Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Red Factor Canary!
Canaries are unique little birds and there is a HUGE variety of them! You can choose from so many different types if a canary is a pet you want. I am going to focus on the Red Factor Canary Serinus canaria because they are one of my personal favorites. I think they are beautiful and I love to watch them. They are one of the popular canaries among enthusiasts and are bred specifically to bring out their color. They are entertaining birds and easy to care for.
Most canaries in general are known for their singing abilities. However the Red Factor Canary is known for its color rather than its singing. They are known as “color canaries” and are not bred to enhance singing or physical traits, but are bred to enhance their color. For hundreds of years canaries have been kept in captivity and each specific natural occurring type was bred. As time went on more and more colors were coming out while breeding. People began to think they could influence these colors and by the 1900’s color bred canaries started to emerge. Red Factor Canaries in particular started to emerge shortly after 1929, when a German geneticist came up with a theory. He believed a red colored canary could come out if Venezuelan Black Hooded Red Siskins were introduced into the breeding line. And sure enough, the first Red Factor emerged successfully by A.K. Gill in Britain. The Canary Colour Breeders Association began in 1947.
Many people keep canaries to show them, especially the Red Factor Canary. They are divided into two classes, the Lipochromes and the Melanins. And these classes are then divided into subclasses, frosts or non-frosts (depending on their color brightness), and hard or soft feathers. They are relatively small birds, reaching 5.5 inches.
On to the basics of care. These canaries are easy to care for. They need a roomy cage with different perches and maybe a swing. The easiest way to feed them is to give them prepared canary seed mixes found at any pet store. Give them fresh greens a couple times a week to supplement their diet and as a treat. Also make sure to provide a cuttlebone to help keep their beaks in shape and provide them with calcium. If you are concerned with keeping their red color intense, you should focus on feeding them color-enhancing foods. Three chemicals help enhance color: carotenoids, Canthaxanthin, and Beta-Carotene. Foods with these chemicals include beets, sweet potatoes, berries, cherries, squashes, and tomatoes. Some people also add tiny amounts of cayenne pepper and paprika. You can also buy prepared carotenoid concentrates to simply add to their regular food in the proper amounts.
Other routine maintenance activities include providing them with fresh water and fresh bath water (they love baths). Also trim their nails and keep their cage clean! Red Factor Canaries are also very social birds and so you may want to keep more than one together. If you want a good singer, it is best to keep a male by itself.
These canaries are more difficult to breed than other types. However, read up on these Breeding and Reproduction Guidelines for Canaries if you would like to try your hand at it.
As I noted before, these canaries are hardy and easy to keep. They should have few problems if taken care of properly. They are also readily available for purchase. They can usually be found at pet stores, online, from breeders, or even at bird shows and clubs.
Read more on Animal-World’s Red Factor Canary page!
Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.