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Problems With Breeding Finches

Finches are such small living things 
with delicate bodies and sensitive
 systems, and yet in the wild and in 
their natural habitat they survive
 under all kinds of conditions. The 
difficulty we have is to emulate the
 natural conditions by providing the
 right accommodation, food,
 temperature, humidity etc. and that 
is probably why many things can go 
wrong. And yet there are many 
highly successful finch breeders
 who have learnt how to care well 
for their finches and who have been
 successful season after season.

Here is a quick checklist for
 beginner finch breeders:

Why do finches have health
 problems?


a) illness has not been identified 
early enough.
b) new stock had not been
 quarantined.
c) new stock has not been given
 enough chance to acclimatize.
d) birds are not weaned slowly onto 
a new diet and different water.
e) over crowding causes stress and
 birds coming into close contact with
 other birds’ faeces.
f ) strict hygiene is not applied.
g) an aviary is not suitable; damp,
 drafty, too hot or too cold.
h) birds in a mixed collection may
 not be compatible.

2. Why do birds fight?


a) too many birds in one
 cage/aviary.
b) species are incompatible.
c) there are not enough hiding
 places for timid species.
d) there are not enough food and 
water dishes.
e) there are too many cocks or too
 many hens.
f) there are not enough nest sites.

3. Why do they not go down?

a) no stimulation eg. introducing an
mate, nest, breeding diet etc.
b) birds are of same sex.
c) birds are too old or too young, or
 incompatible.
d) they prefer a bird/s in the
ad joining aviary.
e) they are disturbed by other birds, 
humans or pets.
f) the conditions in and the size of
 the aviary is not to their liking

4. Why do eggs not hatch?


a) eggs are infertile – one or both 
parent birds may be infertile or
 inexperienced in mating.
b) birds may be weak or ill or
 perches may be loose.
c) birds may be temporarily sterile
 as a result of having been given 
medication.
d) parents deserted the nest so
 embryos got cold and died; a
number of factors can disturb
 brooding birds and cause them to
 desert their eggs.
e) conditions are too dry; certain 
levels of humidity are necessary.

5. Why do young die in the nest?


a) the diet is inappropriate, 
inadequate or inconsistent.
b) most finches stop brooding 
chicks at ten days of age and they 
would die during a cold night
c) parents are inexperienced eg.
squashing chicks.
d) nest exposed to excessive heat.
e) ants or mites, mice or
 cockroaches have invaded the nest.
f) nest checks disturb the birds.
g) humidity too high causing fungal 
outbreak.
h) sudden diet change.

6. Why do chicks leave the nest
 prematurely?


There are many factors that cause 
this, from an overcrowded nest to
 any kind of change in the routine or 
nest situation. The important advice 
is not to place the chick/s back into 
the nest as it will only disturb the
 rest of the chicks. Bring them inside 
for the night, do not artificially heat 
them, and release them into the 
aviary the following morning.
 Parents normally resume feeding.

Conclusion
In order to overcome problems with
 finches, the owner needs to follow 
basic rules, such as strict hygiene 
and proper housing and feeding. He
 should get to know the normal 
behavior of his birds, so that 
anything abnormal can be spotted 
immediately and the resulting
 problem be prevented.

Reference: Kingston , Russell
”Here’s to good health”, Australian
Birdkeeper Oct/Nov 1996.

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