Species-Appropriate Food For Canaries

Canaries are often kept as pets. They are quite undemanding when it comes to keeping them, although of course the responsibility towards the animal should not be underestimated.

The purchase of a cage that is big enough, the possibility of free flight, and the daily or regular cleaning of the cage are now among the typical tasks of a bird keeper.

Nutrition also plays a particularly important role in keeping canaries. So it’s not enough to just buy the typical grain feed from the nearest store. There is much more to a species-appropriate attitude. In this article, you will find out exactly what your canaries need for food and what you need to pay attention to as well as important information about intolerances and prohibited things.

Grains and rows for their canaries

The main food of canaries is made up of various grains and seeds. These must be of very high quality in order to provide the animals with the necessary vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.

The individual grain mixtures are already available in stores, whereby the different products have of course also been put together differently. It is now important to pay close attention to the ingredients in order to provide the animals with the best possible nutrition.

High-quality grain mixtures thus form the basis of species-appropriate canary food. So it is important that the selected foods contain numerous seeds and seeds. This is because the various ingredients naturally also contain different vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other nutrients.

It is best to provide the food in special automatic feeders or in closed bowls. In this way, you can ensure that the feed is not contaminated by manure or other dirt. Furthermore, it is not wrong to check the feeder or bowl daily. This way you can make sure that no leftover husks are blocking the openings and that your canaries always get different food.

It is important that you decide on high-quality grain mixtures. These form the basis for species-appropriate canary food. So you should make sure that, as already mentioned, different seeds and seeds are available. The typical components include the following seeds:

  • hemp;
  • linseed;
  • grass seed;
  • lettuce seeds;
  • negro seed;
  • millet;
  • weed seeds;
  • wild seeds;
  • wild seeds;
  • Oats;
  • perilla.

Grit and lime for your canaries

In order for your pets to be able to use and digest the food they eat, they need grit and lime. This is usually found in high-quality bird sand.

The finely ground mussel shells are usually sufficient to support the bird. Nevertheless, it is advisable to offer the animals other products from this area. For example, sepia peels can be used for this. These can be easily hung in the cage so that your canary can help himself when needed.

Protein food for your canaries

Especially during egg formation, breeding, or molting, it is important that you provide your birds with additional protein. It is best to offer the animal’s protein feed once a week. Eggs boiled for 10 minutes or quark, cream cheese and yogurt are perfect for this. In addition, these little delicacies also serve as a change in the diet of your darlings.

Don’t forget greens

In addition to grain feed, green fodder also plays a very important role for canaries, so it should not be missing from a species-appropriate diet. The green fodder not only provides variety, it also contains many vitamins, minerals, and other great nutrients that your birds need to stay healthy and alert. In addition, green fodder stimulates the appetite.

Green fodder can now be obtained in different ways. On the one hand, there is the possibility of collecting the green fodder yourself or buying it in various shops. But what should bird keepers pay attention to?

If you want to buy the green fodder liver yourself in the supermarket, you should definitely make sure that the different types of fruit and vegetables have not been pre-treated with any chemical agents. It is therefore best and safest to use organic products.

If you live in nature and have the opportunity to pick the green fodder for your darlings yourself, you should not do this on the side of the road. Because there the plants are contaminated by dogs as well as by cars and other vehicles. It is best if you go to pick the green fodder either in meadows or in the forest or even plant it yourself on the balcony or in the garden. This is the only way to be sure that the herbs and medicinal plants do not pose any health risks to the birds.

A feeding list of green fodder for canaries

Many canary owners are aware that green fodder is an important part of a healthy and species-appropriate diet, but those affected are often unsure which green fodder is suitable and what the animals should not be given. Below you will find a small list of green fodder that your canaries can eat:

  • nettles;
  • Dandelion – both the flower, the leaves, and the stem;
  • goosefoot;
  • sowthistle;
  • the panicles near all grass species;
  • sorrel;
  • Chickweed;
  • knotweed.

