There has been concern in recent years of birds perching on one size perch developing painful arthritis. To avoid this condition, it is recommended that perches of different sizes be used; either commercially made dowels or branches gathered from trees outdoors.
Some safe, nontoxic branches that you can include might be fruit trees, maples, birches, or ash. If you are uncertain as to the safety of using a particular tree branch, it’s best to avoid using it. The branches should be fresh with no cracks or splits for tiny nails to get caught in. Our favorites are ash and river birch. We scrub these clean with soap and water and then soak them in the tub in a soap, bleach and water solution for about 30-45 minutes using a weight to keep them under water. Then we rinse well and allow them a week or two to dry. With this procedure, we have never had any invasion of mites or other outdoor pests that might come in with the branches.
You will notice that your canary and/or finch will occasionally wipe his beak on his perch. He is not only wiping off food that might have built up, but this wiping motion also keeps his beak trimmed naturally. We have found that tree branches allow our birds to do a better job because of the different textures that you don’t get with commercially made dowel rods.
Concrete perches should never be used for canaries and finches as their feet are too sensitive for them – and you will still have to trim your bird’s toenails anyway.
About the author:
Christine hails from East Tennessee and and has many years experience breeding both Finches as well as Canaries.