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Title: All About Your Canary
Author: Company, R. T. French
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "All About Your Canary" ***

                             ALL ABOUT YOUR

    [Illustration: “Frenchy” the famous Canary Pirate]

                         ROCHESTER 9, NEW YORK

                         _A Word to the Reader_

At the turn of the century, the food business was in the “cracker
barrel” stage. Packaged foods were just beginning to make their
appearance in American grocery stores. It was during this period that
Mr. George J. French developed the idea of marketing bird seed in

Mr. French, then President of The R. T. French Company, had raised caged
birds for many years as a hobby, and he knew that a clean, dependable
packaged bird food would be welcomed by canary lovers. The new product
was an immediate success. The sale of branded bird seed in packages
brought Mr. French an increasing flood of letters from bird owners which
he carefully answered himself.

In 1925, using the pen name “Bird,” he wrote the original French’s Bird
Book. As this latest version, “All About Your Canary,” is written,
French’s Bird Seed and Biscuit—the pioneer in its field—is the largest
selling bird seed in America.

                           Copyright 1951 by
                        THE R. T. FRENCH COMPANY
                         Lithographed in U.S.A.

                    _Canary Isles to Crystal Palace_

    [Illustration: Frenchy]

Lying off the northwest coast of Africa are two small groups of islands,
the Canary Islands and the Islands of Madeira. These tiny specks of land
are the habitat of the little green finch, or wild canary.

The song of these canaries so appealed to sailors who visited the
islands that quantities of the colorful birds were captured and carried
back to Europe. By the early 16th century, these song birds were prized
possessions of many noblemen.

Today the sweet song of the canary is enjoyed all over the world. In the
patient hands of breeders, the canary has evolved into many forms and
colors. By 1900 there were twenty-seven distinct varieties and types of
canary birds.

In Germany there is the famous Roller singing bird. There is also the
peculiar Dutch bird with all its feathers turned the wrong way, the
round-shouldered Belgian and Scotch Fancies, and the beautiful English
birds—the Lancashire Coppy with its great crest, the Yorkshire, the
Norwich, and the Border Fancy. Some, like the London Fancy which had
exquisite orange and black markings on the head and tail, unfortunately
are already extinct.

The British, who breed their birds mainly for beauty of plumage and
form, are among the greatest fanciers in the world. They have hundreds
of societies organized for the purpose of perfecting particular types of
birds. Regular shows are held all over the United Kingdom. Dozens of
professional judges are required for the two large shows in the Royal
Horticultural Hall, Westminster. In December 1948, hundreds of visitors
were turned away from the Crystal Palace for lack of room when the
National Exhibition staged a record showing of 5430 birds. A second huge
exhibit at the Crystal Palace in early 1949 was also filled to capacity.

The majority of British fanciers are working men who raise canaries as a
hobby. Championship birds frequently sell for high prices. At one
exhibition £100 was refused for a canary.

The German breeders were the first to organize the sale of canaries on a
large scale. In the years following World War I, German bird brokers
bought canaries from thousands of individual breeders, collected them at
port cities, and shipped them to New York. The birds were sold so
cheaply that even after paying an import duty of 50 cents a bird the New
York wholesalers could resell them profitably for less than $2.00 each.
These birds were the marvelous singers one used to buy for $5.00 or
less. Needless to say, the German exporters controlled the popular
market. When importations from Germany were halted by World War II,
American breeders stepped into the breach. It is doubtful that our
fanciers will ever give up this interesting and profitable hobby.

The other great German contribution to the canary hobby was the
development of the roller singer. The first rollers to receive
recognition were those developed some years prior to 1890 by a poor
German miner named Trute. The birds which he bred and trained in his
spare time were the ancestors of the famous “Trute strain.” Erntzes,
Seiferts, and Volkmans were other German pioneers. Over the years since,
the roller singer has become popular everywhere.

There is a vast difference between the song of the natural chopper and
the roller singer. The natural chopper might be likened to a folk
singer—the roller to an operatic star. The chopper’s song is a free,
natural expression of happiness which anyone can appreciate; while the
roller’s song, like the operatic aria, is best understood and loved by
listeners who have developed a keen ear for subtle distinctions in
expression and tone.

Rollers sing from their throats with their beaks almost closed. The
roller’s song is actually unnatural in that it is not characteristic of
the wild canary. It has become a trait, however, as a result of endless
training and care in selective breeding. The roller’s song is composed
of rolls or “tours” of differing cadence and pitch which are things of
beauty to the hobbyist who has cultivated an ear for them. Low pitched
tones are considered most valuable. The more common tours are called
Hollow Roll, Schockel, Hollow Bell, Water Roll, Glucke, Bell Glucke,
Water Glucke, Bell Roll, and Flute.

The chopper canary’s song is natural. The standards set up for the
chopper require only that he be a free and frequent singer; have a sweet
tone; be a pretty bird from the standpoint of feathering, color and
form; and be lively and energetic. A chopper sings with open beak, head
back, throat swollen—the picture of happiness.

                       CANARIES FOR COMPANIONSHIP

There is gladness for every member of the family in the living, loving,
happy companionship of a canary. A canary in the home helps to build
character in children. It teaches kindness. Its care gives the boy or
girl a feeling of responsibility. Interest in Nature is encouraged.
Imagination is developed. Children acquire a protective instinct that
overcomes their tendency to mischievous cruelty. When the children have
left home, a pair of canaries will do much to overcome Mom’s and Dad’s

In the sick room or the hospital, in the home for the aged, the
schoolroom—in fact, almost any place where the joy of loving
companionship is important—a happy, singing canary will do much to
brighten the hours. You may know of someone who needs such

                            BUYING A CANARY

If you are about to buy a canary, go to a reputable dealer or breeder.
The best period in which to make your selection and purchase is from
November, after the birds have completed their first moult, through May.
Explain what you want, make your own selection, and take your time about
it. Take a seat in front of the birds. By watching them, you can soon
tell which are singers. Compare the better singers one with another;
eliminate one and repeat the process until you have selected the bird
that pleases you most. Choose a bird that is smooth, brightly feathered,
whose actions are sharp, crisp and sprightly.

After you have taken him home, place the carrying cage or box directly
against the open door of the bird’s new home. In a short time the little
chap will go from the carrying cage without being alarmed, and probably
will soon be singing.

If there is no canary dealer in your locality, write to the Mail Order
Department of The R. T. French Company, Rochester 9, New York. From
November through May, except during the Christmas shipping rush, we are
usually able to ship either French’s Carillons (choppers) or French’s
Carollers (rollers) to any express office in the U.S.A. Both types are
selected birds, guaranteed to arrive in full health and feather, and to
sing within two weeks.

                         _General Canary Care_

    [Illustration: Frenchy]

About ten minutes a day is all that is required for the care of a canary
and its cage. If you have children, let them share the daily routine.
Without realizing it, they will learn valuable lessons in kindness and

The normal schedule of canary care is simple. Each morning give your
canary fresh seed and a supply of fresh water in clean cups. Daily or on
alternate days feed a bit of green food. Occasionally give him a small
amount of a treat such as song food. Keep a cuttle bone and a French’s
Bird Biscuit in the cage. Allow the bird to bathe daily, or two or three
times a week. Keep the perches and cage clean, and a covering of gravel
on the floor.

These are the essentials of canary care. More detailed information
appears below. Follow the suggestions made here, and your canary will
reward you with joyful song and years of happy companionship.

                                THE CAGE

Place the cage at eye level in a room where the temperature is moderate
and fairly even. Choose a light corner or a place near but to one side
of a bright and cheery window where the cage is never fully in the
direct sunshine and is away from drafts. When introducing a bird to a
new cage, place the cage away from the light. For an hour or two guard
against any noise or movement which may alarm the bird until he is
accustomed to his new home. It is not necessary to cover the cage at
night unless the room cools off rapidly to low temperatures or is
frequently lighted.

Modern cages are usually made of steel, and are rectangular in shape.
Those having a floor size about nine by fifteen inches are most popular.
The drawer tray should work smoothly. Lower perches should be arranged
directly beneath upper perches to avoid fouling, and just far enough in
from the ends to prevent the tail feathers breaking against the cage
bars. Seed and water cups should have smooth edges to help prevent loss
of feathers about the head and neck.

Perches should be of soft wood, preferably in both oval and round
shapes, and with different girths, to simulate the varied perching
conditions encountered by wild birds. The broad surface of oval perches
provides particularly good support and relaxed, strainless perching.
Gravel-coated perch covers are not recommended as they furnish an
excellent hiding place for mites and are irritating to the feet.

If possible, choose a sturdy, simply constructed cage with a minimum of
cracks, crevices, and joints which are difficult to scrub. Many cages
are made in such a way that their entire bottoms are removable. This is
convenient when giving the bird a bath, cleaning the cage floor, adding
gravel, and so forth. Always place your hands on the sides near the
bottom when lifting such a cage. If you were to place your hands at the
top of the cage, the bird would probably be frightened and fly out the
open bottom.

