228 IDEAL HOME LIFE
should not be sacrificed to any desire for ornate appearance. There are several types on the market, any of which may serve. So far as shape is concerned, the square cage is best, as it affords more room for exercise than one with rounded corners.
For a single bird, the cage should be at least 9.5 inches long, 6.5 inches wide, and 9 inches high. A larger size is much better. The ordinary cages secured from dealers in this country are made of wire and are open on all sides. Each is fitted with receptacles for food and water, usually at opposite ends. A fine-mesh wire screen may be secured from the dealer and fastened around the lower half of the cage to prevent the scattering of seeds and seed hulls. A common substitute for this is a simple muslin bag, held in place by a drawstring fastening tightly about the middle of the cage. In a cage of ordinary size three perches are sufficient. One should be placed at either end at a distance that will allow easy access to the food and water receptacles, and the third elevated above the middle of the cage at its center. A bird confined in small quarters is dependent for exercise on hopping about from perch to perch, and this arrangement will give the maximum freedom of movement. In larger cages four perches may be advisable. These should not be placed so that they interfere with the free movement of the bird, and for reasons of cleanliness one perch should not be directly above another. In small wire cages, if the swing perch usually found suspended in the center is removed, the bird will have more room, and in hopping back and forth will not be continually striking head or wings. In larger cages this perch may remain. Perches should be large enough for the toes of the bird to grasp them readily and encircle them for three-fourths of their circumference. If they are too small they cramp the foot and cause trouble. They should be elliptical in shape, with the flattened portion above. If perches furnished with the cage do not meet these requirements, others may be made from soft wood without much trouble.
Cages in which canaries are to breed must be large and roomy in comparison with those intended for single occu-