The feeding list of vegetables

Herbs and vegetables provide the canary with very important minerals and many vitamins. For this reason, they are an integral part of a species-appropriate diet. This feed is particularly important to strengthen the bird’s immune system and help maintain vitality. Below is a list of different vegetables and herbs that canaries can eat:

  • cress;
  • Salad – iceberg lettuce, lamb’s lettuce, romaine lettuce;
  • fennel;
  • paprika;
  • carrots;
  • tomatoes;
  • celery;
  • Potatoes – these must be cooked;
  • spinach;
  • zucchini.

Feeding list of fruit for canaries

Fruit is also a useful addition to your canary’s normal diet. However, it is important that you do not feed the fruit too often. This is mainly due to the high sugar content of the different types of fruit. If you give your animals too much fruit, it can quickly happen that your darlings become overweight. Below is a list of fruits that you can feed your animals:

  • Apples – please remove the core;
  • pears;
  • grapes;
  • blackberries;
  • Cherries – please remove the stone;
  • peaches;
  • bananas;
  • tangerines;
  • Melon – honeydew melon and watermelon;
  • Strawberries including the strawberry greens;
  • raspberries.

The feeding list of twigs and branches

Branches and twigs not only have lots of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, they also add variety to the animals’ daily diet. The branches and twigs of different trees are good for nibbling and thus fight the boredom that arises quite quickly. Full of valuable roughage, they therefore have many positive properties, so that they should not be missing from a species-appropriate diet. Below you will find different twigs and branches that are best suited for canaries:

  • different fruit trees;
  • maple;
  • Oak;
  • beech;
  • Jaw;
  • Spruce;
  • elm;
  • alder;
  • Blackthorn and Hawthorn.

Your canaries shouldn’t eat that

Of course, there are also some products that canaries are not allowed to eat, as they are very harmful to the animal’s health and could have serious health consequences. You can find out what these are below:

  • flavored products;
  • Green beans;
  • plums;
  • avocado;
  • sugar;
  • milk;
  • general sweets;
  • alcohol;
  • salty products;
  • all types of cabbage;
  • raw potatoes;
  • generally food leftovers from us humans.

Feeding when rearing young birds

When the time comes and the little birds have hatched, they must of course be raised in a species-appropriate manner. However, the newly born birds must not be given the same food as adult birds. Above all, the little ones need a lot of energy for their upcoming growth.

This energy is of course absorbed through the food they get from their parents. Bird parents regurgitate their food to then give it to the young birds. So now it is important to change the diet of the parents and adapt it to the requirements of the newly hatched canary babies.

There is special rearing food for this, which is adapted to the needs of parents and young birds. You can also give them protein feed. However, it is now important to adjust the feed to the number of young birds. As a rule, 1 teaspoon per bird is recommended here.

Immediately after hatching, you should completely avoid green fodder, fruit and vegetables. This is mainly due to the fact that the digestion of the young birds is not yet adjusted to the green fodder at this point. This fact can sometimes lead to health problems. Instead, you can use special grain feed and germ feed. This is rich in vitamins, protein, and minerals as well as other important nutrients. The Könnerfutter also forms the basis during incubation.

When the little ones are eight weeks old, you can reduce the rearing food to once a week and use normal food. Now you can slowly start giving green fodder. But not too much at once here. You shouldn’t give fruit at all.

Feeding during the molt

In autumn it’s that time again, the canaries have their so-called plumage change. Unfortunately, this time is not particularly easy for many birds. For this reason, it is important that you support your birds during molting. The diet must also be adjusted accordingly. In order to form new plumage, the affected canaries need a particularly large amount of protein and minerals. The birds that are kept for breeding should be given brood-promoting food, especially in winter.


Unfortunately, keeping canaries is often grossly underestimated by some people. To ensure that the birds are always well and that they are well looked after, it is important to keep adapting the feed to the new situation.

Your canaries can only stay healthy and alert if you design their diet appropriately and give your animals the ideal food. Last but not least, fresh water is very important and should be changed at least once every day.

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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