                               CAGE CARE

Routine cage care is as essential to the cage bird’s well-being as a
regular supply of fresh food and water. The cups and perches should be
cleaned daily, therefore an extra set of each is desirable. Clean cups
are filled with fresh seed and water in advance and along with clean
perches are set in the cage when the soiled cups and perches are
removed, scrubbed, and dried for use the following day. Uneaten seed can
be poured from hand to hand and the husks and chaff blown off, then
added to fresh seed and reused. Damp or wet perches are thought to be

Take out the drawer tray and dump the soiled gravel. Wash the tray with
hot suds; rinse, dry, cover it with fresh gravel, and replace it in the
cage. One advantage of the removable cage bottom is that if it is soiled
it can be withdrawn and cleaned just before the clean drawer tray is

Once a week the cage should be completely scrubbed with a stiff brush,
good suds, and hot water. Be sure all cracks and crevices are cleaned
out for they are breeding places for red mites. While this is going on
the bird may be allowed free flight if the room is safe; otherwise it
should be transferred to a temporary cage.


Your pet’s good health depends on good treatment, good housing, and good
food. The canary needs fresh water, nutritious food, and proper amounts
of minerals and vitamins. Like other members of the hard-billed finch
family, the canary’s main food requirement is seeds, as its sturdy
seed-cracking bill indicates. In nature he finds supplies of calcium and
other minerals for bone, feather, and egg production, in addition to
seeds and greens. Although he is not primarily an insect eater, the
canary relishes insects and their larvae, as do other members of the
finch family.

                         VITAMIN B₁₂ SUPPLEMENT

Some years ago, poultry experts discovered one reason why chickens that
ran outdoors were superior to those always kept indoors and never
allowed to run free. Those permitted to scratch outdoors were benefiting
from something in the soil, something derived from animal matter: The
scientists called it APF, meaning animal protein factor. They learned to
isolate it and to put it into diet supplements for livestock. The
results were amazing; poultry grew faster and larger, hatched more eggs,
reared more hatchlings, and replaced moulted feathers more quickly.

The scientists then discovered that the most important component of APF
for growth and hatchability was a red vitamin, B₁₂. It was found to be
one of the most effective therapeutic substances known for its weight.
As little as 1/200th of a teaspoon of pure B₁₂ to a ton of livestock
feed is considered adequate!

B₁₂ was first isolated from liver by research workers in England. Since
then processors have learned to extract it from fermentation products at
a more reasonable cost.

The R. T. French Laboratory, noting the effect of B₁₂ on poultry and
hogs, began a long series of tests with canaries and parrakeets.
French’s had pioneered in the past in packaging bird seed, in
air-washing it to remove dust, in eliminating the over-use of hempseed,
in producing a balanced bird diet, and in the use of yeast and wheat
germ supplements. This Vitamin B₁₂ research was a part of French’s
never-ending program of bringing to bird owners the new products and
techniques of science as soon as they can be authoritatively documented.
A year passed before French’s laboratory reported these four apparent

  1. B₁₂ is non-toxic
  2. B₁₂ improves the palatability of the food to which it is added
          (birds like it)
  3. B₁₂ promotes feathering
  4. B₁₂ hastens the development of young birds.

The significance of the last two points is important to all bird owners.
In moulting, for instance, the loss and replacement of feathers is a
severe tax on a bird’s general health, and an improperly feathered bird
is at a great disadvantage. Furthermore, nutrition experts place great
importance on the growth and development which foods produce in young
animals and birds. Foods which support the best rates of development are
naturally considered the most desirable.

Vitamin B₁₂ was included in the formulas for French’s Bird Biscuit and
French’s Nestling Food only after the company had been convinced that
the addition of B₁₂ would be a real contribution to canary and parrakeet
nutrition. Bird owners will do well to feed vitamin B₁₂ regularly. This
can be done by keeping the biscuit in the cage at all times. Sick or
run-down birds, in particular, should have the biscuit or the nestling

                         ABOUT FEEDING DAINTIES

Most persons like to give their pets a treat now and then. An occasional
treat is always relished and is usually beneficial. Wild seeds you have
gathered are excellent. French’s Song Food and French’s Bird Biscuit are
treats most canaries enjoy. French’s Sunshine Food is especially helpful
during winter months. These French’s treats are excellent nutritional
supplements which the canary enjoys. Follow the directions on each
package, and your canary will be benefited out of all proportion to the
small amount fed.

                          BIRDS NEED MINERALS

Extensive research with chickens has indicated that for proper nutrition
and good health birds require quite a long list of minerals, some in
fairly substantial amounts, others in only minute traces. The trace
minerals and many of the others are present in sufficient quantity in
the foods regularly fed.

Calcium is required in larger amounts and is best supplied by keeping a
cuttle bone in the cage at all times. The cuttle bone is the backbone of
the saltwater cuttle fish and provides a ready source of calcium and
several other required minerals. If the cuttle bone becomes soiled or
dusty, replace it with a fresh one. Add a tiny pinch of salt to a treat
cup of Song Food or Sunshine Food once a week.

Occasionally dry and sterilize a few egg shells when you are using the
oven. Crushed and sprinkled in with the gravel, these make good
supplemental sources of calcium.

                       IMPORTANCE OF BIRD GRAVEL

Nature did not supply your Canary with teeth to help grind his food. The
food goes directly to the crop where it is mixed with digestive juices
and softened. Thence it passes to the gizzard, where with the aid of
gravel previously swallowed, it is “ground up” for assimilation. The
gizzard is a small thick pouch with very tough, muscular walls which rub
against each other at great pressure. When gravel is present, this
action grinds the food into a soft, easily digested mass. Therefore it
is essential that your canary have free access to a plentiful supply of
gravel of the right kind and size. Gravel composed of limestone or
magnesia should not be used, because it is readily dissolved by the
bird’s digestive juices. Beach sand may have harmful impurities and is
usually worn and rounded.

Gravel should be hard, sharp rather than round, and not affected by
digestive juices. French’s Bird Gravel is crushed silica sandstone
quartz and meets these requirements perfectly. It is thoroughly washed,
carefully screened to a uniform size, and then sterilized by heat. When
sprinkled on the floor of the cage, it helps keep the bird’s feet in
condition by wearing off the scales and dirt, and it is a distinct aid
in keeping the cage floor clean and dry.

                          FEEDING GREEN FOODS

One of the best green foods for birds is a slice of sweet apple or
orange placed between the bars of the cage. Chickweed and watercress are
also good. Many bird owners feed lettuce, which is satisfactory; but it
must be examined carefully and any frozen parts removed. The long stalks
of the rattail plantain weed are much relished. You can keep them
several days by standing them in water. Before giving them to the bird,
cut off the ends. Both flowers and the tender new leaves of dandelions
are pleasing and beneficial to canaries.

An interesting and simple way to provide greens for your pet is to
scatter a pinch or two of French’s Bird Seed on the soil surface of some
of your house plants. The seeds soon root and make excellent greens.

Sprouted seed is a wonderful treat. Place one teaspoonful of seed per
bird in water and allow it to stand overnight. In the morning rinse the
seed in two or three clear tepid waters and spread on a moist clean
towel. The tiny sprouts will soon break through and the seed may be
dried and fed. Renew daily, for soaked, sprouted seed spoils fast.

                        WILD SEEDS FOR CANARIES

Gathering seeds can be a delightful pastime. The following are most
beneficial: seed heads of seeding grasses, Plantain, Chickweed,
Shepherd’s Purse, Dock Groundsel, Clover, Teazle, Queen Anne’s Lace,
Charlock, Smartweed, dandelion and thistles, except Burdock. These seeds
are particularly good at moulting and mating times and a few are always
relished as a treat.

                              INSECT FOOD

Meal worms, the stand-by food of bird fanciers who keep soft-bills as
pets, are a real delicacy and are very beneficial for canaries,
especially during the breeding and moulting seasons, or when a bird is
run-down as a result of soft moult. Meal worms are the larvae of the
small grain moths such as are prevalent in any cereal product, and which
you sometimes find in bird seed. Meal worms can often be raised as a
profitable side line and sold to pet shops.

                                EGG FOOD

Egg food is a required food supplement at mating and moulting. It is
made by mashing a 30-minute hard cooked egg with enough toasted whole
wheat bread crumbs to give a crumbly moist mixture. Crushed cracker
crumbs, Pablum, chick starter mash, or French’s Nestling Food may be
substituted for the whole wheat bread crumbs to provide variety. Egg
food spoils quickly. As a precaution, any remaining in the cup or
scattered on the cage floor should be removed within two or three hours.

Egg food can be kept a short while under refrigeration, but it should be
fed at room temperature, rather than cold. At the first off taste or
odor it should be discarded, and a fresh lot prepared. French’s Nestling
Food moistened with water or scalded milk makes a reliable egg food
substitute for occasional feeding.

                       COLOR FEEDING FOR CANARIES

It has long been the custom for bird fanciers to add certain substances
to the diet during moulting which will tint the bird’s plumage to colors
ranging from deep yellow to orange or red.

