If you bring a canary into your home, you can expect to share this little bird's company for approximately 15 years. That's a lifespan on par with a small dog or cat. Of course, not all canaries live that long, but some also live longer. Much depends on the standard of care, breeding activity and basic safety practice.
Male and Female Lifespan
The lifespans of the average male and female canaries aren't the same. Male canaries, the sex that sings, tend to live longer. Female canaries that aren't bred might live as long as males, but breeding takes a lot out of the captive bird. A female used for regular breeding might only live about 6 years, although the lifespans of individual birds vary greatly.
Give your canary the best chance at a long life with proper care and feeding. House your canary in the largest cage possible, so that he has room for flight within the space. The minimum acceptable cage size is 17 inches long and 10 inches high. Keep him in a room with lots of natural sunlight, but not right next to a window where he could get too hot or become ill from a draft. Make sure your canary always has fresh, clean water available. Feed a high-quality diet specifically formulated for canaries, along with fresh vegetables and fruits as treats.
Stress can shorten the life of your bird. Canaries are relatively easy to care for, but they are shy and gentle birds. If you have parakeets or other types of birds in your home, don't put them in the same cage as the canary. Most other birds are too aggressive to share even spacious cages with canaries. Since canaries are a type of finch, they can share space with these little birds. Avoid putting two male canaries in a small cage, as fighting can ensue, but you can keep same-sex birds in aviaries or big cages.
Although you might like to let your canary fly free around the house on occasion, that's a recipe for a shortened lifespan. Before letting your bird out of his cage, make sure all the windows are closed so he can't escape. Close the curtains and cover mirrors so he doesn't try to fly into a clear window or reflective glass. These little birds can kill themselves going head first into either object. Don't let your canary loose in the kitchen, or at least don't cook while he's flying around so he doesn't land on a hot stove or cooking utensil.
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Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.