Frequently asked Finch Questions

Questions I've answered over and over

By Megan K
Published: Mar 12, 2014 06:31 AM GMT / 
Updated: Mar 12, 2014 06:31 AM GMT

1. When do finches become sexually mature?

It depends on the species of finch, to be honest. I find most to be sexually mature between 4-6mos old. However, they should NOT be bred until they are at least a year old.

2. How do Societies attract mates?

I'm not entirely sure how they attract mates or even if they do at all! Unlike their cousins, Zebra Finches, they don't exist in the wild so they never really needed to come up with a way to attract a strong mate. I've noticed that males will sometimes sing for females but not all do. To be perfectly honest, Societies are just as happy with the same sex as they are with the opposite. It's also a common sight to see all of them stuffed into one nest.

3. Would my finch survive if I set it free in the wild?

ABSOLUTELY NOT! While birds are not domesticated in the same sense as dogs or cats, they would still not survive in the wild. There are good chances of the bird starving or being eaten by a predator. The best case scenario is someone realizes that the little bird they're looking at is a pet and decides to catch them and care for the bird themselves.

Releasing a foreign species into an ecosystem that is has never had to handle is dangerous and irresponsible. So unless you actually live in the finch's native country, you will be messing with your ecosystem's delicate balance; an excellent example is Australia's introduction to the Cane Toad. The Cane Toad was brought over to protect Sugar Cane, but they have no natural predators in Australia to keep them in check.

4. My finch's mate died, can he/she care for the babies on their own?

It depends on how old the babies are and how many there are. Small newborns will put a lot of strain on the remaining parent so you may end up having to help out the singe finch left in feeding the little guys.

If the babies aren't newborns and don't need to eat quite as often, one parent should be enough to care for the young without your help. If the babies are fledglings, there should be minimal strain on the parent seeing as how the babies are now learning to eat on their own and no longer need a parent to help regulate their body temperature.

5. Both parents died! What do I do?

Hand feeding finches is incredibly difficult but can be done and is really your only option. With both parents not caring for the babies, you're only option to take up feeding the babies yourself. Unfortunately, this isn't something I can teach, you have to learn from experience. There are plenty of websites out there that have pictures and detailed descriptions on how to feed the babies and how to simulate a parent sitting on them. I won't lie, many babies will die before you get it right but if you do nothing, they'll die anyways. Practice makes perfect, don't lose heart.

6. Can I put finches in with Canaries?

No! Canaries are much larger than finches and can kill them if they wished. It doesn't matter how friendly "Tweety" is, all it takes is one bad day for your finches to be feathers on the cage bottom.

7. My male keeps picking on the female, why?

The male is trying to bully the female into mating. The only thing you can do is separate them and get your girl a gentle little boy

8. My finch babies are on the cage floor, why?

It could simply be because when mom or dad was flying out, they accidentally took one of the little guys with them. However, if you see cuts on the babies, that means they were thrown out. Most likely by the male. Males will throw out babies to get to mate with the females again. If you have a male doing this, remove him from the cage and help mom raise any surviving babies.

9.My finches are losing feathers and they're covered in cuts, why?

You have either a bully finch or if they're paired off, someone has eggs and is viciously protecting them and their mate. Watch the cage (in secret), and see which it is. If it's a bully finch, move the bully to a different cage. If it's a male protecting his new family, it's best to remove the other pair and let the aggressively protective pair have the cage all to themselves.

10. My female is pulling the feathers off her babies, why?

I'm not sure why females do this but they do. Pet stores offer sour tasting sprays you can cover the babies in to discourage mom from plucking their feathers but I find that the spray just makes her pluck more. The only real solution is to remove the babies from mom and care for them yourself.

11. What are signs of stress in birds?

The biggest one is feather loss outside of moulting and a lot more at once than molting. Another one is vibrating, a stressed out bird will shake on perches (can tell best by tail feathers). Weight loss/stop eating. They sit puffed out somewhere (BIG sign they're sick and should see a vet).

12. Can I use tree branches from outside for my finches?

You can but you have to bake the branches in the oven at 300-350F for approximately 45 minutes to kill any bacteria or parasites on the branches. These are birds from different climates, they have no immune for bugs on this side of the world.

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