Ask Lafeber


September 9, 2020

Finch aviary

Dear Brenda

THANK YOU so much for your very detailed response. It is all making sense now. I have left the nests in the aviary thinking it was cosy and home for the birds but it has become more of a problem over the last few years with the babies dying. I felt mean taking the nests out as I thought it was their home and they needed the comfort of the nests. Just shows even though I have had birds for many years you still learn lessons. I have never bred to sell and have kept all the babies so understand the weakening of the line. I have a variety of finches and canaries.

As the weather is warming up I wont feel so bad taking the nests out. But I can’t bare to see any more babies dying. So a good clean out of the aviary will happen over the weekend. Many thanks once again for your very valued response and advice.

Kind Regards


Hi Gina,

I’m so glad I could help you! And you are absolutely right – no matter how long we have kept birds, there is still more to learn because there are always new discoveries being made.

I have posted your reply here so that other bird owners can learn from it. This is a very common problem with many captive bird species, not just finches. It is a common belief that birds need something to sleep in. Finches are almost always sold with a nest. There are a variety of nests, bird huts and bird tents that are sold for pet birds of all sizes. But we have learned that the answers to all bird behavior and breeding issues are found by knowing what their wild behavior and habits are. Nests are only used by wild birds for breeding, and then the nest is abandoned. For pet birds, nests are a hormone trigger which can result in chronic egg laying, territorial aggression and anti-social behavior towards people.

Your finch colony will adjust to not having nests. It will actually take a lot of pressure off of them as it should reduce territorial behavior. Finches do enjoy many of the smaller colorful plastic bird toys, especially things with beads and bells, and they love swings. Even a plastic ladder hung from the top of the aviary can provide a fun, swinging perch that multiple birds can share. If you notice any bird spending time sitting in a food dish or a corner of the cage, move the dish or put something in the corner to block access so that the bird doesn’t try to establish a nesting area. This is going to happen at times, but they are easily discouraged by moving things around because it tells them it is not a stable and safe place to nest. In the long run, your birds will have a better and more relaxed life and you will be able to enjoy watching their interactions without having to worry about losing chicks.

Thanks for the update & kind words!


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