Finch care

Finches in cage

Finches are available in a wide variety of breeds and coloring. They are a society bird and should be kept in pairs or small groups. Care must be taken when mixing varieties of finches, as not all breeds get along with others. With proper care, these birds usually live about 5 years.

Medical needs

Wings and nails can be trimmed to ease the taming process. Many veterinary clinics offer this service. Clipping wings and nails should only be attempted after proper instruction provided by your vet.

Diet

Finches have a very high metabolism and can become seriously ill when left without food for 24 hours. Finches should be fed a fortified seed diet. In addition to a seed diet, finches should be offered chopped dark green and yellow veggies as well as a variety of fruits, hard cooked eggs, and grated cheese. Remember to remove fresh foods after two hours to prevent them from spoiling. If the bird's stool becomes runny it could be due to receiving too much liquid from the fresh fruits and vegetables. If this becomes an issue restrict the fresh foods for a day to see if the issue resolves.

Finches need fresh water every day. Be sure to wash and rinse the dish thoroughly each day to prevent bacterial growth. Supplemental powdered vitamins can also be sprinkled on the food. Refrain from adding them to the water as it can support growth of bacteria. Millet spray is also an excellent treat to provide for your bird.

Housing

For birds, the length of the cage is more important than the height. Ideally, cages should be about 36” long, 14” high, and 10” wide. Perches are a necessary addition to any finch cage. Remember to use perches that are the correct size for your bird’s feet. If they are too large, the bird will not be able to easily grip the perch and could be injured. Providing a variety of shapes and textures of perches will help exercise a finch’s feet. The placement of perches is also important. Try to strategically place them so droppings do not contaminate the food or water, and to keep the tail from hanging in the water dish.

Also remember that birds are very sensitive to temperature. Care should be taken in placing the cage away from windows and drafty areas.

Handling your finch

Finches are a very sensitive bird and do not often tame to the hand like parakeets or cockatiels. However, you can acclimate them to wing and nail trims by feeding a favorite treat from your hand. Care should be taken when handling these small birds. If handled roughly, they can be easily injured. When transferring your finch between cages for cleaning, it is recommended to remove all perches and toys from the cage before trying to catch them. While finches can be caught by hand, it is often easier to use a small hand towel or washcloth to catch the bird.

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