Animal Stories - Zebra Finch

Animal-World Information about: Zebra Finch

    Zebra Finches are great birds for a beginner or any bird enthusiast! These attractive little creatures are hardy, inexpensive, active, and one of the easiest birds to keep and breed. They are long-lived, with a life span in captivity of about 12 years.
Latest Animal Stories
ananya roy - 2012-11-12
how can i know if an egg is fertile and ready to hatch?(i mean without candling.i feel nervous to hold their eggs and also the birds get scared if i approach at their nest.)is there any change in the physical appearance of the eggs like shine,color etc from which i can make out if it will hatch ,when i inspect it from outside the cage after 10 days of incubation? please let me know in details.thanks.

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  • Charlie Roche - 2012-11-12
    You can't.  There just isn't any way to determine if an egg is fetile without candling.  Right before the egg hatches you can hear a clicking on the inside of the egg as the baby is pipping (hitting the beak against the inside of th egg to open it) and sometimes you can actually hear them chirp.  Thats' 24 - 48 hours before it hatches.  You only haave about 2 - 5 days before they start to hatch so might as well relax.
ananya roy - 2012-11-09
1 pair of my zebra finches are behaving quite strangely. They take in the cuttle bone pieces I feed them, and instead of eating them, they take them inside their nest and incubate them. They lovingly care for those pieces, and make a terrible fuss if I try to take them out. They behave like a couple but haven't laid any eggs yet. They even try to feed the pieces! Are they infertile? I have no problem with that. I just like to have some suggestions!

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  • Charlie Roche - 2012-11-09
    If you have a male and female, then it is called practicing.  Seriously, mine would incubate walnuts and I'd feel so bad as I knew those walnuts would never hatch.  If you have an actual male female pair - there is a learning curve and they will practice.  It is also possible that you have two males - in which case one will frequently assume the role of a female and there will be no eggs.  They know something is supposed to be happening but really don't have a clue.  Do you know how old your finches are?  If they are two years or more, my guess is you have two males. I have heard often that a pair in the wild is two birds - So they might just be sexually immature and you just have to wait or they might be two males and you would still  have to wait awhile.  Good luck. 
DeAnn - 2012-10-13
I have 3 zebra finches and just got a white one with a little black on his/her back and around his eyes. He/she has a a pinkish yellow beck and feet. What kind is he, and can he or she breed with my other finches?

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  • Clarice Brough - 2012-10-13
    If you bought a Zebra that's mostly an albino, it can breed with other Zebra's.
DeAnn - 2012-10-12
My finches hatched only 2 babies about 7 months ago, but today i noticed there are now at least 6 eggs in her nest. Is this common and do most of them live with this many. And when should I except them to be born where she has so many?

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  • Clarice Brough - 2012-10-12
    I got all this info from the breeding section above, and it seems to answer all your questions. ''they generally display mating behaviors all year long, ... female will lay a clutch of 4 to 6 eggs, ...will hatch in 12 to 14 days, ...  the young leave the nest about 4 weeks after they hatch and in 5 to 6 weeks will be on their own.'
  • DeAnn - 2012-10-12
    Im hopping that if she has all 6 they will live and that they have room in their nesting ball for them all to fit.
Riz - 2012-10-03
I have a pair of zebra finhes. Out of first clutch (3 eggs) of 3 eggs no chicks survived. Then the second clutch (6 eggs) got infested by tiny red ants and after cleaning few hatched non survived. Third clutch (9 eggs) also keep hatching out, but next day new born chick getting dead!!!. Now 4 eggs remain to be hatched. I am very much worried, what could be the reason for this un-successful story? Some one please guide me for successful breeding.

