The Zebra Finches are cute little birds and with a little care, anyone can raise them. These boisterous singers have Zebra like markings and orange beaks which makes them attractive.
Breeding Zebra Finches is not a very difficult task. A little extra care taken in providing the comforts for the breeding pair will ensure that the chicks are healthy and beautiful.
When it is time for breeding, the Zebra Finches will show definite signals. You will be able to notice activities like sudden bursts of gathering behavior. The birds would start picking and pulling leaves or strings and when there is no other available material in the cage, they would pick seed husks or even feathers. All these activities are a clear indication that the breeding time is near and would help you make plans for it.
Building the nest
1. Providing nesting materials
In the wild, Zebra Finches would make their own nests from the naturally available materials but while breeding in captivity, you need to provide them with nest building materials. If any natural material like leaves is not available, other nesting material which are similar to the natural ones like Alfalfa or Timothy Hay can be used. The nesting material can be left on the corner of the cage or could be placed inside the food dish. Immediately after observing the mating behavior, a sturdy and smooth wicker nest in the size of an apple or orange should be placed inside the cage.
The materials given for nesting should only be a couple of inches long and very soft. Never use long strings as there is a chance of it tangling around the birds causing discomfort, injury or even death.
2. Placing the nest
The place and location of the nest inside the cage is important. The wicker nest should be placed high up and it should be near the perch of the birds. If the nest is placed across the perch, the birds would abandon the perch since the male likes to sit on top of the nest.
Caring for the chicks
The female Zebra Finch would lay between 2 to 7 eggs in a clutch. In captivity, the birds are known to have laid larger clutches.
It advisable to leave the birds alone during egg laying but regular checks should be done once the eggs have hatched. The good eggs will hatch between 14-16 days after laying. It will take 2 to 3 weeks before the chicks would start coming out of the cage. The chicks will be fully grown within 3 three months.
The color and markings of the chicks vary greatly from white to grey depending on the parent birds. Similar in size, the male chicks are distinguishable from females by the orange color of the cheek. The markings on the cheeks will begin to appear when the chicks are about 2 months old. Sometimes the chicks will have black beaks which will change color only at puberty.
The Zebra Finches are very good parents. The pair would take turns in sitting by the egg and bringing food to the chicks. It is advisable only to hatch another clutch after the chicks have fully grown.
Zebra Finches breeding does not require much skill but only a little care from the breeder.