Canary as a pet

How to Feed a Canary Properly

Max. D Gray
By Max. D Gray. Updated: January 20, 2017
How to Feed a Canary Properly

One of the most common birds kept as pets are canaries, small birds originating from the Canary Islands, islands which also give them their name. They are especially characterized by their singing (males only), as well as their colorful plumage. Caring for a canary is not particularly complicated, although it is true that we must consider some elements such as their feeding and make sure they don´t escape. In this OneHowTo article we explain in detail how to feed a canary properly.

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Steps to follow:


To feed a canary properly, firstly you should be aware that canaries are granivores, meaning that their diet is mainly based on grains. However other kinds of foods should also be supplied, such as fruits and vegetables.


Birdseed should be the staple food for canaries, a seed rich in carbohydrates that will be mixed with other seeds that represent a good source of protein and other nutrients for our pet.


Other common seeds to feed canaries are:

  • Corncockle
  • Hemp
  • Red rapeseeds
  • Canola
  • Oats.
  • Hempseed

In truth, in pet shops you can find prepared grain mixtures ideal for canaries. Still, if you want to work it yourself you can use the following mix: 50% birdseed, corn-cockle 20%, 10% red rapeseed, 10% hemp, thistle 6%, 2% and oats 2% flax 2%.


On the other hand, it is necessary that the canary eats vegetables and fruits to complete its diet because they provide vitamins and minerals that are essential for the bird's health. You can give your canary: lettuce, cabbage, carrots, spinach, apple, orange, banana...

How to Feed a Canary Properly - Step 5

You must wash the vegetables and cut them into small pieces so the canary can eat them. It will also be necessary to withdraw from the cage anything that your pet does not eat, replace foods and do not leave them in the cage for later.


The birds must have something to wear its beak and claws on so that these do not grow too much and become a problem. Various objects can be used for this and cuttlefish bones, a calcium stone or other accessories are popular for canaries. You can purchase at your pet shop.

How to Feed a Canary Properly - Step 7

Clean, fresh water will be essential for the canary, especially in summer. Be sure at all times that its bottle is full so it an drink and remain well hydrated.

How to Feed a Canary Properly - Step 8

But, what to feed a baby canary? If you have newborn canaries, then the most adequate thing to do is to let the parents feed their own kin. If they are not around, then you can boil an egg and cut it int small pieces so they get their protein while having soft food.

You can also blend the vegetables mentioned above and feed them to your baby canary.


With proper nutrition, our birds will remain healthy and we can prevent them from getting any of the common canary diseases. If your pet has a strange appearance behavior take it to the vet.

If you want to read similar articles to How to Feed a Canary Properly, we recommend you visit our Pets category.


  • If in doubt, see your veterinarian.
Write a comment
What did you think of this article?
ali seif
I have a pair canaries and she laid 5 eggs and 4 already hatched. But the male canary is fighting the female and I thought better separate the male and let female canary feed all chicks. So far it is ok and she feeds all chicks. Dit I do proper separation?

Thanks, Ali
diana anglero
Can you feed a canary hatchlings the same formula for other hatchlings?
OneHowTo Editor
Hi Diana,

It will depend on the bird. Birds have all kinds of diets. Some eat meat, others only seeds, some a mixture of both.
Lee Findley
In the wild canaries eat green foods, ripening seeds, leaves, buds, flowers and insects. Dried seed heads are not the preferred foods. Seeds are dry in their native islands at the very end of the breeding season. You gloss over green foods with too little information. Canaries love green seed, on kale, other crucifers as well as green millet (easily grown in a pot or in the ground), they are large consumers of green foods, rapini, broccolini, leaf lettuce, escarole and dandelion; all at your local organic grocer. The cuttle bone is eaten as a source of natural supplemental minerals more than as a beak trimmer. Given a diet rich in green foods and a great seed mix with the ocassional leaf or bud covered with aphids, canaries thrive. The dried seed diet of commercial (grocery store) packaging is no way to feed any bird. It is an especially sad life for a canary. Natural daylight, green food and a bath every day are requirements for happy, healthy canaries!
OneHowTo Editor
Hi Lee,

We appreciate you adding some foods to the list and clarifying some of the uses of cuttlefish bone. If you read in some of the later points in the article, we point out that canaries also need fruit and vegetables to thrive (as well as regular baths, etc.). This doesn't mean a good seed feed such as the prepared grain mixture we suggest isn't a useful and nutritious staple diet on which to add these fruit and vegetables. Many canaries thrive and, indeed, enjoy eating this seed as part of a balanced diet.
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How to Feed a Canary Properly