Cheerful little birds, canaries originated from the finch family in the wilds of Canaries, Azores and Madeiras off the coast of Africa. They make excellent pet birds and will fill your house with their melodious song. Domestic canaries thrive if you replicate their natural habitat in your home.
In their island homes, canaries nest in small spaces such as bushes and low trees. They fly and hop from branch to branch, and prefer to move horizontally rather than up and down. Provide a pet canary with a cage that offers lots of room to move back and forth, at least 17 inches wide. A canary cage should be wider than it is tall. Canaries don't do well in round or vertical cages. Their shape restricts the bird from moving in his natural direction, side to side.
Provide a canary with a flight cage with bars spaced no wider than one-half inch apart. Some larger cages that would seem to be spacious for flight are meant for larger birds and can be dangerous for canaries. A small bird can get his head caught between bars that are too wide.
When it comes to housing a canary, bigger is better. The more room you give a pet canary, the happier he will be. Your bird needs room to fly, so he doesn't need a plethora of perches scattered throughout the cage. A few well-placed perches on both sides of the cage will allow him to do what comes naturally -- flying back and forth.
Provide perches for a canary that replicate his natural environment. Different widths, lengths and textures help exercise his feet and keep his nails trim. Use perches shaped like branches for exercise, and rope-textured perches for relaxation. Give a canary toys to entertain him, but avoid toys with mirrors if you want your bird to sing.
Offer a canary the opportunity to bathe regularly. Canaries love to take baths, and prefer birdbaths that hook onto the cage door rather than those that sit on the cage floor. Use cold water. Warm water strips the oil from their skin and feathers. Be sure the room is warm and the cage free from drafts. There's no need to dry your canary. He will preen and dry himself.
Canaries prefer light-colored baths to dark, opaque shades. A transparent bath is also a good choice. Be sure the bath has a non-skid floor and add no more than one-half inch of water.
Offer your canary fruits and vegetables along with a high-quality seed or pellet diet. These can make up to 25 percent of your bird's diet. Your canary will enjoy vegetables such as kale, carrots, spinach and peas. Apples and grapes are good fruit snacks for canaries. Cut these snacks into small pieces, and serve them in a separate dish from your bird's seed or pellets.
Avoid feeding avocado. It can be toxic to canaries.