Maintaining zebra finches

These notes are meant to complement
Proper Care, Husbandry, and Breeding Guide lines for the Zebra Finch, Taeniopygia guttata
Christopher R. Olson, Morgan Wirthlin, Peter V. Lovell, and Claudio V. Mello

A cage 18” X 18” X 24” is good for one breeding pair of zebra finches or a small group of immature birds. If space is at a premium, an 18” X 18”X 18” cage will suffice. A flight cage or aviary does reduce labor, but in a colony birds might get less exercise than when kept in an individual cage. Those housed privately can fly back and forth all day without any worries over aggression. In a flight, birds often stick to one spot so to defend their little “turf.” Pecking order pressures inevitably wear down the low little gals and guys on the totem pole. For those housed in a flight, reproductive odds will be tilted in favor of the winners of gang warfare. These birds are not necessarily suited for other purpose, like being good parents or easy to handle. Some other drawbacks of group housing are that there’s no way to determine parentage and all the birds need to be disturbed whenever one is to be handled. Do place multiple feeding and watering stations in a flight. This way, if a bully decides to monopolize one source of food or water, the rest of the flock won’t suffer.
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