it comes to the breeding cage or enclosure you are using.
Male canaries almost always come into breeding conditions earlier than female canaries and you need to be sure that you keep these birds apart from one another until both are ready to avoid fights.
But that’s just one reason to have a separate cage or enclosure for breeding.
Another reason is that most folks usually like to breed multiple canaries at once, using the same male with multiple females. Specialty enclosures have little “tunnels” that run between both of the different enclosures, allowing females to live side-by-side with a male in the middle without any issue.
You also need to invest in high-quality nesting materials, high-quality food, and supplements that can help support happy and healthy baby canaries, too.
Choose the Right Birds
It’s not a bad idea to invest wisely in high-quality breeding birds, either.
You want to look for young canaries that have good feather qualities (no molting), are active and healthy, and are alert and intelligent.
Male canaries that are prime for breeding usually sing quite vigorously, letting you know that they are ready to “rock and roll”. Female canaries should also be pretty active and healthy, though they might be a little bit on the “broody” side of things – particularly if they are ready to begin nesting.
It’s also important to make sure that you aren’t breeding soft feather birds with other soft feathered birds. You want to mix soft feather birds with hard feather birds to avoid feather cysts getting into the bloodline.
You’ll also want to think about combining crested birds with none crested birds – especially when you are breeding specific types of canaries like glosters.
Look for Breeding Signals From Both Your Birds
Male canaries are generally going to give you the first indication that they are ready to breed, and that’s usually going to happen somewhere in the early to late spring.
Canaries (as a general rule) like to breed best when the temperatures start to get around 70° F and they get plenty of sunlight – 14 hours or more.
As soon as these male birds “come into condition” they are going to start dropping their wings a little bit when they sing. Their songs are also going to become a lot louder, a lot harsher, and a lot faster-paced as well.
Another good sign to look for is when males start to bounce around on their perch and become even more active than normal. These are signs of them unleashing some of their territorial nature, especially when there are other male canaries in the area.
Females will usually let you know that they are ready to begin breeding when they start to tear at the paper and begin brooding.
If you notice any nesting behavior alongside the mail canary behavior we highlighted above the chances are pretty good you’re going to be ready to start the breeding process.
Add a Nest to the Female Enclosure
Before you mix birds together, though, you’re going to want to make sure that the female has quality nesting ready to rock and roll.
You can go with a premade nest (there are plenty available) or let your bird handle the bulk of the work on her all, making sure that she has plenty of quality material to put everything together without headache or hassle.
A lot of people like to compromise with those two extremes, putting in a quality premade nest with a lot of extra nesting material that lets your “mama canary” really make that nest her own.
Around now is when you’re going to want to move your male canary cages closer to the female canary enclosures – making sure to move them into close proximity with one another without actually mixing them in the same cage.
This lets them knock out the “flirting” stage of the mating game without any fights and without any problems.
Make Sure Breeding Birds Have Plenty of Food
As soon as you start to notice your birds show reading behavior you want to make sure that you give them plenty of food with an enriched diet.
We are talking about pellet food, an enriched seed, soft food, and at least a bit of additional calcium mixed and as well. Cuttlebone and grit can be added into the food you give your female canary. That’ll help with better production of healthier eggs for sure.
Move Your Birds in Together
As soon as you start to see your canaries “kissing each other” through the enclosures it’s a good idea to move them in with one another.
Bring the male into the female enclosure (the one with the nesting all ready to rock and roll). The breeding process will almost always start right away, or in short order.
This mating ritual can look pretty aggressive at times, so you want to keep a close eye on your birds to make sure that this process isn’t turning into fights that can get pretty dangerous for both birds.
After that happens, though, it’s really a bit of a waiting game.
You’ll know that everything was successful when you start to see eggs pop up inside of the nest – usually anywhere between two and six eggs for each individual female
Keep Your Breeding Pairs Together Until the Chicks are 3 Weeks Old
After the eggs have been produced it usually takes about two weeks for them to hatch into chicks.
These chicks are going to be able to force their way out of the shell all on their own, especially if you used healthy and happy breeding pairs of canaries, to begin with.
It’s okay to leave “mom and pop” in the same enclosure until the chicks themselves reach about three weeks of age. This is when you’ll start to notice the father sort of dropout more and more frequently, generally coinciding with the chicks themselves getting bigger, stronger, and healthier as well.
And that’s about all there is to breeding canaries, best of luck going forward!