Finches are easy to care for, but need a cage that keeps them active and entertained.
First, ensure your cage is big enough for the finches to fly in. They may only be small birds, but they still enjoy spreading their wings. The cage should have a decent amount of horizontal space. Make sure there are clear flight paths that aren’t blocked by perches.
Finches don’t necessarily require a nest, and mixed sex finches will be more likely to breed if a nest is provided. If you have a species that likes to nest, such as the society finch, only have one sex.
A finch needs clean, fresh water, and a healthy, varied diet. The cage should be set up with food dishes and drinking water. A foraging toy is especially good for feeding, as it encourages them to think. Finches also need to bathe, so offer them the occasional bird bath.
The cage needs to be set up with adequate entertainment. A finch enjoys hopping from perch to perch, so add several perches to the cage for them to move about. Different heights, sizes, and textures, will provide them with enrichment.
The best perches are natural wood or rope, as smooth purchases can hurt their feet. Finches can get territorial, so always have more perches than you do birds.
Finches enjoy playing on ladders and swings, and it’s fun to watch them move about! Giving them toys that they can destroy or peck at will also keep a finch entertained.
Before your finches come home, you want to have the cage set up for them. Make sure to keep the cage in a permanent place. Finches are small, delicate birds, and they don’t enjoy having their house moved around.
Do finches like mirrors?
Mirrors have a complicated reputation in the bird community, but they probably won’t do any harm to your finch. A finch may even find a mirror fun to play with. However, there are a few potential risks to be aware of.
The problem with mirrors is that they have been thought to cause aggression in some bird species. A bird sees what it thinks is another bird in the mirror, and becomes attached. They can then start acting distant and rude to the owner, especially if they get in the way of the mirror.
Birds who have become overly attached to a mirror can start to act out. They can’t receive any affection from the bird in the mirror, causing them to feel upset and confused.
However, this isn’t always the case, and some birds do perfectly fine with mirrors. Signs of aggression are more common in bigger birds, and there are some who believe that a small bird like a finch needs a mirror. The mirror can keep the finch entertained when the owner isn’t around, and acts sort of like company.
If you choose to get a mirror toy for your finch, it’s best to do so once you’ve already bonded. That way, the finch is less likely to replace the owner with the mirror.
Introduce the mirror to the cage, and see how the finch reacts. If it seems to be responding negatively, then simply remove the mirror. The mirror should only be small, and the finch must have other forms of entertainment. A finch doesn’t necessarily enjoy playing with a mirror over different toys.
Do finches need direct sunlight?
Finches do need direct sunlight, for at least some part of the day. This mimics the natural environment that they’re used to, and helps keep a bird healthy. When setting up the cage, choose a spot that is exposed to some direct light.
Just as with humans, finches need sunlight to keep them healthy. The cage should be set up in front of a window, so it can benefit from the natural light coming through. But be sure to keep a shady spot. The birds will appreciate being able to take shelter on particularly warm days.
Unfortunately, there isn’t always a spot suitable in the sunlight. On top of this, the natural sun can be erratic. While a window may get at least an hour of direct sunlight most days, on a cloudy day none would be visible at all.
To counteract this, look into installing cage lights. These are designed to mimic the natural sunlight. A cage light can simulate sunshine in similar rhythms to the wild.
Cage lights can be purchased online or at pet stores, and they use full spectrum bulbs that provide your finches with the nourishment of sunlight. The bulbs should be placed above the cage, at least 8 inches from the bars. Position it at an angle that imitates the noon sun. It’s best to set the bulbs on a timer, so that they come on at the same time every day.
A cage light only needs to be on for a few hours, and any more than that can be harmful for the bird. As little as two hours may be enough.
As with direct sunlight, there should always be an area of the cage in shade.
Do finches need to be covered at night?
Finches don’t necessarily need to be covered at night, and a cage cover can prevent air from getting into the cage. However, a finch does need darkness to sleep.
Finches are diurnal, so they sleep in the dark and wake with the sun. However, a pet finch is subject to the lights that are in the house. If it never gets truly dark at night, you may consider a cage cover to help them sleep.
There is one major issue with the cage cover: the potential to block air. A heavy cage cover could end up suffocating the birds. Finches shouldn’t be exposed to a draft, but they do need air to circulate to keep them healthy.
Another issue with a cage cover comes in the morning. Similar to how the dark will help a finch to fall asleep, light is needed to wake them up. If there’s no one around to remove the cage cover in the morning, this can be incredibly disorientating for the bird.
One of the primary issues finches have with falling asleep is disturbances. If finches are kept in a busy room with noises and lights throughout the night, they may never feel comfortable falling asleep. Finches should be kept in a room that remains undisturbed overnight.
While cage covers may help a bird to sleep, there are several issues involved with using them. Ideally, a finch cage should be set up in an area that is dark and quiet, so they can fall asleep without the cover.
If you must use a cover, ensure that there’s room for air to get through, and always remove it early in the morning.
Do finches need to be out of their cage?
Finches don’t need to be let out of their cages, but they do need to have enough room in the cage to fly freely. A finch needs horizontal room to fly, and should have an unblocked flight path. This will allow them to get sufficient daily exercise.
Finches are only small birds, but they do require a fair amount of movement. While it’s tempting to let them out of the cage, this can cause a number of problems. In most cases, it’s better to not let them out.
A companion finch might find the outside environment scary, and when frightened, they can become erratic. Letting them out must only ever happen indoors. A finch released outside can potentially injure itself, and any owner would struggle to get them back in the cage.
If you do choose to let a finch fly around the home, allow them to do so on their own terms. Once all the doors and windows are secured, open the cage and see what interest they have in leaving.
If they fly out, then let them be. It’s also better to allow them to return to the cage by their own means. Otherwise, you have to try and catch them. Finches rarely become tame, and don’t enjoy being held.
Ideally, there will be no need to let the finch out of their cage because they’ll already have enough room to fly. Taking a finch out of the cage can panic them, and they don’t want much human interaction. The better option is to create a cage environment that’s enriching enough to keep your finch happy.
How many finches should be in a cage?
Finches like company, and should never be kept alone. If you’re interested in buying a finch, it’s best to get a pair. A finch won’t want to interact with human owners much, and they prefer another finch for company.
Keeping a finch alone won’t kill it, but it will make it unhappy.
Finches do best in pairs, and they aren’t solitary birds. Groups of finches can also be kept together. However, it’s best to introduce them as pairs. Adding a solitary finch to an existing pair’s home can result in isolation. If you’re interested in expanding your group, always do it two at a time.
Be aware that two pairs can become territorial. It’s better to have a group of six rather than four, because then they’ll consider themselves a flock.
Before you introduce new birds, it’s good to temporarily remove any existing birds. Then you can rearrange the cage. This stops it from seeming like existing territory, and starts the new birds off on more equal footing. You may need to add more perches and food dishes, for the new birds to establish as their own.
When you introduce a new pair, be prepared for some bickering. This is standard, and rarely a cause for concern. Keep an eye out in case flapping starts to turn violent, at which point you may need to separate the birds. Eventually, they should establish a hierarchy and calm down.
Finches like to be in groups, so hopefully it won’t be long before they start bonding. Some types of finches like to sleep in big groups together, so they’ll especially enjoy being part of a flock.