Rescue Canary.

Sayba

HI guys!

I am afraid I have never really been a bird owner, other then a pair of budgies I had as a child.

I am taking my granddads canary as he has a parrot now and is neglecting the poor baby, I know... Really annoying.

It has owner grown claws, I was so mad when he said he had sand paper perch covers in his cupboard and just hadn't put them on, so I am going to have to trim it's claws when I get it (My ganddad says it's a boy but he can't be sure, will find out the gender when I take it to a vet.)

I have no idea how to look after canaries other then it needs seed, cuttle fish bone and water. The canary has a pretty basic cage so I want to buy it some toys and make it more interesting for the bird. I will be letting it out the cage, but it's never been out before, I am guessing we both need to build up some trust before I let it fly around so it's easier to catch.

I have always been told by my mom that they are sensitive things that die very easily if they get scared or stressed, is this true?
 

LeoDiaz

Well I wouldn't let a canary fly freely they are small fast flying birds one hit to the wall and there dead...
They don't really play with toys like parrots do, you can get some fake plants to make his cage look like he is in trees.
 

Sayba

Well I wouldn't let a canary fly freely they are small fast flying birds one hit to the wall and there dead...

No way I can't have a bird caged up it's whole life, I think that is really cruel. My boyfriend is having it at his house, his room isn't too big but he never has the curtains open as he lives in a "rough area" and is scared of people looking in to see what they can steal.

But we will wait for it to settle in for a week or so then just leave the cage door open and let it go out in it's own time.
 

LeoDiaz

No way I can't have a bird caged up it's whole life, I think that is really cruel. My boyfriend is having it at his house, his room isn't too big but he never has the curtains open as he lives in a "rough area" and is scared of people looking in to see what they can steal.

But we will wait for it to settle in for a week or so then just leave the cage door open and let it go out in it's own time.

You can let it out but be very careful, to not scare it. Cover any Windows and mirrors and anything reflective. You don't know how it it is to see your bird fly into a wall, mirror, window and fall to the ground twitching then dieing...
 

Sayba

You can let it out but be very careful, to not scare it. Cover any Windows and mirrors and anything reflective. You don't know how it it is to see your bird fly into a wall, mirror, window and fall to the ground twitching then dieing...

I understand where you're coming from, but I couldn't keep a bird in a cage unless the cage is huge like an avary.

I am going to the pet shop tomorrow to buy him (I googled and found out it is a him, as he sings excessively) a load of toys, food and a bath, as I found out my lovely granddad has NEVER let his poor bird bathe.

He will be really well looked after, I am a mental person who puts all my pets before me, I went without a holiday for four years because I didn't want my dogs to go in a kennel while we were away.

I am also going to buy him a bigger cage and get him a lady friend, or male friend, which ever is mostly recommended.
 

Sayba

Went to the pet shop today, got him a bigger cage, loads of perches, ladders and treats.

Won't be getting him a friend as a lot of people say conflicting things and I don't want to risk it.

Thanks for all the help!
 

aliray

canarys tend to like toys with thin strings and small beads. I even used to buy the nest box phg of string that goes on the side so that they can pull out strings to make nests. they like to play with them. look for toys for parakeets or finches. they are a better size. they will learn to enjoy time out of the cage in a safe environment.As a rule they aren't as people friendly as parrots unless socialized to people very early in life. They also sell nice cd's of canaries singing for them to listen to. they like swings and mirrors, also important , put different types of branchy perches in to exercise their feet instead of the long bird perches that are one long dowel. also some of the soft preening toys are great. Alison
 

Sayba

canarys tend to like toys with thin strings and small beads. I even used to buy the nest box phg of string that goes on the side so that they can pull out strings to make nests. they like to play with them. look for toys for parakeets or finches. they are a better size. they will learn to enjoy time out of the cage in a safe environment.As a rule they aren't as people friendly as parrots unless socialized to people very early in life. They also sell nice cd's of canaries singing for them to listen to. they like swings and mirrors, also important , put different types of branchy perches in to exercise their feet instead of the long bird perches that are one long dowel. also some of the soft preening toys are great. Alison

Thanks, that is brilliant info. I got him a swing and will also pinch the swing and perches from his old cage, I also got him a wooden branch, some wood and rope ladders a bath and some "nest hair". I couldn't find anything for him to make a nest in so I got another feeding bowl. I don't know if males make nests but I am sure he will like playing with it anyway.

