Almost everything you need to know about pet care.
Birds - Zebra Finches
The most commonly available tropical Finch is the Zebra Finch - taeniopygia guttata. These are available at most good pet shops.
We once kept a pair of Zebra Finches (called Beep and Toot) as house birds, in a cage with half an hour to an hour of free flight daily. Then a few years ago we also kept a group of Zebra Finches for a couple of years in a sheltered outdoor aviary with a small flock of Budgerigars.
Zebra Finches are also sometimes called House Finches. These finches are lively, quite hardy, little birds. They are interesting pets and very sociable, they call with chirps, beeps and peeps instead of songs, which sound more like a child's toy tin whistle.
Zebra Finches prefer to be kept in a group rather than as a pair or single. They are approximately 10cm long. Males and females are different in colour; males have cheek patches of orange-brown and have much more colourings than the female.
We fed our Zebra finches a good quality finch seed mixture; also always provided access to a millet spray and fresh leafy greens from the garden. Fresh, clean water is a must.
Disease prevention is a priority with any pet and a Zebra Finch is no different. With the correct diet, clean water and spacious clean housing you are less likely to have to deal with a sick bird. We 'misted' our birds with a hand spray gun containing tepid water occasionally to help them keep clean being careful not to soak them to the skin - they absolutely loved this! Like all birds they also need access to a bird bath. If you give an unrelated adult pair a nest facility there is a good chance they will breed. Be sure to give them proprietory 'egg food' if you want this to happen.
Finches come from all around the world and each species lives under different conditions in the wild. This affects not only their captive environmental requirements but also their feeding, breeding and group demands. You should consider the compatibility of each species, social behaviour and their nutritional requirement, as this can vary greatly. You may also find that certain species will interbreed, throwing fertile mules.
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