Finches are delightful songbirds that have a wide range of coloration and patterns. They are known for their cheerful songs and whistles. Although great birds for beginners, finches avoid direct interaction with their owners. This makes them poor pet for those seeking cuddly or docile companions. If you’re considering bringing a finch into your home, it’s important to understand the basics of finch care. Here are some essential tips for caring for finches:
- Housing: Finches are relatively small, only 3 to 6 inches long. However, they require a spacious cage that is at least 18 inches wide, 18 inches deep, and 24 inches tall for a pair of birds to allow them ample room for flying between perches. The cage should be placed in a quiet, draft-free area, away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures. Finches are social birds and should be kept in pairs or small groups although not all finch species get along.
- Diet: Finches should be fed a mixture of seeds, grains, and pellets. Fresh fruits and vegetables should also be provided on a regular basis. In addition to a balanced and varied diet, access to fresh water is crucial to a finch’s health. Ensure access to fresh water at all times and clean the water bowl daily.
- Grooming: Finches are clean birds and will preen themselves regularly. However, they may also need help with grooming, especially if they have long feathers. Regularly trimming the wing feathers can help prevent the bird from flying away or injuring itself. You can also provide a shallow dish of water for the bird to bathe in.
- Exercise: Finches are very active birds and require regular exercise to maintain their health and well-being. Encourage exercise and play by providing a spacious cage with plenty of perches and toys. Additionally, allowing the bird to fly around in a safe, enclosed area outside of the cage can provide exercise and enrichment. Ensure that any area you allow your finches to fly in is free of items they can fly into or swallow, and be cognizant of any escape routes like doors or windows.
- Health: Regular veterinary check-ups are important for the health of your finch. Signs of illness may include lethargy, loss of appetite, diarrhea, or changes in behavior. It’s important to seek veterinary care if you notice any of these symptoms. They have a typical life span of five to ten years.
- Socialization: Finches are social birds and can become lonely or bored if they don’t have a companion. If you plan to keep multiple finches, make sure they are compatible and have plenty of space. Additionally, spending time with your finches and providing toys and enrichment activities can help prevent boredom and promote socialization.
In addition to these basic care tips, there are some specific considerations for certain types of finches:
- Gouldian finches: Gouldian finches are known for their colorful plumage and can be quite delicate. They require a specialized diet that includes a high percentage of greens and live insects. Additionally, they need a higher humidity level than other finches.
- Zebra finches: Zebra finches are popular and easy to care for. They are social birds and should be kept in pairs or small groups. They also require a varied diet that includes fruits and vegetables.
- Society finches: Society finches are hardy and adaptable birds that are often used as companions for other finches. They are social birds and should be kept in pairs or small groups.
This article was written using ChatGPT and revised and edited for content by Dr. Maurice Pitesky at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.