Ask Lafeber


June 20, 2022

New Baby Finches

My Zebra Finches just had a litter of 4 eggs, 3 have hatched. this is their first time as parents and they didn’t seem to be helping the chicks like I hoped. The second day I was worried the chicks were dead, so I carefully removed them from the nest to see if I needed to dispose of them. I found they were alive but very weak. I fed them a few drops of sugar and salt water, and placed them back in their nest. Since then they have seemed to be much more active, but I havent actually seen the parents feed them. Should I leave them alone, or is there a time I should step in?


Hi Isabella,

It’s best to leave the chicks with the parents and hope the parents do their job. Most first clutches do fail because the parents are learning and make mistakes. But the chicks are rarely better off with you. They are nearly impossible to hand feed and keep alive. Never give them water again. This is very risky and most of the time they will aspirate the water and end up dying. The parents do not feed them the first few hours because they are still absorbing the yolk sac. But one of the parents should be sitting on the chicks to keep them warm. Trying to handle the chicks can also cause harm, no matter how gentle you are, because they are very frail at this age. Baby finches are no active and may appear weak when they aren’t. It’s important that you are offering the parents some leafy greens and chopped veggies, but most importantly some cooked egg or a commercial dry egg food. If you plan to let this pair breed again in the future, then let them learn now and just hope for the best.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,


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