Caring for Pet Finches: An Expert Guide

The finch makes a wonderful pet, and it's important to know how to care for these unique little birds. There are various species of finches available.


There are various species of domesticated finches available in pet stores and from breeders.

The website "Bird Keeping and Breeding", written and published by Terence Thornton, provides descriptions of several species of finches you may want to consider owning. Some of the species listed are as follows.

Zebra finches are a popular variety often seen in pet stores. They are available in many different patterns and colors ranging from white to shades of brown and silver. This type of finch is easy to care for, and they are great for those who are new to finch care and breeding.

Bengalese finches are believed to be a combined species originating in China. These beautiful little birds range in color from white to several variations of brown. They can be albino, one solid color, or sport patches of differing colors. Also, Bengalese finches may have a smooth or crested head.

Gouldian finches are native to the Australian topics. These splendidly colored finches can have gray, red, or orange heads, blue or greenbacks, and are purple, white, or yellow underneath. Their colors are often so brilliant they appear to be unnatural.

"Bird Keeping and Breeding" recommends buying a cage that is at least two and one-half feet in length. Finches are small birds, so the bars of the cage needs to be close enough together to prevent injury or escape. Consider purchasing a second cage so there is a place to house the birds during cleaning.

Perches for the cage should be of various sizes to provide exercise for the bird's feet. Cement perches are good for keeping the toenails trimmed, but they should not be used exclusively since they can be hard on the feet. "Basic Finch Care", written and published by Darla Smith in 2000, suggests the use of natural perches made from the branches of trees. A few suggestions listed are elm, maple, pear, poplar, and cherry.

The cage should be cleaned once a week, according to "Basic Finch Care". The cage and accessories should be thoroughly cleaned using hot, soapy water, rinsed, and dried. For easier cleaning, the bottom can be lined using paper towels, black and white newsprint, or brown bags cut to size.

The same article suggests toys such as swings, ladders, beads, and mirrors. Finches often like plastic rings and bells or other shiny objects for entertainment. There are many other toys for birds available in pet stores and retail outlets. Providing a couple of toys at a time and changing them often will keep them interesting.

"Basic Finch Care" recommends a basic diet of seed especially for finches along with a supplemental finch treat. It says parakeet seed is acceptable if finch food is not available. Also suggested is a supplemental vitamin to add to the treats. "Basic Finch Care" advises against adding vitamins to the seed dish because of the possible growth of bacteria and mold. Be sure to clean the food and water dishes with hot, soapy water on a regular basis. The same article suggests a cuttlebone to keep the bird's beak trimmed.

Finches will provide a lot of entertainment with their cheerful little voices and their unique personalities. They are a pleasure to care for, and they make wonderful pets.