Ask Lafeber

Question:

February 18, 2019

Regarding my Zebra Finch


Dear friend
Please help me with my Zebra Finch. I am in India and had bought a pair of Zebra finch of around 2 months old. The finch started laying eggs in next two months but on cage’s floor not in the wooden nest attached to their cage. Due to this eggs broke and didn’t hatch. I picked the intact ones and put it in the nesting box but the finch did not hatch them also.
Now I have again brought a new pair of some 2 months old finches. This time I want to start it right, if the fault is in my end. Kindly suggest me your inputs. Though I have following concerns.
1. If the finch hasn’t seen any bird hatching, would it still be able to hatch or not?
2. How my finch would know that the breeding box is for her use to keep and hatch her eggs?
3. Do you suggest me keep the nesting box installed in the cage or introduce it only when the pair matures and ready for egg laying.
4. Is there any specific food that I could utilize to treat my finch, which is favorite of finches.
Rest anything that you could suggest me for a happy rearing of my finches, I would sincerely appreciate.

Thanks in advance
Abhi


Answer:

Hi Abhi,

Your finches are probably a bit older than you were told since they laid eggs so quickly. They  generally won’t lay eggs until they are over 6 months old. Even at that age, it is much too young for them to be breeding and egg laying.

You need to wait until the birds are at least a year old before you set them up for breeding. You may need to keep the male and female separate until they are a year old or she may lay eggs when she is too young. When the birds are old enough, you can cage them together and see if they will bond as a pair. Wait for signs that they get along and show an interest in breeding. Feed them a healthy diet such as a pelleted diet designed for finches as well as dark, leafy greens, chopped veggies and cooked eggs. If they seem to be bonded, then you can give them a nest and some nesting material – generally some type of grasses which you can buy with the nest or buy online. Finches generally prefer a woven or grass type nest and not a wood box. Not all birds will be good parents but all you can do is provide everything they need and hope they succeed. Zebra finches are usually very easy to breed. In fact the common problem is keeping them from breeding too much. You will need to remove the nest after they raise chicks and make the rest for a few months. You may even have to separate the male and female again. And of course you will need to be able to find homes for the chicks. You cannot leave the chicks with the adult birds after they are eating on their own. Otherwise they are likely to breed with the parents or even each other. You should not ever breed related birds.

There are a lot of websites that have more information on breeding zebra finches. Please do more research before you try breeding them again. You can find pictures and more details on the nest type and other important information. Breeding birds can be fun, but it can also be a lot of work if you want the parents and chicks to remain healthy.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,

Brenda

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