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Pictures How to care for our new birds ??? (Long Post)


Moving in
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Hey all!

This is a LONG post!

We picked up 2 canaries and 2 finches from a rescue sanctuary towards the start of March.

Initially they were in a small cage with no perches when we got them. All of them have damage to varying extents on their feet (some bent and even missing toes :() and the female canary has a patch missing from the back of her neck.

bird 1.jpg bird 2.jpg
The lady at the sanctuary said this is likely from the male canary who we ourselves have observed being not so much aggressive but generally boisterous towards her.

So we put some perches in for them and we have expanded their diet (we believe they had only been fed seed and kept in the cage for their approx 2 years of age (although we are not really sure)), and started giving them out of the cage time.

I had to go away for a while, and during that time the female's condition worsened. I recently have now been able to move them, and get them a much larger cage.

Because of the concern for the female canary we have kept her in the smaller cage while the male canary and the two finches have been moved to the big cage.

We have noticed now that the male canary has occasionally been doing the bothering he usually saved for the female canary to the two finches whom until now he had only been buddies with. He is never actually aggressive towards them just a bit of a meanie.

I guess we just have a lot of questions on how would be best to proceed for the birds...

Is it okay to keep them together?
Is he responsible for her neck?
Should we separate him and put the female back with the finches perhaps?
Now that they are in a bigger cage, they have varied perches, a hiding place, some toys, and a much more varied diet I would like to try and have them together? I just want your professional opinions to go ahead!!

Aside from that there are just a couple of newbie questions that would be nice to understand.

What exactly are the dates of moulting season?
What are the signs and effects of it?
What can we do to help them through it?

And... finally... about their diet:

I've read it should be only about 20% seeds.
I've googled this endlessly and every site just posts a long lists of dozens and dozens of things they can eat but none seem to offer a routine that is complete nutritionally, you know, like an actual diet plan.

Like I said they have only ever been fed seed mix as far as we know. The canaries are loving all the new food, but the finches seem to be a lot more fussy and tend to focus on seeds over other foods we've put n for them. This is making me anxious to make seed available to them because I don't want them to starve but I also want them to get into more food.

Yesterday they had some kale, carrot, cauliflower, watercress, egg powder stuff and meal worms.
The canaries were quite happy with it but I didn't notice the finches go near it.

Today I have given them some raspberry & banana in one dish, and some broccoli, sprouts, oats, and ground flax seed in another and taken out their seed mix completely.

I have seen one of the finches have a nibble in the second dish but that's it. The other one I've only seen eating the millet that's in there this morning, although I haven't had a constant eye on them.

I guess some advice on how best to proceed would be helpful.

Thanks Bird Lovers!!!
All Help Would Be GREAT!!!

What are your birdy feeding routines ???



Lil Monsters Bird Toys
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Northern Mitten Michigan
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Shawna [she/her]
The easiest food would be pellets, as it contains all the vitamins and trace minerals they need, and then supplement with fresh food and seeds. I'm not sure the ratios for finches and canaries, but my birds eat about 50% pellets. I give fresh foods in the morning when they are hungriest, and then a few hours later give them their pellets and seeds.

Something like this might be good too, though you can't control how much seed you are offering. Bird Diets: Drs. Foster and Smith Premium Blend Canary/Finch Food with Omega-3s

Molting is not a set time or season. They lose and replace feathers constantly, and then once or twice a year will go through a bigger molt where they lose more important feathers like tail and wing. They lose them in such a way though that they are never grounded because they lose them symmetrically and replace immediately. Feathers only fall out when a new one is pushing it out of the way. You'll see pointy feathers as they come in. That's the keratin sheath And they will preen It off to release the feather. Molting does not create bald spots. It's similar to us shedding hair, where we lose a lot of strands but never seem to have any less.

Your male canary is almost definitely the cause of the bald spot on the back of the female. He's likely harassing her to mate all the time and she's not giving into his demands. I would house him separately and let her live with the finches.


Moving in
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It's a real shame as when he's not being aggressive they are best buddies. Knowing they've been together so long it really does make me feel quite guilty.

I was able to be with them all afternoon yesterday so had them in together (while I could keep an eye on the situation), everything was fine and they all went to sleep for the night so I left it at that.

This morning though, after feeding them he was chasing all of the others around and being generally unpleasant so I've taken your advice and placed him on his own. This I know is for the best.

Are there any actions we can take to help our girl grow her missing feathers back?


Rollerblading along the road
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What kind of finches do you have? If you have one of the more common finches (like zebras), they can safely have a diet that is mostly seeds and/or pellets - they are native to dry climates and wouldn't eat a great deal of fresh foods in the wild, either - as long as they are getting low fat seeds and are offered greens and veggies, they should be ok. As you've found, canaries usually love greens and veggies.

Canaries are unique among common pet birds for two reasons. First, they are not social birds outside of the breeding season. Wild canaries are solitary when not breeding, domestic canaries can be a little more social, sometimes pairs will bond and still seek out each others' company when not breeding, but for the most part, they are content to be kept individually, and two males will even fight. Meaning it is fine to keep the canary pair separate if there's a problem, although it may be possible to keep them together in a large enough space.
The second unique thing about canaries, is they come from a temperate, not tropical area. Most pet birds come from tropical areas where there is not much seasonal difference in day length. But canaries come from an area with much larger seasonal variation in day length, and so they are very sensitive to changes in day length, which affect molting and breeding behavior. If they are kept in an area with a lot of artificial light, it can be confusing for them. Ideally, you want to keep them in an area where they will get mostly natural lighting - you can cover the cage if lights will be on after dark. If they are kept under natural lighting, they should molt once a year in late summer to fall (after breeding season).