Your at your local pet store when you hear the distinct call that carries you to the cages of, you guessed it, the zebra finches. Its the verify distinct yet calming call that attracted you to their cage, and once your eyes settle on the source of that noise, you fall in love with their beauty. Naturally, you decide you want to raise a few fincehs of your own. Lets talk basics.
Zebra finches come in several differnt colors with the most common being the standard grey, solid whites, or a mixture of the two. They’re all beutiful at the site regardless of their gender, although the males will have more color to them as they will have two solid orange/red patches on their cheeks, red streak chest, and if its breeding season, a dark blood red beak.
Now that you know the differnce between the mails and the females, its time to choose your pair. The most common place to purchase your birds is your local pet store, and against popular opinion, is a good place to start looking. Nonetheless, if you can find a good breeder in your area, that may be the better option. Regardless, you want to look for the livliest birds you can get your hands on. Watch them fly and move around. One thing that you will notice is that zebra finches are energetic; they are always moving. Look to make sure the birds you choose can move smoothlu and look healthy. Insure that they dont have crusty eyes, have clean feathers and do not look puffy. Like most animals, a sick zebra finch will stand by themselves in the corner and puff up. Best to start off strong and by the healthiest birds you can get.
Now that you have chosen your birds, lets talk about their setup. Lets start with their cage. I would recommend the biggets HORIZONTAL cage that you can afford. Keep in mind that zebra finches like to fly, and they fly from side to side; not up and down. I use and recommend the You and Me Rectangle Flight cage. (30 inches wide) you can find it on Amazon here: https://amzn.to/2S7moMR
Once you have your cage chosen, its time to add their nest. From my experience, zebra finches like to feel secure and protected in their nest, so keep that in mind when selecting your nest. I find that the woven nest that you can purchase at your local stores will work, just make sure to choose the biggest one they have. Since you are already there, be sure to pick up a cuttle bone as well. This cuttle bone will make sure that your birds remain healthy, particulalry your female finch who will need that extra calcium to produce her eggs. It goes without saying, but I should probablt mention, that you should purchase finch specific feed as well.
Now lets talk about cage placement. If you want your birds to be comfortable enough to start a family of their own, its important to remember that finches feel safe being able to see as much as they can, aka a birds eye view. We can simulate this with height. Be sure to place your cage at least at eye level or above to insure your finch feels safe enough to want to nest. The nest itself should also be placed towards the top back end of the cage. Once you have the nest, cuttlebone, and any toys (swings) in place, it is time to introduce your finches to their nest.
Lets play the wait game. Patience. It is important to undertsand that finches reach reproduction age at 6 months age. Typically, it is safe to assume that pet store birds are on average two to three months old, so you may have to wait a little longer. Regardless, finches will still build their nest at an early age, but you wont see any eggs until they have reached maturity. You can purchase nesting material at the store, but any soft household material can work as well. I like to cut paper napkins into half inch wide strands that are anywhere from four to seven inches long. You can then simply place them at the bottom of the cage and watch them build their nest. Normally the male will initiate the build and hold the cut peice of napkin in its mouth to show/intice the female. Allow them a few hours to build and add nesting material as neccessary.
Once you see that the nest has been built, and reproductive age is reached, it only a matter of time before you will see your first egg. The female finch will lay one egg a day until she has a clutch size of four to six eggs. Once she has laid all her eggs, she will then start sitting on them and only leave the nest a few times a day to eat, stretch, and drink. When you notice your fich laying on her clutch, you can then count twelve to fourteen days until you can expect to see your first finch baby.
Congratulations!!! Your a grandparent!
Rasing babiess is another story. Stay tuned…