Canary Medicine Chest
by Laura Schwanof

The keys to keeping birds healthy are lots of room for flight and exercise, fresh, nutritive foods, clean water and air. However, accidents will happen when we least expect them, or acute health problems may crop up suddenly. Our fine-feathered friends are very good at concealing most underlying maladies. Previously un-noticed health problems are typically advanced by the time we are able to detect them. Before you even need one, ask other experienced breeders in your area to recommend a reputable AVIAN veterinarian (most vets in suburban areas are adept at handling cats and dogs, but not many birds). Speaking from experience, I would not recommend treating unknown sicknesses by yourself, using a shotgun approach of over-the-counter medications. They may do more harm than good, since most of these are targeted to hookbill birds, and are not even suited for canaries. In addition, you may inadvertently be reducing the bird’s natural ability to fight the disease itself, or wasting precious time that is urgent for examination and treatment by a professional.

The following is a list of handy items to keep in the bird room just in case of emergencies, or until you can reach your avian veterinarian. I have also included some products commonly used by fellow breeders, which may help to minimize potential injuries or avoid health problems. This list is far from exhaustive, but represents a compilation of my own supplies, as well as items used by other breeders on the east coast. I welcome any additions or comments members may have – please feel free to email me at

Copyright © 2001 Laura Schwanof. All rights reserved.

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