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.
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John - 2011-09-29
I have two Zebra finch they laid eggs and they hatch and now the female died.I need to know what to do. Will the male feed the babys?

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  • Charlie Roche - 2011-09-29
    He should as both the male and female sit the eggs and feed the babies. I can't say that he will though as if first time dad and his mate just died. You can give him a few hours - maybe 6 to see if he feeds them and hopefully he does. If not it would be best to get some pedilyte water (in the baby dept of a grocery store) and a eye dropper and give the little ones each a few drops of water - just drop it on their tongue and let them swallow. Do that 4 times - about once an hour. You will also need bird feeding formula that you can buy at a pet store. You will have to hand feed them. Here is an article on Hand Feeding Finches'
    and hopefully dad just feeds them.
Laura - 2011-05-08
I have a pair of zebra finches in a large cage, and I've been taking them outside while the weather is nice and letting them enjoy the fresh air on our covered back porch. They sing like crazy and seem to enjoy it. Today we had a zebra finch land on the back porch - I'm guessing he heard the song of my birds - and since we don't live in Australia I can only assume someone let their pet loose here in the area. I'd like to add him to our finch family so he's safe. He appears to be young and healthy but we are keeping him quarantined for several days to be sure. We put his cage next to the cage with my birds and they seemed really happy. Since he's been outside, I'm assuming he has mites so we will treat for those. Any other comments or suggestions?

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  • Charlie Roche - 2011-05-09
    Quarantining the new finch from ther others is placeing the finch in an entirely separate area when nothing canbe transmitted that is air born also. So much for that one. Just keep an eye on the new one, checking to make sure poopr is normal, breathe is OK and no white droppings from the vent area. He could have just gotten loose from another home and honed in on yours singing. He is obviously used to people and a cage so he must have been someon'e pet so I say you're probably fine.
  • Laura - 2011-05-10
    Thanks Cheryl - I appreciate your comments! His poop does look quite normal and he's eating/drinking in good quantities - no plummage issues either. We'll give him another day or so just to make sure he's not sick, then try to move him over.
  • matt - 2011-05-12
    Yes, I have a comment, don't keep birds in cages and let that bird free. It's disgusting keeping a bird in a cage you should be ashamed of yourself.

    The only reason I'm on this site is because I'm going to buy a load of them as they are the only birds that I can buy from the local pet store to set free.

    They don't want to be safe, they want to live. You are safe in your house but if you don't ever get out of it you have no life.

  • Charlie Roche - 2011-05-12
    I think what you are doing is a good thing. That little finch is obviously tame and used to a cage. It isn't used to trying to find food on it's own and doesn't know what a predator is. It's ability to survive in the outside world would be extremely difficult and possibly no chance at all. It is wonderful and beautiful to see birds flock and fly in the forests and trees. Unfortunately more and more habitation is being destroyed. Without people in aviculture who devote themselves to breeding and without people who love these little creatures, someday they may not exist. There was a song once that went "freedom just another word for nothing left to lose" A life spent in love with it's human or another bird, even if it is in a cage at times can be a good life. I try and think of my birds in their cage and then when they are out and about in the house as the same thing as my home being my cage and then I go out and about. I go to a restuarant and they go to the dinner table. I go to the movies and they have their own movie selection. So, you keep your little friend and love him and be with him and enjoy.
  • Leila Peters - 2011-08-11
    Charlie, you have said it really well. Point is, while a bird should not be imprisoned in a cage, a cage should be a safe haven for a free bird, free to fly around, free from danger, and be a beloved pet at the same time. I agree totally that a bird should have a real quality of life where its owner really cares for him and provide him with optimum comfort where he will have freedom of flying and feel safe.
  • Leila - 2011-08-13
    Matt, yes I can identify with you, as you seem very angry. I also feel very angry and sad when I see people keep birds in small cages without any freedom. I hope everyone would keep the birds well-being in mind.
  • Sally Ann - 2011-08-19
    How many is a load of them? 15? 20? You can consider those birds dead. They have been domesticated and bred to be pets. If they were freed into the wild, just like someone said before, they would not be able to care for themselves as wild birds do. It would be akin to releasing a kitten into the Amazon jungle. I would rather have some of these beautiful creatures safe kept in case their wild counter parts die out.
  • Anne - 2011-08-20
    Matt is just trying to be humane. Just see how many animals/birds are kept in small cages without any freedom, and that is what makes a person feel so sad. I know of lots of domesticated birds,who, after having being left open outside, have adapted to the climate and have learnt to survive. Birds must not be kept without any freedom.
  • emma - 2011-09-17
    Matt, buying heaps of domesticated birds from a pet store and letting them go is cruel you can consider those birds dead within a day of there release. I agree it is cruel to keep birds in small cages but what about large cages or aviaries. any where with a space of at least 30 cms above there head and the same across is a cage sufficent for the bird to fly and flap its wings.
  • sarah - 2011-09-21
    I think 30 cm is way too small - its no aviary! Birds must not be kept in
    small cages, and there is nothing wrong in keeping them in aviaries, in fact it is the best place to keep domesticated birds in.
Mercedes - 2011-07-28
I have 2 finch birds that just recently layed eggs. The male just died and I wanted to know if it was okay to buy another male bird or would that affect the reaction of the female bird towards her eggs? or anything in that form?

