Finches are small seed-eating songbirds that usually inhabit wooded areas bordering grasslands. They are primarily found in the northern hemisphere. A number of the 400 or so species are domesticated and they share many characteristics with their close relative the canary.
Finches are the perfect choice for those with limited room or time. These songbirds won't mimic human speech like a lot of the parrots but their soft chirping and melodious songs won't wake the neighbors either.
Finches prefer the company of other finches and are best kept in pairs. This along with their minimal care requirements make them the ideal bird for those with a hectic schedule or who may occasionally have to leave them on their own overnight. There are usually distinct color or pattern differences between the sexes and most breed fairly easily. Depending on the species the average lifespan is typically ranges from 5 - 12 years.
Finches can get all the exercise they need in a small flight cage. Depending on the design these often start at well under $50 and can fit on a medium sized table found around the home. When choosing a cage length is the most important dimension. Ideally it should be long enough to allow the finches to actually fly rather than flit or make wing assisted hops.
Common species like the zebra finch are relatively inexpensive as is their seed based diet. They should have spray millet, cuttlebone and oyster shell available at all times to supplement the seed mix. A pair of one of the common finches, cage and supplies can usually be purchased for under $100. More exotic species like the Gouldian Finch can cost considerably more, sometimes hundreds of dollars for a pair.
Feeding a balanced and nutritious diet is the key to maintaining your finches' health and vitality. In the wild a finches diet normally changes throughout the year following the natural cycles of local vegetation and insects.
While a finch may survive on a dry seed only diet offering a more varied menu including soaked and sprouted seeds, pellets, fresh vegetables and some protein will help your finches thrive. Commercial supplements are also a great tool to help balance the diet and condition the birds for breeding.
Regular maintenance typically consist of providing fresh food and water along with changing the cage liner daily. Weekly task include thoroughly cleaning and sanitizing the cage and its contents especially food water and treat cups.