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A wire birdcage with a removable tray will make a wonderful home for your new finch. Finches love to fly so the taller and bigger your cage is, the happier your finch will be. It is best to remove the wire bottom above the cage's tray. This can trap small feet and can be very difficult to clean. Line the try with newspaper and a sprinkle of shell grit. Your cage should be cleaned twice a week as it is better to do frequent small cleans, then irregular large ones. There are a variety of different cage cleaners available.
When Keeping Zebra Finches, here is a rule of thumb: Everything in 3's!
- 3 Perches: Have perches of different widths, this will exercise your finches feet.
- 3 Bowls: Most cages have two. One bowl for food and another for water, an extra bowl is good for treats!
- 3 Pairs: Keeping zebra finches should be done in a flock. Having 3 pairs of finches is a good size.
- 3 Wing lengths per bird: A good cage should be three times the birds wingspan, increase this with every extra bird in the flock.
There are numerous brands of finch food and Pet Magic bag a fully balanced 'Finch Seed Mix', which is available in numerous sizes. Your finches will also like to eat charcoal and calcium treats such as cuttle bone.
Fresh water daily is a must, and should be provided in a bowl. To keep the water clean during the day place some mint in the bowl as it will control bacteria in the water if the bird accidentally toilets in it.
Your finch will love treats but it is important to remember which are the safe options.
SAFE: apple, pear, strawberry, broccoli, cauliflower, cuttlebone, capsicum, carrot, meal worms, Chinese greens, sprouts, millet sprays.
AVOID: avocado, beetroot, rhubarb, oxalis, potato, cherry, beetroot, cabbage, eggplant, beans, onion, lettuce.
Zebra Finches are social animals so it is a good idea to get two or more as they can become stressed with left alone. They are more active and fun to watch in groups.
Having native vegetation in the cage such as freshly cut green foliage can keep your flock or pair happy.
Finches need little grooming and healthy finches will groom themselves regularly. If your finch appears un-groomed this is usually a sign of illness and they may need some vitamin or medication supplements.
Finches kept inside may suffer from moulting issues as moulting is based on seasonal changes in the environment. In a controlled area (like an air conditioned room) the bird doesn't experience seasonal
fluctuations, which can cause moulting irregularities. Moulting tonics are available and should be given every month for inside finches.
Zebra Finches are VERY easy to breed and can breed at around 3 months of age. The male has pronounced cheek patches and striking colours while females are a lot duller. You will need a cane nest and extra nesting material placed on the bottom of the cage to begin. The pair will choose the best pieces of material to fill the nest frame. Pet Magic stock a variety of nest materials including swamp grass and hygienic nesting feathers to keep the chicks incredibly warm and snug. Place the nest in the highest corner of the cage. It is best to breed Zebra Finches in spring and autumn, avoiding the extreme seasons of summer and winter. If you don't want the Zebra Finches to breed simply remove the nest and nesting material. If breeding zebra finches always have extra sources of calcium available, this will help in egg laying.
There are usually 6 eggs in each clutch, which hatch 14 days after the last egg is laid. The eggs usually hatch over a few days, so there may be a week age difference between the oldest and youngest chicks. Both the male and the female share parental duties and care for the chicks.
Make sure you give the parents plenty of fruit, vegetables and extra vitamin supplements while they are rearing their chicks. Mealworms are a great source of protein during this time.
Usually fledging occurs at around 3-4 weeks of age and the babies can go to new homes once they turn 6 weeks old.
Health "Prevention is the Best Cure"
Zebra Finches need to be wormed every 3 months. There are many brands to choose from but Pet Magic recommends Aristopet® Complete Bird Wormer. Dosage for finches is easy as it is a simple dilution in the drinking water. During worming, don't give your finches any fresh fruits or vegetables 48 hours before or after.
Finches also need to be treated against mite and lice every 6 weeks. We use and recommend Aristopet® Bird Mite and Lice Spray. Just a small spray on each canary in the cage at the same time is all that is needed. Make sure to spray the cage and perches, remembering to remove food and water bowls before spraying. Any new perches should be sprayed before being placed in the cage. If your finches are not treated regularly they can become infected, which leads to feather plucking.
When introducing a new finch, worm and lice spray the entire flock. Finches from Pet Magic have been frequently wormed and lice sprayed.