Are Canaries Good Pets

Are Canaries Good Pets?

Having a new pet is exciting. They can bring something new into your life and become that missing jigsaw piece to your life. Pets can be wonderful companions but the novelty of a new animal in your house can wear off quite quickly. 

Some people find that regular cleaning, feeding, and handling can become a burden and a time-consuming chore. As with any pet, a canary requires love and attention.

And yes, they need to be fed and handled carefully while their cage will need regular cleaning.

Are Canaries Good Pets

Canaries adore the visual company of people. However, this small songbird of the finch family doesn’t like to be handled in the same ways that parrots or budgies do. The canary is usually quite a solitary bird but it can enjoy an aviary environment with a range of other small birds.

To consider whether a canary is a good pet, we need to look at the pros and cons of these little birds. 


  • Very small size means they don’t need gigantic cages to live in so less space is taken up.
  • Very rarely bite even when you have to handle one that isn’t best pleased.
  • They come in many different forms with various beautiful feather mutations.
  • A low-maintenance companion but they still enjoy love and attention.


  • Can be quite noisy even when singing with their beautiful tones. Don’t expect a quiet household with a canary!
  • These birds can be pretty messy with a tendency to fling seeds and veggies across the place. 
  • As they are territorial birds, canaries should be housed on their own so you shouldn’t have more than one canary at a time as this will cause conflict.

Housing two male canaries together in a single cage will lead to fighting. House a canary alone and you can enjoy a wonderful, peaceful pet.

Do canaries smell?

Naturally, canaries do not smell. What can cause a stink is their cage. If you do not clean their cage properly or regularly, then this will begin to smell. 

The build-up of feces and leftover food items will soon begin to cause a stench. A canary itself in a clean cage will not be smelly whatsoever. 

To ensure the cage stays clean and as odorless as possible, you should line the bottom of it with a newspaper. Make sure you change the paper every week or bi-weekly. This depends on how messy your little birdy is.

Surprisingly, small birds can be somewhat messier than larger ones. Even though they can fling seeds and other things around the room or their cage, they are not known for causing a stench.

Ideally, your canary’s cage should be cleaned out weekly. If there are plastic components, these should be cleaned with hot water. If there is a build-up of dried droppings, soak the accessories for a few minutes. Then, scrub with a sponge.

You should wipe the exterior of the cage with a wet cloth and clean any dried-on parts with a non-wire brush or sponge to avoid scratching any paintwork.

If hot water alone doesn’t cut it, you can use pet-friendly detergent such as Absolutely Clean. This gives an extra blast of bacteria-busting power. 

Is a canary a parrot?

There are some key differences between a canary and a parrot. Firstly, a canary is a small, typically yellow finch (Genus Serinus) and this songbird is native to the canary islands.

A parrot is a kind of bird with many different species. Many of these have vibrant, colorful feathers and can mimic human speech.

Also known as Psittacines, there are actually around 393 species in 92 genera. These make up the order Psittaciformes that are found in most tropical and subtropical regions. This order is subdivided into three superfamilies:

  • The Psittacidae (a true parrot)
  • The Cacatuoides (cockatoos)
  • The Strigopoidea (New Zealand parrots)

The greatest diversity of parrots are seen in parts of South America and Australasia. 

Although both are popular pets, parrots more so, a canary is not a parrot and vice versa. 

What are canaries?

As we mentioned, canaries are named after the region where they originated, the Canary Islands. 

To sum up what a canary is, it is mainly an African finch. These birds have a melodious song that is music to the ears. They generally have a yellowish/green plumage but the domestic canary is most often bright yellow all over.

The original canary had more of a greenish color to its feathers. Looking at these original canaries, they were nothing out of the ordinary. That was until you heard their song. Europeans instantly fell in love with the sounds of the canary and began importing them during the late 1500s.

After some time, Europeans began to breed these finches, focusing on small mutations and developing canary birds that rarely resemble each other today. They certainly do not resemble their wild, greener ancestors.

The average size of an adult canary is around 4 ¾ to 8 inches and weighs less than 1 ounce. Yes, they are extraordinarily small. 

