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Source: What Shall We Do Now?: Five Hundred Games And Pastimes
Category: PETS

The favorite cage-bird is the canary, which, though a foreign bird, is
kept in this country in greater numbers than any other bird, and is
also bred here. One has to be very well posted up in the nature of the
bird to be protected against deception when buying it; and you ought
therefore, in getting a canary, to find some one competent to buy what
you want.

Canaries must be kept carefully. They cannot stand much air. Be
particular that the cage does not hang in a draught, and let it be
large enough for comfort. When evening comes it is kinder to take the
cage out of a room in which there will be much light and noise, and
put it somewhere dark and quiet, as the air of a room where gas is
burned is not good for it. But if moving the cage is not convenient,
lower it to a position below the level of the burners and cover it up
with a thick cloth. By day the cage should be hung in the sunshine if
possible, but if the sun is very hot a green gauze cover ought to
protect the bird a little. If the bird's singing is too lusty--as
sometimes happens--a handkerchief thrown over the cage will check it;
but this seems rather hard treatment.

In feeding canaries follow the rules on p. 356, but you may put a lump
of sugar between the bars now and then, or a sprig of groundsel or
water-cress. Do not give them cake; it is no real kindness.

When they are moulting, canaries (and other birds too) need rather
more attention. Give them a little richer food, such as chopped-up
eggs, and put some saffron in the water. There is a kind of insect
called the red mite which often attacks canaries. It is not the rule
by any means that canaries should be thus troubled--many escape--but
it may happen. If you cannot account for the bird's despondency in any
other way, catch it and look at its skin under the feathers of the
breast and the under part of the wings. If there are little red spots,
it means that the red mites have found out the cage, and you must wash
the bird every day with a weak solution of white precipitate
powder--about twelve grains to a small glass of warm water--and either
wash the cage too with a stronger solution, or, if it is a wooden one,
destroy it. Now and then you ought to clip their claws, if they seem
too long.

Next: The Love-birds

Previous: Tricks

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