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Canaries are Particular

about their

Territorial Rights

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Understanding Territoriality
by R C McDonald
Copyright 2004

It's easy to see how a new canary owner can think that their new pet
would prefer company in his cage. It's a very common and easily made
mistake, for a social creature such as a human. Yet the #1 cause for
premature death in pet canaries is probably due to owners thinking
their pet canary needs company, and requiring him to share a cage.

Appearances can be very deceiving, especially when it comes to
canaries! Ask a breeder if he keeps his canaries like that year round,
and if he is honest, he will tell you that he does not, because he cannot.

Three or more male canaries can share a large cage for about half
a year or so, perhaps a little more. Two canaries should never be
allowed to share a cage, unless they are a breeding pair - and even
then, they need to be in full breeding condition before being paired.
Before and after pairing and breeding, they will need to live in
separate cages.

Another fact that can confuse new pet owners, is that the environment
within a large walk-in flight cage containing ten or twenty birds is
rather different than that of a smaller cage with the same number of birds.

It is not too difficult to find somebody who keeps multiple canaries
in an aviary all year, and they often tend to pooh-pooh the idea that
canaries should not share such a cage year-round. Yet experience
has shown that the average lifespan of canaries who live this way
will tend to be, at the most, three years or so - often as little as a year.

Many breeding birds have a average lifespan of from three to five
years or so - yet a pet canary living in his own cage may live for 10,
or even 15 or 20 years!

Why? The answer is simple - stress! Breeding, and living in shared
aviaries, causes stress; and the more stress a canary is required to
deal with, the shorter his lifespan will be.

It's true, though, that canaries do like company - but they like their
company to be nearby, rather than inside their own cage.

'Company' is a rather loose term, in this context - it can be as simple
as a radio playing, or it could be another bird in a nearby cage... or
it could be you! Canaries are easy-going and adaptable, as long as
they don't have to share their private space with another canary.

To put it in slightly more human terms; a similar scenario might be
you inviting some stranger in off the streets to share your bedroom.

An old canary breeder's joke shows a picture of a family in their
living room looking at a canary in his cage, thinking "Poor thing, he
must be so lonely in there all by himself," while the canary, in turn,
is looking back at them and thinking, "Poor things, they must feel
so harassed, packed in all together like that!"

People are social creatures, and often find it difficult to understand
that a canary can be both friendly, and territorial. It may sound
odd to us, but it is true nonetheless.

If you are interested in more reading on this topic, try using the
'search site' tool at . Enter a phrase
like 'sharing a cage' or 'sharing cages' or 'two birds' to find all the info
posted. There is quite a lot, especially in the Flock Talk archives.
You can restrict your search to our sites, or you can search the
entire web. Either way, you should find some rather interesting reading,
as this is a fairly common topic amongst canary owners.

by R C McDonald
Copyright 2004
Reprinted with Permission

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