To do this, start feeding color food at the beginning of the moult. The
food is prepared as follows: to a hard boiled egg add two or three
crackers and a half-teaspoonful of fresh paprika. Mix well together with
two or three drops of olive oil to form a paste and supply each bird
with a teaspoonful of the mixture daily. Each morning give a fresh
supply. After the first week gradually increase the amount of the color
food until the desired color is reached. The amount may then be
gradually decreased until the end of the moult, when color-feeding
should be discontinued, as it is effective only while feathers are
growing. French’s Moulting Food and this color food in equal amounts,
moistened with a drop or two of olive oil, is an effective mixture
relished by canaries.

Once or twice a week, a small portion of flaxseed should be mixed with
the regular seed. Other delicacies should be withheld, as they may
induce the birds to neglect their color food. Use great care to exclude
drafts. Avoid keeping the birds in a strong light, as this may fade the
tints you are trying to obtain. It may be well on very bright days to
lay a cloth over the bright side of the cage. French’s Iron Compound
should be given in doses of 8 to 10 drops to the drinking-cup, if your
bird seems off its feed.


A bird should be trained to bathe in a regular bathing dish at least
three times a week. Any small, shallow dish may be used for a bathing
dish. If the cage bottom is not removable, the dish should be small
enough to pass through the cage door. The outside baths that hang over
the cage door opening are practical and easy to use. Fill the dish or
bath with about one half inch of cool water.

Many owners have found that birds can be tempted into their bathing dish
by floating a small bit of green food or a few seeds on the surface. The
bird picks these out of the water, finds it is rather pleasant, and is
soon enjoying his bath. If this is not successful, try placing a small
mirror in the bottom of the bathing dish. Sometimes the bird is
attracted into the water when it sees its own image.

In very warm summer weather, the bird will enjoy a bath each day but in
winter allow a bath only two or three mornings a week. Never force your
bird to bathe. If he persists in bathing from his drinking cup, remove
or empty the cup while the bathing dish is in the cage.

The bird’s feet should be examined to see that they are clean and
healthy. The feet of birds inclined to shirk their bath often become
caked. If this condition is found, the feet should be soaked in warm
water, and the accumulations gently removed. It is then well to rub a
little sweet oil into the bird’s feet.

                              ESCAPED BIRD

One day when you have the cage door open, or the floor of the cage
removed for cleaning, your pet may escape and fly about the room. If
this happens, do not chase or grab at the bird. He will become
frightened, and if you catch him, you may grasp him too firmly.

If your pet escapes, remain calm. First shut all the doors and windows
in the room, and turn off any open flames on the kitchen range if the
bird is loose in the kitchen. Pull down the shades and turn off the
lights. When the room is darkened, the bird will cease to fly about.
Then you can easily approach it, take it gently in your cupped hand, and
return it to the cage. If you cannot darken the room, just prop open the
cage door. Left alone, most birds will fly back inside the cage for food
and water in a short time.

If the bird gets out-of-doors it will not usually fly farther than a
nearby shrub or tree. Again, tie the cage door open and set the cage
where the bird can see it, and the canary will usually come “home” in
short while. The main thing is to keep calm and avoid frightening or
injuring the bird.

When the weather is warm, an escaped bird perching on a low shrub or
branch is sometimes caught easily after his feathers have been dampened
by a fine mist from the garden hose. This method should never be used in
cold weather.

                           EXERCISE AND PLAY

Birds in small cages need exercise. Tie a few strands of worsted to the
top of the cage for your canary to tug on, and sometimes dangle a small
bright key or other metal object from the top of the cage. A small bell
suspended in the cage will sometimes attract and hold the interest of
the bird when nothing else will. Canaries like attention and excitement.
Talk to them frequently. They are usually fond of music too, and will
often try to drown it with their own notes.

Allowing the canary to have the freedom of the room provides it both
pleasure and exercise. The dangers are that the bird may injure itself
or that it will pick up something not good for it to eat. If you decide
in favor, prop or tie the cage door open and let the bird return to the
cage by itself. Have a regular time, such as when cleaning the cage.


The cat is a natural enemy of small birds. If a cat is kept in the home,
be sure to hang the cage where the cat cannot reach it or knock it down
by leaping on it.


Mice are especially fond of bird seed. At night they sometimes enter the
room where the bird is kept and eat the seeds which have fallen on the
floor. They will often reach the cage by climbing up a curtain or drape.
A bird is thus frightened and disturbed at a time when it should be
asleep, and as a result it will be drowsy in the daytime, lose its gay
spirits, and fail to sing. See that the cage is not hung in a place
where mice can reach it.

                            TAMING A CANARY

A canary is easily tamed. Take a tiny pinch of French’s Song Food and
moisten it in your lips. Raise your hand slowly and spread the moistened
food on the cage bars near an upper perch. Out of curiosity, the canary
will hop over to see what you have placed on the bar, pick at it, and
enjoy eating it. Do this once or twice a day, and in a short time you
will find he is accustomed to your presence and will pick the food from
your fingers. Birds like to feed from the lips. After a bird has taken a
treat from your finger, place a bit between your lips. If he takes it
from you, you can rest assured that you have his confidence and probably
will always have it.

                          HOW TO SHIP A CANARY

A cardboard carton approximately 8″ × 8″ × 12″ is suitable for shipping
one or two canaries. Cover all joints inside the bottom of box with
gummed tape to prevent loss of feed supply by sifting. Cut a row of six
small holes near the top for ventilation. Next cut an opening on one
side for a window. The window need not be more than 3″ square. In cool
weather cover this opening with reinforced, transparent plastic window
material, usually available at hardware stores or poultry supply
dealers. In warm weather, use a small square of regular wire screen,
secured in place with heavy package wrapping tape. Cut an opening on the
opposite side for a door approximately 3″ square, leaving one of the
four sides uncut to act as a hinge. Use a clean evaporated milk can for
a water cup. Cut an opening about one inch square in the top of the can
near the edge. Place the can on the floor of the box against the two
sides forming a corner near the window. The opening in the top of the
can should be toward the center of the box. Secure the can in position
with a piece of wire. Loop the wire around the can and run the ends
through the two sides of the box forming the corner. The ends of the
wire should then be folded flat and held in place with tape. Filling the
container half full of clean imitation sponge will help to prevent the
water in the can from spilling.

Using small tacks, nail a perch across the narrow width of the box at
the window end 1½″ from the floor and close enough to the water
container so that the canary can reach it from the perch. The perch must
not be closer than four inches from the end of the box to prevent injury
to the bird’s tail feathers.

To provide additional moisture, wire a half an orange to the corner of
the box nearest the other end of the perch. The orange should be placed
so the bird can reach it easily from the perch. The sliced side of the
orange should face into the box, and the wires should be taped on the
outside. Scatter several tablespoons of seed and a few teaspoons of
gravel on the floor. Seal the box at the top with gummed tape. Label top
of carton in bold black letters “LIVE BIRD”—“THIS SIDE UP.” Print
addresses “TO” and “FROM” plainly. Admit canary and seal door with
gummed tape. Tie carton securely with heavy wrapping cord.


  a. Ventilation holes
  b. Door taped shut
  c. Half orange wired to corner of box
  d. Window with wire screen covering taped in position
  e. Water cup wired to corner of box
  f. Perch

It is a good plan to call the Express Company to get a routing and time
of train departure so the bird need not wait in the depot for hours
before train time. When possible take the bird to the Express office
yourself. Have all necessary papers written up. These will be supplied
in advance by the Express Company. Birds must be insured for full value,
otherwise the Express Company will pay no more than $5.00 in the event
the bird is lost, stolen, or accidentally killed.

                    _A Gallery of Canary Portraits_

Each bird in this collection of thirty-six life-size canary portraits
was painted from an actual live model carefully selected to typify the
best qualities of a particular breed or type. To appreciate fully the
beauty of these paintings, stand the book upright and view them at a
distance of from four to five feet as you would paintings in an
exhibition gallery. North light will be found better than most
artificial illumination.

William C. Dilger, one of America’s most talented ornithological
artists, painted these outstanding canary portraits. At the time the
paintings were made, Mr. Dilger was completing work for his Doctor’s
degree at Cornell University. Mr. Dilger has had many years of
experience in the field of bird painting. As a boy, he found his
greatest pleasure in drawing birds. Even while in the Army in World War
II, he found time to continue his study by sketching wild birds native
to India and the Far East. This collection of paintings truly represents
a “labor of love.”

Mr. George F. Mitchell of Toronto, Canada, one of the continent’s most
highly regarded bird show judges, supervised the descriptions in the
“Gallery Catalogue” and served as consultant throughout the preparation
of the paintings. Mr. Mitchell is well-known both in Canada and the
United States for his efforts in connection with bird shows.


