Canaries are popular pet birds that are loved for their beautiful singing and vibrant colors. These birds are relatively easy to care for, making them an excellent choice for first-time bird owners. However, like all pets, canaries require a certain level of attention and care to thrive. In this article, we will discuss the basic management of canaries as pet birds. Below are some of the basics of canary care:


Canaries are small birds that require a cage that is at least 18 inches wide, 14 inches deep, and 18 inches high. The cage should be made of metal wire with a tray at the bottom for easy cleaning. Canaries also need perches of varying diameters to exercise their feet and prevent foot problems. It’s important to keep the cage away from drafty areas and direct sunlight, as these can harm the bird’s health.


Canaries require a balanced diet consisting of a high-quality seed mix, fresh fruits, and vegetables. Seed mixes formulated specifically for canaries are readily available at pet stores. It’s important to ensure that the seed mix is fresh, as stale seed can lead to health problems. Canaries also enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables such as apples, carrots, and spinach. It’s important to introduce new foods slowly to prevent any GI problems.


Fresh, clean water should be available to canaries at all times. The water should be changed daily to prevent bacterial growth. Canaries also enjoy bathing, so it’s a good idea to provide a shallow dish of water for them to bathe in.


Canaries are generally healthy birds, but it’s important to keep an eye out for signs of illness. Common signs of illness in canaries include loss of appetite, lethargy, fluffed-up feathers, and difficulty breathing. If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to take your bird to a veterinarian as soon as possible. Regular veterinary check-ups are also recommended to ensure your canary stays healthy. Also, as canaries can live for a decade or more, it’s important to be ready to “commit” to your pet canary if you are considering purchasing one.


Canaries are social birds and enjoy the company of other canaries (not so much other species of birds). However, if you plan on keeping more than one canary, it’s important to introduce them slowly and monitor their interactions. Canaries also enjoy interacting with their owners and should be provided with plenty of toys and opportunities for play.

In conclusion, canaries are wonderful pet birds that are relatively easy to care for. Proper housing, diet, and health care are essential for ensuring your canary stays healthy and happy. With a little bit of attention and care, your canary can be a beloved companion for many years to come.


Written using ChatGPT and revised and edited for content by Dr. Maurice Pitesky at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.