Choosing a Canary
By John Bernardes
You have come to the decision that you are interested in buying a canary. Sounds like an easy task right? Well there is more to it than just going to a pet shop and picking out a bird. Some decisions need to be made before the bird is purchased. First thing to consider is what function the bird will serve. Some people will want a canary solely as a pet that will sit in their kitchen by a window singing all day long. Others will want a few birds to try their hand at breeding. If you are going to choose a bird for companionship then you need to decide if you want a male or a female. Remember if you want a bird that sings you have to get a male because females donít sing, only males do. Once you have that figured out you need to decide what color or type of canary you want to get. Thatís right there are different kinds of canaries. Maybe youíre the kind of person that doesnít care what kind of bird you get just as long as it is healthy. Maybe ordinary yellow canaries will suite your needs. Maybe you have a specific bird in mind. Either way you should try to get your bird from the most reliable source possible.
For the person who is interested in only one bird as a pet you can go to a pet shop and acquire your bird but I would advise against it. The reason being is that you will probably pay more than you need for the bird. Also it will be very possible that you are getting an inferior bird. Iím sure that there are pet stores that do sell quality birds but in my opinion the best place to get a bird is from a canary breeder.
For one thing the price of the bird from a breeder is likely to be less expensive than from the pet shop. Second a breeder is not likely to sell you an inferior bird if he is a good breeder. So whether you are purchasing a bird for a pet or a number of birds for breeding it is always more prudent to acquire birds from a breeder.
Now you need to know how to pick out a good bird.
- Always look for a healthy bird.
- The bird should look alert and lively not dull and cowering in a corner.
- Check the vent area. If there are droppings attached to the vent feathers there is a possibility that the bird has loose bowels or is spending too much time on the cage floor. Both are signs of illness.
- Try to get a bird that is banded so that you may know about its history and ancestry.
- Check to see if the breederís room is clean. Dirty bird rooms may carry diseases or parasites.
- Ask many questions about the birds. If the breeder is reputable he wonít mind taking the time to tell you about his stock.
- Remember it is just as easy to start off with a good bird as it is with a sick bird. Only settle for the best.
- How do you go about finding a breeder? Well, you can check at a local bird show. There are always breeders there that are looking to sell their surplus birds. You can also check the Internet. There are various web sites with numerous canary breeders listed. If you type in Canary Classics this will lead you to many sites with canary breeders all over the United States. Some are even willing to ship their birds to you.
- Keep in mind that even informed people could have a bit of bad luck when purchasing a bird. Once I was looking to buy a good pair of Border canaries for breeding. I went to a reputable breeder and purchased two birds that seemed very healthy. Over a period of a few weeks the female began to go light and I was concerned for her health. Now I know that the bird was probably healthy when I bought it because I trust this breeder yet there was no doubt that the bird was getting sick. I truly didnít think that I was mistreating the bird because the male was as healthy as could be. I went back to the breeder and told him the situation and he was willing to give me another female at no cost to me. He certainly went way beyond his responsibility to accommodate me. He didnít have to do this but he did anyway. Why you may ask? Perhaps it was because we are both interested in perpetuating the hobby of canary breeding. Because of our genuine interest in these loveable little creatures neither one of us felt betrayed. I never had a doubt that he tried to sell me a healthy bird and I also know that he gave me another bird in good faith. Try to get that kind of service when you buy a bird from a pet shop at the mall.