Healthy diets

What is the Best Diet for a Canary?

Josie F. Turner
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: November 8, 2016
What is the Best Diet for a Canary?

Many people keep canaries (Serinus canaria) as pet birds, as they make beautiful and cheerful companions. Giving a canary a good diet is a fundamental part of its care, as it directly affects the quality of its plumage, its health and its desire to sing.

Taking care of your pet's diet is one of your main responsibilities as an owner. In order to help you, this AnimalWised article will discuss food and nutritional supplements for canaries so that you can provide the best care. Keep reading to discover what is the best diet for a canary.

You may also be interested in: What is the Best Diet for Cats?
  1. What is the best feed for canaries?
  2. What are the best vegetables and fruits for canaries?
  3. Calcium for canaries
  4. Branches, sprigs and ears
  5. How much water do canaries need?
  6. What is the best food for nestling canaries?
  7. What supplements and vitamins do canaries need?

What is the best feed for canaries?

Canaries are granivorous animals, which means that in the wild they feed on the grains and various seeds they can find in their habitat. Of course, this applies only to adult canaries, as hatchlings and chicks must be fed with egg food; in order to control its ingredients, we recommend making egg food for canaries yourself.

There are different types of bird feed mixtures available in pet shops, although they all vary in quality and combination. We recommend you look for products that are vacuum packed.

Professionals and amateurs often create their own bird feed mixes and look for separate high quality seeds. The best grains and seeds for canaries include:

  • Canary grass
  • Flax or linseed
  • Radish seeds
  • Endive seeds
  • Lettuce seeds
  • Niger seed
  • Oats
  • Hempseed
What is the Best Diet for a Canary? - What is the best feed for canaries?

What are the best vegetables and fruits for canaries?

Fresh vegetables and fruits are vital for any bird as they provide a lot of vitamins, which directly affects their vitality.

You can feed your canary fruits and vegetables 3 to 5 days a week, the more varied the better. Among the best fruits and veggies for canaries you can find:

  • Lamb's lettuce
  • Endive
  • Rocket
  • Carrot
  • Apple
  • Cucumber
What is the Best Diet for a Canary? - What are the best vegetables and fruits for canaries?

Calcium for canaries

You need to add calcium to a canary's diet, especially during the breeding season. It is also necessary in other stages of life such as molting and growing. If you want to learn more about the specific care for these birds, take a look at our article on caring for a molting canary.

There are different ways of offering calcium supplements to pet birds. One of them are store-bought calcium stones; however, the best products are definitely cuttlebone and crushed oyster shells.

Your pet canary should always be able to access these natural sources of calcium, as they reinforce its nutritional needs and they are fantastic to sharpen their beak. These products are very common and can be found in any pet store.

Although whether it is necessary or not is now a source of debate, many people recommend mixing grit - that is, oyster shells, cuttlebone and limestone crushed into dust - with the bird seed and the bottom of the cage, as it is said to help canaries digest grain. Be it true or not, what is certain is that grit is also a source of calcium, so it can't hurt.

What is the Best Diet for a Canary? - Calcium for canaries

Branches, sprigs and ears

Another great way to feed your canary and at the same time entertain it is to give it branches, springs and ears of grain and sticks with different seeds and fruits.

You can put these into the cage by using brackets so that they stay firmly in place. They are a great nutritional supplement for your bird, and they will motivate it to exercise. These seed sticks also makes canaries feed in a more natural way, similar to what they would do in the wild.

You can find this product in the usual pet shops, but for more variety you should go to centres specialized in exotic animals.

What is the Best Diet for a Canary? - Branches, sprigs and ears

How much water do canaries need?

Water is essential for all animals, including canaries. Your pet canary must always have a bowl of fresh, clean water at hand to stay healthy, nourished and well-hydrated.

You can also add a small pool or container in the cage so your canary can wash. This is very beneficial for the quality of a bird's feathers and to prevent the parasites from appearing. And, of course, it is also a very fun activity for them.

What is the Best Diet for a Canary? - How much water do canaries need?

What is the best food for nestling canaries?

Nestling food and formula are very beneficial products for canaries, both for young chicks and their mother, who also needs extra nutrition. Nestling food usually contains egg, cereals and calcium, which help keep the canary chicks healthy and without any nutritional deficiencies.

However, nestling food is not only meant for growing canaries. This nutritious mixture food is also fantastic to give to your canaries once in a while at any stage of their lives. In fact, many canary breeders prepare this kind of nestling food themselves.

What is the Best Diet for a Canary? - What is the best food for nestling canaries?

What supplements and vitamins do canaries need?

We will finish this article with a section dedicated to nutritional supplements that you should only give a canary occasionally. Everything mentioned above will provide your canary with a healthy, varied and rich diet, enough for it to be well fed.

However, people sometimes want to provide their pet canaries extra vitamins, omega-3, omega-6 and other supplements to improve the quality of their feathers.

In this respect, it is important that you get advice from an expert. Some of these products contain antibiotics and other compounds that, in the long term, could eventually cause harm to your canary.

What is the Best Diet for a Canary? - What supplements and vitamins do canaries need?

If you want to read similar articles to What is the Best Diet for a Canary?, we recommend you visit our Healthy diets category.

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What did you think of this article?
I'm the new owner of a gorgeous little canary ( not sure if it's a girl or boy!), My lovely grandson Neo presented it to me 2 weeks ago as a get well gift - I love it and have named it Venus.

Anyway to the point - your article is an excellent source of help and guidance and has helped me learn how to care for my new 'baby'.

Many thanks Suzi

Administrador AnimalWised
You're very welcome Suzi, thanks for the kind words and good luck with your new canary adventure!
Thomas Mckinney
Are 5year old canaries too old to breed
Do canaries eat their own eggs. Mine layed an egg few hours later it was gone that happened two days vin a row
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Carolyn,

It is possible canaries will destroy their own eggs. Usually this is either due to a fear they do not have a suitable food source or stress. Is there anything which might be causing stress at the moment?
I would provide extra nutrition like cooked chicken eggs with the finely crushed shells. This will help curb egg eating. Add fine cut greens, apple, And other nutrition al foods.
First thanks to the article I would recommend everyone who found a problem with Canary to read it
Secondly, I hope you will give me the amount of seeds in grams to make a mixture, what are the seeds that I put with 1 kg of canary grass
Would I be able to give my canary hemp hearts or chia seeds, that I buy for myself? I understand they are very good for humans, but am curious as to whether or not I can share them with my canary.
Alice Tapiol Breeze (AnimalWised editor)
Hi Grace,
Regarding chia seeds, it's not advisable due to the fact that, if they are not completely hydrated, they may cause obstruction in your Canary. On the other hand, hemp hearts are not harmful and many experts give them to their Canaries once a week.
Hope this helps!
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What is the Best Diet for a Canary?