Finches

Finches are small, colorful birds that make wonderful family pets. They come in a variety of colors and sizes, making them an attractive addition to any home. Finches are social creatures and enjoy interacting with their owners. They can be taught to recognize their names and even respond to commands.

Finches are relatively easy to care for compared to other pet birds. They need a cage large enough for them to fly around in, and a variety of perches and toys to keep them entertained. Finches are omnivores, they eat both fruits and vegetables as well as seeds and insects.

Finches are very active birds, and they need plenty of space to fly around in their cage. They should also be given a variety of toys to keep them entertained. Finches can be trained to recognize their names and respond to commands, making them an ideal pet for those looking for an interactive pet.

Finches are tiny birds that live in tropical climates. They can be a variety of different colors including yellow, white, red, blue, green, and purple. They can be found throughout the world, although some species are more common than others. The majority of finches are native to Central America, and are often kept as pets. 

Their bodies are long and slender, and they have a beautiful song. They are social birds, and enjoy interacting with each other. Finches are very adaptable and like to live in groups.

Finches are extremely social birds, and like to be able to interact with people. They enjoy having toys and perching places where they can watch what goes on around them. They also enjoy eating seeds and insects, and will happily chow down on anything that catches their eye. 

Finches are also very intelligent, loyal and loving, and will bond closely with their human companions. They are very fast learners, and will pick up new skills very quickly. They are also very playful, and will enjoy playing with toys. 

Finches are relatively quiet birds, so they won’t be a distraction in your home. They’re also quite hardy and can live up to 10 years with proper care. Finches make great pets for those who are new to owning birds, because they don’t need much care and attention.

Overall, Finches make wonderful family pets. They are relatively easy to care for, interactive, and quiet. With proper care and attention, Finches can provide years of companionship and entertainment to your family. If you’re looking for a pet that is both beautiful and low maintenance, then Finches may be the perfect bird for you.

Information about Finches

  • Average Length: 4 to 10 inches
  • Colors: Red: Orange, Black; Brown; Black and White
  • Grooming Needs: Low
  • Tolerance to Heat and Cold: Yes
  • Good Pet: Yes 
  • Safe with Children: Yes
  • Good with Other Finches: Yes
  • Good with Other Pets: No, they can get hurt by larger birds like parrots and pets like dogs or cats.
  • Suitable to live in an Apartment: Yes
  • Good for Less Experienced Pet Owners: Yes 
  • Training: Difficult
  • Exercise Needs: Low
  • Weight Gain: Normal
  • Health Concerns: Air Sac Mites, Scaly Face or Scaly Legs, Egg Binding, Avian Conjunctivitis and Feather Loss.
  • Allergies: None
  • Average Life Span: 5 to 10 years

Physical Appearance of Finches

There are more than 100 species of Finches and each type can be a variety of different colors. Their feathers can be solid, striped or have patches of different colors. 

Finches in general have a small body with a cone-shaped beak. 

Zebra Finch are the most popular Finch species kept as pets. They are very small and only grow up to 4 inches. They get their name from the black and white striped pattern they have on their head, upper chest and tail. Their belly is white and their cheeks can have patches of light red. Changes caused by genetic mutations mean that some Zebra Finches have additional colors like cream, white and fawn. 

The males have a bright red beak while females have a pale orange beak.

Gouldian Finches, also called Lady Gouldian Finch are the most vibrantly colored Finches. They will grow between 4 to 6 inches. Their feathers can be a wide combination of colors. Most Gouldians have a yellow belly that fades into white towards their feet. The feathers on their back are typically green, black, blue and red. Their heads can be black, red or orange and their beaks are peach. The color on the chest of males is purple and for the females is a light mauve shade. The feathers of males are brighter than females. 

Owl Finches have physical features that look similar to owls which is how they got their name. They have a brown and gray colored body with white and black spotted wings. Their upper chest is white and their tails are dark-colored. The most unique feature of Owl Finches is their white face which is bordered by a thin band of black. They have blue-grey beaks. 

Temperament of Finches

All Finches are social, friendly and active. They are companion birds that like to live in groups. Most do not like being handled by their owners but there can be a few exceptions. Some like the Zebra Finches may get used to being handled with training but the Gouldian and Owl Finches do not like it at all. 

Finches need a lot of social interaction and should not be kept alone. They mix well with other Finch species and should be housed in pairs or a small flock. Being kept with other birds will keep them happy and active. If you are keeping a male and female pair together, you’ll want to have a nest inside the cage so that they can breed. Same-sex pairs can be kept but then a nest should not be placed inside the cage. Same-sex Finches can become territorial and fight for the nest. 

