Pet Care - Finches

Finches

Finches are small, active, seed-eating birds.

Diet

Finches are primarily seed eaters. The basic seed mix for finches consists of various types of millet blended with Nyjer (thistle seed), rapeseed, and canary grass seeds. Some species eat other proteins such as eggs and insects like mealworms and waxworms.

Use of an avian daily multivitamin is recommended. These are usually water soluble and can be added to the drinking water or sprinkled over the food. If the vitamins are added to the water, the water container must be thoroughly washed each day.

Fresh water must always be available.

Housing

Finches are housed in a wide variety of cages. There are hundreds of shapes and sizes available, but there are some considerations to keep in mind when choosing the right cage. Cage size, door openings, wire gauge, and the wire spacing must all be considered.

Because of their high activity levels, finches do best in a rectangular cage that is wider than it is tall. Tall, narrow, columnar cages are not at all suited for finches because they need room to fly. Perches should be placed at either end of the cage so the birds can fly back and forth.

The door opening must be large enough for you to reach in with your hand and possibly a small net so that you can easily remove the birds form the cage if needed.

If you are planning on trying to breed finches, consideration should also be given to a nesting location and access. There are many types of nests available. Some clip or hang inside the cage and others need a separate opening and hang on the outside of the cage.

The cage wires should be spaced closely enough to keep the bird from putting its head through the openings. Wire spacing of 3/8" to 1/2" is recommended.

A pull out tray as the bottom of the cage makes for easy cleaning.

Handling & Care

Finches have been domestically raised for generations. When purchasing finches, look for active birds with clear, bright eyes and sleek feathers. Never purchase a bird that is sitting still and puffed up as this is often a sign of ill health.

Most finches do well when kept in pairs or groups. Watch for signs of aggression and bullying when the birds are introduced. It's usually a good practice to provide two different sources of food to avoid squabbling over the food dish.

Various species of finches can be kept in the same cage, however, not all species are compatible with each other. Before mixing species in a cage, research whether or not the two species will get along.

Birds keep their plumage in peak condition by preening. Many finches enjoy bathing to help the preening process. Providing a large, shallow dish of room temperature water is a great way of offering them a bath. There are also many bath accessories for sale that are suitable options as well.