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What Canaries & Finches Are Like As Pets

These little birds are popular for good reason.

Susan Anderson

Zebra finches
Zebra finches are popular pets.

Finches have the same basic needs as canaries, but with a few differences. Finches are very social birds, so plan on getting at least two. There are many species of finches, from the mostly gray zebra finch to the very colorful Lady Gouldian finch. Finches also need a large, wide cage so that they can fly. They make soft noises, and are a pleasure to have around. If you are interested in breeding, some finches breed very easily. Zebra and society finches are very prolific breeders. Just make sure you have a nest in the cage, a male and female finch, and let nature take its course. Baby finches just out of the nest are fluffy and adorable.

You can feed your finches pellets, seeds, millet and fresh fruits and vegetables. They also enjoy mashed up hard-boiled eggs. Finches are a lot of fun to watch as they fly around their cages, from perch to perch. It is very relaxing to listen to their soft calls.


Canaries are best kept as a single pet or in a cage with non-aggressive finches. 

Canaries are actually members of the finch family. In general they are more colorful and a little larger than most finches. A male canary will make you happy with his lovely singing, and the females sometimes sing too. Canaries are an excellent choice for someone who enjoys watching a bird flit around her cage, but doesn’t require human companionship. Canaries are not especially social, so a lone canary will be fine on her own.

You will need a large cage for your canary — wider is better than tall. Canaries enjoy flying from perch to perch, and it’s fun to watch them. They also enjoy toys, but it’s best to keep them on the sides of the cage, outside of the flight path. Canaries come in many colors and are very pretty birds. Along with singing, they chirp pleasantly. They are relatively quiet birds.

Canaries need a varied diet, and thrive on a mixture of pellets, seeds, fresh fruits and vegetables. Their average life span is about 10 years.

Canary Types
There are three type of canaries:

Color Canaries: As the name suggests, these are canaries that are not the stereotypical yellow canary. Canary colors include red, green, "blue” (which is more of a gray color), bronze, cinnamon, fawn and brown. The most well-known color canary is the red-factor canary.

Type Canaries: These canaries have different body types, from fluffy to skinny. The most well-known type canaries include the border, fife, York and Gloster.

Song Canaries: Canaries are probably most well-known for their singing. Males are the ones that usually sing, but females on occasion might sing as well. The most well-known is the roller canary.

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Posted: November 24, 2014, 4:00 p.m. PDT

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