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  • Charlie Roche - 2011-07-28
    I wouldn't try and introduce her to a new male until the chicks are at least to the stage where you can hand feed them if you have to. As long as the mom is hand feeding them, I wouldn't bring in another male. A new male is likely to play soccer with the eggs - or possibly the babies. This may be just cuz he is new and has no idea what is happening or he wants her undivided attention. My advice is the female finch has her hands full right now and a male finch could just be more work and could damage the eggs -
Leslie - 2011-07-09
This is more like a bunch of questions,than a comment or reply.1st question is:what are all the different types of plants that can harm zebra finches? What exactly do they do to harm these zebra finches? Could you please give me a list of both? How do you know when a female zebra finch is pregnant? How do you know when they are ready to lay there egg. I have to zebra finches,a male and female. When is a good time to get them a bigger cage? I got what I call a normal size cage. So,should I get them a bigger cage now or wait? Could you please send me the information on all of this to my email address? I Thank You Very Much for your time and patience. Thank You Very Much.
Thank you,
Leslie L. Gross

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  • Charlie Roche - 2011-07-09
    This link will take you to a list of toxic plants for birds.

    The list is long. Unless you are going to have an aviary loaded with plants where the birds fly free, I would just remove your plants. If you are going to set up a planted aviary (and they are gorgeous) with trees, bushes etc. than you need to look at the list. A friend of mine had a huge planted aviary - maybe 25 X 50 feet with all sort of plants and about 50 birds . He had a waterfall and everything. I had a few plants in the house and I just moved them. Consequences are a sick bird to one that can die. Best time to get a bigger cage is now. Always get the largest cage you can afford for you little guys. Make sure the bar spacing is small enough for finches though. They like freedom and flying and playing. You don't have to worry about when she is ready to lay eggs. They will take that naturally. They have to know -- you get the surprise. When you really really look, you can usually tell a female is about to lay eggs - at least with the smaller birds. The abdomen right above the cloaca looks a little swollen. It is real hard to see - cuz of feathers. Get the larger cage and put two next boxes up. OK?
kfed - 2011-05-09
I have 6 finches I acquired from an older couple who really only fed them seed. I am not sure if they are related or not but they do all get along they are in a cage 28x15x20. They seem to be doing well. I have 2 males and 4 females. Now, I have eggs galore. Does it matter if they were related and are they ok together since they seem well acclimated. They get a variety of fresh foods and seed and all you have advised including the cod liver oil and yeast. I have another cage ready to accommodated any off spring or unruly parents hoping to get them homes then remove the nests although they love their nests. Is this advised or should I leave the nest in the cage and is the cage an ok size since there is no problem but an occasional squabble.