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  • Charlie Roche - 2012-10-03
    Well, the good news is at least you have a male and a female cuz there are chicks.  The parents are new and they are going through a learning experience - so they usually say the first couple or three clutches are free cuz the parents don't know to incubate, to feed, not to scrunch the eggs etc.  So the first clutch - no chicks surviving - that is probably a learning experience and they missed it. Ants - somehow they got into the cage.  If the cage is on legs - you can rub the legs with vaseline which prevents the ants from climbing up.  Camicide is a safe pest killer around birds.  Third clutch - 9 eggs.  Do you have more than one female in there?  Usually the clutches are 4 - 6.  Sometimes the older first hatched babies smother the newer hatched babies or mom in her enthusiasm to feed the newly hatched babies miss the younger ones.  Breeding - both for the birds and for the humans is a learning experience and you just have to go through it.  With 9 eggs - I just don't see how mom can feed them all - but it is possible.  You could think about pulling the oldest and hand feeding but they are so small - doubtful it could be successful.  I think it is a prcess you just have to go through.  I am sorry but the good news is you are getting actual babies - that is a big step. 
annette - 2012-09-23
I have a sick zebra finch. I don't know how old she is as I have only had her for a few weeks. She is lethargic, unable to fly around the cage, poor appetite, not drinking, nodding her head slightly. She is in a cage with 5 other finches. I have seperated her and put her into a hospital cage with food and water on the floor of the cage but don't know what else to do, any suggestions?

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  • Charlie Roche - 2012-09-23
    Yep sure does sound sick.  Place a heating pad wrapped in a towel on low and place it under the cage or right on the bottom of the cage.  You can wash the towel.  Get some pedilyte water from the grocery store and give him a few drops by plcing them on his tongue every hour.  If you can get to the pet store and buy some formular and start feeding him formula.  You can buy a syringe and just mis the formula acccording to directions and place drop at a time onhis tongue and let him swallow.  As soon as possible, I'd get him to a vet.  You have to as might be contagious.
  • Charlie Roche - 2012-09-23
    When you make the formula - make it with the pedialyte.  He canuse the additional enzymnes as must be badly dehydrated.  I am going on the off chance that you possibly purchased this finch before he was weaned and he is starving which would cause the lethargic behavior.  When you say you have had him 5 weeks - if it is contagious the other guys most likely have it.  You can't go wrong by hydrating a little fella and feeding him and keeping him warm to prevent shock. 
  • annette park - 2012-09-25
    Thankyou for your advice but the bird passed away overnight. The other birds don't seem to be affected at the moment but I am keeping a close eye on them. They are all feeding and drinking and very active in the cage. I got all the birds from the same person who had bought alot of birds at the same time, so I don't know how old any of the birds are, however, I think one of the birds is quite old. She is fluffed up and one of her eyes is closed most of the time, but she has been like this for the past 5 weeks since I got her, but she feeds and drinks, but does sleep alot. She looks older that the other birds. Is it too soon to introduce another female to the cage?
  • Clarice Brough - 2012-09-26
    So sorry to hear about your loss, these are such sweet little birds. thank goodness it sounds like the others are okay, but I'd probably watch for a while, just to make sure.
Gaurav - 2012-07-27
I have 6 finches in my cage..3 males 3 females. there are two pairs but one male nd one female are alone. I have build 3 nests. Both pairs have started making nests in boxes. They mate at least thrice in a day but they are not laying any eggs why are they not laying?? One female (white one) looks very fatty and fluffy and she sleeps in the day time as well.  What's wrong with her?? As I read that they need calcium. I brought egg shells from a egg shop. only eggs shells. As I am vegetarian I don't eat eggs. But I can do anything for my finches that's why I brought shells. Do they need more of it?? Can anybody please tell me about it?