I got him so much I can't even remember all of it.

Do you know an easy way to trim his claws? All the "how to" videos make it look easy for a bird that is probably used to contact but this bird has probably never been held and will be very stressed and frightened, he is only about 2 years old.
 

aliray

Check the pet store where you bought all the neat supplys and ask them if they do nail trims. canary's are tough because they are very fragile as are their leg and feet bones. When you try to clip their nails they curl their feet and claws tight which makes it very difficult. Vet's will also trim them at least some of them. If you do decide to make sure you have something to stop bleeding. the nail had a pink vein running down the center that if you cut into the bird can bleed to death. Syptic powder or cornstarch with constant pressure on the end of the nail will stop it. My best advice if you want to do it yourself if to have some one that is experienced show you how the first time. They have perches that are rough that are desizned to keep the nails trimmed down but only put one of those in the cage as their feet will get sore if that is all they have to stand on. Alison
 

Jenna McMaster

I've got tons of experience with birds, though only parrots. Sand perches aren't the best idea because they can damage their delicate little feet with scratches and cause infection. I have successfully used concrete perches with no problems. Twisted rope perches are always a favorite as well, glad to see you bought one!

As for the free flying thing, it's nice to let them do, but especially dangerous for a small bird, I would not recommend it. Songbirds aren't as crazy active as a parrot would be and don't REQUIRE time outside of their cages, especially if the new one you bought him is nice and big, he should have plenty of room to stretch his wings in the safety of his cage.
As for food, seeds are a terrible diet, they are the equivalent of giving him chips for every meal, if you can, convert him to pelleted food. It will probably take him a long time to adjust though, but it will be so good for his health. I personally prefer Lafeber brand, I have never had a bird turn any of their food down, but you may not be able to find it easily over in Europe. Zupreem is another very good brand that all my birds have loved, and it's a bit cheaper and more globally available.
 

aliray

You can't really compare parrots to canary's as far as diet goes. Their natural diet is grass seed. They also like a little dark leafy greens as a treat, They do not and should not have gravel but should have a cuttlebone in their cage. Millet sprays are good for them, you can clip a piece from the side of the cage near a perch. They sell veggie clips for birds to put pieces of veggies or fruit on the side of the cage such as an apple slice, dark greens, a piece of fresh cuke peeled, A piece of fresh corn on the cob, If you cook pasta take a couple strands out before adding butter, or salt and put it in a little dish, same with cooked rice, some hard boiled egg yolk and some of the white, fruits like strawberry, melon, blueberry, raspberry, That gives you a start anyway. Alison
 

Jenna McMaster

The difference being birds in the wild NEED all the fat and calories their seed based diet brings because they are constantly using up energy flying around everywhere looking for food. A pet bird does not do this and unless it had its own flight room where it never stops flying, will never use up the calories a seed based diet will give him. Not to mention they are nutritionally unbalanced. All companies that make pellet diets make specifically canary/finch sized for their beak size and nutritional balance. Seeds can certainly still be used as a treat, especially spray millet, mine love the stuff. My aunt and grandmother have been feeding their Canary, Zebra, and Society Finches Zupreem for nearly a decade now. This is the smaller version of what I feed my parrots. She switched them off the junky seed diet and their colors have exploded. It's the same difference you get when switching a fish from a poor diet to a good one in terms of color and health. In my family's 25 years of birdkeeping I would never advocate the use of a seed-based diet
 

TexasDomer

Agreed, quality pellet food provides most, if not all, of the nutrition birds need. I feed my 'Too Roudybush maintenance pellets. Seeds can still be given as treats, but it should not make up the bulk of the diet. I agree with @ , a quality pellet with fresh fruit, veggies, and greens is much better than a seed only diet.
 

Sayba

He sadly is on seeds at the moment as the pet shop I went too didn't have much of a bird section and didn't even sell birds (not buying one for him now, but it just told me they didn't know much), wish I had gone to Just for pets instead.

I will go to a better pet shop and get him a nice big bag of pellets. He has a millet strand in his cage, should I leave it in there all the time or take it out after a few hours? He isn't pecking at it much, he is more interested in destroying the nest I made for him and throwing seed every where, he is such a sweetie, we named him Ruben.

My granddad gave me a cheap looking moulting medicine, is it needed? Do burds not moult naturally?

