Color Bred Canary

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Is the Color Bred Canary right for you?

Species group:

Other common names: Color Canary; Colourbred Canary

Scientific name: Serinus canaria domesticus

The basics:
Color Bred Canaries are bred for the beauty of their color, rather than for the perfection of their song. The first Color Bred Canary was the impressive Red Factor Canary, but these days breeders have produced a wide range of colorful choices, including Bronze, Ivory, Yellow, Onyx, Red Mosaic, Opal, and many more. Although they are bred for their beauty and their ability to show well, the males do sing, and for many people, a splendid Color Bred Canary is the best of both worlds.

In the 1920s, German and British breeders began to experiment with developing the first Color Bred Canary, the Red Factor Canary. To get the red color, breeders mixed an unrelated songbird, the Red Siskin (Carduelis cucullata) with their domestic canaries. The results were spectacular, but there was some bad feeling about the project, because it led to the pursuit and trapping of most of the Red Siskins remaining in the wild, and this lovely wild species is still highly endangered, decades after legal export of the siskins has been outlawed.

Today, there are many other options when you are considering Color Bred Canaries. Know your source, and take care to purchase only legal, close-banded birds from well-regarded breeders.

An alert smallish songbird,often orange or orange-red.

15 - 20 grams (0.5 - 0.7 oz.)

Average size:
13 - 15 centimeters (5 - 6 in.)

7 - 12 years

Behavior / temperament:
Since they are bred for color, not song, don't expect your Color Bred Canary to out-sing professional songsters like the Roller Canary or the American Singer. That said, a male Color Bred Canary kept in the home should certainly sing, even if the quality may vary somewhat from bird to bird. The males are territorial, and the rule should be one male or one pair to a cage.

Many commercial cages sold for Color Bred Canaries are too small. Take the time and trouble to find a cage that is at least 24”wide by 18” deep by 24” high. These birds cannot exercise by climbing. They need to fly, and the cage needs to give them space to do that. Placing the bird's cage fairly high should also help the bird's confidence. You need to provide adequate perches, of varying widths to allow the bird to change its grip and prevent wear on the feet. You can include toys like bells and swings. A mirror is a bad idea if it persuades a singing male that he has now won his mate and he needn't bother to sing so much. They also like food treats. A favorite foraging toy might be a millet spray, especially if you have soaked the spray for a few days in order to let it sprout.

Color Bred Canaries, like all canaries, must be protected from mosquitoes, which can carry the deadly and disfiguring canary pox, in addition to other dangerous diseases. There is a vaccine for canary pox and if you live in an area where it's a reality that mosquitoes may get into your home from time to time, strongly consider asking your vet for this one-time vaccine.

Color Bred Canaries mostly thrive on a relatively easy-to-provide seed-based diet. The backbone of most Canary diets is a high quality canary seed mix formulated especially for canaries, with a high proportion of canary, rape, flax, linseed, sterilized hemp, thistle, and not too much millet. Some high end seed mixes also contain freeze-dried fruits and vegetable bits, and anise may give the mix a wonderful aroma.

You should regularly test the Color Bred Canary's seed for freshness by soaking and sprouting the seed. If the seed doesn't sprout, it's too old and stale for your canary. You can also buy special seeds that are easy to sprout in the home. These so-called soaking seed blends may include sunflower, safflower, and wheat that would otherwise be too large or too difficult for a Canary to crack by itself, yet once sprouted, they will gain in vitamins and become soft, delicious treats that your bird will love.

However, seed alone just isn't enough for the Color Bred Canary. Chopped fresh greens like unsprayed chickweed, dandelion greens, and oregano are highly recommended, but any healthy greens such as the flowering heads of broccoli or chopped fruit like apples, apricots, and so on, will add vitamins and flavor to the diet. Some people especially recommend chopped kale during the molt. You should also be able to find some pellets formulated especially for Canaries. Some people report that their Canaries first learned to eat their pellets after they sprinkled them with a little apple juice.

What about protein for molting or breeding birds? Many people make a classic eggfood which consists of a hard-boiled egg chopped up well, with about 1 teaspoon of brewer's yeast (NEVER baking yeast) stirred into the mix. Don't leave eggfood sitting around. Remove what's left in the bowl after a couple of hours.

Very important: At the first sign of molt, you should start feeding your Red Factor Canary a good canthaxanthin supplement in accordance with the package directions. Some people prefer Beta-Carotene supplements, but the new feathers may not come in as intensely colored as with canthaxanthin. It doesn't really hurt the bird if you fail to add the color food, but your pet will likely lose a lot of his beautiful color if you forget.

Written by Elaine Radford


great stress relievers, fabulous song, bright colours, sweet music, beautiful singing voices


fragile, dominance thing, extreme temperatures, loud shriek, Asthma patient


reputable breeder, cuttlefish bone, white undertail feathers, open flight

Color Bred Canary Health Tip

Color Bred Canary

From gardenfairy Sep 25 2014 12:41AM


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