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  • Charlie Roche - 2012-07-27
    I'd put up at least 4 nesting boxes for 3 pair - one extra so they have a choice. It is recommended that you put up two nesting boxes per pair so you would need 6 nesting boxes and some degree of distance or privacy between each ot the two nesting boxes.   Possibly they just don't like the nesting box but that is too easy but I'd put up another nexting box.  If you don't wish to purchase egg shells, there is usually calcium block (even flavored calcium blocok) and cuttle bone in good bird stores.  If the one that is sleeping and fat is mating - then she is possibly getting ready to lay eggs but I'd watch her in case she is egg bound.  If the one that is fat and fluffy is not mating - then I'd say she is ill.  You can only take her to the vet.  Birds do sleep in the day time but if she is sleeping, fat and fluffy, I'd be concerned.  The two that aren't mating - possibly you have two females - not a pair.  If the one is fat and fluffy - then possibly a sick finch.  Mating finches do the mating/courtship behavior year round - pretty much all the time.  It doesn't mean they are actually mating or the female has eggs.  Also, it takes a few times for them to catch on to what they are doing.  Practice.  They are just having fun and all good things will come in time.  Enjoy.
  • Gaurav - 2012-07-27
    Thanks a lot for your reply and last thing I know that those two are not females. One is male and one is female but that single male keeps on interfering between other pairs and disturbing them. He enters into their nest box and spoils it. Maybe I should put him in another cage with budgerigars.. would that be right?? And I want to ask you one more thing, if one of the pairs lays an egg they will not start sitting on it. I hope that the second pair will not eat their eggs. Am I right??
  • Charlie Roche - 2012-07-27
    Yes, definitely remove the male that is aggravating the other two pairs.  I'd also remove the extra (finch that is supposedly a female).  If she is ill - best to remove.  If she is egg bound, best to remove.  If she is a male - best to remove.  There would be a reason the male would be aggravating the other pairs.  No, I don't think you should put the two finches that are not breeding in with the budgies.  Finches will most likely not start incubating the eggs until tall the eggs are laid.  The second pair would not notmally go into another pairs nest and eat their eggs.  Happens but not usual.  It is a learning process though so initially They copuld possibly accidentally break the eggs, or as you said eat the eggs.  The eggs ,might be infertile.  They will learn and the eggs won't be broken and they will be fertile.  It is always best to put a screw on perch by the nest box so they don't have to jump in the nest box.  They can sit by the nest box on a perch and slowly go into the box.  They want to protect the eggs and sometimes they just dive in and accidentally break them.  Put a perch up so they can sit outside if they have to and protect also they won't have to dive in.
  • Anonymous - 2012-07-27
    I will definately do this. Thank you so much
  • Anonymous - 2012-07-29
    Hey, Can you tell me one more thing what should i feed them for egg formation... because yesterday in my cage there was yolk of egg.. there was no sign of egg shell only yellow part was there... its like egg wants to form but due to some problem its not forming.. can you suggest me this something... i gave them bread soaked in milk but they did not show any interest in it. please help
  • Charlie Roche - 2012-07-29
    When the birds are running a calcium shortage, they have soft shelled eggs (looks like a peeled grape) or no shelled eggs - probably what you are seeing.  I'd give them scrambled eggs with the shells in.  You can also buy shells of eggs.  I'd give them a calcium block - they come in flavors even.  I'd give them cuttlebone.  Chicken, kale and tuna are good sources of calcium and most parrots love these foods.  I'd do it all as she obviously has a big calcium shortage.  Cabbage is also good but they don't usually eat it.
  • Gaurav - 2012-07-30
    There is one more problem. Yesterday one female laid an egg.. but she has started incubating it... she does not sit on it for all day.. but she is sits on it.. what does it mean?? Does it mean she will only lay one egg in this clutch ?? And i brought hard boiled egg for them.. i cut into half, smashed it ... and gave them. but no one showed interest... they like to eat egg shells... but not hard boiled egg.. So Should i keep on giving them boiled egg as they are not eating it... or egg shells are enough for calcium deficiency???
  • Gaurav - 2012-07-31
    Today, i again gave them boiled egg.. but this time i did not smash it.. i just cut the egg in half and gave them.. they ate it so much.. and they are enjoying eating it... May be i am too much curious for these little zebrass...
  • Gaurav - 2012-08-01
    Charlie can you tell me one thing. One female from a pair has laid her second egg today. Male and female are incubating it not regularly but most of the time in a day. I am feeding them foxtail millet and pearl millet, boiled eggs, egg shells. Should I feed them something else or this is fine.??? please help..
  • Charlie Roche - 2012-08-01
    What you are feeding them sounds good to me.  You might want to add a little cooked sweet potatoe if available.  They usually don't start incubating (seriously - all the time) untill all the eggs are laid and they normally lay 4 - 6 eggs.  Doing good.  Enjoy.
  • Gaurav - 2012-08-03
    Thank you so much... i am following what you advised me... now there are 4 eggs in one box and 2 in another... lets see how many hatchlings come out. :-)
  • Gaurav - 2012-09-20
    Hi, now my finches babies are one month old. One of them is male and two of them are female, but fourth one looks like female but she is having patterns like male finch for e.g. orange cheeks and brown color with white patches on wings. Is it a male or female or third gender?? and one more thing, parents are plucking their feathers from last two weeks.. what should I do?
Andy Ruisinger - 2012-08-25
Hello, I have 12 zebra finches that I house in an outdoor aviary. The aviary is 9' tall, 3' wide & 6' long. I am concerned about food waste. It seems that no matter what type of Finch / Canary food that I purchase from pet stores, the majority of certain seeds end up on the floor of the aviary uneaten. Is there a website our distributer in houston , TX that sells a more natural selection of seed that zebra finches will actually prefer to eat?

