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BIRD / new pets

A Set-up Guide for Your New Canary

Tips for home, health and fun


5 things to know about canaries

  • Canaries can live up to 15 years
  • They’ll grow to about 5 inches
  • They’re named for the Canary Islands, where they originally came from
  • They are bred for their beautiful color and singing voice
  • They like to watch their human and be talked and whistled to, but they prefer not to be handled

Your canary’s home

  • Canaries are very social and can live in pairs — or even whole flocks! Keep your canary in a cage large enough for them to stretch their wings, climb and play. The minimum cage size for one canary is 12x12x15".If you have more than one canary, you’ll need a bigger cage. If you’re keeping a flock, you’ll need plenty of room for everyone.
  • Provide at least two perches of different thickness and material. Variations in perches help keep bird feet strong and healthy. The perches should also be placed at different heights.
  • Don’t put perches over food or water dishes, otherwise droppings will make a mess where your pets eat and drink.
  • Birds are sensitive to smoke, strong smells and drafts. Keep your canary’s cage away from the kitchen and open windows. Don’t place the cage in direct sunlight and be sure to cover it at bedtime.
  • Cushion the floor of the cage with an inch or two of corncob, aspen, wood-pellet or recycled-paper bedding, or use a cage liner. Remove droppings frequently, spot-clean the liner or bedding weekly, and replace it entirely once a month.
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What to feed your pet canary

The staple in a canary’s diet is a fortified pellet-seed blend. Canaries like to graze on the top layer of the food dish, so be sure to refresh their food daily and keep the dish about three-quarters full. Water should also be refreshed everyday. Place a cuttlebone or mineral block in your pet’s cage at all times.

Canaries also enjoy a diet supplemented with fresh fruits and veggies. Veggies can make up about 20% of your pet’s daily diet. Favorite veggies include leafy greens like kale, zucchini, broccoli, squash and shredded carrots.

Fruit should only be offered once a week—making it about 5% of your pet’s diet. Fruity favorites include papaya, banana and melon. When offering fresh fruit or veggies, be sure to only give your pet what they can eat within four hours.

A quick note about cooked food: scrambled or boiled eggs, whole wheat pasta, beans and peas are all varieties of “people food” that can also please a canary’s palate. Just make sure to ration these treats to once a week—about 5% of your pet’s diet.

Help keep your canary healthy

Canaries prefer not to be handled. This is especially important the first three or four days after bringing them home - be sure to give them time to adjust.

Even a settled-in bird can feel sick. If you notice any of these signs of illness or distress, contact a veterinarian who treats birds:

  • Decreased appetite or weight loss
  • Decreased activity or grooming
  • Feathers fluffed up for a long time
  • Long periods sitting at the bottom of the cage
  • Sneezing
  • Discharge from nose or mouth
  • Change in droppings for more than two days


Pets purchased at PetSmart are part of our exclusive Vet Assured ™ program, designed by PetSmart veterinarians to help improve the health and well-being of our pets. Our vendors meet a high standard in caring for pets and screening them for common illnesses. This program also includes specific standards for in-store pet care.

The PetSmart Promise: If your pet becomes ill during the initial 14-day period, or if you’re not satisfied for any reason, PetSmart will gladly replace the pet or refund the purchase price.