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Feeding Canaries by Fred Wright

Canaries are not difficult to feed. They will exist perfectly happily on a basic canary mix of seeds and fresh water. Getting the very best from your canaries, being able to breed with them and preparing them for shows will however require more than just the basic diet. However, it never gets difficult!

What is known as “canary mix” is a mixture of canary seed, which is on of the forms of “grass” seeds mixed with a seed that is called rape. Rape is either red or a black seed. It’s a soft seed and tends to be the cheaper seed as the cheaper mixes will contain more rape and less canary seed. Canary seed is higher in protein and if it can be afforded, the seed with a high percentage of canary is best. The other good reason for more canary seed is that many birds waste a lot of the rape, so the more expensive mix might not be so expensive at the end of the day. Other seeds appear in the mixes but in very small percentages.

Small quantities of “condition seeds” are required in preparation for the breeding season. These can be purchased in a mix in small quantities and be given as a treat 2 or 3 times a week in addition to the basic diet in the build-up to the breeding season. These seeds are unquestionably beneficial in bringing the birds into breeding condition. A canary fancier would tell you that “it just brings them on”.

Softfood is extremely important to the canary breeder. This can either be a commercially prepared food or be prepared by the breeder. It’s a food that is firstly, easily fed by the hen when she is rearing youngster-but softfood does so much more. It’s a biscuit or bread base, finely ground or crushed. To this is added hard boiled eggs and some supplements. The eggs do need to be well cooked for fear of giving the bacteria, salmonella, to the birds. Making softfood is not difficult but it means preparing every day during the breeding season and any that is not fed to the birds immediately needs to be stored in a fridge. When hens are rearing, they appreciate softfood several times a day. Little and often is the rule again. It’s vital to wash softfood dishes regularly-especially in warm weather……………Read more

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