Finches like to whistle and make different sounds but do not mimic human speech like parrots. Many people think the sounds of Finches are pleasant to hear and not very loud. Some Finches like the male Owl Finches singing frequently during the day.

Training Finches

The small size of Finches makes them look like an ideal bird to be finger trained but this isn’t the case. Finches are difficult to train and it can be difficult to get them to perch on your fingers. Training them requires a lot of patience and effort. The easiest to train is the Gouldian because they are the calmest of the Finch species. Training should be started only after your birds have settled in their new home.

The first step to training them is to have them take treats from your hand. Before any training is started, make sure the cage is placed at your eye level because looking down on your Finches can make them feel nervous or scared. For the first few days, only move your fingers around the bars of the cage and make a soft noise. Every time you enter the room, make the same sound. Avoid making sudden movements around the birds because it can frighten them. Once your birds get used to your hand, offer them treats. In a few days, they will start accepting the treats from your hand. 

Most owners keep Finches in small groups but they should be trained one at a time. Isolate one bird and then start training them. It’s important that the room where you are training them be kept as quiet as possible. There should not be any noise that can distract them. You can try to handle them gently by placing your hand around their back. Speak gently to your bird while handling them. If they accept your handling then you can take them out of the cage. Place them back inside the cage after a few minutes. 

Spend some time each day speaking with your Finches and sitting close to their cage. Spending time with your Finches will help develop a strong bond with them. 

Their Compatibility with Children

Finches can be a great pet for families with children. They are small and do not need a lot of care. Finches are safe for children because these birds do not bite. Children can enjoy watching the birds chirping and playing with their flock. Children should not be encouraged to handle them because Finches usually don’t like being handled. If they are handling the birds, make sure there is an adult to supervise their interactions until you know how they will be together. 

Children below 8 years should not handle Finches because these birds are small. Younger children may not be able to understand how to handle them. Squeezing them can seriously injure these tiny birds.

Best Habitat for Finches

Flinches need a large cage to move around. When getting a cage for them, the length is more important than the height. The smallest size cage for a pair of Finches is 30” L x 18” W x 18” T. If you plan on keeping a flock, you’ll need a larger cage or an aviary. 

The spacing for the bars on your bird’s cage should be ¼ to ½ inch. 

Several different sized perches should be placed inside their cage. Natural branches or wood perches purchased from a pet store both make great choices. We recommend keeping perches of different sizes because it will help your birds exercise their feet. Avoid using perches made of sandpaper because it can hurt their feet.

Finches are not interested in playing with toys but swings or ladders inside the cage are usually enjoyed. 

If you have same-sex pairs then the nesting materials should not be given because they can fight over it. 

Different types of paper like newspapers, paper towels make good substrate choices. Paper substrate is easy to replace and lets bird owners check the feces of their birds for any health related illnesses.

The cage should be placed in a location away from an air conditioner vent or where it will not receive direct sunlight. Extreme temperatures can make them sick. 

Keep a dish filled with clean water inside their cage at all times

Habitat Maintenance

The substrate should be checked and cleaned every day. If it is dirty, you should replace the substrate. Food and water dishes should also be cleaned daily. The perches need to be cleaned once a week with a damp cloth. 

A deep cleaning can be done once a month on the cage. Remove all the habitat parts and use a bird-friendly disinfectant while cleaning the cage. Replace damaged or broken perches with new ones when cleaning the cage. Let the cage dry completely before bringing your birds back. 

The Attention a Finch Needs

Finches do not need a lot of attention, making them a great choice for busy new bird owners. Finches don’t need to be handled frequently like parrots. If your family is busy then it’s best to keep a small flock of them. Finches will be happy to spend the entire day with their flock.

If your Finch allows you to handle them, your bird will let you know when they’ve had enough attention and you should then put them back inside their cage. Handling them frequently can cause them to feel stressed or frightened.

Health Issues

It can be difficult to find out when a bird gets sick because they behave normally even after being infected with a disease. Early detection of the disease is important to prevent it from becoming severe or resulting in death. Some signs of a sick Finch are:

  • Coughing or sneezing
  • Diarrhea
  • Regurgitation of food or water
  • Weight loss
  • Deformed feathers
  • Sudden quiet behavior
  • Swollen legs

Common diseases found in Finches are mentioned below.

