Zebra Finches are easy to care for and that includes when they are breeding. The little birds are great pets due their quirky little personalities, and they are one of the easiest types of finches to breed. It has been said that they will even help to rear the young of other finches like rare types of Australian Grass Finches.
There are many ways the male and female are different. The males have a number of distinguishing features. Some are: orange cheek patches, stripes on the throat, a chestnut colored flank with white spots, and black bar on the breast. Females lack these features and are gray in those areas mentioned. There little beaks are generally a brighter red in males and an orange color in females. The younger male birds, Juveniles, look like females, but with a black beak. Once the Juveniles reach 90 days, the beak and adult colors are usually complete.
Spring is breeding season for the finches. They need a specific environment for successful breeding. Some will do very well as a single pair in a breeding box, while others need a large aviary with many other birds around. A compatible pair of Zebra Finches will nest in almost any environment. They are good parents and rarely have breeding related problems. Both the male and female share responsibility in raising the young. The male will weave the nest using nesting materials like grasses, feathers, or commercially prepared finch nesting material in the cage or aviary. As soon as the hen lays her eggs, it is your job to remove any excess nesting material from the cage. This prevents the male from covering up the eggs in his enthusiasm to make improvements.
The female will lay one egg every other day until the clutch is complete. The average clutch size is four to five eggs. After the eggs are laid the hen who will spend most of her time on the nest. The male will often relieve her for food and exercise breaks. Twelve to eighteen days later, the eggs will begin to hatch.
Parents will need an unlimited access to calcium, such as cuttlebone and high protein foods when chicks are in the nest.
In approximately 18 days, the chicks will feather out and start to leave the nest. By the time the chicks are about a month old they will be eating completely on their own and, thus, can be separated from their parents. The male Zebra Finch will finish feeding the chicks and can rejoin the female after the chicks are completely weaned.