I am going to get more wooden perches, as his feet look more happy on them and his wood perch is his favourite, I will just have to trim his claws every now and then.

I haven't trimmer them yet, but I trim my dogs claws all the time, they also have the vain running through it, the canary claws are so thin it's really easy to see, so I don't think it will be too hard. His beak is a tiny bit over grown too, it's just a tiny bit so I might leave it.
 

TexasDomer

I would not give him any molting medicine. He doesn't need it.

Get natural wood perches (so no perfectly cylindrical dowels). Go for perches that look like branches outside. You can even make your own with bird safe woods. I did that for me, and it was cheap and easy. Here are some examples:




I would not trim his claws if you don't know how. Birds are extremely sensitive, and can bleed very easily, even if you cut the smallest amount off. Using a rotary tool to sand nails down is the preferred method, but again, I would not attempt if you don't have experience. On top of that, smaller birds (such as canaries, finches, and budgies) can be startled or scared into a heart attack and die when handled or restrained. Instead, I would look into perches that naturally trim his nails (not sandpaper surrounding a wooden dowel though). Here are some examples of the perches I'm talking about:
http://www.sandyperch.com/
 

aliray

I would not give him any molting medicine. He doesn't need it.

Get natural wood perches (so no perfectly cylindrical dowels). Go for perches that look like branches outside. You can even make your own with bird safe woods. I did that for me, and it was cheap and easy. Here are some examples:




I would not trim his claws if you don't know how. Birds are extremely sensitive, and can bleed very easily, even if you cut the smallest amount off. Using a rotary tool to sand nails down is the preferred method, but again, I would not attempt if you don't have experience. On top of that, smaller birds (such as canaries, finches, and budgies) can be startled or scared into a heart attack and die when handled or restrained. Instead, I would look into perches that naturally trim his nails (not sandpaper surrounding a wooden dowel though). Here are some examples of the perches I'm talking about:
http://www.sandyperch.com/
I totally agree with your post. and well said. Alison
 

TexasDomer

I totally agree with your post. and well said. Alison
Thank you If you think I care for my fish, you should see my spoiled bird
 

aliray

I also belong to a parrot forum and they are even more paranoid than fish owners. I also happen to be one as well. Alison
 

Sayba

I trimmed his claws before I got your message D; He is ok though, no bleeding and no heart attack. He is back in his cage chirping at his reflection and messing up his nest. Been a few hours since, he is over it.

I will get him more natural perches to replace the nasty clinical looking plastic ones, I would like everything in his cage to be nice and natural to be fair.
I keep looking at photos of other peoples canary cages to see if I am doing it right.

Not sure if I can just hang his cuttlefish and iodine block just anywhere or does it have to be by a perch. Also this stupid vision cage does not fit his bath on, so it's had to go in the cage on the floor with the lid off (because he kept landing on it and I don't think he understood clear plastic), he has bath though, he was really happy. Everything got wet though lol.
 

aliray

I hung them on either side of a perch so that they have easy access to them . they also like to wipe their bill on the cuttlebone. I just used a small shallow but heavy ,oval baking dish on the bottom of the cage for a bath. and it worked fine. glad the nail clip went well. Alison
 

Jenna McMaster

The millet is fine to keep in his cage all the time, especially while you try to convert him from seeds to pellets. It will take a long time IF he even will except the pellets at this point. Sometimes it's near impossible to get them off the seeds after they have been on them so long. And yeah don't mess with the molting medicine, they actually make a lot of "supplements" that your birds really don't need just to get more money out of you. They especially never need them if they are on a healthy pellet diet since it contains everything they need, but don't forget the fresh foods too! As for perches I love the natural Manzanita wood the most. It's a nice dark wood and it's VERY hard so my parrots don't ever chew it up. Since a canary is a softbill though they don't chew too often anyway, but the wood is still very beautiful. I'm so happy that he's in better hands now! I have also used the heavy baking dish method that Alison has and it works quite well, just be prepared for him to make a mess haha!
 

