Caring for Baby Zebra Finches

June 14, 2022

Our pair of zebra finch successfully hatched 4 chicks around 3 weeks ago and all has been going really well. The babies have almost got their feathers and are chirping away. Unfortunately today, their mum escaped during a water change and we haven't been able to find her.


Will the dad be ok feeding them? How will we know if we need to step in and help? We are absolutely gutted, they were all doing so well and both parents were looking after them really well. Thanks in advance.


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June 15, 20220 found this helpful
Best Answer

You may worry but that's probably all you can really do.
Usually, parents take turns feeding the little ones but from all that I've seen and read, a single parent will fill in when their partner goes absent.
Hope all goes well and you will have 4 healthy chicks and one tired Dad.

June 25, 20220 found this helpful
Best Answer

Watch the baby zebra finches, you may need to step in.
For chicks less than 8 days old use the flat end of a flat toothpick, for older chicks you can use a syringe. Mix the ingredients into a thin yogurt like texture for younger chicks, thickening it slightly as the chick grows.


It is best to just let the chick have one small drop at a time and swallow the food on its own. Never force feed a chick because of the risk of aspirating.

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19 More Questions

Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community.

October 8, 2022

My parent birds Lucy & Ricky had their first eggs and I thought all was going good until the chirping stopped and there wasn't any movement. I got the nest down and found these babies. Well that was about 3 months ago and now we have 4 birds in the nest and their growing and eating. But I can see this again and I'm worried they will pass too, could they be over feeding them?

This morning I found two tiny babies on the cage floor. They both had full bellies like this one but they are very young barely had feathers. I picked them back up and put them in some warm bedding, but the parents haven't checked on them at all. Any help would be great. I feel so bad for my bird parents.

A sick bird.
A sick bird.


October 19, 20220 found this helpful
Best Answer

Move the chicks to a brooding box or a box with an electric heating pad. The starting temperature of the box for freshly hatched finches should be about 93F (about 33C), then reduce the heat by about five degrees every two weeks.


Buy food specifically for baby finches at pet stores. Babies need to be fed every 1-3 hours, by the end of the first week, every 4 hours.

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November 16, 2019

My zebra finches successfully bred two little guys. Soon after they were out the nest, the mom escaped and the dad has since taken care of them. I know at a certain age you need to separate the babies from the parents. Both babies are males, so now there are three with the dad. Why must they be separated? Can you have more than one male in a cage? Sorry, I am new to this. I would appreciate input and kindness.

Thank you.


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November 17, 20190 found this helpful
Best Answer

The only reason a person recommends moving the birds from one cage to another is when a female is added to the cage. This gives the couple a chance to mate and make more babies.


Until you buy a female and add it to your cage there really is no need to move the birds around right now.

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February 20, 2021

Hi, My baby finch is 6 weeks old but is yet starting to change its beak color but was (maybe) beaten up by its father. Yesterday his 1 leg seemed to stop working and today other leg as well. I massaged his 1 leg a bit but I am worried.

What should I do? The leg doesn't feel broken just unfunctional. Should I keep it separated or along with mother. Please advise as it is impossible to contact or see any vet.

A baby finch in a cage.


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February 20, 20210 found this helpful
Best Answer

This could be a bacterial condition causing the paralysis. Antibiotics could help along with massaging the legs in a bicycling motion, will help with blood flow.


- A Vet may be needed if no change. Here is a link to the many things that could bring on the paralysis.

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September 11, 2020

My baby zebra finch hatched on 8/5/2020. Both parents seemed to have neglected the baby and I believe they are picking at him/her. I see the back of the babies neck is a little irritated as though they are pulling his/her feathers. Is it too soon to separate from the parents to a different cage?


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September 11, 20200 found this helpful
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Nature has a strange way of taking care of their own. The parents might be doing this because the baby could be sick. If you feel like you can help this baby and save its life then you should remove the baby from the cage and set up a new cage for this baby. This is quite a bit of work but you can raise the finch yourself if the parents are hurting the bird and not taking care of it correctly.


Here is a great article on all that you will need to raise and take care of the finch on your own.

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January 14, 2015

A friend gave me a zebra finch as she got it from a friend that was not caring for it properly. I do not like animals of any kind to be single so I bought another one. They started multiplying so quickly that I moved them to an aviary. I wanted it to look and feel natural to them so I put real tree branches in it, pine straw, grass clippings, cotton balls (which does not look natural but they seem to love to use), sticks, etc. for them to build their nests. They must have liked their new surroundings as they did build and so did their offspring and so and so on.

This started about 1 1/2 years ago and I now have about 20 birds. I have sold some, but it stresses me out so badly as I am so afraid that I will sell one's mate. I can not see inside some of the nests, as they have them built so high up inside the aviary. How do I tell if they are mated with another one and is there a way to tell if they have young if you can not see in their nest? I do not want to sell a parent or one's mate. I am very stressed.

By sharona lonigan


January 16, 20151 found this helpful

Hi Rule of thumb to discourage breeding pull out all nesting materials. Arbutus Manzanita trees or fruit branches are OK. Swings, toys, food dishes only, prevents breeding. Two females will lay eggs as well if nest is available, cuttle bone is very important for calcium.

To wrap up what you have to discourage hatching: for new eggs rather than pull from clutch (because they will continue to lay replacing egg amount...)shake egg or poke pin straight through egg place back in nest.
Lots of breeders will have 3 or more cages with paired mates for breeding program then place babies into small medium flight cage ready for resell after fledgling is completed. Hope this helps, have zebras as well, they breed very fast!

January 5, 20192 found this helpful

Don't do that. If u want to discourage the parents from having eggs take all bedding material out and get all the eggs and just put the in a cool place and then the babies won't grow as the need warmth to grow. That is the kindest way to do it

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November 15, 2010

I have Zebra finches and they just hatched an egg. What kind of food,etc. should I feed them to ensure a healthy offspring?

By sherry prevatte from Hickory, NC


November 28, 20110 found this helpful

If you dont put a nest in the cage they will not have babies or lay eggs.

November 13, 20181 found this helpful

My cage doesnt have a nest. The female laid an egg in the food bowl yesterday.

December 25, 20180 found this helpful

When will my baby zebra finches eat on there own there fledge now but still begging for food on there parents

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October 27, 2019

My pair had babies. I saw 6 eggs, but am not sure if they all hatched. I can't really see inside. The other day I found two dead babies at the bottom of the cage. The next day there was one in the water dish which is on the opposite side of the cage.

Could one of the finches carry that baby and drop it in the water? Other hatchlings I also found 2 in the water dish.

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March 11, 2020

My breeding pair hatched 4 eggs. All seemed fine, they grew out of their down. Then 3 died within days of each other (found dead in the nest). The survivor continued, but now is lethargic and not reacting to the parent's presence.

It seems on it's way out. Any ideas on what is going on?

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October 6, 2019

Recently my 2 zebra finches had laid eggs and now I hear at least 3 babies in the nest box. The mother and father look stressed and are searching around the house for food, or are they? What can I do to help them? What food can I provide them, and how can I care for the babies?

Thank you!


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October 7, 20190 found this helpful

Keep feeding the parents whatever you have been feeding them and they will take care of their babies.


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October 7, 20190 found this helpful

Finches like vegetables and fruits. