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How to Keep a Single Canary

Canaries love to live alone, and they are a relatively low-maintenance bird. As long as they have fresh food and room to fly, they will be content. Even if you only have one Canary, your canary needs a large Cage stocked with all of the basic necessities of life. Give them food and water once a day, and encourage them to get lots of exercise so that they can be healthy and happy!


EditHousing a Canary

  1. Buy a large, rectangular cage. A good cage for a single canary will let them fly back and forth many times. Get one that is at least tall and wide with bars that are apart. It should also be wide and long, rather than tall, to give the bird room to fly.[1]
    Keep a Single Canary Step 1.jpg
    • Do not buy a round or ornamental cage. These do not provide enough space for the canary to fly properly.
    • Pick a metal cage made out of iron or powder-coated steel.[2]
  2. Find a safe but active area to put the cage. Find a room that is frequently occupied so that your canary does not get lonely. Set the cage against the wall or in a corner away from any windows, doors, air vents, direct sunlight, or drafts.[3]
    Keep a Single Canary Step 2.jpg
    • A living or family room, home office, or dining room may be good places. Do not put the cage in the kitchen.
    • Do not use any sprays, air fresheners, furniture polish, scented candles, cigarettes, or other fragrances in the same room as the cage.
    • Do not place the cage on the ground. It should be at least eye level.[4]
  3. Line the cage with newspaper. Newspaper lining will help you clean up bird droppings easily. Replace the newspaper every day so that the cage does not become too dirty.[5]
    Keep a Single Canary Step 3.jpg
    • Avoid using cat litter or wood shavings as cage liner.
  4. Set out some perches. Perches give your canary somewhere to fly and roost. Two perches in their cage will keep them active and happy. Look for perches between and in diameter.[6]
    Keep a Single Canary Step 4.jpg
    • Tree branches make for great perches.
    • Place the perches about apart in the cage. Place them at opposite ends of the cage to maximize their room to fly.[7]
  5. Put in dishes for food, water, and a bath. Generally, canaries will need three dishes—one for food, one for water, and one for a bath. Do not put the dishes under the canary’s perches or else droppings might fall into them.[8]
    Keep a Single Canary Step 5.jpg

EditCaring for Your Canary

  1. Feed your canary a varied diet. Canaries need a varied diet of seeds, pellets, fresh fruit, and leafy vegetables. You can usually find a special canary mix of seeds and pellets at pet stores. Give them one teaspoon of this mix a day.[9]
    Keep a Single Canary Step 6.jpg
    • Some good vegetables and fruits for the canary include kale, apples, broccoli, grapes, dandelion, oranges, bananas, peas, and melons.
    • Attach both a cuttlefish bone and an avian mineral block to the side of the cage. Your canary will slowly eat away at these for calcium and minerals.
    • Never feed your canary avocado as it is toxic to birds.
  2. Replace their water daily. Canaries need constant access to fresh water. Once a day, take the bowl out of the cage. Empty it out, and wash it with warm water and soap. Dry it with a towel before refilling with fresh water.[10]
    Keep a Single Canary Step 7.jpg
  3. Clean their cage once a week. The cage needs a full cleaning once a week. Put the canary in a bird carrier. Empty out the liner before scrubbing the entire cage with hot water and soap. Wash all of the dishes and perches too. Let everything dry before putting them back in the cage.[11]
    Keep a Single Canary Step 8.jpg
    • The cage liner and dishes should be washed every day.
  4. Cover the cage at night. Canaries are sensitive to the sun. They may stay awake if there is any light coming into their cage. To prevent this, place a blanket or a cover over the cage after the sun goes down.[12]
    Keep a Single Canary Step 9.jpg
  5. Watch for signs of sickness. Canaries have delicate lungs, and they can be prone to mites or other parasites. Take your canary to a specialized avian veterinarian if they show any signs of sickness.[13]
    Keep a Single Canary Step 10.jpg
    • Common signs of sickness include fluffed, ruffled, or thinning feathers, inactivity, discolored feces, discharge around the eyes or beak, or squinting.
    • To find a local avian vet, you can use the database at the Association of Avian Vets.

EditKeeping Your Canary Active

  1. Stick a few toys in their cage. Give your canary two or three items in their cage to play with. Canaries are especially fond of swings, and yours might even play with balls, bells, or sticks from trees.[14]
    Keep a Single Canary Step 11.jpg
  2. Let them fly free in a room. Open the cage door to let your canary fly around for about thirty minutes. Afterwards, lure them back to their cage by putting some fresh food or treats inside. Once they are inside, close the cage door before they can fly out again.[15]
    Keep a Single Canary Step 12.jpg
    • Close all doors and windows before releasing your canary. All windows and mirrors should be covered so that the canary does not fly into them.
    • Make sure to turn off all ceiling fans before letting the canary loose.
  3. Teach males to sing. Typically young male canaries learn to sing from an older male, but if you only have the one canary, you will need to teach them yourself. Use CDs or nature videos of canaries singing to teach them.[16]
    Keep a Single Canary Step 13.jpg
    • While rare, sometimes female canaries can learn to sing too. Typically, however, females only chirp.
  4. Avoid handling your canary. Canaries generally do not like to be held by humans. Limit your handling to when you need to clean the cage or check them for illness. Your canary is perfectly happy watching and singing to you from their cage.[17]
    Keep a Single Canary Step 14.jpg


  • While you may be tempted to get your canary a companion, canaries tend to prefer to live alone when they are in cages.

EditSources and Citations

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How to Keep a Single Canary


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