                        _The Gallery Catalogue_

                          YELLOW ROLLER CANARY

The roller canary is bred primarily for song, hence the form, feather,
size, and substance of this roller makes it most exceptional. Most
rollers are no more than five inches in length, with a much flatter
appearing head and straighter back and are lacking in the solid girth of
this bird. With the advent of color breeding, many of the foremost U. S.
roller fanciers are experimenting with color, size, and form
improvements, as shown in this advanced type. PLATE 1

                         YELLOW CHOPPER IN SONG

The chopper opens its beak wide in attaining some of its clear, free
notes. The song of the chopper varies from that of the roller to the
loud, full song of the average “type” canary, including the song of
various crosses between the canary and birds of related families. There
are no standards for the song of the chopper other than that it be
cheerful, lively, and free. Its action should be lively and alert. PLATE


The almost closed beak is typical of the roller in full song. This
characteristic, plus the much prized low pitched song tours such as the
Hollow Roll, Bass, and Koller serve to distinguish the roller canary.
Tone quality is just as important as range. There is some possibility
that the use of rape seed is at least partly responsible for the lower
pitch of their most valued tours. PLATE 3

                          GREEN CHOPPER CANARY

The canary breeder usually specializes in type, color, or song. It is
not unusual for a breeder to produce a hundred canaries for every
worthwhile bird retained for further breeding. The remaining birds are
mostly sold to pet stores. Hence, in the chopper classification there
appear all colors, shapes, and sizes, and this green bird obviously has
inherited much Border Fancy Blood. PLATE 4

                       VARIEGATED CHOPPER CANARY

In canaries, marked birds are more usual than birds of solid colors, and
are known among breeders as variegated birds. The variegated, with
irregular or even markings, often provides the individualism that
appeals to a prospective bird owner who buys a canary as a gift. Evenly
balanced markings that are exactly repeated on each side of the bird are
fairly rare. PLATE 5

                        CINNAMON CHOPPER CANARY

The rich yellow-brown cinnamon coloring is an important variation in
canaries. Being most attractive in itself, in addition, it is the basis
for the delightful fawn coloring. The cinnamon pictured here has a well
formed body, just a bit thick in the neck. Pencilling in a cinnamon is a
deeper shade of the same yellow-brown body color, and similarly, the
ends of the flight feathers can be an even deeper yellow-brown shade.

                          BLUE CHOPPER CANARY

“Blue” refers to slate or smoky gray coloring. The body conformation of
this blue canary shows unmistakable Border Fancy Canary ancestry. In
many blues the pencilling over the back is less distinct than in this
specimen, and often there is considerable marking or variegation. PLATE

                          WHITE CHOPPER CANARY

In a white canary the white should be as pure as possible. The
feathering of the canary illustrated is very good and the body
conformation is pleasing. Some whites show faint colorings which are
inherited and are natural to whites from crossing yellow and white
canaries. Pure whites are rare and very valuable. PLATE 8

                          FAWN CHOPPER CANARY

In the fawn, the yellow of the yellow-brown cinnamon coloring is absent,
leaving a rich brown background. This delightful mutation is now present
in type birds and rollers. PLATE 9

                      CLEAR CAP GOLD LIZARD CANARY

The distinctive Lizard Canaries, silver cap and gold cap, are regaining
some of their previous popularity. The Gold Lizard shown here shows the
lizard markings across the back and shoulders more attractively than
does our Silver Lizard. These two birds were imported, as were others
used for these reproductions. They have exceptionally good lizard
markings and size. PLATE 10


The Silver Lizard Canary shown here has good size and excellent
feathering and markings. Lizard Canaries offer the fancier an
opportunity to show birds of much interest to the casual viewer. PLATE

                       YELLOW BORDER FANCY CANARY

The Border Fancy Canary has outstanding beauty and delicacy of form. The
Yellow Border Fancy Canary is the ideal sought by perhaps nineteen out
of twenty Border breeders. PLATE 12


The green in this bird is an excellent foil for the almost black
pencilling which appears on the shoulder, back, and flank. The
feathering is well depicted. The green color should be close to that of
the upperside of a holly leaf. These heavily colored green birds are the
pride and joy of many canary fanciers, and the development of an ideal
green is a real challenge to any fancier. PLATE 13


This lifelike portrayal shows exceptional feather detail and the ground
color is excellent for a Buff. The wings and tail of the bird are
unusually good; the legs and feet very natural. Note the tick mark back
of the eye. PLATE 14


The body of this canary shows good conformation, feathering, and
position. The richness of the fawn coloring is little short of ideal.

On the perch, a good Border from eye to end of tail, shows an angle of
about 60° above horizontal. A Miniature Border retains all of the form,
feathering and coloring of the ideal Border but is smaller in size.


The effect of cinnamon blood is considered to be of great value by many
breeders. The standard for feathering is softness and silky texture with
brilliancy and compactness. The feathering of this bird is exceptional.
Evenness and fine texture are characteristic of the cinnamon canary.
General form and position is close to the ideal. PLATE 16


The bird shown is ideally formed and nicely balanced. It is well up off
the perch, and its feathering is clean and smooth. It is a natural color
Norwich (not color fed) and is particularly lifelike. PLATE 17


The beautiful flame tint of this bird is accomplished by feeding special
color food when new feathers are growing. In the ideal Norwich, feathers
are soft and silky with brilliancy and compactness, and are deep,
bright, rich, pure and level in color. PLATE 18


This spectacular bird is beautifully feathered as well as almost ideally
formed. The crest correctly covers eyes and beak and is exceptionally
even. Crest bred birds generally possess longer feathers than plain head
types and have a tendency toward looseness of feather, hence the close
feathering of this crested bird portrays the ideal. PLATE 19

                         WHITE YORKSHIRE CANARY

The erect fearlessness of the Yorkshire type is shown here. The
feathering of this bird is excellent and its stance upon the perch is
characteristic of this bold and alert canary. Note the long, well-placed
legs topped by slim thighs. PLATE 20


The ideal Yorkshire Canary is a favorite of fanciers all over the world.
It is a soldier-like bird with graceful outline, bold and fearless
expression, and smart lines and movements. PLATE 21

                      WING-MARKED YORKSHIRE CANARY

The stance of this canary is excellent. Note its tapering wedge shape
which is a characteristic of the Yorkshire Canary Club ideal. PLATE 22

                         BUFF YORKSHIRE CANARY

The silky feathering of the Buff canary is well developed in this
specimen. In Buff feathering the yellow pigmentation does not extend
down into the tips of the feathers. As a result the bird is lighter in
color and should have a frosted appearance across the shoulders. PLATE

                          SCOTCH FANCY CANARY

The Scotch Fancy was once extensively bred to develop this strange
posture but is almost extinct today. Without doubt, the unnatural
formation of this type is the cause of its gradual disappearance. The
canary shown here was painted from one of the few remaining specimens
and was imported directly from England for the purpose of making this
illustration. PLATE 24

                        LANCASHIRE COPPY CANARY

The Lancashire Coppy, regrettably, is also being bred much less
extensively today. It is an outstandingly large, erect bird—a veritable
giant compared to the average roller or chopper canary. The difficulties
faced by breeders of this type are many since the effort to produce
increasingly large birds has led to considerable deterioration in other
desirable characteristics, such as feathering. PLATE 25

                             GLOSTER CANARY

The Gloster Canary is a heavily crested bird, much smaller than the
Norwich. The crest itself comes down, ideally, almost level with the
center of the eye. The feathering of the specimen we show here is
outstanding in quality because of its compactness and its fine texture.

                           EUROPEAN GOLDFINCH

The red face of this alert bird distinguishes it from other finches. The
goldfinch breeds freely in the aviary and is kept not only because of
its own attractiveness, but because it readily breeds with other
finches, including canaries. PLATE 27


This cross provides some very outstanding singers. The goldfinch
ancestry of this bird shows in its orange face and the traces of yellow
wing bars. Its canary ancestry is evident in its beak, posture and
conformation. PLATE 28


The linnet is popular for breeding mules and hybrids because it is one
of the most outstanding singers among our finches. The effects of the
linnet are especially clear in the coloring of the head, back and wings
of this lifelike illustration. PLATE 29


The canary and siskin cross was considered infertile for many years just
as are many other canary hybrids. Fortunately it was discovered that
these hybrids were sometimes fertile when crossed back with a canary,
furnishing a new incentive to thousands of canary fanciers now on the
trail of both an all-red and an all-black canary. Today, many fanciers
believe that the introduction of the Black-hooded Red Siskin’s blood
will provide the means of producing a red canary. PLATE 30


This attractive but much less lively colored “other half” of the
Black-hooded Red Siskin will also produce fertile canary hybrids. The
female siskin illustrates very well the dimorphic colorations common to
many wild birds, being slightly orange in many of the areas showing
deepest red in the male Black-hooded Red Siskin.

