Breeding Zebra Finches

Finches are popular pets with lively personalities and hearty constitutions and breeding them is also relatively easy. Some of the easiest types of finch to breed are the Society and Zebra finch. There are even some breeds which will help raise the young of other species such as the Australian Grass finch, and the Zebra finch is one such breed.

Breeding Zebra Finches

Some species of finch are easy to sex, with easily distinguished differences between males and females.  However some are so similar to look at that they can only be identified by the males’ song or behaviour.

Zebra finches are easy to sex, and there are several ways to tell the difference between the males and females of the species. 

Despite exhibiting plenty of differences in terms of colorings and physical traits, there are certain characteristics which can be readily identified.

Males can easily be identified by their chestnut flanks, stripes on their throats, orange patches on their cheeks and a back bar present on their chest.

Female Zebra finches do not exhibit any of these characteristics with grey feathers in the areas mentioned.

Males generally have bright red beaks whereas females’ beaks tend towards more orange coloring. 

Young Zebra finches have black beaks, but otherwise have the same colouring as females and generally after 90 days Zebra finches will show their adult colours.

As with many animals, spring is the breeding season for finches and each species has a set of specific conditions in which breeding will be most successful.

Whilst some types of finch thrive in a breeding box as a single pair, others prefer to be in a large group to mate.

Zebra finches will mate under almost any circumstances if they are compatible, and they make good parents with few problems when it comes to breeding.  Both parents take an active role in bringing up their young, with males weaving the nest in preparation.

You will need to provide substances to make the nest such as feathers, grass or a specially prepared material for this purpose.

Once the eggs are laid however, you should ensure that no excess material remains in the aviary as the male’s zealousness for improving the nest may lead him to cover up the eggs otherwise.

A female zebra finch will lay an egg every two days until they have produced a clutch, averaging four to five eggs.

There are variations in the number of eggs a finch will lay from two to ten depending on their species.

The hen will sit on the eggs once they are laid although the male is attentive and will take over from time to time to allow her time to eat and exercise.  Hatching usually begins between twelve and eighteen days after the eggs are laid.  

When breeding, your finch pair will need a constant supply of calcium such as cuttlebone, and plenty of high protein foods for when they’re sharing their nest with the chicks.  After around 18 days, the chicks should have grown feathers and be ready to leave the nest.

They will be eating on their own by the time they reach a month old and will be separated from their parents by this point as well.

You will need to ensure that the parents do not return to nest before the weaning of the chicks is complete, and the chick may need to be kept in a separate cage with the male if they do.

He will continue to feed the chicks and the pair can be reunited once the chicks have learned to feed independently. 

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