230 IDEAL HOME LIFE
should be washed in hot water from time to time. Lime on the perches may be removed by means of a scraper made of a bit of tin; fastened to a wire or tacked at right angles to a stick small enough to pass easily between the wires of the cage. Cages with bottom attached should be provided with a sand tray that slides in and out through a slot in the front. This serves to catch droppings, seed hulls, and other waste, and it may be easily pulled out, cleaned, and refilled with fresh sand.
The food requirements of canaries are very simple. The prime requisite is a supply of canary seed, to which is added a small quantity of rape seed and a little hemp. Persons having only a few birds usually buy this seed ready mixed from dealers. The seed should be clean, well matured, and not old. If canaries do not seem to thrive, it is well to examine the seed supply and crack open a few of the seeds to make certain that empty husks alone are not being fed. Too much hemp seed should be avoided, as it is very fattening.
In addition to this staple diet, lettuce, chickweed, or a bit of apple should be placed between the wires of the cage frequently. Bread that has been moistened in scalded milk, given cold, is also beneficial at times. If supplies of moist food are not kept strictly fresh and clean, bacterial diseases may result. In feeding moist foods, special dishes with holders that slip in through the wires of the cage are recommended. These are sometimes known as food holders or slides. Soft foods must not be made too wet. In the case of bread, enough liquid to soften the food, but not to run or to render it a paste, is sufficient. Perhaps once a week egg food may be given. This is prepared by mincing an entire hard-boiled egg and adding to it an equal quantity of bread or unsalted cracker crumbs.
Care should be taken to use this egg food only when fresh. Cuttle bone should always be available to the canary, and at times it is well to give prepared foods that may be secured from dealers.
The usual seed supply should always be present, no matter