Due to the great trade that was formed more than half a century ago around this bird, nowadays it is possible to see finches anywhere in the world. But, if you are thinking of taking care of one, what should you know about this species?
- 1 Types of finches
- 2 A very curious species
- 3 How is a finch?
- 4 If I want to have a finch, how long will it live?
- 5 I’m going to buy him a cage, what do I have to look for?
- 6 Where do I have to put my finch’s cage?
- 7 Cleaning the cage, is it difficult?
- 8 What can I feed my finch?
- 9 What diseases can a finch have?
- 10 If I want to train my finch, what do I have to know?
- 11 I want to raise finches, is it difficult?
Types of finches
A very curious species
The finch, better known as Fringilla coelebs , is part of the Passeriformes , being originally from Sweden, where it was named by the researcher Linnaeus as Frigngilla coelebs. The term coelebs, which means single, is given because during the winter the females are the ones that migrate while the males are the ones that remain in the nest.
It usually lives in wooded places, but also can be found in gardens and farms. The nests are made in the trees, decorating them with moss and lichens. A bird that, over time, has also spread across the African and Asian continent because of the fame it has generated in recent years.
How is a finch?
The finch is a small bird, reaching up to 16 centimeters from the beak to the tail , being its size very similar to that of a sparrow. Apparently many people often confused with these species, but it is easy to differentiate by a white spot that has the shoulder and is more visible when the flight takes off.
It is easy to differentiate the male from the female thanks to the sexual dimorphism that they present . The males have different shades of salmon in the belly, chest and cheeks, in addition to their pileus and never have reflections of blue-gray colors. On the other hand, during the spring they have a black band on their foreheads. The females, on the other hand, have dull brown tones and in what coincide with the male is the greenish rump. It is possible to confuse it also with the royal finch, but it has some slight differences that make it easy to distinguish them.
t is a good flyer and is usually in the same place much of his life , since it is not a migratory bird, although this does not mean that with the arrival of winter do not lift the flight to find a warmer area.
If I want to have a finch, how long will it live?
The life expectancy of a finch is relatively short compared to other birds like a parrot, which can live to be 60 years old. But these, live much less , having a life expectancy that usually ranges between 9 – 12 years living in captivity.
However, with good care and a healthy diet, it has been noticed that some finches have lived to be 15 years old , even some have managed to exceed this limit, but they are very few.
I’m going to buy him a cage, what do I have to look for?
Although finches are small, they like to fly inside their cage, so you have to buy a large one. Ideally, the cage is about 30 centimeters long by about 60 high (as they like to fly up) by about 45 deep . In the case of having two finches, it will be necessary to double the capacity of the cage so that they have enough space to move without crashing. The space of the bars should not be greater than 1 centimeter, in order to prevent you from putting your head between them. In addition, as the finch likes to perch on the walls, it will be good if some bar is horizontal .
When you buy the cage, if the hangers are pin or sandpaper hangers coated, these must be removed immediately , because they are bad for your feet. In this case it is best to install some branches of wood, which you can pick up from the street, or buy them at the store so that you can sharpen your nails without problems. In regard to the hangers, you should buy hangers that are made of wood, placing at least two hangers per finch, so you have enough entertainment.
With regard to toys, you can buy any type , from pearls to mirrors, but you must avoid especially reflective objects that could attract other wild finches.
There are cages with a large number of shapes, but it is important to avoid cages that are oval or that can simulate the shape of a house. It is better square or rectangular. However, if the cage is large enough for the finch to move without problems, nothing will happen if it has the top end in peak, simulating a roof, because the finch will have enough space to move and will not stress.
Where do I have to put my finch’s cage?
Before buying the cage, you have to think, is there space where it can be placed? The finch cage has to be on a solid surface , such as a table or a base, so that the animal feels safe when flying from one side to another inside it. In addition, it must always be at eye level with the human being , so that it does not get scared, added to the fact that two of its walls must be attached to the walls of the house, so that the animal does not panic arrive.
On the other hand, it is good to give natural light , but avoiding direct sunlight or strong air currents, which could cause the finch to get sick. Also, do not put it near a TV, on the balcony or in the kitchen, because the animal could be scared or stressed. The best is in the living room or in the room where you make more social life. If your house is very dark because it is inside, there are devices to be able to offer artificial light to these birds that cost very little money.
For your feeder and drinker opt for some that are plastic and can be secured by the outside, thus preventing there is a door that the animal can use to escape. The water must be changed every day and twice a day in summer so that you always have fresh water.
Cleaning the cage, is it difficult?
Keeping the finch cage clean is not at all complicated. Of course, you’ll have to clean it well at least twice a month . In order to clean it, it changes, to begin with, the finch to another smaller cage in which the cleaning of the same lasts.
