Birds are sweet little companions to have living with you in your home, they’re surprisingly good-natured and make the ideal first pet for someone who needs to learn the responsibilities of caring for an animal.
First-time bird owners are commonly drawn to the bright colors of the canary bird and their charming nature, however, there is a misconception about these little birds and it’s that in reality, they’re not too fond of being handled by humans and find it difficult to trust them.
Taming and training your canary is not impossible but it will take some time and hard work, so make sure you’re cut out for a drawn-out process if you’re determined to be best friends with your pet canary.
We’ll begin with taming your canary, there are two ways you can go about it and that’s beginning to tame them before fledging or after fledging.
Fledgling is the stage between when a bird is born and before they learn to fly and they normally begin to fledge after being in the world for 2 weeks.
If you’re lucky enough to have a canary that has had chicks, or even bought a chick so you can raise them yourself, then you’ll have a higher chance of being able to tame them, however, it is a lot of hard work looking after a chick so be warned.
Canary chicks begin to fear humans at around 12 days old, this is when they’re able to distinguish the difference between their canary parents and humans, so you’ll want to begin the taming process before this period.
As sad as it is, you won’t be able to return the chick to its parents and you’ll need to keep them in a room where they cannot see or hear them as they’ll begin to distrust you.
Canary chicks will begin to open their eyes and look around for the first time at around 7 days old and you’ll want one of the first things that they see to be you.
Try and begin hand-feeding the chicks before this time and away from their parents so they’ll begin to trust you and recognize you as their source of protection and food.
If you’re hand-feeding your chick then they should be weaned at around 30 days and you should continue feeding them fruits, vegetables, and other bird treats whilst they are sat and your hand.
Spend as much time as possible with them, sit on your hand and play with them and talk to them throughout the day so they begin to feel comfortable around you.
Soon enough your canary will fully trust you as long as you’re always gentle with them and not neglect them. They’ll be happy to sit beside you or on you and will also respond well to other humans who come into the home.
If you have children or other animals in your home, try to keep them from causing disruption or sticking their fingers into the cage during the taming process as this could halt your progress.
When it comes to taming your canary after the fledging process, you’ll need to spend more time with them and also be open to the fact that it may be too late in their life for them to be tamed.
You’ll need to build up the trust between you and your canary from the day you bring them home and always be gentle and quiet when approaching them or handling their cage in the first few days.
One of the first steps is to create a friendly and familiar environment for you both to share.
Always try to keep your canary in the same room as you (so the living room or wherever you spend the most time is recommended), call their name whenever you enter or leave a room, and spend time sitting next to them and talking to them so he can begin to recognize your voice.
Then after a couple of weeks, begin placing your hand near or on the cage, and don’t pull it away if your canary makes noises or tries to protest. They’ll need to feel comfortable around your body and its movements. Then once, they feel comfortable, move your hand inside the cage and hold it still.
Repeat this process every day until you feel your canary is comfortable with your presence being so near.
The next step is to take your canary’s food out of the cage an hour before and then slowly hold some of their favorite treats in your fingertips inside the cage and speak to them softly.
Keep your hand still whilst they eat the treats and keep persisting if they don’t approach you for the first few times.
Once your canary has got comfortable with sitting on your hand and eating the food in the cage, begin to gradually hold your hand further and further outside the cage so the canary feels relaxed enough to eat outside on your arm.
The key is to be calm and not to react suddenly if they fly off. Try using a stick to move them in and out of the cage and always do it in slow movements.
Remember that every canary is not the same and they all have different personalities, some will be more willing to be tamed and love being inquisitive around humans, whereas others may shy away from and like to be kept away from people.
Can you train a canary to sit on your finger?
Yes, you can train a canary to sit on your finger but it won’t happen straight away so be prepared to be patient throughout the entire process.
The first step of training your canary when you bring them home is letting them get used to their surroundings. Keep the cage at eye level so no objects or humans are enclosing them.
Make sure the room is quiet but still has people quietly coming in and out so they can get used to humans being around them.
Then you’ll want to begin coming acquainted with your canary. Speak to them softly at eye level in the cage and always approach them slowly.
Sit next to them for 15 minutes a day and you could even create a signature whistle that they’ll be able to recognize you by. You should always try to approach them when they’re relaxed on their perch and not around feeding times or if they’re fluttering around their cage.
The next step is to place your hand inside the cage slowly. Your canary might put up a fuss but try to ignore them and keep your hand still until they’ve calmed down and come accustomed to your hand being there.
Then when your canary no longer makes a fuss, you can begin to introduce treats to them at your fingertips, they probably won’t take the bait straight away but be patient.
Depending on how confident your canary is, they may begin approaching your hand with the treats and may even end up sitting on your finger or perching on your hand.
They will soon associate your hand with food/treats so once your canary sits on your hand inside the cage even when you have no food, you begin to slowly retrieve your hand outside the cage with them sitting there.
They may not be happy with being moved whilst perching on your hand, so begin with offering your hand near the cage door to start with.
For the next 4-6 weeks, slowly coax your hand outside the cage, make sure the room is sealed so they can’t fly off. Don’t react suddenly if they do fly off and let them make their way back to the cage themselves.
You can then begin training and luring her with treats to come land on your hand or a perch in the room after this point. Whenever she lands on your finger, reward her with a treat so she’ll be more likely to return.