Foods Canaries Eat

Written by amy stanwyck
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Foods Canaries Eat
A well-fed canary will sing happily for years (George Doyle/Valueline/Getty Images)

Feed a canary the right foods in the right amounts, and it will sing and thrive. According to veterinarian and author Julia Adams, canaries in the wild eat a variety of seeds, proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals. It's important that a pet canary receive the same diverse but balanced diet.

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Seed Mix

When it comes to seeds, a canary's primary food source, quality is key. A good mix usually includes rape, flax, linseed, hemp, maw, thistle, millet and especially seed from the canary grass plant. Many mixes also come enriched with vitamins A, B, C, and D. Most birds eat about a teaspoon of seed a day. Canaries usually won't overeat, but they might eat more in cooler weather.


An alternative to seed mix is a pellet diet, which is similar to dog or cat food. Pellets are usually so high in vitamins and minerals that they reduce the need for supplemental foods and minerals. It's important to note, however, that if a canary has been eating a seed-based diet, it may not switch to pellets easily, because it may not recognise the pellets as food.

Fruit and Vegetables

Canaries enjoy many fruits and vegetables as snacks. As with the rest of their diet, canaries respond to variety, so try giving your bird small amounts of different fruits and vegetables throughout the week. With vegetables, greener is better: kale, broccoli, spinach, peas and watercress are excellent choices. With fruit, apples, oranges, grapes, bananas and melon are appropriate in small amounts.


In the wild, canaries get their protein from insects. As pets, they need some protein once a week, and the easiest option is eggs. will eat the whole egg, shell and all: mash up a hard-boiled egg, and crush the shell on a separate plate.


Keeping a cuttlebone (the internal shell of a cuttlefish) or a mineral block in the cage is crucial to the canary's health. The calcium ensures the canary has a strong beak and that any eggs produced have hardy shells. The minerals also aid in the bird's digestion.

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