These siskins are considerably smaller than even very small canaries,
and they have an unattractive wild song. As might be expected, their
coloring, size, and song characteristics are transmitted to the hybrids
resulting from crossing with the canary. The fancier, through selective
breeding back to desirable canary stock, endeavors to eliminate the
unwanted siskin characteristics and at the same time retain the effect
of the red coloring which produces many shades of apricot, orange and
copper. PLATE 31


The canary and siskin hybrid is always a very dark bird and usually
small in size. Depending on the depth of color they are usually called a
copper, bronze, or mahogany. When these hybrids are mated back to pure
canary stock, the chicks obtained are called second cross and generally
have a much more attractive appearance. PLATE 32


The deep orange coloring of this second cross hybrid was obtained from a
fertile canary and siskin first cross that was mated back to canary
stock carrying some cinnamon blood. The orange tint has little, if any,
tendency to fade and is often as bright as that temporarily obtained
through color feeding. In a second cross bird such as this, the siskin
heritage is usually very noticeable in the song. PLATE 33


When the second cross canary and siskin is mated back to pure canary
stock again, the apricot coloring is one of the possible results. This
bird illustrates the way in which the Red Siskin coloring has been
diluted and evenly spread throughout. The apricot stock is used by
breeders in crossing with unrelated hybrid stock in order to intensify
desired coloring, form, feathering, and size characteristics as well as
to further introduce the color to type birds such as Border Fancies.

                      FROSTED PINK CHOPPER CANARY

The frosted pink canary is usually considerably removed from the first
canary and siskin cross and it represents much progress. Many fanciers
are concentrating on this pink coloration rather than the deep orange
colorings in their work toward producing the red canary. PLATE 35

                       DILUTE HEN CHOPPER CANARY

The dilute factor was discovered by accident some years ago by a fancier
keen enough to recognize something of its potential value. When this
factor is present it dilutes by graying or thinning out otherwise
standard colors. If it were not for this dilute factor in the bird
illustrated, the cinnamon markings and the yellow would have been
noticeably deeper in color. PLATE 36

    [Illustration:                                               PLATE 1
                                                   YELLOW ROLLER CANARY]

    [Illustration:                                               PLATE 2
                                                 YELLOW CHOPPER IN SONG]

    [Illustration:                                               PLATE 3
                                       VARIEGATED YELLOW ROLLER IN SONG]

    [Illustration:                                               PLATE 4
                                                   GREEN CHOPPER CANARY]

    [Illustration:                                               PLATE 5
                                              VARIEGATED CHOPPER CANARY]

    [Illustration:                                               PLATE 6
                                                CINNAMON CHOPPER CANARY]

    [Illustration:                                               PLATE 7
                                                    BLUE CHOPPER CANARY]

    [Illustration:                                               PLATE 8
                                                   WHITE CHOPPER CANARY]

    [Illustration:                                               PLATE 9
                                                    FAWN CHOPPER CANARY]

    [Illustration:                                              PLATE 10
                                           CLEAR CAP GOLD LIZARD CANARY]

    [Illustration:                                              PLATE 11
                                         CLEAR CAP SILVER LIZARD CANARY]

    [Illustration:                                              PLATE 12
                                             YELLOW BORDER FANCY CANARY]

    [Illustration:                                              PLATE 13
                                       YELLOW-GREEN BORDER FANCY CANARY]

    [Illustration:                                              PLATE 14
                                        TICKED BUFF BORDER FANCY CANARY]

    [Illustration:                                              PLATE 15
                                     MINIATURE FAWN BORDER FANCY CANARY]

    [Illustration:                                              PLATE 16
                                         CINNAMON-MARKED NORWICH CANARY]

    [Illustration:                                              PLATE 17
                                   PLAIN HEAD CLEAR BUFF NORWICH CANARY]

    [Illustration:                                              PLATE 18
                                     COLORFED NORWICH PLAIN HEAD CANARY]

    [Illustration:                                              PLATE 19
                                WING-MARKED DARK CRESTED NORWICH CANARY]

    [Illustration:                                              PLATE 20
                                                 WHITE YORKSHIRE CANARY]

    [Illustration:                                              PLATE 21
                                          CLEAR YELLOW YORKSHIRE CANARY]

    [Illustration:                                              PLATE 22
                                           WING-MARKED YORKSHIRE CANARY]

    [Illustration:                                              PLATE 23
                                                  BUFF YORKSHIRE CANARY]

    [Illustration:                                              PLATE 24
                                                    SCOTCH FANCY CANARY]

    [Illustration:                                              PLATE 25
                                                LANCASHIRE COPPY CANARY]

    [Illustration:                                              PLATE 26
                                                         GLOSTER CANARY]

    [Illustration:                                              PLATE 27
                                                     EUROPEAN GOLDFINCH]

    [Illustration:                                              PLATE 28
                                    CANARY AND EUROPEAN GOLDFINCH CROSS]

    [Illustration:                                              PLATE 29
                                       CANARY AND EUROPEAN LINNET CROSS]

    [Illustration:                                              PLATE 30
                                MALE VENEZUELAN BLACK-HOODED RED SISKIN]

    [Illustration:                                              PLATE 31
                              FEMALE VENEZUELAN BLACK-HOODED RED SISKIN]

    [Illustration:                                              PLATE 32
                                   MAHOGANY CANARY AND SISKIN 1ST CROSS]

    [Illustration:                                              PLATE 33
                            ORANGE-CINNAMON CANARY AND SISKIN 2ND CROSS]

    [Illustration:                                              PLATE 34
                                    APRICOT CANARY AND SISKIN 3RD CROSS]

    [Illustration:                                              PLATE 35
                                            FROSTED PINK CHOPPER CANARY]

    [Illustration:                                              PLATE 36
                                              DILUTE HEN CHOPPER CANARY]

                         _Breeding Information_

    [Illustration: Frenchy]

                          SELECTING THE BIRDS

The chances are you already own one of the birds you plan to use for
breeding. For best prospects the male should be healthy and sleek, a
good singer, and between twelve months and four years old. The hen
should also be healthy and sleek, from one to five years old, and should
differ from the cock bird in coloring. For example, with the cock a
yellow, the hen could be a lighter colored buff, or vice versa. Pair
yellow and buff, green and white, cinnamon and white, yellow and green,
and so on. Your hens should be vigorous and if not overbred (used for
more than two nests the previous season) it is a good thing to use those
with proved capacity on your first attempt.

Most breeders allow the hens to have flying exercise daily. For this
purpose a flight cage or room is best, and if you intend to mate several
pairs, it is a good investment. Its size can depend on the space
available. A very useful flying cage is four feet long, two feet high,
and one-and-a-half to two feet deep. Place the seed at one end, the
water at the other, and keep the perches widely spaced in order to
insure exercise. Smaller flights can be used satisfactorily, and if a
spare room is available its whole area can be used. Many successful
breeders use attic space divided into flight rooms with hardware cloth
and screen doors. The floor of each flight room is covered with gravel.

                        BREEDING CAGES AND NESTS

One of the best breeding cages for canaries is metal, box-shaped, with
two sliding partitions in the middle, one of regular cage wire, the
other of sheet metal. It is about twenty-four inches long, eleven inches
high and eleven inches deep. The bottom and tray are removable, and
there are sliding doors in the front of each compartment. In addition,
there should be a swinging door in the upper rear corner of each end.

Nests are hung in the corners by these doors, so that the top of the
nest is about one inch higher than the perch. The nesting material
should consist of specially prepared nesting hair, moss, shredded
burlap, short pieces of string or such material. Line the nests with
warm cloth pads. Use two when necessary. Sew the pads to the nest using
short stitches inside and long outside to prevent the hen from catching
her feet in the stitches. As a precaution, dust the lining thoroughly
with insect powder.

We shall be glad to supply plans for home built breeding cages, flight
cages, and outside aviaries on request. Write us what you have in mind.

                          EARLY SEASON CHORES

Select a shielded location for the breeding cage. Wild birds seek
seclusion and privacy when they nest, and will often leave the nest and
eggs entirely if disturbed, and relocate in a better hiding place.
Although canaries have been bred in cages for hundreds of years, this
tendency to desert the nest and nestlings persists. The breeding cage
should have a solid foundation and the perches should be tried
individually to be sure that they are steady and firm.

Provide a flashlight for the breeding room. It will come in handy for
brief nighttime checkups on the birds; for removing the male, which is
best done at night; and for candling the eggs after the hen has been
setting for about six days. Provide a small cardboard box half filled
with a dry cereal such as corn meal, or with cotton. This receptacle is
for the first few eggs and its use is explained in the paragraph “Round
One.” Another early season chore is to secure three or four dummy canary
eggs. Such dummy eggs can be purchased from pet dealers, but a small ⅜″
diameter marble or wooden ball will suffice. Their use is also explained
under “Round One.”

                        GETTING THE BIRDS READY

Early in January the birds should have their nails trimmed, if overlong,
to prevent punctured eggs or accidental harm to the nestlings. Allow the
hen as much flying exercise as possible. If you have no flight cage, the
added exercise she will get in the breeding cage, with the partitions
removed, will be helpful.

In early February the regular seed diet should be supplemented with egg
food. This is prepared by sieving a 30-minute boiled egg and mixing with
toasted bread crumbs etc., to a crumbly consistency. See “Egg Food” in
“General Care” section. A little poppy seed sprinkled over the portion
given each bird is beneficial. A daily teaspoonful of this mixture for
each bird is sufficient until the early part of March. About once a week
scatter a little ground oyster shell on the cage floor with the gravel,
and keep a cuttle bone in the cage at all times. A few tender dandelion
leaves, when procurable, are relished once a week. Some breeders like to
use freshly sprouted seed at the stage when the sprout is a quarter of
an inch long or less and also greens they raise themselves from the
regular bird seed mixture. The early part of January is a good time to
practice raising these greens. Just be sure that there is no evidence of
mold growth on the sprouted seed when it is fed.

