Juniper Times

Latest News Magazine

Breeding Finches

Choosing your finches

It was really a hard choice for me to choose a finch type to keep and breed. There are so many colors and varieties that I just wanted to have them all. This is not such a problem until it comes to breeding. It is a natural instinct for a pair of finches to want to breed. Finches like to have the aviary all to them selves at breeding time and many different types just don’t breed well together.

Some types are easier to breed than others and I would suggest starting out with one of these types although it is important to choose a type that interests you. As long as you make a genuine effort to research the habits, dietary and nesting requirements of these birds before you purchase them then you have a chance of success.

The Breeding Aviary

The conditions in the cage or aviary will determine the success you are going to have in breeding. If your finches are not comfortable in their environment they will not breed. If they are suffering stress from threats such as predators or even other species sharing their space then you will have problems with breeding these birds.

The first consideration for the aviary is having a warm and dry area for your birds to breed in. If the aviary is full of drafts and wet your birds may not feel that this is a place they would like to breed. The second most important aspect of the aviary is having the space completely vermin proof. This may mean having a concrete footing around the perimeter of the aviary and making sure that there are no cracks that can make accessing the aviary possible by snakes, rats or even mice. If your birds sense any potential threat or danger they may not breed, or you may wake up one morning to find your birds have been eaten or killed.

Managing mixed aviaries for breeding

If you are going to try a mixed selection of finches try to pick species that are compatible and not overly intrusive or aggressive. You will have more success with breeding if you try not to over stock the aviary this will reduce competition for food nesting sites and any nesting materials that are around the aviary. If you are starting out with Zebra Finches or Society Finches as I suggest then you would be better to either stick with these breeds. Zebra and Society finches can be quite intrusive and prevent successful breeding of other more private finch birds. If you would like to try some other varieties it may be better for you to house them in a separate aviary.

I would suggest not starting out with too many pairs either as often they prefer to have the aviary to themselves. It seems no matter how big the aviary each pair is going to want the aviary to themselves. If you have a large aviary you could divide the aviary into sections with dividing walls separating the pairs for breeding and take down the walls at other times of the year. Different varieties will occupy different spaces in the aviary for breeding; some finch types like to occupy high positions for nesting while other like to have nests quite low to the ground so do your research and pick compatible pairs. By choosing pairs that have different requirements you may find they are more compatible for mixed breeding.

Getting your birds in peak condition for breeding

Normally you will feed your birds a dry seed mix that you can obtain from a pet store with fine grit, cuttlefish bone and fresh water, this is going to be sufficient for keeping finches throughout the year but this is not going to be sufficient for breeding most species. A natural diet full of live foods which include insects and worm as well as green seeds will need to be supplied daily to achieve optimum results. This is a more natural diet for a breeding pair of finches. These live foods can be collected from around your home or you might find them out even on the side of the road just make sure that if you are collecting grass seed that it has not been sprayed with herbicides. Finches love termites if you can get hold of some, or you may even be able to start up your own worm farm, this is also a great way to getting rid of the kitchen scraps.

Breeding Quality Finches

No matter which species you choose to breed, strive for quality. I doesn’t matter if you choose the most common species to breed there are standard colors, and then there are color variations in each species that are very sort after by Aviculturists and that will be very valuable to you. Look for birds that exhibit good colors and size, or rare qualities that may be sort after in the community. It is important that you take the time to source quality birds to start breeding with right from the onset even if it means paying a little more. After breeding these pairs you may find you have to get rid of the birds that are not of a high standard, these you could sell as pets or you may even need to cull some in order to keep a high standard of breeding stock.