FAQ: Keeping Zebra Finches Happy & Healthy

How should I house a Zebra Finch?
The cage should be constructed of plywood with 5 solid sides and a wire front. There should be a hatch on one side which should be big enough both for your hand and the birds’ toys and nest box. The cage should be sized at least forty centimeters square and the same height. No more than one pair of birds should be kept in a cage of this size. Remember, the larger cage the better, and, as always, keeping birds in an aviary is preferred. A 12cm by 12cm nest box should be supplied.

How many males and females can be kept together?
If the birds are all being kept together, you should always have several more hens than cocks. This prevents the cocks from fighting in competition, which can lead to injury.

Do Zebra Finches mate with the same partner for life?
If you are keeping just one pair in a cage then the birds will be content to mate with the same partner for life. If you keep your birds in an aviary then some males may mate with more than female within their lifetime, but more often than not they will remain monogamous.

How do I prevent Zebra Finches from mating?
The only reliable way to do this is to keep your cocks separate from the hens. The other alternative is to remove the nest box and all bedding materials. This will not prevent mating, but will prevent the eggs from being incubated by the female.

What should I feed Zebra Finches?
A good quality mixture of various millet seed should comprise most of the diet. This should be supplemented by mineral grit and a cuttlefish bone in solid or powder form. Fresh water should always be available and should be replaced daily.

Why does my Zebra Finch pluck its own feathers?
All birds are prone to mite infestations, and Zebra Finches are no different. The feather mite is a particular problem. As this feeds on the feathers, the bird may pluck the affected area.

How can I prevent a Zebra Finch from plucking?
If plucking becomes a problem, an anti-mite spray is an option. Be careful to read the instructions very carefully and take all precautions before use. Consult a vet if you are in doubt about it being infected by mites before using this treatment.

Do Zebra Finch groups have a hierarchal structure?
Zebra Finches do not have a structure to their social groups. However, males may compete with each other for females which can lead to fighting. Males which are suddenly introduced may also be dominated by just one male, although this tends to stop after a period of time.