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  • Andy Ruisinger - 2012-08-25
    Thanks for the advice! I will start planning a feeder box today!
  • Andy Ruisinger - 2012-08-25
    Oh and 1 black finch with a white chest... the others seem to not involve him in any (reindeer) finch games.. activities
  • Charlie Roche - 2012-08-25
    I think no matter what - the birds are going to toss a lot of their food.  this is going to be hard to expalin - but with that many, I would have a feeder station.  Picture a large metal (or fiberglass) rectangular box about 4 feet long.  The box would be about 1 foot high, 1 foot deep and 4 feet long.  It would attach to the outside of the cage on one wall.  Seed cups/bowls would go in cutouts along the retangular box.  This rectangualr box would open from the back and you would just sweep the tossed seed back into the bowls.  In other words there would be bowls inside a box.  the birds would toss the seed but much of it would remain in the box and you could just sweep it back into the bowls.  Doesn't work perfectly but does work pretty good. 
Ananya Roy - 2012-07-29
I have a pair of zebra finch. I am from West Bengal in India and now it is monsoon and we are having heavy downpours. Recently I noticed that the finches' poop is very watery though there is solid greyish white part in it,but it has a lot of watery liquid too. I kept the windows closed and covered their cage at night but still no solid feces. They are eating well and there is no change in their activity level, nor they are sitting on the floor of the cage. Is my birds seriously ill? What should I do? Is the moist weather responsible for this illness? please help me.

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  • Charlie Roche - 2012-07-29
    Think about what you are feeding them.  Possibly the food/seed is old or bad.  That's the easy part.  I'd change the food/seed or pellet mix.  What goes in is what comes out.  If you are feeding them more than 1 grape each a day - the poop will be runny and grey, as an example.  If you feed them raspberries, the poop is going to look red.  So start with the food.  If that isn't it - then I would get them on an antibiotic.  Sounds like too much fruit or a bad seed mis though.
  • Ananya Roy - 2012-08-15
    I have changed the bedding, and cleaned their cage thorougly with disinfectant liquid. Also I have changed the seed mix, and it worked! My finches are healthy and normal again (considering their poop). Also,after noticing an egg in their cage, I have set up nest boxes for them, and now both of the pairs are busy furnishing and preparing their nests.they decorate their nests all day and get inside the nests and stay there for the night. I hope soon there will be eggs,and who knows then little cute finch-chicks will arrive!! I am very excited.thanks for your advice.
P. Erickson - 2012-08-12
Just got a great deal on double decker cage and have a couple of questions. If anyone could answer, I'd appreciate it and so would the zebra finches! They're now housed in a Prevue 30'w X 18'd X 18' h cage. I have parakeets as well in another cage the same size. I'm moving to a small apartment and want to house both species in a larger, double decker cage, 30'w X 24'd X 35'h interior space, 74'h overall. The bar spacing is 5/8'. Do I need to line the inside of the finch portion with hardware cloth or something to prevent escape or injury? Can the two species be kept in such close proximity? Would it be better to put the finches in the top portion or the bottom? Thank you very much!

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  • Charlie Roche - 2012-08-12
    Thre should be a tray or complete divider between the upper and lower portaion of the cage.  If not the birds on the top will be pooping on the birds on the lower level.  Sounds like you are missing some parts.  I prefer separate cages for pairs.