How And How To Feed Canaries


How And How To Feed Canaries

A well-chosen diet is of great importance in the life of the canary, strengthening or weakening its health. This is especially important during the breeding and feeding periods of chicks, as well as molting. Improper, unbalanced feeding can easily cause many poultry diseases.

What does the canary eat? Unfortunately, quite often it happens that a person who has bought a canary does not even know the basic rules of feeding. But the composition of the feed affects the mood of the bird, as a result of which it sings more or less.

Decorative birds will delight the eye with the beauty of plumage only if they eat right.

The whole set of nutrients necessary for the normal life of a bird can be collected only by correctly composing a diet from various types of feed, since a separate feed does not contain all the useful substances.

Cereals are essential in the daily diet of canaries. However, you should not use only one type of grain for feeding. It is much more useful to make cereal mixtures for canaries.

All plant foods can be divided into 3 groups:

Cereals are essential in the daily diet of canaries. However, you should not use only one type of grain for feeding. It is much more useful to make cereal mixtures for canaries.

Grains include feeds that contain up to 5-6% fat. Such feed is the main feed for most indoor birds, including canaries. Cereals include seeds of cultivated and wild plants. The remaining types of food give, as a rule, periodically and in smaller quantities.

The World Confederation of Canary Lovers recommends the following grain mix:


Millet makes up a substantial part of the canaries rations. In grain mixtures, its share is from 40 to 70% of the total grain weight. But experienced growers do not recommend making millet the main component in the mixture. By global standards, the standard content in the feed of millet should not exceed 5%

The absence of millet in the diet of canaries can lead to disease and even death of birds. However, birds cannot live long on millet alone.

Oat is a very valuable and well-digested bird food. It contains many amino acids that are completely absent in millet. In addition, it contains 65% starch, 10-15% proteins, 6-7% fats, sugars and mineral salts – such as calcium, phosphorus, sodium. In a grain mixture, oats and millet complement each other well. The grain mixture for oats canaries should be at least 10-15%. However, it contains a large amount of fiber – up to 40%. Therefore, it is recommended to give a portion of oats in a steamed form, especially when feeding chicks.

Oats, like millet, can be sprouted. In this form, it contains a large amount of vitamins E and group B. It is very useful to include it in the diet of canaries during the nesting period.

Oatmeal is well absorbed by the body of canaries. It contains a certain amount of fat, but this does not cause obesity in birds, although constipation can occur when feeding with oatmeal alone.


Wheat is characterized by a high protein content and a low fat content, which is why it is considered a high-calorie, nutritious bird food. However, there is little calcium in it, therefore, introducing wheat into the diet of canaries, it is necessary to put mineral fertilizing in the cage.

Wheat is best fed half-ripe, soaked or sprouted, as dry wheat birds are reluctant to eat. In addition, sprouted wheat grains contain many vitamins E and B1, especially useful for canaries during growth, molting and reproduction.

Germinated grain should not be stored for more than 2-3 days, as it can turn sour and begin to ferment, as a result of which many nutrients are lost in it.


Barley is no less nutritious than oats or wheat. Although barley contains in sufficient quantities all the necessary nutrients, birds love it less than wheat. Therefore, giving barley to canaries is recommended, like oats, in a steamed form.

For steaming, boil the grain for 30 minutes in sweetened water at the rate of 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar per 1 kg of barley. Then it should be dried, after which it can be added to bird food. Barley can be germinated, which significantly enriches the diet of canaries with B vitamins.


Buckwheat grains are given to canaries in unpeeled form. Before feeding, it is better to soak them in water, then rinse thoroughly. Buckwheat can also be germinated until small white shoots appear. Longer sprouts are not recommended. Buckwheat groats are given to canaries only in the form of porridge, cooked in water or milk until half ready. Too boiled buckwheat porridge should not be fed to birds, because it is not nutritious and inconvenient for eating.

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Rice is not considered traditional for canaries food, it is given very rarely in the form of porridge. When the bird weakens, they are given a decoction of rice husk as a strengthening agent.

Unrefined rice grains must be germinated. Young rice sprouts are an excellent diet food rich in many nutrients and very low in fat.


Corn is a good and full-fledged food, but in dry form, due to hardness, it can not be eaten by canaries. Therefore, it can be given only in the stage of wax ripeness or in boiled, soaked and sprouted form.

Corn is superior to all other feed in terms of digestibility and energy value. It has very little fiber, and at the same time a lot of protein and carbohydrates. Corn is rich in carotenoids, but poor in essential amino acids and calcium, and therefore significantly inferior to many feeds in usefulness. Therefore, in the diet of canaries, the corn content should not exceed 20% of the mass of all feeds. It is forbidden to feed birds with one corn for a long time.

Corn feeding must be alternated with other cereal feeds or added to the diet of animal feed containing all the necessary amino acids.

Canary seed

Canary seed is the most suitable food for canaries.

The canary grows wild in the Canary Islands. The seeds of this cereal plant were brought to Europe along with canaries. Now they are cultivated in some countries in southern Europe, where they are widely used as feed for birds.

