Animal Stories - Zebra Finch

Animal-World Information about: Zebra Finch

    Zebra Finches are great birds for a beginner or any bird enthusiast! These attractive little creatures are hardy, inexpensive, active, and one of the easiest birds to keep and breed. They are long-lived, with a life span in captivity of about 12 years.
Latest Animal Stories
annette - 2012-09-23
I have a sick zebra finch. I don't know how old she is as I have only had her for a few weeks. She is lethargic, unable to fly around the cage, poor appetite, not drinking, nodding her head slightly. She is in a cage with 5 other finches. I have seperated her and put her into a hospital cage with food and water on the floor of the cage but don't know what else to do, any suggestions?

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  • Charlie Roche - 2012-09-23
    Yep sure does sound sick.  Place a heating pad wrapped in a towel on low and place it under the cage or right on the bottom of the cage.  You can wash the towel.  Get some pedilyte water from the grocery store and give him a few drops by plcing them on his tongue every hour.  If you can get to the pet store and buy some formular and start feeding him formula.  You can buy a syringe and just mis the formula acccording to directions and place drop at a time onhis tongue and let him swallow.  As soon as possible, I'd get him to a vet.  You have to as might be contagious.
  • Charlie Roche - 2012-09-23
    When you make the formula - make it with the pedialyte.  He canuse the additional enzymnes as must be badly dehydrated.  I am going on the off chance that you possibly purchased this finch before he was weaned and he is starving which would cause the lethargic behavior.  When you say you have had him 5 weeks - if it is contagious the other guys most likely have it.  You can't go wrong by hydrating a little fella and feeding him and keeping him warm to prevent shock. 
  • annette park - 2012-09-25
    Thankyou for your advice but the bird passed away overnight. The other birds don't seem to be affected at the moment but I am keeping a close eye on them. They are all feeding and drinking and very active in the cage. I got all the birds from the same person who had bought alot of birds at the same time, so I don't know how old any of the birds are, however, I think one of the birds is quite old. She is fluffed up and one of her eyes is closed most of the time, but she has been like this for the past 5 weeks since I got her, but she feeds and drinks, but does sleep alot. She looks older that the other birds. Is it too soon to introduce another female to the cage?
  • Clarice Brough - 2012-09-26
    So sorry to hear about your loss, these are such sweet little birds. thank goodness it sounds like the others are okay, but I'd probably watch for a while, just to make sure.
Gaurav - 2012-07-27
I have 6 finches in my cage..3 males 3 females. there are two pairs but one male nd one female are alone. I have build 3 nests. Both pairs have started making nests in boxes. They mate at least thrice in a day but they are not laying any eggs why are they not laying?? One female (white one) looks very fatty and fluffy and she sleeps in the day time as well.  What's wrong with her?? As I read that they need calcium. I brought egg shells from a egg shop. only eggs shells. As I am vegetarian I don't eat eggs. But I can do anything for my finches that's why I brought shells. Do they need more of it?? Can anybody please tell me about it?

