- Do not keep in a room that is being painted or has odor of new paint. Do not hang over a stove or grate which contains fire. Do not set the cage in a window, and shut it down upon it; the draft is injurious. Do not wash cage bottom, but scrape clean with a knife, and then put on some fresh gravel; the moisture breeds red mites, and is injurious to the bird. Do not keep the birds you intend to breed in the spring together during the winter. Do not keep single birds in a room where others are breeding, or males and females in mating season in the same room in separate cages, as it is likely to cause mating fever. Feed canary on rape seed, but no hemp. For diarrhoea put a rusty piece of iron in dish water, changing water not oftener than twice a week, and bread boiled in milk as for asthma; boil well in this case, so that when cold it will cut like cheese; give freely with plenty of vegetables.
Moulting is not a disease, yet during this season all birds are more or less sick, and some suffer severely. They require plenty of nourishing food. Worms, insects, and fruits to those which eat them; and to those which live upon dry seeds, bread dipped in milk, fruit and vegetables.
The German metallic-enameled cages are the best - white and green (a combination of) or a light chocolate are the best colors; they are not painted as are the cages made here in America, but the color is burnt into the wires. Avoid wooden or brass cages, also conical " fountains " for food and drink; for the latter, square or round cups of china or glass are the best. The perches should be plain, round, unvarnished sticks, and no two of the same size. Clean the cage thoroughly every morning. Prepare fresh, clean bathing and drinking water, and if sand is used on the bottom of cage, clean it (the sand) by boiling in water. Scrape the perches well, and twice a week plunge them in boiling water to kill any red mites that may have lodged there. Give plenty of seed, also green parts of many plants, such as poppy, rape, hemp, etc.; also the seeds of weeds like the chickweed, plantain, etc., and the fresh, tender leaves of beets, cabbage and lettuce. Avoid fruits containing a large percentage of acid, but give occasionally a hard-boiled egg. Never give them sugar, but all the red pepper they will eat. It is the best thing for them. And if your bird feels hoarse at any time, put a piece of fat salt pork in the cage and see how the little fellow will enjoy it. Give him flax-seed once in a while, and if he appears dumpy occasionally give him a diet of bread and water, with red pepper sprinkled in.
For lice, cleanliness is the best preventive, but not always sure. For cure you have simply to cover your cage at night with a white cloth, rise early in the morning, remove the cloth and dip in scalding hot water.