Remove the base of the cage. In this you should have put dirt or sawdust for feces and urine. To make it easier to clean, it is recommended that before putting this put a little newspaper, so the task is much easier. Detoxify well with bleach diluted in water . Use this same mixture to clean the bars and hangers of the finch with a brush and then wash with plenty of water and then dry with a dry cloth.
With everything dry, you can put the finch back into its cage. The perches is possible that after three or four months you have to change them for new ones, since it is not uncommon for the finch to end up defecating on them and that is harmful for the animal.
During the summer, finches like to bathe a lot, so put them in a large cup of fresh water to take a bath and remove it in the afternoon. Every day offer this cup so it stays fresh if your house is a very hot place.
What can I feed my finch?
Many people who have a finch at home usually opt for a simple type of food, such as bird food sold in pet stores and supermarkets that already contain a combination of seeds, dried fruits, dried vegetables and herbs . A diet that provides minerals, but not enough.
The precise finch, especially calcium to take care of your bones as well as vitamin D, so it is good that the water is given a vitamin and mineral supplement to receive both nutrients in your body. Also, during the feather molting season you will need lots of protein , so during this stage you have to give it some small insects, worms or hemp seeds.
Although this diet should be enough, it is good to give the bird another type of food that allows it to receive good nutrition and also fight future diseases. In small quantities you can give it dandelions, apples, spinach, carrots, corn, grapes or lettuce, as long as it is well cut into pieces . And how much should be given three times a week. Thanks to these foods, the bird will not only be healthier, but will be more hydrated, so it comes in handy in summer.
Among other foods that can be given, is the crushed egg shell mixed with cookies , ideal for when the finches have been parents. Although the most advisable is to use hard-boiled egg, including the peel, with a slice of wholemeal bread soaked in water and make a mixture. This will make it much easier to feed their young. On the other hand, it will be much healthier for the birds.
What diseases can a finch have?
That the finch will spend most of its life in a cage does not mean that it can not suffer from any disease. In fact, 6 out of 10 finches die because of some disease. So, what diseases can this bird have?
- Enteritis: This disease is what is commonly known as intestinal inflammation and is usually caused by food in poor condition, a considerable temperature change in the habitat of the pinzon or by some germs such as salmonella. The finch will be sleepy, will have diarrhea, lose weight and show apathetic behavior with its owner. You have to start cleaning your cage and give it healthy food, as well as some antibiotic in the water so that it gets well.
- Constipation: It is possible that when feeding a too dry, by sudden changes in temperature or stress the bird feels constipated, having difficulty evacuation, your cloaca will be red and swollen belly. In this case you have to change your diet and give some digestive supplement to help you evacuate.
- Cloacitis: This disease affects more females than males. It is an inflammation of the cloaca that produces swelling in the abdomen, reddening of the cloaca and great difficulty to evacuate. In addition, it is common to have stools attached to the feathers at the bottom of the tail. It is usually due to feeding or adaptation problems on the part of the female. To cure it, clean the area around the sewer and apply a zinc oxide ointment.
- Intestinal worms: One of the most common diseases in birds due to taking food that is in poor condition. The finch will present a massive thinning, it will be tired and in the feces small white fragments will be visible. To help you recover you have to clean your entire cage and supply healthy food. In the case of not improving, it must be taken to the veterinarian urgently.
- Acariosis of the plumage: It is usually produced by external parasites, such as mites or lice that nest in their feathers. Because of these parasites the bird will begin to pluck feathers and will not stop scratching. In this case you have to disinfect your home and also your pen with some suitable product.
- Abnormal plumage change: It is normal for the chaffinch to shed its feathers once a year, at most twice. But you may suddenly find that you are moving it in an abnormal way. One of the main causes is usually a poor diet, although it can also be due to living in an environment with poor hygiene. You have to clean your home and feed it a varied diet, in addition to some supply of vitamins in the water.
- Abnormal growth of the beak: Although it is a disease that usually affects other types of birds more, it can also suffer from finches. In this case, it is necessary to feed the finch well and give it a place where the beak can be filed, such as branches or tree trunks in its cage. If not, you will have to go to a veterinarian.
- Stomatitis: It is an inflammation of the mouth that can force the bird to breathe the bird with its beak open, having many problems to eat. The main cause is to give the bird too hard foods that cost a lot to digest them.
- Conjunctivitis blepharitis: An inflammation in the eye, which causes it to be irritated, with legañas and it usually has it closed. In this case you will need to take an antibiotic in the water, although it would be advisable to apply it directly to the eye, something that only an experienced veterinarian can do.
- Acariasis in the legs: In the legs you will find symptoms of scaling, crusting and deformation of the fingers, because the bird does not have adequate perches in which to place itself, in addition to the hygiene conditions of the cage are not the best. In these cases you have to take it quickly to the veterinarian to tell you what antibiotic treatment should be followed.
