pet bird food

The Best Canary And Finch Food

For x-small pet birds

Your pet bird needs a certain type of canary or finch food. There is no one-type-fits-all when it comes to your bird’s nutrition.

finch food
Feeding your bird the right food is absolutely essential to his health (and lifespan!) Feeding your bird seed and water just isn’t going to cut it. And feeding different types of birds the same diet doesn’t work either. It’s important to provide a diet that is safe, healthy, and yummy.

Packaged canary and finch food comes in all shapes, sizes, colors, and ingredients. So, it’s important to know what is the best diet for your individual bird. When shopping for food, there are a lot of things you need to take into consideration.

The Best for Your Bird

Birds follow a very similar diet plan that we do. Here is the recommended diet percentage for each type of canary and finch food that should be a part of your bird’s diet:

  • Grain Products – 50% of diet
  • Vegetables and Fruits – 45% of diet
  • Dairy – 5% of diet
  • Calcium, Grit and Treats – <1% of diet

Below is a table outlining the foods that need to be a part of your extra small bird’s diet. It shows the recommended percentage of your bird’s diet as well as specific canary and finch food recommendations and ideas.

Keep in mind that the diet list below recommends a VARIETY of foods and that feeding your bird only one to two items from the list is not enough. It is important to feed your bird the widest variety of foods as you can.

Here is the best diet we recommend for your extra small-sized pet bird:

The Best X-Small Bird Diet
Grain Products (50% of diet)
food_pellet_small Pellets

Pelleted diets are made by combining a variety of healthy ingredients into a mash and then creating pellets of different shapes, sizes, colors, and flavors. Pellets offer a more balanced nutritional diet for your bird in a form that is easy for you to serve and reduces the chance that your bird will pick through his finch food and avoid the healthy food he really needs. Pellets have replaced the old seed-only diet and now are offered as the primary base diet for many pet birds (but should NOT be offered alone). If your bird is on a seed-only diet, you will need to convert him to a pelleted diet. Please see our Seed to Pellet Conversion article for more information.

Recommended X-Small Bird Pellet Products

food_mix_small Diet Mixes

Because feeding your bird a variety of foods is best, there are canary and finch food food mixes available that include wide ranges of different types of food. They can include seeds, dried fruits and vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and more. Because seeds should be a good part of your extra small bird’s diet along with all of the other ingredients, these mixes are great to have. However, keep in mind that offering healthy pellets and fresh food on a regular basis is still necessary for your bird’s nutritional variety and health.

Recommended X-Small Bird Diet Mix Products

food_grain Whole Grains

Whole grain products provide your bird with the necessary proteins, carbohydrates, and various minerals and vitamins. There are a lot of different products that are good for your bird, just remember to choose the whole grain type instead of the white.

Recommended Grain Products

  • Bagels (low-salt)
  • Buckwheat and kasha
  • Cereal (low-sugar) (i.e. Cheerios, Chex, Kix, Life, etc.)
  • Crackers (low- or no-salt)
  • Cream of Wheat (and rice)
  • Matzo
  • Melba Toast
  • Noodles and pasta (i.e. macaroni, ravioli, spaghetti, etc.)
  • Oatmeal
  • Pearl barley
  • Pretzels (low- or no-salt)
  • Quinoa
  • Rice (i.e. brown, wild, etc.)
  • Tortillas
  • Triticale
  • Wheat berries
Vegetables & Fruits (45% of diet)
food_vegetables Vegetables

Vegetables are a very healthy and important part of your bird’s diet. Most vegetables are best served cooked, but some can be served raw. Always wash vegetables thoroughly before serving and chop them into appropriately sized pieces. You can use canned, frozen, and freshly cooked mixed vegetables. Make sure when you use packaged vegetables that they don’t contain added salt.

Recommended Vegetables

  • Alfalfa sprouts (you can sprout them yourself)
  • Asparagus (cooked)
  • Arugula
  • Baby corn
  • Bamboo shoots
  • Banana peppers
  • Beans (cooked) (i.e. adzuki, butter, garbanzo, green, haricot, kidney, mung, navy, pinto, pole, soy, wax, etc.)
  • Bean sprouts
  • Beets
  • Bell peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Broccoliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots (including tops)
  • Cauliflower
  • Cayenne
  • Celery
  • Chard
  • Chayote
  • Chicory
  • Cherry pepper
  • Chili peppers
  • Cilantro
  • Collard greens
  • Corn
  • Comfrey
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplant (ripe and cooked)
  • Endive
  • Garlic
  • Ginger root
  • Jalapeno peppers
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Leeks
  • Lettuce
  • Lentils (cooked)
  • Mustard greens
  • Okra
  • Parsley
  • Peas (i.e. green, snow, sugar snap, etc.)
  • Potatoes (cooked)
  • Pumpkin (cooked)
  • Pumpkin seeds (cooked)
  • Radishes
  • Soybeans
  • Spinach (in moderation)
  • Sprouts
  • Squash (i.e. acorn, butternut, hubbard, etc.)
  • Sweet potatoes (cooked)
  • Thai pepper
  • Tomatoes (cooked and dried)
  • Watercress
  • Yams (cooked)
  • Zucchini


