Zebra Finches?

by KKLUV155 7 Replies latest jw friends

  • KKLUV155

    Hi all I was wondering if any one on here knows anything about zebra finches? My husband bought me a pair of finches for christmas. I have had them about 6 weeks now and they hatched off 2 babies about a week ago. Anyways I change their food and water daily, they have egg food for the babies in there, a cuttle bone, and a mineral block. Well this morning I awoke to find my male was dead on the nest with the babies. One baby was on the bottom of the cage,cold but alive. I warmed it in my hands then put it back in the nest. The mom is taking care of them but I was wondering, since both parents care for the young, with out the male will the mom be able to care for them on her own or will it weaken her? Should I help her feed them? I have no clue. I hope someone knows about these types of birds. Thank you.

  • Valis
  • unclebruce

    Heeey kkluv155! Zebra finches are a native of Australia and, as such it is illegal to trade them or use them for scientific research in or out of Australia. In the wild they're flocking birds. Return them here at once .. you .. you finch pincher!


    that said .. I adapted this from "Burkes Backyard" a popular Australian TV show. Hope it helps.


    Breed: Finches
    Temperament: Timid
    Lifespan: 5 years
    Recommended for: Beginners to experienced bird keepers
    Maintenance: Low-med


    Zebra Finches are a Native of Australia. Like Emblema Finch, also known as a Painted Finch (Emblema pictum) , Gouldian Finches, Star Finches and Blood Finches Zebra finches are commonly kept in backyard aviaries.

    Housing and feeding

    Finches are best kept in aviaries. Although a large, open aviary could accommodate many finches, only a small number of breeding pairs can be housed together (see Breeding). Finches are seed eaters and can be fed a good quality millet mix.

    Tip: Place seed in a hanging seed dish. This will prevent mice from easily reaching the food. A covered feeder is recommended if the aviary doesn't have a roof.

    As well as seed allow finches access to a range of other foods including:

    • Seeding grasses which can be grown in the aviary. Try any grass growing naturally in your lawn or garden such as summer grass or guinea grass. These provide fresh seed but also attract insects. Green seed and insects are a vital part of the diet when finches are breeding.

    Warning: Be cautious of seed grasses collected outside your property, for example from a park, as these may have been sprayed with chemicals that are harmful to birds.

    • Termites are a real treat for finches. If you know of a termite nest on the ground it is possible to bring some of it home to become food for your birds. Store the nest in a garbage bin. Place pieces of wood on top of the nest and termites will climb between them to feed. Gently lift the wood and tap the pieces together to dislodge and collect the termites. These can be fed live each day to your birds.

    • Meal worms, which really are not worms but the larvae of a beetle, are usually available from most good pet shops, particularly those which specialise in selling birds.

    The bad news about keeping any birds in aviaries is no matter how big the aviary each pair likes the aviary to itself. Sometimes you can mix two or three pairs in an aviary but that's the limit because, like humans, they like to have their own home. Varieties such as the zebra need a minimum of around 2m x 2m (6x6') per pair.

    Nesting hints

    Plastic mesh rolled into a cylinder, stuffed with tea tree or paperbark and hooked on a post can provide a nesting site. The size of the mesh needs to be about 4cm (1.5"). A very open steel mesh can also be used.

    Starting out

    Zebra finches are a good choice for the first-time bird keeper. They are often sold at local pet shops very cheaply. The zebras will breed easily, and after mastering zebra finches it's possible to move on to other species such as the Emblema, which is also very docile and easy to breed.

    Note: People keeping native finches need to check with their State Department of Wildlife for necessary permits.


    A key aspect of setting up an aviary of finches is quarantine, that is taking care to keep diseases out of your aviary. To do this take the following precautions:

    • buy birds from a single, reliable dealer;
    • keep feeding dishes clean; and
    • provide fresh water and feed daily, and remove any soiled food or scraps.

    As well as providing an interest, just watching birds living happily in an aviary is most relaxing. According to Don Burke, sitting down and watching finches after a stressful day is better than a three week holiday!

    Choosing a supplier:
    • Hunt out specialist bird dealers in your area. To find a reputable dealer in your area

    Contact the Australian Birdkeeper magazine, (see details below).

    Or contact the Finch Society.

    • Some important tips to look for when choosing a bird shop:

    Make sure the cages are well laid out.

    Make sure the cages and the rest of the shop is clean.

    Birds that are not kept in clean conditions can sicken and die.

    Recommended reading

    The Australian Birdkeeper magazine is published each month and is full of advice, tips and contacts for the amateur or expert bird enthusiast. It is available from selected newsagents or contact them direct:

    The Australian Birdkeeper
    PO Box 6288
    Tweed Heads South NSW 2486
    Phone: (07) 5590 7777 (local) 1800 633 493 (other)
    Fax: (07) 5590 7130
    e-mail: [email protected]

    Did you know?

    Australian Gouldian Finches nest in dark hollows in trees in the wild, or in nesting boxes in captivity. The young birds have four "glow-in-the-dark" beads, two either side of the beak to aid the parent in feeding the young in the nest. The adult looks for the four "glow-in-the-dark" beads near the beak and places the food in between those beads.

    © Burke's Backyard 3/1998


  • Fe2O3Girl

    I know nothing about finches, but if anyone posting here can advise you, Dansk can.

  • unclebruce

    wow pussycat, and I thought I was the one experienced and qualified with australian wildlife..lol

    OK Dansk can do grainavores but I'm in charge of Pelagics and Wombats OK?

    unclebruce of NSW Wildlife Information & Rescue Service

  • Fe2O3Girl

    Sorry, UncleBruce. I didn't mean to discredit you. I am just a duck filled fatty puss.

  • unclebruce

    LOL.. ah you're a lovely puddy tat to be sure .. would a cheshire by another colour be so sweet.. mmm ..JWD seems to have become a catfarm while I was gone... i'm gonna squeeze a pic of my wombat in here soon.

  • Englishman

    Biggest killer of caged birds is constipation!

    Lots of water and some grubs and stuff for birds that are at all insectivorious. Even finches will have some insects although they are mainly seed -eaters.

    People keep hard-billed birds like finches because their poo is normally eaily removed, being dry and non-offensive.

    Soft-billed birds like mynahs etc, leave a squirty horrible mess everywhere.



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