Hand Washing a Canary
don't try this at home...
This is a small excerpt from a chapter in the book: Encyclopedia of Caged Birds. This is the revised edition published 1928. I found this book on ebay and am so happy I bought it. The views and practices expressed in this book are so foreign compared to what we do today. It's been a fascinating leaning experience for me.
I do apologize about the poor quality of some of the photos. This book is very old and not in the best of shape, it's hard to get at all the photos with as little stress to the book as possible.
"The greatest anxiety of the amateur at the commencement of his show career is the hand washing process. This is quite simple after the first two or three attempts, but the best thing to do if possible is to see some of the old hands put them through it.
For a successful wash there are several things you want, and some you don't want. Things wanted are a bright fire, three bowls of hot water, a kettle with more water ready, and a good soft shaving-brush, some soap in a mug of hot water, some linen or soft cotton rags an old bath towel to wrap the birds in for drying purposes, a silk handkerchief for finishing off, and an empty cage or drying cage in which to transfer the birds when dried."
The things you don't want: Your wife and family if any, or your best girl if single, hanging round you exclaiming "Poor little thing, what a shame, you're going to kill it!" It is surprising how much better you can get on without them. A well washed bird is a pitiful sight until dry, seem most dead but it comes out OK.
The chapter does explain that the water needs to be around 80 degrees, no hotter. It also explains the whole washing processed from tail to beak, the importance of getting a good soapy lather on both sides on the wings and all around the body. The area around the neck and head are to be washed more carefully with a smaller brush or cloth and they should be the last areas cleaned. While the first bird is wrapped snuggly in it's drawing towel you can wash bird number 2 and so on.
I can see the benefits of a good clean bird but I don't think this extreme type of washing is still done these days. Of course, if I'm wrong and you do wash your Canaries please e-mail me and explain the process. I would love to post it on my site along with this article.
What really surprises me is that in these drawings the birds look relaxed and compliant. Like that's going to happen. I have some finches that scream murder when I catch them to trim nails. Can you imagine what they'd do if I tried to wash them.
© lady gouldian finch.com 2011