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Has anyone tamed their canary?

oliviikate

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I've had my 2 hens (i think they're hens...don't know for sure) for a few months now, and they've settled in at home nicely :)

I've done a lot of reading to make sure I'm taking care of them the best I can, but I am still unsure of how to do one thing: taming!

It's the kind of thing where people either say it's possible or it's impossible. But no one ever really says what to try except for forcing them to be okay with your hand invading their personal space - and I don't like that. I like to try and put my hand in the cage for feednig/cleaning/health related purposes ONLY.

I'd love to try and make better friends with the girls if it's possible...so has anyone managed to develop a relationship with their finch or canary? If yes, how did you go about it?

If no...I'm fine letting them do their thing, too. They have each other.
 

finchly

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Yes. There are several members of this board who have done it. You basically just handle them a lot is what one person told me, that didn't really work for me... others will come along and guide you but here's what I would do.....

Hold your hand in the cage very still for 15 min at a time (yes your arm will go to sleep! :D) with a favorite food in your palm. Millet works well but only an inch not the whole stalk. You need to do this multiple times a day, every day.

Eventually they stop freaking out and come to your hand because it's the millet hand.

Then you can do the same outside the cage, hold your hand out forever haha! and they learn to come and eat from you. Then you can clicker train or put a command to it so they fly to you.

Canaries are fairly easy. Finches are a little harder.
 

Monaco

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I'm getting ever closer with melon. He will buzz me now when I do breakfast, and stay on the cage (he's free most of the time) while I get his dishes arranged...about 12 inches impatiently across the top of the cage. Sometimes he will follow me around the house and squeak at me. I don't necessarily want more, but it's interesting as he gets more comfortable. It's been 6 months.
 

oliviikate

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That's great! I don't live on my own so my birds hang out in my room with me most of the time. Since I've started letting them have free range of the room they've shown signs of being okay with my presence. They like to sit on my lampshade while I work at my desk sometimes (this is less than two feet away from me). I suppose this is a good sign that they're at least okay having me around them :) They just really don't like my hands, haha.
 

Destiny

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I don't have canaries, but I have had some success with one of my three finches. He is the most bold (and food motivated) of the trio. First out of the cage and first to investigate new treats.

I watch his body language and approach slowly to offer millet. Not too close or too fast or he will fly off. I will put the millet spray near a perch and let him close the distance. Avoid chasing after the bird, if he backs away from your hand. Let him come toward you and listen to body language to see if he is still interested. It helps if you try food-based training early in the day, BEFORE you feed breakfast since the birds will be hungry and more motivated to approach your offering. Try to keep your interactions as positive and rewarding for the bird as you can. You want them to feel safe around you.

If your hand is too scary, try offering treats on the floor or table near your hand instead of directly to build a positive association. Some birds will take more time and lots of patience.


Here you can see Jasper, my yellow finch, flying in to land on a spray of millet in my hand.

Action shot!

20200820_183329.jpg

I'm still trying to get him to land directly on my hand. I know it is possible, but we are not quite there yet.
Patience, patience.

20200820_183410.jpg
 

oliviikate

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He's beautiful! What a smart little fella. I will be sure to try out some of these tactics :) Thank you so much!
 

sheeluhwhet

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Hello! I don't know if I can say that my Peeps is fully tamed since he's still very skittish around people, but he seems to be comfortable around me and flies and perches on me. I wouldn't say it's with commands, but more like I've conditioned him to feel safe.
20200912_145523.jpg
(He's been molting)

Of course I know its different for every bird, but this is how I got him to get comfortable around me and my family. :)

@finchly is absolutely right! You want to spend lots of time with them. I hung around Peeps a lot when I first got him. I sat by his cage a lot while doing my own thing (reading, art, hw). I also used to put my hand in the cage for short amounts of time with some seeds for treats. Though I eventually stopped--especially when he started free flying--because I wanted him to have his own safe space.

But yeah, you basically just want them to realize that you're not something scary that should be avoided.