Small diameter perches for the chicks just weaned can be secured in
advance. A visit to your shrubs or grape arbor will easily provide a
handful of suitable length perches of moderately rough surface, from ¼″
to ⅜″ in diameter. Starting about the first of March a little niger seed
should be given the hen in a treat cup two or three times weekly. This
oily seed should help prevent egg binding. At this time both the solid
and wire partitions can be put back in the breeding cage, and the cock
changed to his half of the cage.

                               THE MATING

At mating time the hen is lively and alert and will usually call loudly.
The cock will sing lustily and dance on the perch with lowered wings
while singing. When these signs occur, remove the solid partition,
leaving the wire partition in place. When you see the cock feeding the
hen through the bars, remove the wire too, and let the birds run
together. They may quarrel for a short while, but will soon become
devoted. Place the lined nest in the cage along with a little nesting

                        ROUND ONE—THE FIRST NEST

Do not be in a hurry for the hen to lay. She will produce her egg at her
own time and no sooner. As soon as it is laid, take it out of the nest
with a teaspoon and place it in the small box you prepared earlier,
replacing it with a dummy egg. Remove the second egg likewise. Turn the
removed eggs daily. As a general rule an egg is laid every morning until
a clutch of from four to six eggs is completed. There are occasions when
a hen will produce only two or three eggs to a clutch, and many times
she will skip a day between eggs. When the third egg is laid, remove the
dummy egg, dust the nest again with insect powder, and place the other
eggs back in the nest. The evening is a good time to do this.

When the hen takes to her nest entirely, separate the cock and hen by
replacing the wire partition. The hen’s bath should be withheld for the
first eleven days she sits. On the sixth day you should candle the eggs.
Cut an oval hole slightly smaller than the dimension of an egg in the
bottom of a small cardboard box, and place an egg on the hole. From
beneath, shine your flashlight through the egg. If the egg is clear it
is infertile, but if slightly red with a dark spot it is fertile. If the
eggs are all clear remove them and the nest, and after a few days start
over, letting the cock run with the hen again. If there are fertile
eggs, place them back in the nest, where the hen will continue through
the setting period, which is fourteen days from the day she took to the
nest steadily.

After the eleventh day allow her to bathe daily as the moisture from her
feathers tends to soften the egg shells and is an aid to the chicks in
picking their way through.

When the hen takes to the nest, it is a good plan, because of her
inactivity, to restrict her diet somewhat—particularly the egg food and
greens. She will likely leave much of this anyway, and she should never
take any that has soured, as she may do if it is left in the cage partly
uneaten all day.

                           AFTER THE HATCHING

Upon hatching, egg food should be given three times a day in addition to
the regular seed mixture. The first feeding each day should be given as
early in the morning as possible. See “Egg Food” under “General Care.”
Fresh greens may be fed daily. Newly hatched youngsters require very
small amounts of food. “Feed little and often,” is a good rule to
follow. You will soon be able to judge the amount, bearing in mind that
quantity should be increased as the youngsters grow. When the nestlings
are about six days old their eyes will have opened, and when they are
around ten days old the partition can be withdrawn and the cock allowed
to rejoin the hen. However, if the hen is not feeding the young as she
should, or if she doesn’t stay on the nest sufficiently to keep the
chicks warm, the cock should be allowed to return at once.

Many successful breeders prepare “soaked seed” for morning and evening
feedings for the hen and nestlings from hatching time to six weeks
later. Prepare by putting a little of your regular seed mixture to soak
at the morning feeding. Then, at the evening feeding, stir this well,
strain, and put to soak again in fresh water. On the following morning,
stir, rinse in fresh water, strain, dry, and this “soaked” seed is ready
to use. Soaked seed for the evening feed is started each evening,
strained, put to soak again each morning, and in the evening strained,
rinsed, dried between paper towels, and fed.

Soaked seed often does wonders for a nonfeeding hen, and it is valuable
for chicks after they are separated from the hen. As the birds gain in
age, gradually increase the seed proportion and cut down soft foods,
until they are about six weeks old. At this age they are able to crack
their own seeds, and the regular French’s Bird Seed and Biscuit may be
given them together with feedings of egg food about three times a week
until they have completed their moult.

                            THE SECOND ROUND

Between sixteen and twenty-one days after the hatching, the hen will
probably show signs of wanting to go to nest again. Place the second
nest in the opposite corner of the cage, and stuff bits of fresh nesting
material between the cage bars near the new nest. Be sure that enough is
allowed, otherwise she will pull feathers out of the young birds. When
the hen lays her first egg, it should be removed as before, and Round
One repeated. As soon as she takes to her second nest entirely, the
chicks from Round One and the cock should be moved to the other half of
the cage, and separated from the hen by the wire partition.

Although a very vigorous hen and a good feeding cock can hatch three or
four nests in a season, best results are had by not allowing more than
two. If the nesting is finished early in June, the parents and chicks
will be in condition for the moult in late summer. The added strain of
more than two nests will likely make the birds unreliable for breeding
the following season.

                         DO NOT BE SURPRISED IF

—A nestling falls out of the nest the first few days. When this happens
pick up the young bird and warm it in your hands for a few minutes and
then, if it is alive, place it back in the nest.

—One or more of the eggs do not hatch, though fertile. Sometimes a chick
is too weak to pick through the shell which may be unusually hard due to
excessive dryness if the hen does not bathe. Should many of the eggs
turn out this way, put a few teaspoonfuls of common salt, or even rock
salt in the bottom of the nest pan, below the lining, as this will
attract (and retain) moisture from the air. There are many other reasons
why fertile eggs do not hatch, most of them indicating a weakness in the
embryo. However, one of the most common causes is chilling of the eggs
due to the hen leaving the nest for too long a time. A sudden cold spell
may have the same effect.

—One or more of the hatchlings are found dead in the nest. Remove at
once. Accidental smothering or crushing by the hen is likely the cause,
or if the eggs hatch out over a period of two or three days, the first
hatchlings may be getting practically all the food. That is why you
should remove the first two eggs, so that all hatch as nearly as
possible at the same time.

—The hen you are expecting to lay again is found crouching in a corner
of the cage, trembling and quite apparently in severe pain. She is
probably suffering from egg-binding, and must be attended to at once.
Take the hen very gently in your hand, and put three or four drops of
olive oil in her beak. Carefully place her back in the cage, and after a
short time the egg will be passed safely.

—The “sweating hen” problem occurs. Her breast feathers will have a
moist appearance leading one to believe that she is sweating. What
actually happens is that the hen loses condition, probably as the result
of eating food that is sour, stale, or too sloppy, and this is passed on
to the baby chicks. Diarrhoea results. Normally during the first week or
so, the excreta from the young is expelled in a tiny transparent bag
which the hen picks up in one piece when cleaning the nest. Being unable
to do this if the young have diarrhoea, her feathers become sticky and

—The hen starts picking feathers from the backs of the Round One chicks
to provide nesting for the second nest even though ample nesting
material is supplied. When this happens separate the cock and the chicks
from the hen, using the wire partition.

                          THE NON-FEEDING HEN

It is normal for a hen to stop feeding her babies when she takes to her
second nest of eggs. The cock bird can usually be depended upon to
continue the job. However, a hen sometimes stops feeding at an earlier
time, often because of an upset condition resulting from improper
feeding—or from a fright. Such things as stale or soured soft foods,
food deficiencies, or lack of sufficient fresh green food are most often
the root of the trouble, although overfat and lazy hens sometimes seem
to find proper feeding too much trouble. Try allowing the cock to carry
on alone, giving the hen normal feeding until she resumes her duty. When
the chicks are not being fed by either bird, it is advisable to divide
the nestlings among the other nests if you have other pairs with chicks
about the same age.

Otherwise, handfeeding is imperative. Chew either Pablum or oat flakes
and when mushy, feed it to the babies from the end of a toothpick. In a
day or two the parents may resume feedings. Should they not, the chewed
food will have to be supplemented with greens, egg yolk, and after the
chicks are ten days old, a little soft cuttle bone scraped from the soft
side of the bone sprinkled over the mush. A few grains of table salt
should also be added.

If a chick is out of the nest, it is likely to be afraid and refuse to
open its beak for food. Take such a bird in your left hand, pry open the
beak with the right thumb nail and hold it open with the nails of your
left thumb and forefinger. Avoid injury either to the bird’s eyes or
through too firm a hold. Keep the head elevated for easy swallowing and
feed from a toothpick. Always feed warm food. A little milk sop from
toasted whole wheat bread makes a good change. The babies usually will
begin to feed themselves a few days after leaving the nest and can then
be given moist nestling food, sprouted rape seeds, and cracked seeds
prepared from regular French’s Bird Seed.

