Breeds include:- Border Fancy, Fife, Gloster, Lizard, Norwich, Roller, and Yorkshire. Some breeds have a crest.
The Lizard breed is the oldest of the canary breeds and dates back about 400 years.
The wild canary is less colourful than the domesticated version. The wild type is rarely kept or bred in captivity.
Level Of Knowledge Required: Beginner / Intermediate / Advanced / Specialist Breeders Only.
Government Regulations & By-Laws: Refer to "Government Laws" web page.
Housing Requirements: Click on "Housing birds" web page for general details on the housing of Non Australian Finches or read on for specific details for this finch.
If you place a canary cage outside to give the bird or birds some sunshine, be aware that they could be predated upon by birds such as currawongs, magpies, hawks etc. Long beaked birds can grab and either injure or kill a canary. Cats and dogs are other predator that can inflict injury or death upon the inhabitants of an outdoor canary cage.
Canaries can be housed as a mixed finch collection in a suitable sized aviary. Canaries usually do not show aggression to other species of finches.
One pair of Canaries can be housed and bred in a
normal Canary cage of about 600mm long x 400mm deep x 400mm high (24 in
x 16 in x 16 in). The young would have to be removed from a cage
of that size as soon as they become fully independent.
One pair of canaries is usually safe to place in a planted aviary. They should not be too destructive of established trees, shrubs or growing plants in an aviary. However, canaries may be destructive to the new buds and shoots. If too many canaries are in a planted aviary the canaries will eventually strip the plants of their leaves and eventually kill the plants. There must be a balance between the number of birds and the size and growth rate of the plants. Most outdoor Canary aviaries look similar to a typical finch aviary, and need a small mesh size to avoid escapes (generally about 12mm or half inch mesh). Mouse proof wire (approx 7mm mesh) is ideal. Most outdoor finch aviaries have a fully covered roof, usually a transparent or semi-transparent material. Side walls and the back wall are often enclosed with metal sheeting. Newer aviaries can be purchased in a number of Colourbond finishes to fit in with the decor of the environment. An aviary or 2000 mm long x 1200mm wide and 2100 mm high (approx 6 - 7 ft x 4 ft x 7 ft) should be adequate for 3 or 4 pairs, or 2 cock birds and 4 - 6 hens.
If space allows, a 3 metre x 2 metre ( approx 10 ft x 6 ft ) aviary in a planted environment (i.e. plants outside the aviary) can make a pleasant addition to a backyard or courtyard. The larger aviary can be split into two separate sections. One for the breeders and the other for the young birds.
Two or three hens can be placed in an aviary with one cock bird and the group will often happily raise one nest of young per hen. Each hen may raise 2 or 3 clutches per breeding season. To maintain minimal aggression in an aviary, no more than 2 cock birds should be housed in the same aviary. The more pairs that are in the aviary, the more likely only the dominant pairs of birds will successfully raise young.
Bird Play Toys or Bird Play Gyms can be added to the cage or aviary allow for mental and physical exercise.
Canaries love to bathe, so a suitable size shallow bowl can be placed in the cage or aviary to allow these birds to bathe.
A "Double door" or "Safety door" in an outdoor aviary is essential to minimise the escape of these quick flying birds.
Diet / Feeding: Click on "Feeding birds" web page for general details on the nutrition of Non Australian Finches or read on for specific details for this finch.
These active birds housed in a wire cage have a habit of flicking their seed food around when feeding and uneaten seeds often end up on the floor outside the cage. An "apron" or "skirt" can be placed around the base of the cage to minimize the amount of seed the bird can flick out of the cage. The "skirt" is often about 60 - 75mm high (2.5 - 3 inches).
Canaries require a quality "Canary
seed mix" plus a variety of
seeding grasses. Many breeders add a piece of cuttlefish bone for
them to nibble on for a source of calcium. Additional green
vegetables such as Silverbeet, endive, cos lettuce and Broccoli will be eagerly consumes and
make up a valuable part of a balanced food intake. Some seasonally
available fruits can be offered, e.g. apple. Soaked or sprouted
seed can be offered.
There are a variety of supplementary food mixes available for Canaries and finches. Commercial "Hand rearing mixes" are available for feeding baby birds.
Adding "mineral and vitamin supplements" and/or calcium supplements to the diet should only be done after consultation with an avian veterinarian or general veterinarian. Too much "mineral and vitamin supplement" can be detrimental or fatal to birds, both the young and the adult birds.
