What should you expect from your finch?

Finches are popular, hardy birds that are easy to maintain. They are generally quiet and have a pleasant, melodious song. Finches do not require the level of attention needed for parrots.

Depending on the climatic conditions and the durability of the species, many finches can be maintained in attractive, outdoor activities planted with non-toxic vegetation.

What do finches do all day?

Finches are less likely than parrots to develop a bond with family members. However, they are beautiful and interesting birds to observe. Because they may consume up to 30% of their body weight a day in food and may collapse from hypoglycemia if they are deprived of food for even short periods, finches spend a great deal of their day eating. Some of the more exotic finches enjoy live food such as mealworms but have been bred on vegetarian diets.

While finches may be small in size, some species are territorial in aviary situations and others have well developed pecking orders. Self-mutilation, poor body conditions and increased susceptibility to disease may be indirect results of aggression in birds that are psychologically stressed because of their low social position.

There is a tendency to provide housing for finches that is narrow and tall in design, but this restricts the birds horizontal flying patterns. The finches tend to gather at the same level in the enclosure, leading to overcrowded conditions and secondary aggression among the birds.

Are finches tame?

Finches prefer the company of other finches. They are considered skittish and will usually fly away when approached. Some can be finger-trained individually. If capture of a finch is necessary, one useful approach is to remove all perches and turn off the lights before reaching into the enclosure.

How can you keep your finch healthy, happy and safe?

  • Allow full flight in a well protected enclosure.
  • Include vegetation or visual barriers in the enclosure to provide less dominant birds with an escape area and privacy.
  • Avoid introducing new birds into established collections.
  • Clip the wings or remove particularly aggressive individuals.
  • Feed a fresh, high quality, toxin-free diet formulated specifically for finches
  • Pelleted food is recommended over seeds.
  • Do not over-supplement the diet with vitamins and minerals.
  • Provide clean, fresh, uncontaminated water daily.
  • Provide ultra-violet (UV) light in indoor enclosures.

Housing for your finch should:
  • Be as large (wide) as possible.
  • Be clean, secure, safe, and easy to service.
  • Be constructed of durable, nontoxic materials.
  • Be constructed of fine gauge wire in an outdoor aviary to prevent access by snakes.
  • Contain multiple perches made of clean, nontoxic, pesticide-free tree branches.
  • Provide multiple feeding locations and nesting sites.
  • Avoid having perches located directly over food containers.
  • Contain small squares of burlap or coconut fiber as safe nesting materials.
  • Exclude accessibility of free-ranging birds to aviaries.

Things you must keep away from your finch:
  • Sandpaper-covered perches
  • Tobacco and cigarette smok
  • Chocolate, avocado, salt, alcohol
  • Toxic plants
  • Pesticides
  • Toxic fumes
  • Dogs, cats, and young children
  • Cedar, redwood, and pressure-treated wood cage substrates
  • Sources of lead or zinc
  • Fine thread in nest boxes
  • Ceiling fans
  • Hot cooking oil
  • Overheated, nonstick-coated items

For more information visit: Association of Avian Veterinarians