Weed seeds

Seeds of lettuce and weeds (plantain, dandelion, quinoa, etc.) canaries willingly eat both mature and half-mature. They can be mixed with other cereals or fed separately.

Weed seeds are introduced into the diet of canaries with virtually no limits. Birds love not only to eat, but just to swarm in small seeds.


In addition to the crops themselves, cereals can also include products obtained during their processing, for example bran, although canaries do not really like them. Bran can be mixed with wet food (for example, grated egg and carrots). In addition, they can be given in a steamed form, however, it should be remembered that during heat treatment, many nutrients and vitamins, which are rich in bran, are destroyed.

Rapeseed often forms the basis of a canary mixture. It is also called canary bread. In appearance, the rapeseed grains are small (about 1.5–2.5 mm in diameter), round, almost black (in spring rape) or dark brown (in winter rape).

Canaries really like seeds of freshly harvested rapeseed (especially spring), however, after long storage in a warm, unventilated room, the oil contained in such seeds acquires a bitter aftertaste, after which the birds will no longer eat it.

Chestnuts and acorns

Chestnuts and acorns are poor in protein, but very rich in carbohydrates and minerals, but canaries are usually not accustomed to such food and often refuse it. Chestnuts and acorns should be given in crushed form.

Seeds and nuts

Nuts are one of the favorite types of feed for canaries. The fat content in them is very high, so this type of feed should be fed very carefully and in small quantities to birds.

Sunflower seeds contain 25–45% oil. Their share in the daily diet of canaries should not be large (up to 5–7%). Canaries willingly eat sunflower seeds, but they should be peeled and crushed. Songbirds should be mixed with grated carrots and crushed wheat crackers.

Flaxseed is not only nutritious, but also a medicinal food for birds. It contains vegetable oil, which in large quantities acts as a laxative. Therefore, flaxseed is often given to canaries for constipation or boiled from it a decoction that has the same beneficial properties.

It is recommended to feed 3-4 flax grains a day for canaries during molting, when the bird’s body is in great need of oilseeds. In addition, flaxseed is used to treat cough and hoarseness in birds.

Chickpea seeds are widely used in Western Europe for feeding domestic birds. In Russia, chickpeas are not sown in large quantities, so it is not common as a feed plant for canaries. Chickpea is a very nutritious and complete food. Its content can be up to 15% of the whole grain mixture.

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Poppy has fixing properties, so it is used as a remedy. It can make up no more than 1-2% of the whole grain mixture and is its optional component.

Legumes are very rich in protein and are superior to cereals in this. In addition, they contain a large amount of calcium and phosphorus. The most useful legumes in green pods, which are rich in vitamins and trace elements. However, green peas and beans should be given to birds in limited quantities so as not to cause digestive upset.

Fruits, Berries, Vegetables

In addition to grain feed, the diet of canaries should include fruits, vegetables, berries and herbs, which are a source of vitamins and minerals. Such food is called juicy.

They are distinguished by a low content of nutrients, but these substances have a simple composition and are easily absorbed by the bird’s body, having a beneficial effect on the functioning of the digestive system and other internal systems.

Although juicy food is not the main one, the body of birds, including domestic ones, is adapted to maximize the use of nutrients contained in juicy feed.

Of the fruits, canaries are most often fed with sweet apples, peaches, cherries, apricots and grapes. They should be given in small pieces, fixing between the bars of the cell or placed in a feeder.

Fruits, like vegetables, must be constantly present in the diet of canaries. It is desirable to alternate them with other vitamin feeds, for example, with sprouted or soaked grain, herbs, etc.

Fruit and vegetable juices are very useful for birds, especially in winter, when there is a lack of vitamins in the daily diet.

The most useful are freshly squeezed juices, in extreme cases, you can give juices produced for baby food, which contain not so many preservatives and sugars.

All other prepared juices are not recommended for canaries, as they contain a lot of sugar. A large amount of sugar is also found in grape juice, both ready-made and freshly squeezed, so its use by canaries should also be limited.

Fruits can be given to canaries in dry form (raisins, apples, dates, figs, prunes, dried apricots, etc.), but they must first be thoroughly washed, in addition, they must be filled with water for several hours or at night to dry fruits softened.

It is also useful for canaries to give fruit and vegetable purees prepared for baby food. Such mashed potatoes are a good vitamin supplement to bird feed, especially in winter.

Fresh twigs

In winter and summer, fresh branches of fruit and deciduous trees should be placed in a cage for canaries. Of these, birds receive additional trace elements and fiber. The bark, buds and leaves of the trees contain vitamins and salts necessary for birds. Canaries gladly nibble their clean.

Plants whose branches are recommended for feeding to birds are apple, cherry, currant, raspberry, viburnum, birch, linden, maple, willow, aspen, ash, alder, hawthorn, mountain ash, elderberry, beech.

In no case should you give canaries branches treated with chemicals.