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  • Charlie Roche - 2011-05-09
    You don't know whether the finches are related or not so why worry? Chances are even if they are related, it should be all right. Some aviculturists have been known to inter breed to obtain certain color mutations. If you remove the nests, it will not prevent the birds from breeding. They will just lay their eggs off the perch (in which case they will break) or in the food dishes. So their is no reason to remove the nests. Ideally, there should be 4 males and 4 females and 4 nest boxes. You definitely need 4 nest boxes for the 4 females so possibly two cages or one larger cage with 4 nest boxes. I wouldn't just add 2 male finches to this group. I would remove two of the females (the ones that are not sitting eggs if you can distinguish that easily) and introduce them to two other males. For right now being the eggs are laid and hopefully the females will sit the eggs, I would be reluctant to change anything, except make sure there are 4 nest boxes.
  • kfed - 2011-05-24
    Well I seperated the 2 females now I'm hoping the 2 pair left in the cage don't fight. So far so good. They both choose a nest as pairs. The 2 females I separated aren't crazy about each other but oh well. 1 sqwaks when the other goes near her but they really dont fight. I'll keep you posted thanks again =]]
  • Charlie Roche - 2011-05-24
    That was good. Now you have two pair and two extra females. You can always keep two of the male babies to pair with your two extra females. Birds can be complicated but they are interesting and entertaining. Babies are so adorable.
  • Anonymous - 2011-06-06
    Thanks again keep you posted.
  • Charlie Roche - 2011-06-18
    Well, I am sure glad all turned out fine for you. There will be a next time. One being tossed out of the nest is not an unusual occurance. The parents can sense if the little fella won't make it, or it dies and they throw it out. Sometimes it is actually done by the brothers and sisters. Caiques (which I had would lay five eggs) but when the 4th and 5th hatched the brothers and sisters would throw them out. I learned to incubate. Strange that nature.
    Glad you are through all the commotion and excitement. Fun isn't it. Miracles.
  • kfed - 2011-06-18
    Well the babies have arrived they are about 11 days old now. 3 I believe. 1 they ejected from the nest. I actually think it had already passed when they did this, it looked unhealthy or unfed. The others are thriving so far. I took the nest down a minute to look at them when the parents both came out which they do alot now. they look fine!!! =] thanks again
  • kfed - 2011-06-21
    fun it is!!! and boy can they eat =O thanks again =]
KRYSTAL - 2011-06-12
How long after zebra finches mate will you actually see an egg?? I have four finches, one of which was not looking too well. I ended up placing her in a seperate cage for 10 days so she could regain her strength, (and she did). Well after the ten day period I put one of the other finches in with her. Well I thought they were fighting a bit and didn't want to chance her getting hurt again, so removed the one bird and put it back with the other two and left the one by herself, but yet next to the other three finches so that she wouldn't feel lonely. Now the one that is by herself started laying eggs, that is why I asked. (1)How long after they mate will a female lay eggs so I could know whether they are fertile or not.....(2)And if they are fertile can the female hatch them by herself or does she need her mate? Because I cant tell the other three apart when they are together even more so I am unsure of what the other finches sexes are except of course the one that layed an egg....... Suggestions, please and thank you!!!!

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  • Charlie Roche - 2011-06-13
    From the time they do the deed to the drop of the fist egg is about a week, possibly sooner. You can usually tell the males from the females as the males are more colorful and the beak is darker. If you put the two cages close together with a perch at approximately the same height, they pair will probably try and sit next to each other even though the cage bars are separating them. Then you can see the pair and so move themale in with the female as they both do sit the eggs. Put the two cages right next to each other with two perches (one inside each cage) but next to each other and the male female pair should try and sit close together. There is your male, grab him and put him in with the female. Telling the three apart - look at the sides of the face and the color of the beaks.
esther layman - 2011-06-02
Our couple of zebras have eggs in the nest. He has been sleeping in the nest with her every night and taking turns sitting on the eggs, but now he has moved out at night... why?

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  • Charlie Roche - 2011-06-02
    I don't know how they do it or how birds in general figure this stuff out but they keep those eggs at a specific temperature and humidity and know exactly when to turn them. The heat comes from the little birds bodies (obviously) and they will frequently bathe in the water bowl to increase the humidity and turn the eggs. Long story here but what I am thinking is two finches in the nest box made the temperature to warm so one had to leave. Are they getting ready to hatch? That could be another reason.
  • esther layman - 2011-06-02
    Thanks so much for your help, wonderful we have a place to go with questions.
jessica - 2011-02-12
We started off with 2, a male and female they laid 3 eggs that hatched we took out the male but now we have 7 more eggs. So does the male have to be in the cage for the eggs to hatch? And can they lay eggs with out him?

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  • vanyel5 - 2011-05-19
    That all depends, if the babies are males as well, they have too be removed because they will may mate with the mother. How old are the babies? If they are old enough you must remove the males. Then if eggs are still laid they are not fertile.
rob - 2011-05-02
I have a pair of zebra finches. This morning I noticed a white egg in thier nest. This egg is slightly covered up with materials. The birds are not setting on the egg that I see. My question is if they have clutches of 4 to 6 eggs does this mean that it will take several more days for the female to lay more eggs before they will set on the eggs? What do I do now? I am so excited I dont know what to do. Do I keep thier cage in a private room without it being disturbed? Please give me some advice. thank you.

