Canary x Goldfinch mules for Newbies
June 30, 2012 9:22 AM   Subscribe

My girlfriend wants to get a canary x goldfinch mule... what do I need to know?

I'm curious what kind of impact this animal will have on our lives and what supplies we may need (besides the obvious) to give this animal a happy life.
posted by mateuslee to Pets & Animals (1 answer total)
 
Since a mule is a hybrid, as I'm sure you're aware, they generally tend to be healthy and occasionally bigger than either parent. Supposedly these crosses are very vocal and love to sing, as well as being easy to train to whistle, etc.

All you really need is the "obvious" supplies for a pet bird. Good food in sufficient quantity, clean water at all times, an unpolluted house, and plenty of quality time makes for a happier bird than tons of bird toys and a fancy cage with no lovin'. If you don't intend to handle your bird, or if he's extremely skittish and can't be safely handled, then get a larger cage for exercise. It's necessary to supplement your basic seed diet, and the different foods can be used as treats for training. Here's a few tips on diet, etc I don't know how color feeding works in hybrids, but it works a treat in standard canaries, and it's fun. The one toy you absolutely have to have is a mirror. Take it away and bring it back, and your bird will sing up a storm at the new guy.

If you're getting a young bird that hasn't been socialized, you're going to have to handle it gently every day and spend time with it. Finches tend to be very timid, and canaries vary, depending on how much socialization they've had, so start slow and see what personality type your bird is. They can be quite affectionate with their owners, sitting on your shoulder and 'kissing' but go slow at first. This site has great info on handtaming canaries. At first you need to hold the bird and not let it fly. When you feel your bird is relaxed, let him sit on his cage. Later you can take him into a small room and let him go--the bathroom is great to start--and let him noodle around till he feels comfortable. Watch out for windows, and don't startle him. My dad used to let his canaries out every evening after work, and they loved him and would willingly come to him or fly room to room to follow him without fear. Not so with us rambunctious kids.

As far as impacting your lives, get familiar with your broom, as birds are messy. Be prepared for seeds, hulls, and feathers during molting season. A quiet hand vac kept near the cage helps with the mess. That's the only major downside. Finding a bird vet can be tough, so look for one before you need her.

On the positive, you'll have lots of fun watching him preen in the mirror and splash in the bath. A 12' diameter ceramic plant pot base makes an inexpensive, untippable, good-sized bathtub.

Your lives will be full of song, not just the bird's, but your own, because you'll find yourself singing and whistling just for the great reaction you'll get. Cheerful mornings because the little guy is trilling is another bonus.

You should have a young healthy bird a long time. It's not unknown for them to live 12-15 years. According to Guinness World Records: the oldest canary was 34-year-old Joey owned by Mrs K. Ross of Hull, UK. Purchased in Calabar, Nigeria in 1941 and died in April 1975. That's one thing you might be prepared for. Birds that die young were not healthy to begin with or die from owner mismanagement.

Good luck. Birds are fun.
Writing this makes me want another one--like I need more critters!
posted by BlueHorse at 6:02 PM on June 30, 2012


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