A pet canary bird with a lilting song and a dulcet voice is one of the most desirable and delightful animals that a cultured lady can have as a companion. It is a source of a great deal of refined pleasure and fun, and it amply compensates for the care that is required to make it a hardy, happy, and melodious member of the home.
Every fan of these feathery songsters will benefit from reading the straightforward directions that are provided here for how to properly care for canaries.
Choosing the Birds
Don’t be picky about the color of the bird; the ones with brown or mottled feathers often have the most beautiful voices. Steer clear of birds with red eyes since they are fragile and difficult to maintain in song. There is no correlation between tameness and superiority; rather, a bird that is only mildly timid and alert has the best chance of succeeding. If the canary will be used in a private home, you should prioritize sweetness and melody over shrillness and volume in terms of its tone. When you buy a bird, you should make sure that its legs and feet are spotless and in wonderful condition, and you should bring the bird home with you rather than allowing the sellers to ship it to you. This will ensure that you receive the option that you choose. For singing, select a male bird. Comparing the birds in a brood that has both male and female offspring allows for accurate determination of the sex of the offspring. The male has the most brilliantly colored plumage; his head is larger and longer than that of the female; his body is more slender; his neck is longer; his legs are longer and straighter than those of the female; and the feathers around his temples and eyes are more brilliantly colored than those found anywhere else on his body.
Bring your bird back to the house without causing it any stress. Prepare its enclosure by putting seed and water in it, and having it ready to go. It should be allowed to leave the temporary cage and walk into its new home on its own volition. Install a light in front of the cage, and while you should avoid getting too close to the bird or giving the impression that you are watching it, chirp or whistle to encourage it. There is a good probability that it will start singing straight away. If it continues to be timid after the first day, you should grab the bird and submerge it in the water of its bath tub before releasing it back into the wild. If it acts a little sulky at first, that’s even better; but if the shyness continues after the first day, you should leave it alone. The process of cleaning and smoothing its feathers will help it forget about being homesick and will let it to feel more at ease.
The wire cage in the shape of a bell is ideal for housing singing birds. Brass is preferable than painted wire in most situations. In addition to the bathtub and seed cup, the cage should feature two or three perches made of round and smooth cane or hardwood. These should be placed at various heights throughout the enclosure. These should be dispersed throughout the cage in such a way that they will never be directly on top of one another in order to effectively catch the litter. To keep the perches clean, wash them frequently with some yellow dish soap and water, and do not put them back in the cage until they have been dried completely. At least twice a week, the bottom of the cage needs to be removed, washed, and then covered with either fine sand or gravel. This process needs to be repeated. Always employ extreme caution while dealing with salt water sand. Never hang the cage where there will be a draft of air (such as in an open window), or where there will be direct sunlight, without providing the bird with some kind of shade on the side that will be exposed to the wind and at the top of the cage. Under no circumstances should you ever hang the cage outside in wet weather. Never leave the cage in a room that does not have a fire during the winter months. Do not entrust your servants with the responsibility of taking care of your bird and its cage.
A daily change should be made to the water. Canaries will not take a bath in water that is stale or unclean. The bird should be allowed to bathe in a container that is small enough to fit through the cage entrance, and the container should be removed as soon as the bird has finished bathing. Fill the bathtub with water and place it on the ground or an old table if you have a wire cage that has a bottom that hooks on. This is an excellent plan if you have one of these cages. The bottom of the cage should then be unhooked, and the bird should be placed in the cage while it is placed over the bathtub. When the bottom is replaced, the cage will be immaculately clean and dry, and the bird will soon come down from its perch and utilize the bath. If you put the bathtub within the cage, make sure that any water that splashes out is dried up when the bird is done using it.
Food and Water
A straightforward diet is preferable to offering songbirds “goodies” like cake, sugar, and other sweets in their food. A combination of rape and canary grass, with some hemp seed added in (less of the latter in summer than in winter). Before being used, the hemp seed should be broken up into smaller pieces if the bird is still young. During the warm summer months, the enclosure needs to be stocked with green foods such as cabbage, turnip tops, chick-weed, plantain stems, celery, watercress, and other similar items. Use a very small amount of sweet apple throughout the winter, as well as an extremely small amount of boiling carrot or cauliflower without any salt. Birds also love having pieces of water cracker or pilot bread suspended in the cage, as well as a cuttlefish bone, which is beneficial to them due to the lime that it contains and which they find delicious. Because the bird’s day begins at sunrise and ends at sunset, the seed box of the cage should be filled with seeds at night. This is because the bird wants to eat breakfast before you are up in the morning. Always make sure that the cup is nearly full before drinking from it. Birds frequently endure intolerable levels of thirst after spreading their wings and using up all of the available water.
Cages used for breeding should be made of polished wood and should have wire on one end and one side. Oilcloth or stiff paper, which can be removed, cleaned, and re-sanded as needed, should be used to cover the floor. The floor should then be sanded. Near the wooden corner of the cage, about halfway up, there should be a small box for nests that is fastened in such a way that it can be removed at will. Additionally, material for the nest, such as soft moss, wool, feathers, new cotton, or hair, should be attached loosely to the wires where the bird can get it.
Around the middle of March or April, canaries start to pair up. Find a healthy and attractive couple, and after keeping them apart for a few days while still allowing them to see each other, finally place them in the same cage together. Put the zoo animal in a room that is well-lit, has plenty of fresh air, and maintains a consistent temperature. Keep it away from any drafts of cold air. In the event that the hen abandons her nest after having placed her entire complement of eggs and beginning to sit on them, you should remove the nest, replace it with a new one, and allow her to begin the process all over again. Canaries typically produce between four and six eggs, which they incubate for a total of thirteen days.
While the bird is sitting on her eggs, she should have plenty of food available to her. On the day that the hatching is expected to occur, place in the cage a small amount of grated bread that has been soaked in water and then pressed dry. Additionally, place in the cage a portion of a finely chopped hard-boiled egg. These morsels of food are intended for the juvenile birds. They should be put in the cage during the night or early in the morning, and great care should be made to change them frequently enough so that they do not become sour. Changing them frequently enough will prevent them from becoming sour.
When juvenile birds are healthy, they will have full crops and a reddish appearance. If the young appear wan and emaciated, you should immediately change the nest and smooth out the new one before placing the young in it by rolling a hot egg about in it. If this continues, you should begin to believe that the nest is infested with vermin. At the age of twelve days, the young canaries begin to develop feathers of their own and begin to help themselves. At the age of one month, they are old enough to be moved from the parent cage to another cage that is close at hand and within sight.
Their enclosure should always have fresh, green food available to them. The healthiest diet for children is freshly prepared eggs that have been hard boiled and grated bread that has been soaked in water and squeezed. They should be given the opportunity to take a bath every day; if they refuse to get into the tub, they should be showered with water using a brush; and they should be exposed to as much gentle sunshine as possible (the temperature should not be too high). While the cage is exposed to sunlight, there should always be a shaded corner within it. A couple of leafy branches that cast a rippling shadow are ideal for this purpose. If it is at all possible, you should provide them with a large quantity of green food as well as some insects, ant eggs, and other such things.
When the young birds reach the age of two weeks, their parents frequently start to get ready to prepare for the next brood; and if symptoms of such a state of affairs are detected, a new nest box and materials should be placed in the breeding cage. The female will be preoccupied with making preparations for an addition to the family while the male will be in charge of caring for the young birds.
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