African fire finchBirds are no different to any form of life they can become ill or sick before you realise it.Finches are so small and frail that they can not take too much stress or suffer from things like enteritis, without problems. You can save some if you catch them early enough.

Hospital Box

The best way to help a sick bird is to isolate it from the rest of the birds and put it into a wooden or cardboard box with a low wattage light fixed over the top to keep it warm. Make sure it has clean food and water and keep it out of any draught.

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One of these will keep your bird happy as it enjoys swinging and hopping from rung to rung.


orange painted baby finches

Cancer- affects birds just like any other animal or humans.A vet should see any bird that is consistently out of condition.

Cold and chills - An infection of the upper respiratory tract, symptoms usually are a discharge from the eyes.It is serious if left untreated.Isolate bird into hospital cage and seek veterinary advice.

Constipation - is obvious when bird strains to pass dropping with little effect.The most common cause is incorrect feeding.

They need more greens and vitamins or dose with olive oil.If this still doesn't work, seek advice.

Egg binding- is common in birds, a little cod liver oil added to seed during the breeding season will help reduce this problem.The hen can be seen looking miserable and strained, sometimes sitting on the floor with ruffled feathers.The anal area may be swollen.Bring into a warm area of about 20 degrees, anoint vent with an enema of liquid paraffin. If this doesn't work seek medical advice.Usually egg binding happens more at beginning of season in cold weather.

Enteritis- can be caused by an inflammation or bad food, Diarrhoea, a greenish motion.Seek Veterinary Advice if these symptoms appear.

Worms - can attack all birds.Birds should be wormed regularly.Buy a reputed product, which can be added to their water.

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Ideal for a couple of pairs of compatible finches or a small parrot, or a galah. And would be suitable for a pair of canaries

Varieties of Finches


African Fire – is smaller than some of the other varieties.The male is red with very pale dots on its chest, while the female is a pale fawn with similar spots.They make good parents and breeders.

Bengalese – These are often called a society finch, because they are brilliant foster parents. If a bird dies you may take the eggs and place under these and they will hatch and rear as their own. They are also good for the beginner breeder. Male and female are very hard to sex in these.


Cordon Bleu FinchesCredit: Titans Photography

Cordon Bleu - A great addition to any aviary. These are a pleasure to keep and breed.They need live food to encourage breeding and enjoy a planted aviary, although not necessary. The male will hop up and down on the perch to attract its mate sometimes with piece of nesting material in its beak. They have a melodious voice and lay between 4-6 eggs.

Cuban – A melodious bird. Unless you have a large aviary you are best to keep one pair in each aviary, as they tend to fight with their own kind. Once their young leave the nest you should remove them as the cock bird can attack and kill them.They breed without live food but have better results with them. Eggs hatch after 12 days incubation.

Diamond Firetail-This is another one of Australia's beautiful finches. Male has a white chest front with black band, flanks spotted white with crimson rump. Female is duller, size approx 12 cm.

Gouldian - These are very beautiful birds, but need a draught free environment to breed successfully. The most common of these have the red or black head.There is also a white fronted mutation now. Mine have never hatched more than two at a time.

Parrot  Blue or Red faced - These are very active birds and also great escape artists.Beware the parrot family will crossbreed with one another given the right circumstances. So it's a good idea to keep the red in one aviary and blue in another to avoid this.

Painted Red or Yellow in colour -These are very active and amusing little finches. Mine interacts with me sitting on my shoulder or food container as they wait for their food.

These are good with other finches, but can interbreed with one of the same family of different colour so keep colours separate. They are very inquisitive and spend hours building their nests out of sticks and various materials. Give them some charcoal; they like to use this in their nest.

Star – A meek bird, but ideal in other ways. Like most grass finches they have two to three clutches per year and you can expect approx 4 eggs, which hatch in12-14 days.They enjoy live food but it's not essential.

Zebra – These are ideal starter finches to breed with for the beginner.Once you have gained enough experience and decide to keep other varieties then keep these separate as they may become disruptive to the nests.They come in a variety of colour mutations, normal grey, White, Silver, & Cream.

There are many more varieties of finches: Bicheno, black heart, St Helena, gold finch, cherry finch.All birds have their own characteristics.Beware some finches require special licenses to keep or breed them.

If you follow these suggestions then you should have good healthy finches, giving you many years of pleasure.

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All bird lovers need to find way to amuse their birds. If they become bored than can not only be destructive they can endanger themselves. Often birds will pull out their feathers or pick at their feet.

Adding something like this to amuse them will help prevent this, although make sure you do not infringe on their free flight as they could injure themselves.