                        (_Continued on page 64_)

                           _A Canary Family_

    [Illustration: 1. Mating time, canaries wooing]

    [Illustration: 2. The female builds her nest]

    [Illustration: 3. The eggs are laid]

    [Illustration: 4. Hatching process begins]

    [Illustration: 5. Mother bird feeds new-born babies]

    [Illustration: 6. The babies now 8 days old]

    [Illustration: 7. Fourteen days old]

    [Illustration: 8. Twenty-one days old]

                       (_Continued from page 59_)

                               SLIP CLAW

In slip claw the bird is unable to grasp the perch normally because the
back claw is bent forward between the front claws. Treat by binding the
affected claw back against the shank of the leg with adhesive tape. Let
the binding remain for a week to ten days, but be sure that it is not so
tight as to stop circulation.

                          COLOR BRED CANARIES

Ever since it was discovered some years ago that the hybrid chicks
resulting from crossing the canary and the South American Black-hooded
Red Siskin were sometimes fertile when bred back to canaries and that
this crossing could produce a natural red tint in the canary feathering,
there has been much experimentation by breeders all over the world in an
endeavor to produce an all red canary. To date some beautiful tints of
orange, copper, and pink have been produced and a truly red canary seems
a possibility. This discovery of a fertile hybrid has proved a major
contribution to canary breeding, and breeders today are reexamining some
of the other crosses between canaries and related wild birds for

For the amateur who has gained a degree of proficiency in handling
canaries, there is hardly a more fascinating phase of the hobby. We
welcome questions from those who undertake this work.


We have seen many experts sex canaries, and have come to the conclusion
that the best proof that a canary is a hen occurs when she produces an
egg, and likewise, that her companion is a male, if the egg is fertile.
However, there are many other characteristics associated with the sex
differences of canaries.

For example, the cock canary:

  1. Sings
  2. Has a bolder eye and look about the head
  3. When in breeding condition in the spring, has an elevated vent
          which definitely protrudes like a wart.

The hen canary, by contrast,

  1. Does not sing
  2. Is not so bold about the eye and head
  3. Has a flat, unelevated vent.

These characteristics are all subject to exceptions. We find good males
that do not sing, good hens that do sing; males of one strain having a
female appearance about the head when compared with hens of a heavy
strain of birds, and vice versa. There are also cases where the vent
areas of both male and female are very similar except when in breeding

Errors are most likely when a breeder sexes spring hatched canaries in
the fall. The breeder will separate the observed singers from the
non-singers, as male and female. Then he goes through the non-singers
for some indication in the appearance of the head or vent area, and
makes a further tentative separation. Such division can only be
moderately reliable, because only a few strongly sexed young males tend
to come into breeding condition early. An error of as much as 25% is not
unusual in fall sexing.

For your guidance a good indication of a young male canary is that he
sings with a noticeable swelling of the throat. From January and
February on through June the male in breeding condition will have a
noticeably raised vent as well as strong song. In pairing birds it may
be expected that any male in breeding condition will pair with any
female in breeding condition, providing there is not a very great
difference in size.

                    _Canary Accidents And Illnesses_

    [Illustration: Frenchy]

With good food and care, and barring accident, there is no reason why a
healthy canary from healthy parents should live less than a normal span
of 12 to 14 years before old age causes a breakdown. The ailing singer
is not difficult to pick out. Usually the first sign is that he stops
singing. Whether the bird is cock or hen, a sudden change from its
normal sleek appearance and lively action bears immediate study.


When two crested canaries are bred together some of the chicks will be
permanently bald. Another cause, apparently, is the tendency for some
birds to constantly rub their heads against the perch or bars of the
cage. This condition is sometimes accompanied, or perhaps caused by the
presence of lice.

Sometimes baldness is caused by an incomplete moult, the lost feathers
not having been replaced during the regular moulting season. Sometimes
severe changes in the weather during the moult, or food deficiency
during the moult is the cause of incomplete feather growth.

There is no treatment for inherited baldness. If lice or mites are
present, treat the bird as indicated under “Mites.” See that the bird
has a normal seed diet with plenty of greens, a cuttle bone in the cage,
plus egg food and moulting food two or three times each week. Allow the
bird to exercise as much as possible, and there is a good chance that
during the next regular moult the feathers will return.


There is no cure for blindness. We have known birds to be totally blind
for months before the condition was observed by the owner. There is
apparently no pain, and blind birds sometimes sing freely. However, they
move about very little, and while the variety and balance of their diet
must be maintained, they should not be fed as much as normal birds.

                              BROKEN BONES

Wing, upper leg, and toe breaks should be allowed to heal with no
assistance other than seeing that the bird is not disturbed. Breaks in
the lower leg can often be set and splinted successfully with thin
cotton padding on the leg and pieces of toothpicks bound snugly with
cotton thread, but not so tightly as to cut off circulation.

Always remove the swing and all high perches from the cage, and arrange
food and water so that the bird can get at them with as little movement
as possible.

                            BROKEN FEATHERS

When tail and flight feathers are broken, they will grow in again at
once if they are carefully pulled out. If it is near the regular
moulting season, it is advisable to let them be shed naturally.

                            CHILLS AND COLDS

A chill or a cold in a canary is recognized by the bird sneezing and
sitting with its feathers puffed up. Sometimes there is hoarseness, and
if the nasal discharge is very heavy there may be complete loss of
voice, temporarily. The cold will usually work itself off if the bird is
given reasonable care. Sometimes, however, if the bird is in a more or
less rundown condition and the infection is strong, a more serious
condition such as pneumonia will result quickly.

Keep the bird free from drafts, and locate the cage where the
temperature is as even as possible and warm rather than cold. Return to
a regular diet with plenty of green foods. If the room cools off at
night, cover the cage and avoid awakening the pet at night. Test for the
presence of mites. If some are found, treat as directed under “Mites.”
Observe the droppings and make adjustments in the food if they are not
normal as explained under “Constipation and Diarrhoea” below.

In addition to ten drops of French’s Iron Compound in the drinking water
daily, feed a teaspoonful of egg food, fresh each day.

                       CONSTIPATION AND DIARRHOEA

Constipation is a digestive disturbance usually caused by feeding an
insufficient quantity of green foods. The correction is to give a
variety of green foods, including sprouted seed, regularly. Lettuce,
sweet apple, Chickweed, watercress, and dandelion are beneficial. Green
food should always be crisp, clean and fresh. When a bird is being fed
generous amounts of fresh green foods, the natural result will be more
liquid droppings. This should not be confused with diarrhoea, a
condition in which the droppings are usually excessively watery.

There are many possible causes for diarrhoea. The diet itself may be
unnatural for the bird, or it may be inadequate to the seasonal needs of
the bird. For example, in the breeding and moulting seasons freshly
prepared egg food should be given. Diarrhoea may also be merely an
accompaniment of an active disease. The bird should be kept warm. A
change of diet will usually afford relief. Temporarily, eliminate rich
and stimulating foods from the diet. Supply as much of the following
mixture daily as the bird will eat:

  1 slice whole wheat bread
  3 tablespoons steel-cut oats or Quick Mother’s Oats
  1 teaspoon poppy seed
  1 teaspoon scraped cuttle bone
  Toast bread until thoroughly brown on both sides and quite dry inside.
          Then crush it to small seed size particles and add the
          remaining ingredients.

Give buttermilk or tea in place of drinking water for 3 or 4 days.

If the disorder persists, or if the droppings are off-color and evil
smelling, write us for further guidance, describing the conditions and
what you have done.

                         CUTTING BEAK AND CLAWS

Overgrown nails and claws should be trimmed, using a sharp nail clipper
or small nail scissors. In the case of the beak, just trim off the
overhang—to a point, if possible. It is usually only the larger rear and
the middle front nails that become overgrown. Holding the claw up to the
light, cut between the end of the nail and the red vein. There will be
no bleeding unless you accidentally cut into the vein, in which case
touch the end of the claw with a styptic pencil or a spot of iodine.


Fright, sudden chills or overexposure to hot sunlight may upset a bird
severely. When no more than fainting is involved, a few drops of water
sprinkled on the bird’s head will bring it around, after which see that
it is allowed quiet, and treat it with extreme gentleness.

Under other conditions, a bird may suddenly drop off his perch,
unconscious, in the midst of a song or other normal activity. In these
cases the cause is usually quite different, and no treatment other than
correct diet can be offered. The pet may survive one or two such attacks
and live for years afterward.

                              LOSS OF SONG

Fright, poor health, or loss of sexual vigor are generally the cause of
loss of song.

Sudden fright is one of the chief causes and may occur through the cage
being accidentally upset, or an attack by a cat. Some aviary birds are
so lacking in contact with people that they seem severely frightened if
a stranger approaches closely. Be gentle with canaries and endeavor to
protect them from such frights. The loss of song may last from a day or
so to several weeks, but it can usually be overcome through playing the
radio or phonograph. Sometimes the noise of a vacuum cleaner provides
the stimulation needed.

Poor health is indicated when a cold has persisted for several weeks,
when feathers are shed out of season, when the digestive system is
upset, when the bird is overfat, or when the bird is troubled with mites
or sore feet. Treat for such ailments first, and then provide the song
stimuli as mentioned above.

