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
KRYSTAL - 2011-06-12
How long after zebra finches mate will you actually see an egg?? I have four finches, one of which was not looking too well. I ended up placing her in a seperate cage for 10 days so she could regain her strength, (and she did). Well after the ten day period I put one of the other finches in with her. Well I thought they were fighting a bit and didn't want to chance her getting hurt again, so removed the one bird and put it back with the other two and left the one by herself, but yet next to the other three finches so that she wouldn't feel lonely. Now the one that is by herself started laying eggs, that is why I asked. (1)How long after they mate will a female lay eggs so I could know whether they are fertile or not.....(2)And if they are fertile can the female hatch them by herself or does she need her mate? Because I cant tell the other three apart when they are together even more so I am unsure of what the other finches sexes are except of course the one that layed an egg....... Suggestions, please and thank you!!!!

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  • Charlie Roche - 2011-06-13
    From the time they do the deed to the drop of the fist egg is about a week, possibly sooner. You can usually tell the males from the females as the males are more colorful and the beak is darker. If you put the two cages close together with a perch at approximately the same height, they pair will probably try and sit next to each other even though the cage bars are separating them. Then you can see the pair and so move themale in with the female as they both do sit the eggs. Put the two cages right next to each other with two perches (one inside each cage) but next to each other and the male female pair should try and sit close together. There is your male, grab him and put him in with the female. Telling the three apart - look at the sides of the face and the color of the beaks.
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esther layman - 2011-06-02
Our couple of zebras have eggs in the nest. He has been sleeping in the nest with her every night and taking turns sitting on the eggs, but now he has moved out at night... why?

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  • Charlie Roche - 2011-06-02
    I don't know how they do it or how birds in general figure this stuff out but they keep those eggs at a specific temperature and humidity and know exactly when to turn them. The heat comes from the little birds bodies (obviously) and they will frequently bathe in the water bowl to increase the humidity and turn the eggs. Long story here but what I am thinking is two finches in the nest box made the temperature to warm so one had to leave. Are they getting ready to hatch? That could be another reason.
  • esther layman - 2011-06-02
    Thanks so much for your help, wonderful we have a place to go with questions.
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jessica - 2011-02-12
We started off with 2, a male and female they laid 3 eggs that hatched we took out the male but now we have 7 more eggs. So does the male have to be in the cage for the eggs to hatch? And can they lay eggs with out him?

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  • vanyel5 - 2011-05-19
    That all depends, if the babies are males as well, they have too be removed because they will may mate with the mother. How old are the babies? If they are old enough you must remove the males. Then if eggs are still laid they are not fertile.
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rob - 2011-05-02
I have a pair of zebra finches. This morning I noticed a white egg in thier nest. This egg is slightly covered up with materials. The birds are not setting on the egg that I see. My question is if they have clutches of 4 to 6 eggs does this mean that it will take several more days for the female to lay more eggs before they will set on the eggs? What do I do now? I am so excited I dont know what to do. Do I keep thier cage in a private room without it being disturbed? Please give me some advice. thank you.