aliray

The millet is fine to keep in his cage all the time, especially while you try to convert him from seeds to pellets. It will take a long time IF he even will except the pellets at this point. Sometimes it's near impossible to get them off the seeds after they have been on them so long. And yeah don't mess with the molting medicine, they actually make a lot of "supplements" that your birds really don't need just to get more money out of you. They especially never need them if they are on a healthy pellet diet since it contains everything they need, but don't forget the fresh foods too! As for perches I love the natural Manzanita wood the most. It's a nice dark wood and it's VERY hard so my parrots don't ever chew it up. Since a canary is a softbill though they don't chew too often anyway, but the wood is still very beautiful. I'm so happy that he's in better hands now! I have also used the heavy baking dish method that Alison has and it works quite well, just be prepared for him to make a mess haha!
I agree with this post and also the manzanita wood perches. Where I live they have bird shows a few times a year and lots of neat toys and perches for sale and tons of manzanita wood. Alison
 

TexasDomer

I third Manzanita wood perches. I've replaced a few perches over Syd's nine year life, and the Manzanita is one of the few that has never had to be replaced. It looks the same as it did when I bought it! Another great perch is the Sandy Perch, but I haven't seen those around too often anymore.
 

Sayba

Should I try mixing his seed with the pellets for a while to see if it makes switching easier? Or I could try putting a bowl of pellets next to his seeds, he has like 5 bowls in his cage so could put a few different foods in. One bowl has his nest in.

He keeps trying to give his nesting hair to his reflection friend, is his normal behavior?

He is settling in really well, he isn't singing yet, but I don't think he will since he thinks he has a mate in their, I don't mind at all though since my boyfriend wasn't happy about having a loud bird in the first place haha.

But yeah, I am really happy for the little birdie. He is splashing around a lot, and chucking seed every where, thank god the cage design stops it going over the floor.

Thanks guys, you have all been really helpful! XX
 

aliray

I personally would keep them in separate dishes so you can see what he is eating. You might try just sprinkeling a half of a teaspoon of seed over the top of the pellets so that it peaks his interest. if he gets a few pellets by mistake he may find he likes them. Just remember that they take the husks off their seeds before they eat them, so they will still be there just empty hulls. Alison
 

Sayba

I think that is what I will do then, I will keep a sneaky eye on him to see if he is eating it.

Can't wait to have him all happy and healthy.
 

aliray

Your off to one heck of a good start. Congrats. Alison
 

Sayba

Your off to one heck of a good start. Congrats. Alison

Anything for a poor little animal, thank you x
 

Jenna McMaster

Yes, the best way to convert him is to mix a little bit of pellet in with his seeds and over time gradually increase the amount of pellets until he is eating only pellets. But you have to watch him very closely to make sure he's actually eating them. Sticking only pellets in an extra bowl would be a great way to see if he's eating them too, or even mixing some in with some fresh foods that he really likes. A lot of the times canaries will eat the layer off the top and leave the seed hulls and not think to pick below them, haha.
As for the reflection thing, pretty much all birds will think they are looking at another bird in the mirror, his behavior seems normal. I have had some birds try to attack their mirrors and I had to remove them. He could be thinking it's a lady and he's trying to be a gentleman helping her build a nest. If he gets obsessive or seems stressed or sad because he's "being rejected by that other bird" you can try removing the mirror for a little while to see if he stops being stressed. But if he's acting fine I wouldn't worry about it, he's just doing what birds do.
 

Annie424

Let the little guy fly. Canaries are granivores, which for a caregiver means that they can tolerate more seeds in the diet than parrots. You can also add fresh dried herbs to the diet, as well as hang various lettuces and green veggies for them to eat. You might need to shred other vegetables (i.e. carrots, peppers, etc) by using a peeler and threading them throughout the cage bars. It might take some experimenting to see what presentation the bird prefers. I've never had canaries before, but have had budgies/conures over the last 40 years. I currently have a timneh grey parrot and 4 budgies, and let me tell you the grey is like no other bird. Canaries are smart, and you can 'tame' your little friend just like you would any other bird. Patience is key. Pellets can be a part of the diet, but like anything else, they are a chemically derived food and I think are best used in conjunction with "live" foods. Sprouts are a wonderful addition to the diet, and since canaries are small, I'd use alfalfa, mustard seed, and other small seeds to sprout. Mung beans would be the largest I'd offer. You can sprout your own buying the seeds from your local Whole Foods or buy mixes online (SproutPeople is one of the best, if you want to Google them). Huge Kudos to you for taking on this little guy, and wanting to provide a good environment for him. I'd love to hear your progress, so if you can keep us posted here it would be fantastic!
 

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