Song is a strong secondary sexual characteristic of the normal male
canary. Old or weakly sexed males usually do not sing as often or as
vigorously as normal males, even though in perfect health.

When a canary has never sung, there is always the possibility that it is
a normal hen and will never do so. Hen canaries have been known to
inherit rather strong male characteristics and to sing frequently but
usually without the vigor and fullness characteristic of normal males.

When a canary is apparently in good health and all other stimuli have
failed to secure the return of song, try placing a good singing canary
in an adjoining room where it can be heard but not seen by the silent


There are many different kinds of mites and lice which live on birds as
their natural hosts. The biting grey lice live on the scales of the
bird’s skin, feet and legs, or upon its feathers. Red mites suck the
blood of the host and generally leave the bird in daylight and return to
it at night. The biting lice seldom leave the bird, and are most
difficult to find. They are sometimes removed when the bird combs out
his feathers with his beak. Red mites are more easily located. Place a
white cloth over the cage at night, and if the mites are present, they
will be found as little red specks on the cloth in the morning. Run a
hot iron over the cloth to destroy them.

Lice cause discomfort and weaken the bird. The one rule to follow in
correcting the condition is routine and complete cleanliness. Dismantle
the cage and stand, and scrub every part thoroughly with a hot, strong
suds. Dust the bird with a good lice powder and see that it is allowed
to bathe regularly. This program may not rid the bird of lice completely
or all at once, but it will keep the number of lice below the danger

In aviaries where many birds are housed in a special room, a poultry
type spraying technique can be used effectively along with regular
cleaning practice. We will be glad to make suggestions if you write us
about your specific problem.

                       MOULTING—LOSS OF FEATHERS

It is normal for a bird to replace its feathers with new growth each
year. Moulting usually starts in July, but the actual date may vary in
different climates. A complete moult may take about three months. It is
not a disease, but the drain on the vitality of the bird requires that
he be given particular care and special supplementary feeding. The first
symptoms to be noticed are a general lassitude and drowsiness followed
in a few days by a loose feather or two on the floor of the cage. In
order that this normal yearly occurrence will proceed as uneventfully as
possible, we suggest the following procedure:

Keep a French’s Bird Biscuit and Cuttle Bone in the cage at all times,
and add eight to ten drops of French’s Iron Compound to the drinking
water occasionally. By way of supplemental feeding, add about ¼
teaspoonful of either flaxseeds or niger seeds to the French’s Bird Seed
daily. Two or three times a week give a portion of hard cooked egg that
has been mixed with toasted bread crumbs, etc., see under “Egg Food,” in
“General Care” section. About half a teaspoonful should be sufficient
with each feeding. In addition, feed French’s Moulting Food in place of
French’s Song Food two or three times a week and continue the cultivated
and wild green foods. It is normal for most males to lose their song
during the moult. They usually start singing again within a few weeks
after the new feathers appear.

When song is first resumed the adult bird may sing much like a baby
bird. However, the volume should increase to its full capacity within a
short time.

Spring hatched canaries going through their first moult usually shed
only the soft body feathers. Only after a canary is a year old does it
shed the tail and wing feathers as well as the body feathers.

Birds have been known to skip the entire moult and apparently be none
the worse for it. Also, some canaries continue to sing right through the
whole process, with no interruption.

Loss of feathers at other than the regular moult indicates a weakened
condition and is not normal or desirable. Sometimes referred to as soft
moult, this condition may be due to interruptions of the bird’s sleep
when a light in the room is turned on and off at night. Wrong feeding is
an important cause, and keeping the bird in a hot, steamy atmosphere
will also lead to this trouble.

Feed freshly made egg food, as above, daily for two weeks or so, and
place French’s Iron Compound in its drinking water (10 drops daily) for
the same period. See that the cage location is changed if it is in a
room that is too warm, even for brief periods, as is usual in a kitchen.
The cage should also be moved if it is where the bird might be disturbed
several times during the night. Examine for lice and make sure that mice
are not keeping your bird awake by climbing into his cage for seed and

                              NERVOUS TICS

Cage birds sometimes develop annoying habits as a result of excess
energy and playfulness. They may get in the habit of tugging at the
paper on the cage floor; or if they have a band on their leg, they will
sometimes pick at it until their leg becomes very sore. Ridding a bird
of such annoying or harmful habits will be a good test of your
ingenuity. In the case of a leg band, the easiest thing to do is to
remove the band. A change in the location of the cage might help.
Sometimes a new cage of different shape or color will turn the trick.
Some owners allow their birds the freedom of a whole room and this
usually is beneficial—providing windows and doors are kept shut.


When a canary eats more than it requires for energy, some of the excess
eventually accumulates as fat. Birds differ individually in the amount
of food necessary. Some do much better in a large cage where they have
more chance for exercise and all birds benefit by free flying.

A bird usually eats from daylight to dark and in some homes “lights out”
comes rather late. Try to let the bird keep a natural day, dawn to dusk,
and if he is to be kept awake during the evening, cover his cage part of
the day.

                               SORE EYES

Sore and inflamed eyes or lids should be treated with 2% yellow oxide of
mercury ointment, obtainable from your druggist in a long necked metal
tube. Squeeze a tiny amount beneath each lid and wipe the excess on the
outside of the lids. Cover the perches with a wrap of soft cloth tied in
place in order to prevent irritation when the bird rubs its eyes on the

                           SORE FEET AND LEGS

As with many conditions that differ from normal, sore feet and legs are
generally only the end result of conditions which may have no apparent
connection. However, if the cage and perches are not kept clean, if the
bird does not bathe regularly, or if the perches are the wrong size or
are coated with gravel, it becomes necessary to correct these obvious
errors in management. When a bird is ailing it will often refuse its
bath, and its feet are likely to become quite dirty. The corrective
measure here is to put the bird on a normal seed and green food diet
with rich additions such as egg food only during the moulting and
breeding seasons.

In older birds, scales on the legs and toes will very often build up
rather than slough off, causing an unsightly and sometimes a painful
condition. These can be softened with a little olive oil and gently
removed without injury to the bird. Heavy callouses on the bottom of a
bird’s feet may be due to improper perching or to a fungus growth. In
hot, humid climates the latter is a possibility, and it is suggested
that you ask your druggist for a small amount of one of the new
fungicides for trial. Perches should be made of soft wood and should
never be gravel coated.

If the sore feet are accompanied by overgrown claws it may be that a
joint was strained due to the claw catching somewhere in the cage. The
remedy, of course, is to keep the claws properly trimmed.


Wheezing in a canary is not an uncommon disorder and is usually due to
the effects of a cold. It may also be due to an overfat condition. If
either of these conditions are present, treat as indicated. Otherwise,
write us giving full details.

If you have a particular canary problem not fully covered in these
pages, write to us explaining in detail what the problem is, what you
are doing for your canary, and what you have been feeding him. We will
send you our best advice without cost or obligation. Please enclose
stamp for reply. Address: Bird, The R. T. French Company, Rochester 9,
N. Y.


  Baldness                                                            66
  Bathing                                                             10
  Bird gravel                                                          9
  Blindness                                                           66
  Breeding cages and nests                                            55
  Breeding problems                                                   58
  Broken bones                                                        67
  Broken feathers                                                     67
  Buying a canary                                                      5

  Cage                                                                 6
  Cage care                                                            7
  Cats                                                                11
  Chills and colds                                                    67
  Color bred canaries                                                 64
  Color feeding                                                       10
  Constipation                                                        67
  Cutting beak and claws                                              68

  Dainties                                                             8
  Diarrhoea                                                           67

  Egg-binding                                                         59
  Egg food                                                            10
  Escaped bird                                                        11
  Exercise and play                                                   11

  First nest                                                          57
  Fits—paroxysms                                                      68

  Green food                                                           9

  Insect food                                                         10

  Loss of song                                                        68

  Mating                                                              57
  Mice                                                                12
  Mites                                                               69
  Moulting—loss of feathers                                           69

  Nervous tics                                                        70
  Nestlings, care of                                                  57
  Non-feeding hen                                                     59

  Obesity                                                             70

  Perches                                                              6

  Second nest                                                         58
  Selecting birds for breeding                                        55
  Sexing canaries                                                     64
  Shipping a canary                                                   12
  Slip claw                                                           64
  Soft moult                                                          70
  Sore eyes                                                           70
  Sore feet and legs                                                  70
  Sweating hen                                                        59

  Taming a canary                                                     12

  Vitamin B₁₂ Supplement                                               7

  Wheezing                                                            71
  Wild seeds                                                           9

Form No. A-1-51

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    [Illustration: _NOW WITH_ VITAMIN _B-12_ SUPPLEMENT]


French’s Bird Seed and Biscuit with vitamin B₁₂ supplement—helps keep
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Canaries need “teeth” to grind food in their gizzards. French’s Bird
Gravel—washed, uniform quartz—is the perfect answer.

                          Transcriber’s Notes

—Retained publication information from the printed edition: this eBook
  is public-domain in the country of publication.

—Provided additional bibliographic information based on copyright

—Silently corrected a few palpable typos.

—In the text versions only, text in italics is delimited by

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