Navigate to chapter
► Chapter 1: Introduction
► Chapter 2: Understanding Canaries
► Chapter 3: What to Know Before You Buy
► Chapter 4: Purchasing Canaries
► Chapter 5: Caring for Canaries
► Chapter 6: Breeding Canaries
► Chapter 7: Keeping Canaries Healthy
► Chapter 8: Canary Care Sheet
► Chapter 9: Relevant Websites
Chapter Three: What to Know Before You Buy
Now that you have a better understanding of what the canary is you are well on your way to deciding whether or not these birds are the right pet for you. In this chapter you will receive some important and practical information about being a canary owner. You will learn whether canaries should be kept individually or in pairs, whether they can be kept with other pets, and what the average cost to own a canary is. By considering the information in this chapter you will be able to make an informed decision regarding whether these are the right pets for you.
One of the first questions new canary owners ask is whether they can keep multiple canaries together or if it is better to keep them singly. Although the canary is a type of finch, canaries are much less of a social species than most finches. This being the case, it is generally recommended that you keep only a single canary or a breeding pair. If you try to keep multiple male canaries together you will just be asking for trouble.
It is possible for two male canaries to get along outside of the breeding season but eventually you will run into problems with dominance. Not only will keeping multiple canaries likely result in dominance issues, but it can also reduce the amount your canaries are likely to sing. It is only the male of the species that sings but keeping multiple males together can interfere with that singing. If you must keep multiple canaries together, a mixed-gender grouping is better than keeping just males.
If you do plan to keep multiple canaries it is essential that you have a very large cage. Make sure there are plenty of perches and nests in the cage so each canary can have its own territory. Something that many canary owners find to be effective is a very large shared flight cage connected to multiple smaller units which individual canaries can claim as their territory. This type of cage setup can be expensive and a hassle to keep clean but it generally works as far as keeping multiple canaries amicable with each other.
Because canaries are generally supposed to be kept in their cages at all times it is possible to keep canaries in households with other pets. As long as your canary cage is out of reach for dogs, cats, and other animals that might bother the birds, you shouldn’t have a problem. The real question, however, is whether you can keep canaries with other birds. Canaries are members of the finch family, so many canary owners wonder whether or not these birds can be kept together.
Although canaries are closely related to finches, the two cannot always be kept together. Finches come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes and some species are more social than others. If you do want to keep canaries and finches together, be sure to choose species of similar size and make sure that the finches you choose are a passive species like society finches. Zebra finches and other species tend to be a little more pushy and aggressive so they may not get along with canaries. You should not keep canaries with parrots or parakeets due to differences in feeding and handling requirements.
Owning a pet can be expensive so before you make the commitment you need to be sure that you can cover the necessary costs. For a pet canary you need to not only be able to pay for the canary itself, but you also need to provide a safe and healthy habitat as well as a healthy diet. In this section you will receive an overview of the costs associated with purchasing and keeping a canary as a pet. If you cannot cover these costs, a canary might not be the right pet for you.
The initial costs associated with keeping canaries as pets include the cost of the bird itself as well as the cage, cage accessories, toys, and grooming supplies. You will find an overview of these costs below as well as a chart depicting the estimated costs for keeping a single canary as well as a pair of canaries:
Purchase Price – The average cost for a canary will vary a little bit depending on the age, the variety, and where you get it. Depending what type of canary you get, you should plan to spend $50 to $200 (£45 to £180).
Cage – The cost for a high-quality canary cage will vary greatly depending on the size, the type of cage, and the quality of the materials. Your best option is a large flight cage which could cost anywhere from $75 to as much as $500 or more (£68 to £450).
Cage Accessories – To properly outfit your canary cage you will need at least three food and water dishes as well as a nesting box, and several perches. The cost for these items can vary greatly but you should budget about $100 to $200 (£90 to £180) to be safe.
Toys – You really only need to keep 3 toys in your canary’s cage at any given time, though you should keep a variety of toys on hand so you can rotate them in and out to prevent bored. Plan to spend about $50 (£45) on toys.
Grooming Supplies – Like many birds, canaries enjoy taking baths so you will need to have a bird bath available in your canary cage. Other grooming supplies you might need include tail trimmers, styptic powder and wing clippers. The average cost you can expect to pay for these supplies is around $40 (£36).
|Initial Costs for Canaries|
|Cost Type||1 Canary||2 Canaries|
|Purchase Price||$50 to $200
(£45 to £180)
|$100 to $400
(£90 to £360)
|Cage||$75 to $500
(£68 to £450)
|$75 to $500
(£68 to £450)
|Accessories||$100 to $200
(£90 to £180)
|$100 to $200 (£90 to £180)|
|Toys||$50 (£45)||$100 (£90)|
|Grooming Supplies||$40 (£36)||$40 (£36)|
|Total||$315 to $990
(£284 to £891)
|$415 to $1,240
(£374 to £1,116)
The monthly costs associated with keeping canaries as pets include the cost of bird food, nesting and bedding supplies, cleaning supplies, and veterinary care. You will find an overview of these costs below as well as a chart depicting the estimated costs for keeping a single canary as well as a pair of canaries:
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