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  • Charlie Roche - 2012-07-27
    I'd put up at least 4 nesting boxes for 3 pair - one extra so they have a choice. It is recommended that you put up two nesting boxes per pair so you would need 6 nesting boxes and some degree of distance or privacy between each ot the two nesting boxes.   Possibly they just don't like the nesting box but that is too easy but I'd put up another nexting box.  If you don't wish to purchase egg shells, there is usually calcium block (even flavored calcium blocok) and cuttle bone in good bird stores.  If the one that is sleeping and fat is mating - then she is possibly getting ready to lay eggs but I'd watch her in case she is egg bound.  If the one that is fat and fluffy is not mating - then I'd say she is ill.  You can only take her to the vet.  Birds do sleep in the day time but if she is sleeping, fat and fluffy, I'd be concerned.  The two that aren't mating - possibly you have two females - not a pair.  If the one is fat and fluffy - then possibly a sick finch.  Mating finches do the mating/courtship behavior year round - pretty much all the time.  It doesn't mean they are actually mating or the female has eggs.  Also, it takes a few times for them to catch on to what they are doing.  Practice.  They are just having fun and all good things will come in time.  Enjoy.
  • Gaurav - 2012-07-27
    Thanks a lot for your reply and last thing I know that those two are not females. One is male and one is female but that single male keeps on interfering between other pairs and disturbing them. He enters into their nest box and spoils it. Maybe I should put him in another cage with budgerigars.. would that be right?? And I want to ask you one more thing, if one of the pairs lays an egg they will not start sitting on it. I hope that the second pair will not eat their eggs. Am I right??
  • Charlie Roche - 2012-07-27
    Yes, definitely remove the male that is aggravating the other two pairs.  I'd also remove the extra (finch that is supposedly a female).  If she is ill - best to remove.  If she is egg bound, best to remove.  If she is a male - best to remove.  There would be a reason the male would be aggravating the other pairs.  No, I don't think you should put the two finches that are not breeding in with the budgies.  Finches will most likely not start incubating the eggs until tall the eggs are laid.  The second pair would not notmally go into another pairs nest and eat their eggs.  Happens but not usual.  It is a learning process though so initially They copuld possibly accidentally break the eggs, or as you said eat the eggs.  The eggs ,might be infertile.  They will learn and the eggs won't be broken and they will be fertile.  It is always best to put a screw on perch by the nest box so they don't have to jump in the nest box.  They can sit by the nest box on a perch and slowly go into the box.  They want to protect the eggs and sometimes they just dive in and accidentally break them.  Put a perch up so they can sit outside if they have to and protect also they won't have to dive in.
  • Anonymous - 2012-07-27
    I will definately do this. Thank you so much
  • Anonymous - 2012-07-29
    Hey, Can you tell me one more thing what should i feed them for egg formation... because yesterday in my cage there was yolk of egg.. there was no sign of egg shell only yellow part was there... its like egg wants to form but due to some problem its not forming.. can you suggest me this something... i gave them bread soaked in milk but they did not show any interest in it. please help
  • Charlie Roche - 2012-07-29
    When the birds are running a calcium shortage, they have soft shelled eggs (looks like a peeled grape) or no shelled eggs - probably what you are seeing.  I'd give them scrambled eggs with the shells in.  You can also buy shells of eggs.  I'd give them a calcium block - they come in flavors even.  I'd give them cuttlebone.  Chicken, kale and tuna are good sources of calcium and most parrots love these foods.  I'd do it all as she obviously has a big calcium shortage.  Cabbage is also good but they don't usually eat it.
  • Gaurav - 2012-07-30
    There is one more problem. Yesterday one female laid an egg.. but she has started incubating it... she does not sit on it for all day.. but she is sits on it.. what does it mean?? Does it mean she will only lay one egg in this clutch ?? And i brought hard boiled egg for them.. i cut into half, smashed it ... and gave them. but no one showed interest... they like to eat egg shells... but not hard boiled egg.. So Should i keep on giving them boiled egg as they are not eating it... or egg shells are enough for calcium deficiency???
  • Gaurav - 2012-07-31
    Today, i again gave them boiled egg.. but this time i did not smash it.. i just cut the egg in half and gave them.. they ate it so much.. and they are enjoying eating it... May be i am too much curious for these little zebrass...
  • Gaurav - 2012-08-01
    Charlie can you tell me one thing. One female from a pair has laid her second egg today. Male and female are incubating it not regularly but most of the time in a day. I am feeding them foxtail millet and pearl millet, boiled eggs, egg shells. Should I feed them something else or this is fine.??? please help..
  • Charlie Roche - 2012-08-01
    What you are feeding them sounds good to me.  You might want to add a little cooked sweet potatoe if available.  They usually don't start incubating (seriously - all the time) untill all the eggs are laid and they normally lay 4 - 6 eggs.  Doing good.  Enjoy.
  • Gaurav - 2012-08-03
    Thank you so much... i am following what you advised me... now there are 4 eggs in one box and 2 in another... lets see how many hatchlings come out. :-)
  • Gaurav - 2012-09-20
    Hi, now my finches babies are one month old. One of them is male and two of them are female, but fourth one looks like female but she is having patterns like male finch for e.g. orange cheeks and brown color with white patches on wings. Is it a male or female or third gender?? and one more thing, parents are plucking their feathers from last two weeks.. what should I do?
Andy Ruisinger - 2012-08-25
Hello, I have 12 zebra finches that I house in an outdoor aviary. The aviary is 9' tall, 3' wide & 6' long. I am concerned about food waste. It seems that no matter what type of Finch / Canary food that I purchase from pet stores, the majority of certain seeds end up on the floor of the aviary uneaten. Is there a website our distributer in houston , TX that sells a more natural selection of seed that zebra finches will actually prefer to eat?

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  • Andy Ruisinger - 2012-08-25
    Thanks for the advice! I will start planning a feeder box today!
  • Andy Ruisinger - 2012-08-25
    Oh and 1 black finch with a white chest... the others seem to not involve him in any (reindeer) finch games.. activities
  • Charlie Roche - 2012-08-25
    I think no matter what - the birds are going to toss a lot of their food.  this is going to be hard to expalin - but with that many, I would have a feeder station.  Picture a large metal (or fiberglass) rectangular box about 4 feet long.  The box would be about 1 foot high, 1 foot deep and 4 feet long.  It would attach to the outside of the cage on one wall.  Seed cups/bowls would go in cutouts along the retangular box.  This rectangualr box would open from the back and you would just sweep the tossed seed back into the bowls.  In other words there would be bowls inside a box.  the birds would toss the seed but much of it would remain in the box and you could just sweep it back into the bowls.  Doesn't work perfectly but does work pretty good. 
Ananya Roy - 2012-07-29
I have a pair of zebra finch. I am from West Bengal in India and now it is monsoon and we are having heavy downpours. Recently I noticed that the finches' poop is very watery though there is solid greyish white part in it,but it has a lot of watery liquid too. I kept the windows closed and covered their cage at night but still no solid feces. They are eating well and there is no change in their activity level, nor they are sitting on the floor of the cage. Is my birds seriously ill? What should I do? Is the moist weather responsible for this illness? please help me.

