The American Pictorial Home Book
or Housekeeper's Encyclopedia - online book

A reference manual of household management in Victorian times.

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CANARY BIRDS.                                      503
will prevent their being infested by vermin, and render the parent and birdlings more healthy.
German Paste foh Feeding Singing Birds.—Blanch 1 pound sweet almonds, 2 pounds of peasmeal, 3 ounces of butter, a few grains of saffron, honey, a sufficient quantity. Form the whole into a paste, and granulate it by pressing through a colander. Some add the yolks of 2 eggs.
Teaching Birds to Sing—A German method.—The young birds are divided into classes, from 6 to 10 each, and are kept in the dark. As they are fed a small organ is played. The birds begin to associate the music with the feeding, and when hungry they begin to sing a few notes of the tune they hear daily. They are then placed in a room where light is admitted. This seems to render them more lively. Then they are taught additional music, and enjoy singing. The most difficult task is starting the birds. Some are kept for a long time in the dark and on starving rations before their stupidity or obstinacy can be overcome.
Canary Birds, to make them Colored.—A Berlin recipe.-— Give them a little cayenne pepper regularly. This will cause them to lose their feathers, but after a short time new ones begin to grow, and the birds come out with a new plumage, with all the vivid col­ors of the parrot and cockatoos. Some are a light brown, others vermillion red, &c. It is known that the bright colors of tropical birds are owing to the oils in certain spices upon which they feed.
Moulting Canaries.—When your canary birds are moulting and cease to sing, do this: Put a little oxide of iron (iron rust from the drug store), or let a couple of nails be in the water they drink ; re­move their bath-tub so that nothing remains to drink but the iron water. To give color to the incoming feathers, put some saffron in water in another bath-tub. The birds suffer from fever while moult­ing, and the iron braces them. After restored to health they will sing very loud and almost continually.
To teach Parrot to Speak.—The quickest way is to send the bird, if possible, where there is another parrot that can speak. They should be placed near enough to hear, but not to see each other. A good way is to speak to the bird at night, just when his cage has been covered over (which must always be done with a woolen cloth in winter); repeat over several times in the same tone the sentence which you wish him to learn. He may not appear to* notice atfirst, but some day, quite unexpectedly, he will repeat the sentence ex­actly in the same tone that he has heard it. He should at once be rewarded with a bit of sugar, fruit or dainty that he is fond of. They are very quick at understanding that rewards are given for obedi­ence. Never allow a parrot to be startled or teased, or permit it to