Letter 7: Food & Cages

Problem I am in a quandary. I have a pair of zebra finch with eggs which I never expected to hatch. They started hatching a few days ago, what do I do? How are they fed? I would like to try to rear them, but I haven't the faintest idea.

I think we have three or four out of about 7 eggs. Can barely see them. Do we provide the egg mixture everyday? I haven't done the soaked seed thing yet.

Every now and then, particularly in late afternoon the female gets real feisty and starts screaming and stuff. The only thing we can think to do is give her more food and different variety, so far this seems to work.

How long before they leave the nest? Do we have to worry about the adults picking on them? I knows this stuff is on the web and I read two books, but the web seems to talk about species and very little about the real caring of the birds, and the books were pretty generic as well.

Michael Royster (Makini9@aol.com)

Comment Michael, yes, you should provide the egg mixture every day, i. e. every morning. I recommend a special rearing food containing some animal protein, which is probably available in good pet shops. You can mix the rearing food with a little bit of cottage cheese, egg, or grated carrot – my Zebra Finches have always liked that a lot. I consider soaked and sprouted seeds, especially millet, even more important than animal protein which Zebra Finches need less than other species.

Please make sure both partner have enough food right from the beginning, i. e. the early morning.

The young leave the nest at the age of at least 22 days. Picking on young Zebra babies may be due to a deficiency of natural distraction and exercise (due to little room in a small cage) or possibly even certain substances in the food; picking on older offspring may (but need not) happen if the cage is only a cage and not a real aviary that deserves the name and if the young are not placed in another big cage or aviary where they can live unmolested by their parents you may want to nest again.

Hans-Jürgen Martin

Problem Where do you find indoor aviaries?

I always thought aviaries had to be super-large and outdoors. But I see from your web sight that there are indoor aviaries. I think I need one of these, even if I only have two finches (for now).

Mike Royster

Comment Hello Mike, I'm afraid I don't know where you can find indoor aviaries in the US. As for German (and other European) producers, please see my German extra page "ovoliere" on aviaries. If you don't want to access it directly, please go via the German version of my website and click on "Volieren: Bezugsquellen".

Hans-Jürgen Martin

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