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  • Charlie Roche - 2012-07-29
    Think about what you are feeding them.  Possibly the food/seed is old or bad.  That's the easy part.  I'd change the food/seed or pellet mix.  What goes in is what comes out.  If you are feeding them more than 1 grape each a day - the poop will be runny and grey, as an example.  If you feed them raspberries, the poop is going to look red.  So start with the food.  If that isn't it - then I would get them on an antibiotic.  Sounds like too much fruit or a bad seed mis though.
  • Ananya Roy - 2012-08-15
    I have changed the bedding, and cleaned their cage thorougly with disinfectant liquid. Also I have changed the seed mix, and it worked! My finches are healthy and normal again (considering their poop). Also,after noticing an egg in their cage, I have set up nest boxes for them, and now both of the pairs are busy furnishing and preparing their nests.they decorate their nests all day and get inside the nests and stay there for the night. I hope soon there will be eggs,and who knows then little cute finch-chicks will arrive!! I am very excited.thanks for your advice.
P. Erickson - 2012-08-12
Just got a great deal on double decker cage and have a couple of questions. If anyone could answer, I'd appreciate it and so would the zebra finches! They're now housed in a Prevue 30'w X 18'd X 18' h cage. I have parakeets as well in another cage the same size. I'm moving to a small apartment and want to house both species in a larger, double decker cage, 30'w X 24'd X 35'h interior space, 74'h overall. The bar spacing is 5/8'. Do I need to line the inside of the finch portion with hardware cloth or something to prevent escape or injury? Can the two species be kept in such close proximity? Would it be better to put the finches in the top portion or the bottom? Thank you very much!

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  • Charlie Roche - 2012-08-12
    Thre should be a tray or complete divider between the upper and lower portaion of the cage.  If not the birds on the top will be pooping on the birds on the lower level.  Sounds like you are missing some parts.  I prefer separate cages for pairs.
bsti - 2012-07-23
I have about five zebra finches that come to my bird feeder outside of Houston, Texas. They seem to be doing fine.

EC - 2012-07-22
I have two baby finches that will be 4 weeks on the 27th and they are not only flying & eating on their own, but have already started getting thier colors

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  • Charlie Roche - 2012-07-22
    Congratulations.  Isn't it totally amazing - 4 weeks. 
DB - 2012-06-26
Just picked up fairly big cage and a male/female finch, they have food/water/bird bath 6 driftwood sticks to sit on and a bird house in the cage so they have plenty to do! I also put the cage by the window so they can look out, so far they seem happy and active and sometimes chirp alot, which must mean they're happy.  Id like to add some birds, so what do you suggest for an addition and how many of what?

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  • Charlie Roche - 2012-06-26
    What size do you mean by 'fairly big?'  I wouldn't put anything other than finches with finches.  They aren't overly large, they are quite social and would get along with other finches.  I would be concerned with other birds unless you intent to house them in a different cage.  Depending on the saice of the cage you have - you could add additional finches.
  • DB - 2012-06-26
    Cage is 30x25 and BTW I just saw an egg on the floor of the cage LOL am surprised she didn't lay it in the bird house I made. Anyway their still cheerful and happy from the sounds of things
  • DB - 2012-06-26
    BTW do they need to be covered at nite??
  • Charlie Roche - 2012-06-26
    They don't need to be covered at night but make sure not under a fan or in a draft.  You could put another pair of finches in that size cage but set up 3 nest boxes for the two pair. 
Aelexa - 2012-05-27
I have 5 zebra finches. I tried 6, but the newcomer wasn't readily accepted and actually got out the window! Anyway, 3 females, 2 males and 4 nests. My question is this - Blanche (the white one) has trouble laying her eggs. She will sit on the floor and eventually her eggs end up at the bottom of the cage. After seeing this, I picked up 2 and put them in different nests. There is not really any 'ownership' of nests at this point. I found later that the eggs had been thrown out. All of them. I made sure to put them in with other eggs...these birds are perplexing to say the least! I enjoy watching them!! Now there are eggs in 3 nests (a total of 9) - with 5 in one and 2 in the other 2. None of the birds actually sit on the eggs. I guess what I'm concerned about is that they will have all these eggs, but there will never be any young! The birds - as of right now - are roughly 4 months old. My guess is they are just too young to know what to do...? Any suggestions are appreciated!!!!

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  • Charlie Roche - 2012-05-27
    They are young and they haven't figured out what they are doing yet. Might take a couple of clutches. However, the female doesn't start incubating the eggs with any regularity until the last one is laid. A clutch is typically 4 - 6 eggs.
maria - 2012-05-26
I have one aviary with finches. Can they inter breed? Brothers and sisters. I love them they are beutiful birds.

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  • Charlie Roche - 2012-05-26
    Yes the finches can and do interbreed.