Letter 6: (Rearing) Food

Problem Hi! My zebra finch pair just fledged their first babies (two) and I am wondering how old the babies should be before I find them a new home. Is there any special food I should put in to help the babies reach optimum health? When I first bought the birds, the store owner said to offer them all sorts of food varieties, along with the high quality seed mix. I noticed that my pair won't touch any "kitchen" food I put in unless it is green -- lettuce, endive, bok choy, beet leaves, and zucchini slices with the green skin on. They won't touch fruit or bread or anything else. I am hoping I can convince the babies to have more variety in their diets, if that is truly good for them.
Thank you for your advice. If you could email your answer to me, I would appreciate it.

Trax (Tracky@aol.com)

Problem Dear Trax, Zebra Finches do not need and appreciate a human variety of "kitchen" food in their diet, what they mainly need is millet, but this, if possible, in different varieties.

As for "greens", fresh (!) millet sprouts, chickweed or dandelion, lettuce and the other delicacies you mentioned are at least worth a try – or rather several attempts since Zebra Finches are fairly conservative. Sand, bird grit or/and a special mineral preparation are important for digestion and as sources of minerals and trace elements.

As for a special food for your "babies" I recommend that you serve fresh sprouts and a special rearing food containing some animal protein; rearing food is probably available in good pet shops. You can mix it with a little bit of cottage cheese, egg, or grated carrot – my Zebra Finches have always liked that a lot.

For more detailed information, please read my book. You are invited to write again.

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