The average lifespan of a canary is anywhere from 5 to 15 years making them a potential long-lasting companion. 

Canaries are often the first type of pet bird people own. After this, many owners become lifelong canary enthusiasts. They are definitely an excellent starter bird for those looking to begin their journey into the world of birding ownership.

Interestingly, canaries are not sexually dimorphic. This means that males and females do not differ visually. Mature males usually sing which can be the only way to reveal their sex. Females, on the other hand, have a sweet “chirping” sound. 

Male canaries learn their intricate, melodious songs from their fathers as well as other male members of their family. These intricate songs can also be picked up from other songbirds or recordings of canaries. There are segments to each song and every one is incorporated into their own personal and beautiful song. 

Canaries are energetic and generally sweet-tempered birds. But, remember, they can also be territorial when in a group. Be prepared to break up some fights if they get too close to one another.

What does a canary cost?

The cost of a canary can depend on whether you buy it from a professional breeder or another source, such as a pet store. You’ll usually end up spending more when buying from a breeder but at least they will have expert knowledge in this particular species. 

Beyond the cost of the bird itself, you should also budget for other necessities such as pellets and various dietary needs. These include seeds and fruits that canaries love so much.

You should also consider the price of a properly sized birdcage and even bird-proofed rooms on some occasions. However, you shouldn’t need much bird proofing with the small size of a canary. 

Costs can also depend on the breeder, availability, and the location of where you’re buying. But when you buy a canary outright, the average cost tends to range from as little as $25 to a more substantial sum of $150.

You must make sure you can pay for an appropriate cage for your canary. These are active birds who like to hop from one perch to another frequently and fly around. They also need plenty of toys because they are known to get bored quite easily. 

In general, buying a canary and housing, feeding, and caring for it works out a lot cheaper than owning a dog or a cat. But you still need to set aside a budget to care properly for your new companion. 

The average costs for owning a canary are as follows:

  • First year: Around $295
  • Annual costs afterward: $185 (unforeseen vet fees will cost more)
  • Lifetime cost for the average lifespan of a canary (10 to 15 years): $2,885 to $3,440
  • Other costs during the first year: Cage maintenance ($70) and initial purchase cost ($12 to $65)
  • Annual costs for food after the first year: $75
  • Annual costs for toys and treats: $25
  • Routine vet checkups: $85

These are simply estimated costs that can vary from one bird to the next. Of course, the older the bird gets, the more costs will change. 

Which is better? A Budgie or a Canary?

Whatever bird you get, they all need unique care and patience. With proper care, your bird should live over 10 years. But what about choosing the right bird for you?

It’s impossible to say which is better between a budgie and a canary. Both birds have unique characteristics that some people may love while others may not.

Picking a bird is entirely your decision. Your final choice should be based on whether you can handle the bird as well as you would like. Just be prepared for a mess with both types of birds.

They are messy! They like to fling seeds around, both on purpose and accidentally. If you’re not fond of regular cleaning and an untidy area of your home, other pets may be a better option.

Aside from their messiness, budgies and canaries are two very different types of birds. If you’re looking for a bird that is more sociable and wants to interact with others outside of its cage, then a budgie is the right option.

Budgie feces tend to be easier to clean up as well because of the slightly harder texture. Canaries generally have wetter feces that can be a nuisance to clean every day. 

Canaries can be, but are not always, a little wild. Compared to budgies, they are harder to hand tame. Most of the time a canary will be happy to stay in its cage.

If you let them out, they will usually fly back into their cage when they become hungry.  Budgies, on the other hand, will fly to you and even sit on or near you. On occasions, they may even have a chat with you!

One thing that canaries have that budgies don’t is a beautiful song. While budgies can create wonderful sounds, most people prefer the singing of a canary.

However, they are not very quiet so if you don’t want to hear the sound of birdsong every day in your home, a budgie may be the better choice.

Always do your research before buying a pet whether it’s a dog, cat, or bird. With proper knowledge, you will be able to give your pet a long and happy life. 

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