Fruits are another healthy and necessary part of your bird’s diet. Keep in mind that fruits have more water content than vegetables, so your bird’s droppings may be more runny after feeding him fruit. And make sure to always thoroughly wash all fruits before serving them.

Recommended Fruits

  • Apples (remove seeds and stem)
  • Apricots (remove pit and area around the pit)
  • Bananas (remove peel)
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Cactus fruit
  • Cantaloupe (no rinds)
  • Cherimoya
  • Cherries (no pits)
  • Clementine oranges
  • Coconuts
  • Cranberries
  • Currants
  • Dates
  • Figs
  • Grapes (i.e. black, green, red, etc.)
  • Grapefruit
  • Guava
  • Honeydew (no rinds)
  • Kiwis
  • Kumquats
  • Lychee
  • Lemons
  • Loquat
  • Mandarin oranges
  • Mangoes
  • Nectarines (remove pit and area around the pit)
  • Oranges
  • Papaya
  • Passion fruit
  • Peaches (remove pit and area around the pit)
  • Pears (remove seeds)
  • Pineapple
  • Plantains
  • Plums (remove pit and area around the pit)
  • Pomegranate
  • Raisins
  • Tangerines
Dairy (5% of diet)
finch food Dairy

Even though birds are lactose intolerant, they can still have some dairy in moderation (SMALL amounts!) Dairy products provide an excellent source of calcium, so they should be included as a very small part of your bird’s diet. Egg food is especially popular and many canary and finch bird owners swear by it for their bird’s nutritional needs.

Recommended Dairy Products

  • Cheese (used in cooking only)
    (cheddar has highest fat and calories)
  • Cottage cheese
  • Eggs (including clean shells)
  • Yogurt

Recommended X-Small Bird Egg Food Products

Calcium, Grit & Treats (<1% of diet)
finch food

Canaries and finches also need calcium. The easiest way to give your birds the calcium they need is with cuttlebone or crushed oyster shells.

Recommended Calcium Products

food_grit Grit

Grit is necessary for both the canary and finch digestive tract. It helps to grind the bird’s stomach contents for digestion. Grit should always be readily available to your birds.

Recommended Grit Products

finch food Treats

The most common treat for small birds is millet. Millet is a very popular treat and is like candy to a bird–most small birds LOVE it.

Recommended Treats


☠️ Foods to Avoid ☠️

These foods are toxic to ALL birds and should never be fed to them under any circumstance!:

  • Alcohol
  • Avocado
  • Caffeine
  • Chocolate
  • Fruit pits and the flesh around them (contain cyanide)
  • Rhubarb

Want to Keep it Easy and Healthy?

We LOVE the Bird Tricks natural feeding system and their all-natural pellets! The Natural Feeding System is the absolute best diet you can give your birds. And their pellets are healthy, organic, and completely free from harmful ingredients like GMOs, wheat and corn fillers, artificial flavors and dyes, and added sugar that cause common health issues in pet birds. Bird Tricks puts birds first and keeps things easy for us bird owners!

We know figuring out the perfect diet for your pet bird isn’t easy, and that trying to find the right packaged canary and finch food isn’t either, so we’ve done the hard work for you on this page. We hope we’ve helped you in your quality finch food hunting endeavor!

Have You Found A Favorite Pet Bird Food?

Share it here! There’s no better way to learn about the best pet bird supplies than from the owners themselves.

Your comment may just help someone find the food their bird desperately needs!

2 replies
  1. Birdnature
    Birdnature says:

    After researching the best seed for my canary, this food from Hagen was one of the top three. I purchased all three and mixed them together. He seemed pleased with the mix.

  2. Patrick John McHugh
    Patrick John McHugh says:

    Very helpful for a new canary owner. I had no idea of the foods I could/should provide to my two Spanish Timbrados. I’ll be developing a weekly diet that will provide at least one or two of the recommended items in each category. Thanks!


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