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5 Things You Gotta Know About Finches

Not a parrot person? Looking for a feathered friend that’s a little more independent? Finches might be more your style.

Amanda Lafond

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Although finches cannot be tamed quite like parrots, finches are plenty of fun to listen to and watch. They come in a variety of stunning colors and make quiet noises that many find pleasant. Here’s five things you should know before bringing a pair home:

1) You should keep more than one finch. While a finch certainly won’t die from being alone, she will be quite unhappy. Kristy Coury from Finches by Kristy said, "Finches should never be kept as a solitary animal. They always need to be kept as two or more as they are very social. Just because you should have more than one doesn’t necessarily mean you have to have all the same species.” However, Coury warns that not all species can be housed together. Find out which species tolerate one another before placing them together.

... finches tend to prefer to move from side to side rather than up and down, so cages should be longer rather than taller ...

2) The best starter finches are also the most commonly found: zebra finches and society finches. Coury said, "Some finches are easier than others to keep and a novice should understand the differences before purchasing. Read up on the species you [want] to house. There will be many different opinions on how to raise the same species. Do your research. Zebras and societies are on the easier side. Gouldians are among the more difficult.” So, while it might be tempting to buy that beautiful Gouldian pair, a beginning finch owner might want to consider a species a bit more adaptable.

3) Despite their size, finches need large cages. "Because they are so small, they have particularly fast metabolisms. They are constantly moving. They need plenty of room to move around and exercise. Also, finches tend to prefer to move from side to side rather than up and down, so cages should be longer rather than taller,” Coury said. Potential owners may want to consider a flight cage or similar to house their finches. Finch cages should also have a variety of perches. Bird-safe plants or garlands of silk leaves are also good cage furnishings.

Gouldian finch
Gouldian finches are beautiful, but may require more care than other finch species.

4) Finches may not be particularly loud, but they still vocalize often. Many owners find these noises soothing, and the low volume makes these birds apartment friendly. Those wanting quiet birds may want to reconsider, as finches do tend to chirp and sing throughout the day. Males in particular love to sing. Zebra finches pass on their own particular song from father to son.

5) Unless you’re looking to have your birds breed, you do not have to provide a nest for your finches. Coury said, "Many finches don’t sleep in a nest at night, such as Gouldians. Society finches however, pile in as many as they can to sleep. Basically, if you don’t want baby finches, don’t provide a nest. If you have a species that prefer a nest to sleep in, have only one sex.” Without a nest finches will sleep fine on perches. The lack of a nest also discourages breeding behavior in most finches.

Want to learn more about finches?

Try A Finch As A Pet Bird
Finches In Science


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Posted: May 2, 2014, 12:15 p.m. PDT

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5 Things You Gotta Know About Finches

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Reader Comments
My Zebra finch has literally killed every male in her cage. She loves being alone lol. The noise she makes is why we called her "Meep Meep". Highly active and thrives on human contact
Simone, Lindsay, ON
Posted: 1/12/2015 5:25:55 PM
Great article!!
LYNNE, Houston, TX
Posted: 5/10/2014 12:45:56 AM
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