Canaries are known for their beautiful colours and singing voices and make wonderful pets. Before you bring your new songbird home, make sure you have everything you need to keep them happy and healthy.

Canary care

Fact File

Life span – Up to 15 years
Size – Up to 13cm
Diet – Birdseed, grains, crumbles, pellets and leafy veggies
Home – 46cm x 46cm x 61cm cage

Care and maintenance

Canaries can be quite timid, so it’s best to go slow when handling them. As long as you provide your bird with adequate food and water, sources of entertainment and a comfy environment they will be happy in their new habitat.

Male canaries sing often – usually to attract a female. In order to sing, males have to be in good health. However, they may not sing all year around and are less likely to do a lot of singing if sharing a cage with a female. There are many different types of canaries; not all are songbirds as some are bred for colour, feathers or other features.

Setting up

Your pet will need paper at the base of their cage. This will let you monitor the number, size, colour and consistency of the droppings. If you are planning to breed your birds, you can find nesting material that your canary will love at your local Petbarn.

Your canary will be happy living in their new habitat and won’t need to be let out too often, especially if they have different objects to interact with. Balls and millet are amongst your canary’s favourite things. Place these items in their cage to encourage activity and cognitive development.

Canaries love their own kind and are happy being kept with partners or in flocks. They are happy to live in a birdcage or, if you are introducing a flock of new friends to your home, in an aviary. Choose an adequately sized cage for your canary depending on how much space you have available and the number of birds you want to put together. The rule is, though, the longer the better!

A content canary will have a habitat big enough for them to spread their wings and move around in. Talk to your local Petbarn team member about what size cage will be best your new friend.


Standard pellets and seed mixes make a good base diet for canaries. Make sure that you refresh their pellet bowl daily. Carotenoids in their diets will help give your canary’s feathers their vibrant colour. Canaries also love a wide range of sprouting seeds and vegetables. They should have fruits only once a week.

Your bird needs access to fresh water at all times, so ensure they have a water dish. Their favourite foods and eating habits differ depending on variety. Visit your local Petbarn to find items for your pet’s perfect menu.


The best way to transport your canary is in a mammal carry box or cage that’s smaller than their usual enclosure, not stifling, but just big enough for comfort, especially if you have more than one.

Leave unsecured items or sharp objects at home to prevent your canary being injured. One or two securely fixed bars is enough for your bird to enjoy the ride.

Secure the cage with a safety belt. For longer journeys, you may need to shield the cage from direct sunlight and make water stops to keep your pet hydrated and comfortable.


Canaries will groom themselves regularly, preening their feathers, bathing and cleaning their beak.

Moulting is an area your bird may need help with. For canaries, moulting is an annual event, usually after breeding season. So, if your canary is kept inside in a controlled environment, they may have trouble moulting. Good nutrition is required around moulting with increased carotenoids if you want good feather growth and colour.

Health care

Canaries are good at hiding disease. Have your Greencross vet do a health check soon after purchase. Watch for changes in their droppings as this can help with health assessments.

Take preventative measures against ailments like worms, lice, respiratory issues and digestive problems. Your bird needs to be wormed every three months and treated against mite and lice every six weeks. Ask your local Petbarn team member about the products needed to protect your pet.

Canaries are prone to various infections and diseases so it’s important to keep a close eye on their health. Risk of disease is much higher if there are new birds coming and if husbandry and nutrition is inadequate. If you notice any warning signs – such as fluffed up feathers, closed eyes, lethargy, hunched posture, droopy tail and/or wings, sneezing and coughing, diarrhoea and irregular breathing – refer to your local Greencross Vets.

Pet safety tips

Sometimes your canary may not adjust to their new home as you expect. This might be the case if you notice a lack of activity, avoidance of food and drink, fluffed or plucked feathers or beak swellings. Refer to your local Greencross Vets if you notice any of these symptoms.

Remember that canaries don’t like to be handled and will nip or scratch – especially if they are stressed – so it’s best to leave your canary to adjust to their new home. If you have to handle your canary make sure you thoroughly wash your hands before and after any contact.

Tip: Birds have sensitive respiratory systems. Scented candles, air fresheners and perfumes can harm them.

Canary checklist

Find all the bird supplies you need for your canary online or in-store at Petbarn.


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