In keeping canaries much attention must be paid to the cage, which is very liable to be infested with the canary mite, a plague so constant that great care is needed to avoid it. It begins with a floury dust, which is soon found to be alive, the insects becoming larger and reddish in color. They harbor in the minutest crack. To destroy them, every cage should be completely plastered with whitewash and carbolic acid at the beginning and end of each breeding season, each chink being carefully filled. If any of the "flour" appears on the perch, this should be withdrawn, the place painted with oil, and a new perch with an oiled roof put in. If it is in a crack, paint it over with spirit varnish. If the case is a bad one, paint with solution of bichloride of mercury, rubbing it well into the places, and, when dried, varnish over it. In this way the enemy may be overcome.
The food of the bird is an important matter. In Germany summer rape seed, of mild quality, is chiefly used, the cocks - the only singers - having also a little bread-crumb and egg. To force them, dealers often feed them almost entirely on egg-food, and the bird, when purchased, is fed solely on canary seed, or canary and hemp seed. This sudden change is apt to prove injurious.
Canaries are liable to various disorders which need special treatment. Colds may be cured by putting twenty drops of paregoric, a bit of gum arabic the size of a pea, and half a teaspoonful of glycerine in the water. Loss of voice may be treated in the same way, but in either case it is best to give first a drop or two of castor oil from . the point of a penholder.
A dirty cage or stale green food may yield its result in diarrhoea. This is best treated by oil given as above, afterwards adding gum to the fountain and sprinkling a little prepared chalk in the egg-food. If green food is properly given constipation is rare. When it occurs, a teaspoonful of glycerine, followed by one of infusion of gentian, should be added to the water.