There is no point in embarking on a pet-keeping journey half-heartedly. Whilst Canaries and other Finches are relatively easy to keep, it doesn’t mean that they can be placed in the corner of the room and forgotten about. Finches will need daily feeding, plenty of distraction and something to stimulate their minds.
Gouldian and Zebra finches feeding together
Birds in general, but especially small birds, are fragile animals - this is something you will need to bear in mind at all times. Sudden movements, loud noises near the cage, or even just peering down at the birds from above the cage are all enough to panic your finch. Moving their cages around is also very nerve-wracking for these little birds, so be sure to choose a good, long-term spot for your cage to be placed. Panicked birds move around their cages quickly and sporadically, this could lead to them snagging a leg in the cage or hurting themselves in some other way, try to keep stressful situations to a minimum.
Speaking to your birds in a soft, calm voice is a good way of bonding with them. Try speaking to them when you are doing things such as changing their food or water, the finches will come to associate your voice with the fresh food. Over time, the birds will get used to your hands, which enables you to sort things out in their cage without them flapping around all over the place. After some time, birds will listen to you speaking and even respond with tweets and chirrups. Finches don’t have the ability to mimic speech, no matter how hard you try.
Keeping Your Finches Happy
There are other sections of this guide that go into more detail on each point, but this is a simple list of the basics that you will need for your birds to lead a happy life.
- A suitably sized, well-designed and regularly cleaned cage, best placed in a warm room. Birds can also be kept in aviaries, just make sure that it’s well built with no potential escape routes.
- A varied and well-balanced diet
- Fresh water, ideally two bowls, one for drinking from and one for bathing in.
- Cage accessories for comfort and mental stimulation.
- A stress free environment, this means with no predatory cats, no all-night lights, no children constantly poking at the cage etc…
- Company, this can be in the form of other finches or simply just you.
- A horizontal cage with enough room for your birds to fly from one end to the other.
High Society Finch - keeping them happy is quite straightforward
Canary and Pet Finch Keeping Tips for Beginners
Everything on this list is covered in greater detail in other sections of this guide:
- Be sure to buy your birds from a reputable breeder.
- Don’t buy a bird that is younger than 8 weeks old
- If you are looking for a canary that sings, be sure to buy a “song” bird rather than a “color” bird (ones who have been bred with their plumage in mind rather than their voice). Also remember that only male canaries will sing.
- Before buying a bird at a pet store, ask how old the birds are, if they don’t know it’s probably best not to buy from them. Shop birds might have been in the cage on display for a long time, birds older than 6 months will be sert in their ways and find it hard to adapt to new surroundings.
- Be sure to purchase a suitable cage and all the items that need to go in it. The cage should be set up and ready to go before you bring the birds home.
- If you plan on keeping two birds together it needs to be a cock/hen pair, otherwise you’ll have to put up with constant squabbling. More birds require more space.
- Canaries are the only type of pet finch that can be kept alone.
- Be sure to feed your birds everyday, go easy on the treats though.
- Your birds will make a bit of a mess in the area around the cage, usually a combination of seed husks and moulted feathers.
- Expect some noise. Whilst finches aren’t squawkers like their parrot counterparts, they will still add a lot of background noise where there was none before. The majority of a finches repertoire is a nice musical twittering, but there will still be the occasional angry chirping.