Air Sac Mites

Air Sac Mites is an infection caused by an internal parasite that affects the respiratory tracts of Finches. Gouldian Finches are more prone to having this disease, especially when they are stressed. Symptoms of this disease include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Open mouth breathing

Sometimes the disease can also lead to death. Affected birds must be isolated from the flock. Possible treatments include giving medicine to the bird. The medicine may be given orally or administered topically on the skin. To prevent the spread of infection, the aviary or cage must be cleaned using an avian insecticide spray. It will stop the mites from growing.

Scaly Face and Scaly Legs

Scaly Face or Scaly Legs are caused by a mite that is related to spiders and ticks. The mites will burrow on the beak or legs. The beaks of the bird can turn into a chalky color. Sometimes the beaks will become distorted or scaly lesions may form on the skin around the beak. Scaly Legs is a similar disease that affects the feet of the birds. The feet of the bird will become swollen or look overgrown.

It can take up to 12 months after infestation for any symptoms of the disease to show. It is highly contagious and can easily spread to other birds in the cage. So it is important to isolate a bird who has been diagnosed with Scaly Face or Legs. To treat infected birds, Avimec a topical liquid is applied to the affected region of the bird’s skin. The liquid is applied once weekly, for 3 weeks. Depending upon the scale of the infection it can take up to 8 weeks for the birds to get cured.

Egg Binding

Egg binding is a condition that affects the female Finches where the egg takes longer to come out of the reproductive tract. The condition if left untreated can become fatal. Egg Binding is more common in female Owl Finches. Possible signs of a female Finch having the condition are:

  • Labored breathing
  • Swollen stomach
  • Constipation
  • Fluffed feathers
  • Strain while passing the egg
  • Sitting on the floor

If you find the bird showing the above signs, they should be taken to a vet immediately. The vet will diagnose and treat the condition. The condition can be caused by several reasons like stress, obesity or low protein diets.

a pile of loose bird feathers representing feather plucking disease

Avian Conjunctivitis

The condition results in the birds having swollen, red or crusty eyes. In serious cases the eyes will become swollen shut, making the bird blind. Conjunctivitis can be caused by bacteria, fungi or protozoa. Some birds may also develop respiratory infections. Treatments include giving the bird antibiotics or a spray that contains tylosin, lincomycin or spectinomycin.

Feather Loss

The major cause of feather loss in Finches is stress. The stress can result from overcrowding of the aviary or improper feeding methods. If more than one bird in the flock is losing their feathers, the cause can also be a parasite. For Gouldian Finches, feather loss is mostly caused by iodine deficiency. Gouldians need to be given iodine supplements as they do not get sufficient iodine from their diet. A vet should be consulted if your Finch is losing their feathers.

Bathing and Cleaning

To keep your Finches clean, mist their feathers every day. The easiest way to mist them is to use a spray bottle. Misting your Finches will dampen their feathers, allowing them to clean themselves. Avoid showering them directly because they are very small and can get hurt. If kept in pairs the birds will clean the feathers of their companions as well as their own.

Apart from daily misting, Finches should be given a bath twice a week. A shallow dish with 1 inch of water should be used. Place the dish inside their cage and let your Finches bathe themselves. The water needs to be lukewarm and the dish should be placed inside the cage during the day when the temperature is warm. Bathing the birds in the evening can cause them to be chilled. After they are done bathing, remove the dish from their cage. Let them clean and groom themselves. 

Feeding a Finch

Finches need to be fed a mix of pellets and seeds based food. A seed only diet is not recommended because seeds do not contain a balanced diet and they also have too much fat to be the only food for your Finches. Pellets are wholesome and contain important vitamins and minerals like Vitamin A and Calcium. If they’re fed pellets won’t need any supplements. Finches need to be fed 2 to 3 teaspoons of food every day. 

Pellets and seeds should make up 50 percent of their diet. The other 50 percent should contain vegetables and fruits. Vegetables like lettuce, broccoli, kale, carrot and spinach are all good veggies for them. For fruits apples, oranges, mangos and berries are all healthy and delicious fruits for them. 

Avoid feeding them avocado or foods that contain chocolate, caffeine or alcohol. These are toxic for the birds. 

Most Finches are herbivores so they should not be fed eggs or meat. To ensure your Finches get the calcium they need, a cuttlebone can be placed inside their cage. The cuttlebone will help your birds keep their beaks trimmed as well as get enough calcium.

Related Questions:

Should you Clip the Wings of Finches?

No, you should not clip the wings of Finches because they mainly move around by flying. Clipping their wings will make it difficult for them to move around which will impact their health. Finches don’t like being handled and don’t spend much time outside their cage. Untrimmed wings will allow them to fly around and enjoy with their flock inside the cage.