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  • Charlie Roche - 2011-05-02
    Don't do anything different than what you have been doing except give them more food. It would be good to give them softer food also such as scrambled eggs. Don't move the cage to another spot. If they were comfortable having thier eggs there, then they are comfortable. I wouldn't do anything out of the ordinary around the cage. Yes, their clutches (per the attached article in Animal World) are normally 4 - 6 eggs and they frequently don't sit the eggs well or all the time until the last egg is laid. Be excited and enjoy. However, many times the first clutch is what we say for free. In other words it is for practice. Maybe she will sit all the eggs and they will hatch and she will fed them but some eggs might break, somethey might throw, some might not hatch etc. There are no grandparents there to show them what to do.
  • rob - 2011-05-02
    From what I know when we got these finches is they had already laid eggs before and that person told me that the eggs never hatched. These birds seem very comfortable no matter where we set them from in different rooms to outside on the 2nd floor balcony. Why do they need 2 nest in the cage ? Thank you for your help.
  • Charlie Roche - 2011-05-02
    From what I understand from what you wrote, the finches are already in a cage. Is there a nest box attached to the cage or did they just lay eggs on the bottom of the cage? I said not to move the cage because that is where they laid the eggs. Now it might just be coincidence and that is where the egg decided to be but it also might be that they like that particular spot. With birds, in a cage, sitting on eggs, I am just very reluctant to move the cage or change the surroundings. Zebra finches (or any other birds) do not have to be in a cage to build a nest, have a nest box or lay eggs. Obviously, there are no cages in the wild. I had a friend and he had hundreds of birds, lose in a enormous wired in enclosure. The enclosure was probably about the size of a 4 car garage and he raised all sorts of softbills, cardinals, button quail, hummingbirds etc. No cages and he had nest boxes and things to make nests with all over. There was a waterfall and all sorts of trees and plants. Anyway sorry for the long writing. I just wouldn't try and move the cage while she has an egg in there. Why not wait? If she laid the egg in the bottom of the cage, put a nest box up and some nesting materials inside and put the egg in the nest box and hope for the best. Do you know from the prior owner if she sat the eggs or if the eggs were fertile? Do you know for sure that you have both sexes?
  • Charlie Roche - 2011-05-04
    What you are doing by just leaving them be rather than moving the cage is sensible. They probably don't mind you moving the cage in and out to the porch and actually enjoy it but when there are eggs things can change. If you tried to move the cage and they jumped in the nest box, thinking to protect the eggs, they could break the eggs. When you have more than one egg in there, they could bump each other and break. I think just leaving them alone is best. OK. Now when she lays her last egg, she should start sitting the eggs. After she starts sitting the eggs, it is usually 12 - 14 days after they start hatching. If it goes to 16 days or so, then I would take one egg out and hold it up and shine a penlight through it. You will either see a yolk (like a regular egg in the grocery store) or you will see red lines and/or a baby chick. By 12 - 14 days you should actually be able to hear movement in the eggs of the babies starting to pip the egg. It is also said that the eggs get darker after about a week of her sitting on them if they are fertile. I just saw an article that said they can have up to 8 eggs - so just hang in there and keep your fingers crossed. I will. OK?
  • rod - 2011-05-04
    The 2 finches I have were given to us in a cage that is oh say 18 x 18 wide and 24 inches high. They had a little round type nest that they would sleep in everynight together. According to my investigating I have a male according to its description on the internet. Today I now have 3 eggs in their nest. The nest is say 4 inches wide by 4 inches long and 6 inches high. We leave the cage alone now after I saw the first egg. We use to move the cage in the mornings from the quiet room to outside during the day. These birds did not seem to mind at all being moved from room to room at all. We have never even touched the birds. They love the attention we give them as to want us to be around them all the time. I have another nest in the cage but they do not fool with it at all and they still both sleep in the nest with the eggs. But now they have 3 eggs and maybe more coming. So far a new egg a day. We just leave them alone and hope it works out ok. The people that gave them to us said they sit on the eggs but they never hatched. We will just watch and hope for the best.
  • Charlie Roche - 2011-05-06
    You mentioned that the mom and dad finch were sleeping in the other nest box last night. They don't sit the eggs until all the eggs are laid so they probably just need another place to sleep. You have 3 eggs in the one box now and possibly another 3 - 5 coming. Once she lays the other eggs, they should start sitting on the eggs incubating them. I know this is a pain and hard to watch and it can make a person nuts. Either they will know what to do or they won't. All you can do is stand by for now and hope they have some idea of what they are doing.
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Rick - 2011-04-28
I have a pr. of zebra finches. I was wondering if their babies will always look like there parents or if i will get some that very from them. Thanks.

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  • Charlie Roche - 2011-04-28
    WOW. You have two parents and chances are you have some resemblance to one or both of them. However, you have 4 grandparents and you could have some resemblance or characteristics from them as well. They each have 4 grandparents etc and all those looks/ appearances/ characteristics are passed down. So you have two finches and chances are the babies will look similar to them. However, those two adult finches both had parents and those genes could have passed down as well. It is luck of the draw there. Good luck, enjoy them and have fun.
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rod - 2011-04-20
I have 2 zebra finches. The one is a male, the other is almost all white, and I presume it's a female. I noticed today that the male finch is always picking at the others neck and has most of its neck feathers gone. Why is this behavior going on ?

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  • Charlie Roche - 2011-04-20
    Feather plucking is one of those subjects that all avian vets could write a book on and we still wouldn't know all the answers, unfortunately. Finches need to be sprayed daily in order to prevent their feathers (and skin) from drying out. When it is dry - it itches. Zebra finches are also prolific breeders and like soft materials to make a nest. If soft materials are not availble they will frequently pull out their feathers to line their nest. You may have two males and the one in its amorous intentions is over preening the other. Not enough things to interact with is another possibility although rare in Finches. There are bird sprays with aloe which may help.
  • rob - 2011-04-21
    Thank you Cheryl for answering my questions about these finches. Without you I wouldnt have a clue on what to do. Thank you.
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rob - 2011-04-19
OK, the birds droppings I understand needs to be a certain color? The color of these zebra finches is gray/white is that bad?

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  • Charlie Roche - 2011-04-19
    A dark grayish (black) and white droppings are normal. If you feed them a whole lot of grapes, their droppings will get very wet and splatter - that is not normal. Think diahrhea with that and that is what you would normally be on alert for - unless of course you fed them a whole lot of grapes. So the greyish (black) and white is normal.
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coree - 2011-04-18
I use to have zebra finches. I had 4. They were never quiet even with a blanket on a cage. I only had them for a few weeks. I traded all for of them for a Budgie Parakeet. His name is Polly. He's a lot better than those finches.

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  • Charlie Roche - 2011-04-19
    I am glad you found the right match for you. Humans are complicated and so are birds. It is great when you find the right match for both. Good for you.
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IBDABADOE - 2011-04-18
Do zebra finches need grit ?

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  • Charlie Roche - 2011-04-18
    Yes, they do. The Zebra Finch article (link) attached will give you the basics on feeding (including grit and charcoal) for you finches. Cute little guys and fun to be around.
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rob - 2011-04-16
i have 2 zebra finches. I noticed yesterday and today that they spend the whole day in thier food tray constantly eating. is this normal habit for this bird ?

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  • Charlie Roche - 2011-04-16
    It isn't abnormal. If it goes on for more than 3 - 4 days, I would watch them more carefully. Check there droppings to see if normal. Do they breed? Did you change the food?
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