How to Care for a Zebra Finch

30 Sep

The zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) is often recommended among beginner bird owners because it’s a hardy bird that is easy to care for. That doesn’t mean, however, that you should not provide it with the best possible home and food you can provide.

Proper Housing

Zebra finches are usually kept in pairs, because they need company all the time. If you do not want them to breed, however, you should not keep a pair of male and female zebra finches because they can produce offspring really fast. Ideally, a pair should be housed in a large aviary housing or a flight cage.

The bigger the wire cage, the better, because they need a large area for flying and hopping around. After all, zebra finches are active species that love to play and sing. The base of the cage must have sand sheets, bird sand or loose sand that is kept clean regularly. Place their food and water in glass bowls or dishes instead of plastic in one corner of the cage designated as a feeding area. The zebra finch will also need a different source of water for bathing, which can be provided either through a separate water dish or a plant spray.

Diet and Nutrition

Besides the usual diet of seeds and finch mix seeds, you should also supplement their food with grit, cuttlefish bone, oyster shells or charcoal, millet sprays, spinach, bread crumbs, corn bread, mashed hard-boiled eggs, and most fruits and vegetables except those listed below.

The grit, oyster shells, and charcoal are used by the bird to grind down the seeds in their gizzards, while the cuttlefish bone is their primary source of calcium. It will not need any food supplement as long as it has a healthy, varied diet. Fresh, clean water should also be provided all the time. However, you should avoid feeding the zebra finch the following: lettuce, rhubarb, avocado, onion, citrus fruits, and anything that contains caffeine or are too acidic.

Health and Care

The zebra finch does not like being handled all the time, although you can train them while they are still young to perch on your shoulders. However, they are not trainable like some parrot species and are more likely to get stressed or frightened if you try to be too friendly with them.

The most common illnesses can be avoided through proper housing and diet. If you place a band on its leg, however, you need to monitor signs of swelling, which might be caused by poor blood circulation. Because of its small size, you should also avoid letting your pet play with strings or any item that can tangle around its neck and feet. Other than its fragile legs, you should also care for its nails by clipping them if they get too long and watch out for the symptoms of air-sac mite infection.

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