How To Care For a Canary

  • Date: December 5, 2021
  • Time to read: 4 min.

Taking proper care of a canary requires providing the right food and shelter for your bird. Adequate attention must also be paid to the canary’s physical health, mental stimulation, and social interaction.

The following article will review everything you need to know to give your canary a healthy, happy life.

Housing Your Canary

Setting up a large space for your canary to live in will go a long way to helping your bird stay healthy and entertained. 

Choosing an Enclosure

When it comes to choosing an aviary for your bird, size is key. The more room your canary has to move around, the happier it will be.

While some say that a cage is big enough so long as the bird can fully stretch its wings, this is the absolute bare minimum in terms of size and is not recommended. Choose the largest enclosure you can comfortably fit in your space, ideally one that will allow your canary to fly around in it.

Inside or Outside

Your aviary can be set up indoors or outdoors, depending on the climate where you live. The ideal temperature for a canary is 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit. 

If your canary will be living outdoors, ensure that the aviary is situated in the shade so that your bird does not overheat. You’ll need to provide a sheltered area within the enclosure that the canary can go to if desired.

An indoor aviary should be placed in indirect sunlight, away from any drafts. To minimize the risk of your canary developing respiratory problems, keep them away from cigarette smoke and air fresheners.

If you have other pets, like cats or dogs, make sure the enclosure is not accessible to them. The aviary should be securely closed to prevent the canary from escaping as well as preventing predators from getting to the bird.

Lastly, if your bird will be flying around your home, remove any houseplants that may be toxic to your canary. Ensure fans are turned off, screens are closed, and doors are shut prior to opening your bird’s enclosure.

Non-Toxic Materials

Some materials are toxic to canaries and should be avoided when choosing an enclosure. Look for an aviary that is made of stainless steel. Avoid enclosures that have coatings containing zinc or lead.

You’ll want to use liners on the bottom of the aviary as this allows for easier clean-up. Use plain brown paper and avoid anything containing ink or chemicals. 


Create an environment that is similar to the natural world. Canaries can develop foot problems if all of their perches are the same size. Plastic perches should be avoided.

Use real tree branches in a variety of sizes and at a range of heights. Ensure that they are cleaned and disinfected before installing in the aviary.

Bath Time

Canaries love to bathe in water. Provide a shallow dish that your bird can splash about in. Change the water each day.

You can also use a spray bottle to give your canary a gentle mist once a day.

Housing Multiple Birds

If you will have more than one canary, you will need more space. You’ll want to have enough room for each bird to be able to fly around and to have their own sheltered, private space.

Male canaries should not be housed in the same enclosure since this can lead to fighting. It is okay to place separate aviaries in view of each other.

Feeding Your Canary

Stainless steel dishes are best for your bird’s food and water. They are easy to keep clean and don’t chip easily like ceramic or glass.

The main part of your canary’s diet should consist of pellets. These should make up around 75-80 percent of your bird’s food since they contain much of the nutrition required.

Vegetables are a great addition to your canary’s main diet. Foods like spinach, carrots, corn, and peas are good choices. Avocados are toxic and should be avoided.

Fruit can be given in small amounts since it is high in sugar. Berries, papaya, melon, and banana are suitable for canaries. 

Fresh water must always be available for your bird. Change the water once a day, or more frequently if it gets droppings in it.

Finally, you’ll want to provide a cuttlefish bone for your canary. In addition to providing calcium, these also help file down the bird’s beak and nails.

Playtime For Your Canary

While canaries enjoy interacting with humans, they generally don’t like being handled. Some canaries will perch on your finger and let you pet them, but most prefer not to.

The best way to provide stimulation for your bird is to spend time talking to it and whistling with it. Canaries have beautiful singing voices and are a pleasure to listen to.

All birds, including canaries, can become isolated and exhibit symptoms of depression if they spend too much time alone. Make sure to spend adequate time interacting with your canary.

You’ll want to provide toys for your canary to stay entertained. Always check the materials and avoid anything that may contain zinc as this is toxic to canaries.

Opt for toys that are made with natural materials such as wood or rope made from sisal, hemp, or cotton. Stainless-steel toys are another good choice. Avoid plastic as well as anything that has been painted.

Health Care For Your Canary

A healthy canary can live for 10 years, sometimes as long as 15 years. Providing your bird with proper nutrition, stimulation, and adequate space will help to ensure a long life.

Your canary should visit a veterinarian once or twice a year for a regular check-up. If you suspect your bird is unwell, take it in as soon as possible to be examined.

Sneezing, coughing, and trouble breathing can be signs of a respiratory illness in your canary. Other issues that require a visit to the veterinarian include lack of appetite, eye discharge, or a change in the texture or frequency of their droppings.

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