Bonding Activities:

Freelying:
Peeps started freeflying in my room first before letting him out in the livingroom. It was a big enough space to fly around, but not too big that he could hide away somewhere qnd hide where I couldn't reach. Whenever I let him out, I would always be in the room doing my own thing as usual. The first time I'd say he started to get tamed was when he landed on me while I was lying down on my bed.
Screenshot_20200917-172535_Instagram.jpg
Eventually, he would actually hop around the floor around me while I did my hw and perch on me. He got super comfortable. He even go to a point where where hed would get super brave and steal my stuff!
IMG_20200917_174615.jpg

Music:
Peeps loves music and he especially loves Canary music. He would always bust out singing the moment he hears the canary music. I noticed he would actually fly to my phone and peck at the screen if I Ieft it on a flat surface, so I tried playing it while holding the phone in my hands too. After a couple of tries it worked! He flew to my hand and perched on my fingers while pecking on the screen. Ever since then, I would play music everyday until he felt safe enough to just automatically fly to me whenever he hears the music.
Screenshot_20200917-172433_Instagram.jpg

Hand in Cage thing:
I know you said you didn't want to invade their space which it 100% fine. But I did try to make this an evening ritual back when I had more time. Sidenote, Peeps has 3 doors in his cage. I would stick my had with treats through the same door every night before he went to bed. He often spent 10-15 minutes just eating on my hand! I eventually stopped though since my evening schedule changed, plus he spends most of his day outside his cage with me.
**I never stick my hand in the cage without a small treat--usually 1/2 tsp of his favorite seeds (Dr Harvey's seed mix from Amazon)**
Screenshot_20200917-173831_Instagram.jpg

Head Stands (for fun):
Whenever I opened his cage door, he would perch on the entrance and look around first before flying. So one day I lowered my head just below the door and he began jumping onto it. He would sometimes stay long enough for me to walk around. :)


So yes, these were the main activities I did (and still do) with him. I've had him for about 3 years now and he's a spoiled baby lol
20200820_125306.jpg
 
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finchly

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Thanks Gemma! Love the photos as usual!
 

sheeluhwhet

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Those are all great tips! Thank you so much! Also - your canary is the sweetest thing! It looks like he has a great life with you :)
I hope you find one that works :) I know your lil ladies will be a lot more comfortable around you soon. They seem to be in good hands, so it'll just takes some time depending on their personalities. It really helps that canaries are curious and playful lil babies lol

please keep us updated, we love photos! :xflove:

And thank you! I try to give him a comfortable life. He deserves all the good things lol :heart:
20200820_134302.jpg
 
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oliviikate

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He's like "???? what is that????"
I love him. It definitely seems that he has owners that care for him deeply :)

I will definitely post updates!
I tried out finchly's method this morning before breakfast - using broccoli though, not millet (broccoli is their favorite). Scout actually got within a few inches of me! She didn't actually eat any of it, but she was definitely thinking about it before she shied away. That's okay. I think that's a pretty good start for a first day!
I will try a little bit of what everyone said to see what works for us! Thank you everyone!
 

finchly

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He's like "???? what is that????"
I love him. It definitely seems that he has owners that care for him deeply :)

I will definitely post updates!
I tried out finchly's method this morning before breakfast - using broccoli though, not millet (broccoli is their favorite). Scout actually got within a few inches of me! She didn't actually eat any of it, but she was definitely thinking about it before she shied away. That's okay. I think that's a pretty good start for a first day!
I will try a little bit of what everyone said to see what works for us! Thank you everyone!
That's terrific! Do keep us updated.
 

Ocha_Tuna

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I've had experience with taming canary in the past - they were my first bird because I was too afraid parrots are too attention demanding. Anyway my observation shows that males are bolder, more willing to step up or onto your palm to feed.
There's lots of treats to entice them IMO because they EAT ANYTHING: seeds, veggies, fruits, boiled egg... so it should be easier to keep them healthy and have fun!
I lost my canary's fondness of me sadly, after I got him a few mates. They breed, and I was informed NOT to bother them so they can raise their young in peace. Sadly they keep failing, and I ended up with a bird who forgot the good moments we once had.
Oh well, but he is still alive and kicking it after 8 years. Less singing too so its proof birds do calm down after age
 
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