Canary: Buying and Keeping

If you want to buy a canary, you should prepare well and not make an impulse purchase. The lively little birds need attention, plenty of space, and good food. Here are a few tips on keeping and buying canaries. In this way, you will be able to offer your new pet a good home right from the start.

Appropriate Husbandry

If kept correctly, the life expectancy of a canary is around 10-12 years. The canaries are generally not loners and should therefore always be kept at least in pairs. If the bird is given a lot of activity, keeping it alone for a short period of time is also okay. However, the canary feels most comfortable as a couple, or better still in a small group. Within a group, the number of females should always be higher than that of males. It is ideal to keep one male together with several females.

Even if the canaries live in a large aviary, they enjoy a daily free flight in the apartment. In this way, they can train their muscles and the wings do not wither. Make sure that all windows are closed and covered. The canaries cannot see window glass and, in the worst-case scenario, can seriously injure themselves if they fly against it. You should also clear away poisonous plants and objects on which the animals could injure themselves before the free flight.

The Right Equipment

A pair of canaries should have at least 150 x 60 x 100 cm space. If there is a group of birds, the cage or aviary must be correspondingly larger. In general, the bigger the cage, the better and the more comfortable the animals feel.

Just as important as the cage itself is its location. Loud noises can startle the birds, so the cage should not be placed near televisions and stereos. The most unsuitable place for the birdcage is the kitchen. Here the temperatures fluctuate too much due to cooking and subsequent ventilation and can make the canary sick. Instead, the cage should be raised and completely draft-free so that the birds feel safe and do not get sick in the draft. The canaries love the sun, but they also need enough shade. A special daylight lamp can ensure sufficient light supply, especially in winter.

Tip: choose the location of the cage carefully before buying a canary. So you don’t have to move it afterward and expose your darlings to unnecessary stress.

In the cage, you should have several perches and branches made of natural wood for the bird. They serve the canary as a seat and as a place to sleep and are important for grinding the claws. You can simply get the branches in the great outdoors. For example, birch, maple, willow or unsprayed fruit trees are well suited. The canaries like to bathe and are therefore particularly happy about a bathing house. The water should not be too warm so as not to damage the fat protection of the plumage. You should also change the water every day so that the birds can drink from the bathing area.


The main food for canaries should consist of a mixture of different grains so that as many nutrients as possible are covered. In addition, green fodder is essential. This includes grasses, herbs, vegetables, and fruits. But make sure that the greens are not sprayed so as not to harm your bird with pesticides.

Tip: Simply grow the green fodder for your canaries yourself. All you have to do is sow the grains in small bowls on the windowsill. When the plants are about 10cm tall, you can simply put them in the cage with the potty.

The canaries also need stomach grit, as a digestive aid, and a limestone or sepia shell to grind down their beak and to absorb minerals. Before offering your birds a sepia bowl, you should water them for at least 24 hours. Otherwise, it’s too salty and can harm your birds. A sufficient supply of drinking water is particularly important. The canaries need up to 20% of their body weight in water every day. Drinking water dispensers are best, as the water in the dispensers is less polluted. Even so, you still need to change the water and clean the dispenser every day. A couple of times a week you can also add vitamin drops to the drinking water in order to optimally care for your canaries.

Caution: Some foods are incompatible with canaries and should therefore not be fed under any circumstances. These include avocado, plum, grapefruit, beans, all types of cabbage, and raw potatoes. As with all animal species, the same applies to birds: Leftovers from the table are taboo! Salty/spicy and sugary foods and dairy products are also prohibited.

Tips for Buying a Canary

Even before buying the bird, you should have all the equipment so that your new darlings feel comfortable immediately. To buy a canary yourself, it is worth going to the breeder. It is best to look at several breeders and observe the birds on offer carefully before you decide to buy. Make sure that the birds are kept in sufficiently large and clean aviaries. Well-cared-for, healthy birds are very lively, sing beautifully, and eat and drink diligently. They have beautiful, shiny plumage and clear eyes. A good breeder will usually only sell the animals at least in pairs and can also give you valuable tips on keeping and caring for them. For a canary, you have to pay between $40 and 70 from a breeder, although the price varies depending on the species and sex of the bird.

So you see: buying and keeping canaries are not difficult with a little preparation. If you follow all of our tips, you will have created a good basis to offer one or even more canaries a good home and a long, happy life.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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