You can not feed the branches of the following tree species:

  • oak (it contains a large amount of tannins);
  • pear (it contains tannins harmful to canaries);
  • poplar (its bark and wood accumulate harmful substances);
  • coniferous (their branches contain a lot of resin, in which the canary can get dirty);
  • bird cherry (this plant also contains a large amount of tannins).

Animal feed

For the successful maintenance and breeding of indoor birds, animal feed is also needed. They are rich in proteins, minerals and certain vitamins. Proteins are essential for birds to form new cells. Animal feed as well as wet mixtures should be given in a separate bowl, which after each use should be thoroughly washed and dried.

Some lovers believe that when feeding birds a sufficient amount of animal feed – boiled eggs, milk and cottage cheese – the need for canaries for complete animal proteins will be fully satisfied. The main thing is to give such food regularly.

What can not be fed

Fruits and vegetables that should not be given to canaries include:

  • mangoes (especially fresh fruits, as they are toxic to birds);
  • papaya;
  • persimmon;
  • parsley and other herbs;
  • avocado;
  • potatoes (in large quantities).

It should also be noted that many fruit (cherry, plum, apricot, etc.) seeds contain hydrocyanic acid, which is very toxic to birds and can lead to their death.

Almost all boiled fruits and vegetables lose a significant part of the beneficial substances contained in them, so it is advisable to give juicy food to birds only in fresh form.


Vitamins are involved in stimulating the metabolism in the poultry. With their lack of canary diet, hypovitaminosis can occur, characterized by a violation of the absorption of proteins, fats, carbohydrates and minerals, and a decrease in the body’s resistance to infectious diseases.

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It should be noted that when using artificial vitamin preparations, great caution must be exercised, since a small overdose can lead to canary disease or even death. It is best to try to do without them, if possible using fresh herbs, vegetables, fruits and other natural foods rich in vitamins.

If liquid or powdery vitamins are added to water, it should be changed every 10-12 hours, since all vitamin preparations contain substances that promote the growth of bacteria, and the vitamins themselves, dissolved in water, do not retain their beneficial properties for long.

Mineral substances are also necessary for the normal functioning of birds. These elements regulate cell nutrition and metabolism, and also participate in the formation of the skeleton and egg shell. Birds grow very quickly, and they have a fairly intense metabolism, so a deficiency of mineral substances significantly affects the state of their body. Together with food, canaries should receive about 20 elements that are vital for the body.

The most necessary canaries for the body are macroelements. They must come in large quantities, especially such as phosphorus or potassium. Macronutrients are mainly found in animal feed. However, they must be included in the feed and in the form of an additional mineral supplement (chalk, salt, clay, eggshell, etc.).

Trace elements are required by the body of birds in smaller quantities than trace elements. In addition, canaries do not need additional micronutrient supplements to feed, since they are found in sufficient quantities in plant-based feeds.

When feeding mineral supplements to pets, it must be remembered that an excess of these substances can cause metabolic disturbances in the bird’s body. The composition of the mineral mixture can be approximately as follows: eggshell or shell rock – 40%, chalk – 10%, calcium gluconate – 10%, calcium lactate – 10%, calcium glycerophosphate – 5%, sulfur – 15%, red clay – 10%. To prepare the mixture, it is necessary to grind all the components of the mineral top dressing into powder, then mix thoroughly in a dry form. This mixture is given to birds throughout the year, placing it in a separate jar-feeding trough. The portion of minerals in such a feeder should be changed every 2 weeks.

Frequent drinking is especially important for birds, since their metabolism is very intense. In metabolic processes, salts are often of great importance, the dissolution of which requires a lot of water.

In addition, due to their energy birds have a high body temperature. To prevent the body from overheating, constant evaporation of a large amount of moisture from it is necessary. If a bird receives water in small quantities, all life processes occurring in the body are quickly violated, and in the complete absence of water, the bird will die.

It is known that the daily consumption of water in canaries is much greater than in other species of poultry, such as cockatoo or amadina. And with some diseases, drinking water requires much more than usual.

In addition to the amount of water, its quality is very important for birds. The temperature of drinking water for canaries should be at room temperature. In addition, the water must be changed every day so that it is fresh and clean. Drinkers should be washed thoroughly with each change of water in them.

There should also be no harmful impurities in the water; water from the water supply system is not suitable for canaries, since it contains dissolved chlorine in large quantities. Such water should be poured in advance, from the evening, into a container and left for some time so that this element disappears.

It is advisable to pre-boil the water from the water supply or pass it through a purification filter. Boiled water must be cooled to room temperature.

As a drink, instead of ordinary water, once a week you can give canaries non-carbonated mineral water, such as narzan. Feeding canaries is recommended daily (preferably 2 times a day) at the same time. Soft feed, insects and feed mixtures should be given 2-3 times a week and always in the morning. Vegetables, fruits and herbs are offered to canaries daily, and in unlimited quantities.

The daily feed rate for each bird is determined empirically, since canaries even of the same breed and age, with the same way of keeping, as a rule, have unequal appetite. You should carefully monitor your pets to establish the amount of feed per day that they need.