- Hoarseness: If the cage is located in a place with too many air currents, or has undergone a sudden change of temperature when changing the cage of place, then the bird will start coughing and sneezing. In this case it is necessary to change it to a warm place of constant temperature, supplying an infusion of honey and chamomile.
- Pneumonia: Remember that the bird should never be exposed to a place in the house where there are strong air currents, otherwise it could suffer pneumonia that will prevent breathing normally, have mucus and a general cupping of the plumage. In this case you have to change your cage of place, to a warmer place and give him some antibiotic with water.
- Anemia: Yes, finches can also suffer from anemia when exposed to an unbalanced regimen that prevents the generation of red blood cells. You lose weight, your legs and beak will lose their color and you will be in a very bad mood. You have to start giving her a vitamin B supplement with the water to help her recover.
- Air bladder: Especially affects newborns, and produces subcutaneous air bubbles.Especially it is produced by a bad combination of environment and food. You have to bust the bubbles when you go out and smear a penicillin ointment on the affected area, in addition to changing the place cage so that it is more in line with your environmental needs.
- Fracture: Because it is a fairly active animal, it would not be strange if the finch would fracture its leg when trying to move around the cage. You will notice it if it does not support it on the hanger. In this case you have to immobilize the leg between two rods with a piece of poultice so that it can perspire. After three weeks it should be cured, so the rods can be removed.
If I want to train my finch, what do I have to know?
Is it possible to train a finch? Yes, it is. Although they do not learn as many tricks as other animals, you can be taught to respond to their name or pose on your finger without much trouble, but first of all you have to earn their trust. But how do you do it?
- The first thing is that you leave the animal quiet once it has arrived home, so that it adapts to its new environment. Since he will be in the room where there is more social activity, soon he will get used to being around the family and very soon he will approach the walls of the cage to gossip. It is important that at first you only limit yourself to feeding her and changing her water, without telling her anything else.
- When you begin to approach the cage, it is time for you to start calling him by his name when you start giving him food or changing the water, so he will associate it with your voice and he will recognize you.
- Avoid scares at all costs or try to touch the finch unless it is going to leave. Getting close to the bars on the wall of the cage does not necessarily mean that I’m going to let you touch it because yes.
- Wait at least a month for the bird to get used to its new home in the house, and so you can start training.
Well, after time, it’s time to train your finch, but what steps should you follow to get it to pose on your finger and get it out of the cage?
- First of all, create a comfortable and comfortable environment, eliminating any distractions that may get the attention of the finch. Second, be clear that the training should not last more than 15 minutes a day, because otherwise the bird will end up stressing a lot.
- Always have a trinket that your finch really likes , so you can reward him when he has complicated your order.
- Before thinking about putting his hand inside the cage, he starts trying to touch him through the bars. The bird knows that behind the bars is safe, so you will not like much to invade your home without having established a “link with you”. So, try to touch him by attracting him with his favorite bauble. It could take days, weeks or a few hours, it all depends on the character of the finch. If you have succeeded, repeat the process for at least a week so that the bird has confidence.
- Can you already touch him through the bars of the cage? In that case it was time to put your hand . Close windows and doors, in case you get out of the cage, and put your hand with some trinkets in it. At first he is probably skeptical and will not want to approach, so after ten minutes he withdraws his hand and repeats the process every day.
- When you start eating from your hand, do not remove it from the cage, but once it has been eaten, touch it with your finger on the belly, but never the head or the beak. If you peck, do not get angry, since that will scare him and it is possible that he breaks the bond you have created with him.
- After about a week since you started eating from your hand it’s time to put it on your finger. For that, when it is on a hanger, give it a little push with your finger so that it loses its balance, which will force it to rest on your finger. Carefully remove it from the cage . It is most likely that you lift the flight, but be patient, it will return to its cage when it is hungry. Do not try to catch it under any circumstances.
- Repeat the process every day , beginning to give the order to get on your finger and rewarding him with some trinkets. This way you will get nothing else to hear your voice wanting to rest on your finger. It is good that you train it to do it with both hands, so you will get used to the change from one to the other.
I want to raise finches, is it difficult?
It is not impossible, but they are quite difficult to breed in captivity, so only expert breeders can do it. To start, you have to recreate your ideal habitat , and depending on the species of finch, this can be a forest or a garden. The environmental conditions also influence a lot, so we must also recreate the ideal temperature . In addition, since finches usually prepare their nests so that they are camouflaged, it is necessary to follow the same protocol to have them in captivity.
Once this has been achieved, we must give them a good diet and leave the female and male at their side, without disturbing them at any time, since if you see that the area of their nest is in danger they will not want to lay eggs. If you have been lucky, the female will be in heat and will put up to six eggs and then spend about 25 days of incubation.
You have to take into account that the offspring are deaf and blind at birth, so during the first two months will be fully protected and fed by their parents. After two months, you can now transfer them to another module or cage so that they can breed with other finches without any problem.