"Egg & biscuit" mix used to contain cooked/boiled chook eggs mixed with plain crushed biscuits. Many new commercial mixes no longer contain eggs or egg products. Feeding eggs or egg products can be detrimental to the long term health of the birds. With the out break of avian flu in countries North of Australia and Europe, Africa, EU and the resulting destruction of birds, the continued feeding of eggs or egg products should cease. There are a number of commercial companies that produce a variety of balanced nutritious dry supplemental food mixes that contain no egg or egg products.
The food intake can be adjusted to cater for the additional demands such as moulting, feeding young and the cooler winter months. Seek advice from experienced local breeders or a veterinarian to obtain the best seasonal food intakes for your area.
Home made "Egg & biscuit" mixes should not contain any no egg or egg products.
Some Canaries may consume insects as part of their normal food intake if housed with, or beside, other birds that normally consume insects.
Nesting: A basic overview only.
The parents no not observe nest hygiene
and hence the nests can become quite dirty.
More details on finch nests and a selection of finch nest photos can be located on the "nests", "finch nests" and "finch nest photos" web pages. Click on "Up" then "nests" then "finch nests" and "finch nests photos" in the navigation bars.
Breeding: Egg Colour Pale blue speckled, the last egg laid per clutch is not speckled. Clutch/s per year 2 - 3 ( most will raise 3 clutches). Eggs per nest 3 - 6, One egg is laid each day. Incubation approx. 13 - 14 days. Fledge approx. 21 days. Independent at about 6 weeks of age.
Metal nests with a wire mesh cup allow the birds
and the nest material to "grip" the interior of the cup. Modern plastic
nests can be very smooth and the nest material will slip and slide in the nest
receptacle. To prevent the movement of nest material, a nest liner can be
placed in the cup and tied into place. The liner can be a felt like
material and are available at most pet shops, bird dealers and canary clubs.
Nest inspections are usually easy to perform and well tolerated. The chicks can be leg rung with a closed leg ring at 6 days of age but, before trying it yourself, obtain advice and instruction from an experienced breeder or avian veterinarian.
Their juvenile moult usually occurs at about 10 - 12 weeks of age, but may take till about 14 weeks.
Some breeds have a crest. However, the crested factor is a lethal mutation and crested birds should not be paired with another crested bird.
Some people remove each egg and replace
it with an artificial one till the full clutch has been laid. The
artificial eggs are then removed and the real eggs replaced. Most
of the eggs then hatch on the same day. The babies are of similar
size and grow at the same rate. Obtain expert advice before trying
this with your own birds. Fake or artificial canary eggs are
available from most pet shops, canary clubs and bird dealers.
Most types of Canaries make excellent beginner's bird. Usually good parents and very fertile. Babies are usually leg rung with a closed metal numbered leg ring whilst still in the nest. Parents usually allow the babies to be handled without abandoning any of the chicks. Canary clubs produce special numbered rings that show the year of breeding.
A good management plan must be implemented to avoid the hens over breeding. Too many clutches per year can compromise the health of the parent birds as well as the young.
Fewer clutches per year usually produces more good quality birds. That is better than lots of smaller, poor quality birds.
Special breeding cages can be made or purchased that have a divider through the centre of the cage. Two partitions are facilitated, one a solid partition, the other wire. Just prior to the start of the breeding season, the solid partition is in place. A few days later the solid partition is replaced with the wire partition. When the birds are singing to each other, the wire partition is removed and the birds should soon start building a nest.
The parent birds feed their young when the fledglings lift their heads and open their mouths. Allow adequate room for the birds to alight onto the side of the nest and feed the young.
"Red factor" canaries are a result of crossing the canary with the Red Siskin.
Artificial incubation, hand rearing or fostering will not be covered on this web site. It is too complex and diverse in nature to be attempted here. Refer "Specific References" as listed below and "General References" listings.
Health Issues: Refer "Avian Health Issues" web page for information and references.
"The Australian Canary Handbook". Authors Jeff Leaney & ?. Jeff is from the Australian Canary Club. Hardback. Published 1990's. This book was produced to cater for Australian breeders and Australian conditions. About $40. May be hard to obtain.
General References: Refer to references listed on "Book References" web page.
Local libraries usually have a range of books available covering all aspects of Canary care and breeding. Some libraries have Canary magazines and Canary videos for loan.
Most Canary clubs have a library of books, magazines and videos available for loan to members.
Most Avicultural Clubs and Societies have members who breed Canaries and other aviary birds who will share their expertise and have quality birds for sale.