How to Feed Red Food to a Canary

Written by lynn anders
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For some canary varieties, such as the lizard, Norwich and Yorkshire, colour feeding can help enhance the red or orange colouring of the bird. These canaries are what's termed red factor canaries, which is a genetic trait that creates red, orange or bronze coloured feathers. Since the colour is in the feathers, colour feeding to enhance the red will only be successful at certain times of the year. Once feathers have grown in, you cannot change their colour.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Choose which red intensifying food or foods you want to feed your canary. You can add chopped raw or cooked red pepper, carrots and other red and orange foods or products, such as canthaxanthin, to the canary's food. If you are using a colour feeding product for canaries, follow the instructions found on the label for how much and how often to feed the product to your bird.

  2. 2

    Mix the red enhancing food into your canary's regular soft food mix. Make the mixture about 10 per cent red food and 90 per cent your canary's normal diet. If you do not feed your canary a soft food mix, mix the red food with smashed boiled eggs, yoghurt or baby food.

  3. 3

    Feed juvenile birds the red food every day starting at eight weeks of age until they complete their first moult. When all of their adult feathers have come in and they have stopped losing feathers, your birds have completed a moult.

  4. 4

    Feed adult canaries red foods every day during moulting. Moulting typically occurs annually for healthy canaries after the breeding season and can take six to eight weeks, according to Marie Miley-Russell in "The Practical Canary Handbook." You will know when your birds have started moulting by the unusually high numbers of feathers found at the bottom of the cage.

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