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  • Charlie Roche - 2011-05-02
    Don't do anything different than what you have been doing except give them more food. It would be good to give them softer food also such as scrambled eggs. Don't move the cage to another spot. If they were comfortable having thier eggs there, then they are comfortable. I wouldn't do anything out of the ordinary around the cage. Yes, their clutches (per the attached article in Animal World) are normally 4 - 6 eggs and they frequently don't sit the eggs well or all the time until the last egg is laid. Be excited and enjoy. However, many times the first clutch is what we say for free. In other words it is for practice. Maybe she will sit all the eggs and they will hatch and she will fed them but some eggs might break, somethey might throw, some might not hatch etc. There are no grandparents there to show them what to do.
  • rob - 2011-05-02
    From what I know when we got these finches is they had already laid eggs before and that person told me that the eggs never hatched. These birds seem very comfortable no matter where we set them from in different rooms to outside on the 2nd floor balcony. Why do they need 2 nest in the cage ? Thank you for your help.
  • Charlie Roche - 2011-05-02
    From what I understand from what you wrote, the finches are already in a cage. Is there a nest box attached to the cage or did they just lay eggs on the bottom of the cage? I said not to move the cage because that is where they laid the eggs. Now it might just be coincidence and that is where the egg decided to be but it also might be that they like that particular spot. With birds, in a cage, sitting on eggs, I am just very reluctant to move the cage or change the surroundings. Zebra finches (or any other birds) do not have to be in a cage to build a nest, have a nest box or lay eggs. Obviously, there are no cages in the wild. I had a friend and he had hundreds of birds, lose in a enormous wired in enclosure. The enclosure was probably about the size of a 4 car garage and he raised all sorts of softbills, cardinals, button quail, hummingbirds etc. No cages and he had nest boxes and things to make nests with all over. There was a waterfall and all sorts of trees and plants. Anyway sorry for the long writing. I just wouldn't try and move the cage while she has an egg in there. Why not wait? If she laid the egg in the bottom of the cage, put a nest box up and some nesting materials inside and put the egg in the nest box and hope for the best. Do you know from the prior owner if she sat the eggs or if the eggs were fertile? Do you know for sure that you have both sexes?
  • Charlie Roche - 2011-05-04
    What you are doing by just leaving them be rather than moving the cage is sensible. They probably don't mind you moving the cage in and out to the porch and actually enjoy it but when there are eggs things can change. If you tried to move the cage and they jumped in the nest box, thinking to protect the eggs, they could break the eggs. When you have more than one egg in there, they could bump each other and break. I think just leaving them alone is best. OK. Now when she lays her last egg, she should start sitting the eggs. After she starts sitting the eggs, it is usually 12 - 14 days after they start hatching. If it goes to 16 days or so, then I would take one egg out and hold it up and shine a penlight through it. You will either see a yolk (like a regular egg in the grocery store) or you will see red lines and/or a baby chick. By 12 - 14 days you should actually be able to hear movement in the eggs of the babies starting to pip the egg. It is also said that the eggs get darker after about a week of her sitting on them if they are fertile. I just saw an article that said they can have up to 8 eggs - so just hang in there and keep your fingers crossed. I will. OK?
  • rod - 2011-05-04
    The 2 finches I have were given to us in a cage that is oh say 18 x 18 wide and 24 inches high. They had a little round type nest that they would sleep in everynight together. According to my investigating I have a male according to its description on the internet. Today I now have 3 eggs in their nest. The nest is say 4 inches wide by 4 inches long and 6 inches high. We leave the cage alone now after I saw the first egg. We use to move the cage in the mornings from the quiet room to outside during the day. These birds did not seem to mind at all being moved from room to room at all. We have never even touched the birds. They love the attention we give them as to want us to be around them all the time. I have another nest in the cage but they do not fool with it at all and they still both sleep in the nest with the eggs. But now they have 3 eggs and maybe more coming. So far a new egg a day. We just leave them alone and hope it works out ok. The people that gave them to us said they sit on the eggs but they never hatched. We will just watch and hope for the best.
  • Charlie Roche - 2011-05-06
    You mentioned that the mom and dad finch were sleeping in the other nest box last night. They don't sit the eggs until all the eggs are laid so they probably just need another place to sleep. You have 3 eggs in the one box now and possibly another 3 - 5 coming. Once she lays the other eggs, they should start sitting on the eggs incubating them. I know this is a pain and hard to watch and it can make a person nuts. Either they will know what to do or they won't. All you can do is stand by for now and hope they have some idea of what they are doing.
Rick - 2011-04-28
I have a pr. of zebra finches. I was wondering if their babies will always look like there parents or if i will get some that very from them. Thanks.

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  • Charlie Roche - 2011-04-28
    WOW. You have two parents and chances are you have some resemblance to one or both of them. However, you have 4 grandparents and you could have some resemblance or characteristics from them as well. They each have 4 grandparents etc and all those looks/ appearances/ characteristics are passed down. So you have two finches and chances are the babies will look similar to them. However, those two adult finches both had parents and those genes could have passed down as well. It is luck of the draw there. Good luck, enjoy them and have fun.