Canary Lifespan And The Ethics Of Keeping A Captive Canary

Sayan Adhikari
Jan 18, 2023 By Sayan Adhikari
Originally Published on Oct 12, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Fact-checked by Sonali Rawat
domestic canary is a popular song bird
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.2 Min

The domestic canary (Serinus canaria) is a popular song-bird originating from the Canary Islands in Spain, and Azores and Madeira Islands in Portugal.

The canary gets its name from the Canary Islands in Spain where they were named after the large dogs kept in the islands. In Latin, a dog is called 'canis',hence the name canary.

These birds were introduced in the world all across Europe in the late 1500s by Spanish sailors. The sailors found out about their remarkable singing capability and soon the canary became a popular cage bird in the courts of English and Spanish kings for centuries.

Canaries are birds of the finch family. Each canary is bred for a particular skill, color, or appearance. Male canaries sing to attract mates during mating season. The Waterslager, American Singer, and German roller breeds are known to be excellent singers. Other notable breeds include the Yorkshire, Hertz Mountain, and Norwich.

The wild canary is yellowish-green in color. Domestic canaries come in an assortment of colors because of extensive breeding. They are available in brown, orange, white, bright red, and yellow.

Do you want to find more interesting facts about different birds? Check out our other articles on birds with long beaks and birds that sing at night.

How long do canaries live as pets?

Canaries are birds that typically spend a solitary life. The average canary lifespan is 5-10 years if given proper, regular care. If you want to pet a canary, make sure to house the bird alone in a separate cage with plenty of room to fly around.

Canaries are generally shy and territorial birds. A canary should be fed a nutritious diet of pellets.

Canaries are intelligent birds and can be taught to sit on a hand or fly around inside the house. Young birds are easier to train. With time, patience, and practice, they can become very good companions as they get more familiar with their caregivers and start recognizing them.

A pet canary lifespan depends on a healthy, nutritious diet. Owners can feed their canaries a good mixture of different seeds along with different fresh vegetables like broccoli, celery, spinach, and even dandelions.

You can order treats and specially designed seed mixtures from pet stores that are coated with vitamins. Unlike wild canaries, pet canaries also feed on an assortment of fruits like melons, bananas, grapes, apples, and oranges. Tiny bits and chunks of a hard-boiled egg provide to be an excellent protein supplement.

Apart from seeds, canaries also eat pellets but seeds have shown to be what they prefer the most. You can keep two different dishes with pellets and seeds to provide a second eating option.

Male And Female Lifespan

Domestic canary lifespan varies with different breeds. In general, the lifespan of a male canary is relatively longer than its female counterpart. Males who sing have shown signs of longer life.

Females lose life expectancy with the number of times they are used for breeding. A female canary that has been breeding continuously for a while might hardly live for a span of six years. Pet canaries have relatively more variety in their diet than wild canaries. Wild canaries forage for seeds and insects in forests.

Only male canaries take part in singing. Female canaries chirp instead of singing. Many people buy male canaries because of their melodious tunes. A male canary is an eloquent, melodious singer during mating season to attract a partner and establish territory.

canaries are birds of the finch family

Factors That Influence Canary Bird Lifespan

Canaries make good pets and a canary cage should be kept in a quiet environment. The cage should be big as a canary prefers more privacy than other birds in the finch family. In captivity, they should not be kept somewhere noisy such as around a television or a loud music system.

You can keep a canary cage somewhere against a wall or near corners. Canaries tend to like these places and soon recognize that space as a safe spot inside the room.

Canaries are very sensitive to smells, which is why they were used by the English in coal mines to detect poisonous carbon monoxide emissions. They should not be kept anywhere near the kitchen or storage cupboards with a lot of spices or herbs or any environment with a strong smell.

Also, the kitchen has a hazard of heated stoves and utensils which is why they are not preferred as a sitting spot. Smoking should be prohibited near your canary.

Care should also be taken to ensure that the cage for canaries is not exposed to strong drafts of wind. You should not place the cage on the floor, or anywhere near an open window or door.

Always place the cage beside some sort of cover against strong winds. If you have an air conditioner running in the room, make sure the cage is not directly placed under the cool currents blowing out of the indoor unit.

Although a canary likes to keep itself alone in a solitary cage, it also can be kept with other friendly birds of the same size. Cockatiels and budgie are good companions.

If kept with a smaller bird, keep a close eye to ensure the smaller bird is not being bullied by your canary. Two male canaries living in the same cage is a bad idea. Not only will they fight for dominance, but they will also end up hurting each other.

Canary Life Expectancy

Every pet's life expectancy is determined by the number of diseases it can get affected by. It is no different for canaries. On average, a healthy bird without being infected by any disease can have a life expectancy of 10-15 years.

Bacteria, fungi, and certain viruses can affect a pet canary in many ways. Bacterial yeast infections like chlamydia, candidiasis, and avian gastric yeast infection are common health problems among them.There's another bacterial infection called bumblefoot which causes lesions and swelling of the foot. A symptom of mycoplasma is discharge from the eye or nose.

Avian pox and polyomavirus are fatal viruses. Tuberculosis is also another fatal respiratory disease.

Caring For Your Canary

The most important aspect of keeping any pet healthy is correct housing. Canaries require a moderately sized cage, around 24 in (60.96 cm) in length and 20 in (50.8 cm) in width. They like to fly around and exercise their feet, so an ample amount of space inside the cage is required for these birds.

Perches should be placed at various intervals all across the cage. Also, tiny grooves should be made to make gripping easier for the bird.

Cages also need to be cleaned of litter and feathers at least once a week. Wooden cages are difficult to clean than wire cages. Canaries can be kept at normal room temperature but not under direct drafts of wind such as from an air conditioner.

These birds enjoy natural sunlight in captivity, especially during the mating season. However, care should be taken to ensure that a canary is not kept under direct natural sunlight for a long time. These birds tend to prefer reflected sunlight.

You need to keep a small dish of water or install a bird bathtub for the bird to wash or play around in. Practice doing this around four to five times a week.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for canary lifespan then why not take a look at birds wings, or canary facts.

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Written by Sayan Adhikari

Bachelor of Fine Arts specializing in Fine and Studio Arts

Sayan Adhikari picture

Sayan AdhikariBachelor of Fine Arts specializing in Fine and Studio Arts

Sayan is a versatile content writer and visual artist, with experience creating content for various organizations. Currently pursuing a degree in Visual and Fine Arts from École Intuit Lab Design School, he has documented street life post-lockdown for the École Intuit Lab, showcasing his skills in illustration and photography. Additionally, Sayan has contributed to charities, such as the Tata Cancer Research Institute, and raised funds for the construction of a children's library in Mumbai.

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Fact-checked by Sonali Rawat

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature, Masters of Art specializing in English and Communication Skills

Sonali Rawat picture

Sonali RawatBachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature, Masters of Art specializing in English and Communication Skills

Sonali has a Bachelor's degree in English literature from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University and is currently pursuing a Master's in English and Communication from Christ University. With considerable experience in writing about lifestyle topics, including travel and health, she has a passion for Japanese culture, especially fashion, and anime, and has written on the subject before. Sonali has event managed a creative-writing festival and coordinated a student magazine at her university. Her favorite authors are Toni Morrison and Anita Desai.

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