Guest Author - Diana Geiger
Listening to finches makes me think of the meditation CDís for mind and spirit. Though the finch won't be able to learn to talk this could be more of an advantage than disadvantage. They are not raucous and piercing as many birds from the parrot family. Coming home to your own world of timbre and rainbow of colors would be a haven from the flurry of commotion of daily living.
Advantages of the finch as your companion pet would be fitting into an environment; such as apartment living or mobile home courts. In addition, you may have a busy work schedule First, the noise issue would not be a problem as it would be with a cockatoo. Finches are not normally a bird that enjoys physical contact though hand-raised babies can be an exception. If you have a stringent work schedule, a finch would make a better companion pet than a cockatoo which needs constant love and interaction. In actuality, a finch may stress from too much handling.
Finches are an active bird requiring a flight cage. As you sit back and watch the finches in the flight cage, you will learn to tell them apart because of their unique personalities. There is also a wide range of species of finches ranging in color from golden colors, to greens, turquoises, blues, neutral colors, white, to the more complex combination of colors an example the Diamond Firetail. The Zebra finch is also an interesting color combination as is the Parrot Finch.
If you are looking for an exotic pet bird you can hold and interact with, perhaps you should consider a different bird. To get an idea of what a finch would be most like, observe the common house sparrow what in reality is a Weaver Finch. These little darlings were not native to the United States but introduced to the United States as breeding pairs in 1850.
Purchasing your Finches
Choose a finch breeder that is well-known.
Make sure the eyes are clear and bright, clean smooth feathers, and no feces around the vent area. In addition, no runny droppings, and also observe that the birds have good appetites.
Quarantine all newly purchased birds for approximately 45 days depending on veterinarian recommendations. I also recommend an avian veterinarian to check out all birds preferably before they are purchased.
Housing Needs - aviary and cage
Cage size must be considered since the finches are not let out for exercise like many pet birds. The flight cage should be large. Think what it would be like to spend the rest of your life in a cage. I envision a person with hands on bars and nose sticking out cage. Finches need an aviary, large aviaries.
The bigger the cage the better off your finches' will be. They should be kept in pairs or more. Some species of finches can be aggressive toward other species. You can usually keep same sexes together.
An example of a cage size of 48 inches length by 56 would be suitable for 9 birds. Some finches are more aggressive than others, and this must be taken into consideration when caging multiple finches.
Purchase a cage from a reputable company. You would want a square or rectangular cage instead of a round cage.
Use a variety of diameters and textures of perches for healthy feet.
Finches like to sleep in wicker nests. If you have several finches, you will need quite a few wicker nests. A number of baskets will avoid arguments and potential harm to your pets. If territorial aggression takes place remove the baskets, they can sleep on perches.
Basic requirements are fresh water with no chlorine, and changed frequently. Also, be careful for contaminated water. Consider using a filter. The water must be changed at least daily or more often if the water becomes contaminated with droppings or food particles. Warm weather is another reason to change the water more frequently than daily. The water dish must be sterilized often. A bird can become very sick from contamination.
Finches need a wide variety of foods as well as nutritional supplements including vitamins, calcium, and minerals. Feed a seed or pellet mix along with fresh washed greens, fresh and washed fruit along with additional protein boiled crumpled eggs or egg food (recipes can be found online with keywords finch, egg food). Make sure the egg is well cooked; crumple the egg with a mixer or food processor. Mealworms increase protein intake, wax worms add additional fat but are low in nutrition. Finch food should be balanced.
Watching for ailing birds can be difficult; they naturally keep signs of ill health from being noticed, to keep predators from harming them. A bird that looks ill has been sick for a while; get to an avian veterinarian immediately. Signs of poor health are decreased appetite and weight loss, decrease in grooming behavior and activity, feathers fluffed out for extended periods of time, discharge from mouth and nose, loose droppings, feces around vent area, and sitting on the bottom of the cage. A sick finch is really sick by the time they are showing symptoms.
Find a vet that can handle finch health problems before you purchase your finch.
Sanitize cages, dishes, and miscellaneous objects such as toys frequently. It is your responsibility to keep your pet healthy. Learn what you can on finch care and bird information. Contact me for finch help.
Above all, enjoy your finches in all their glory!
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Good book on finch care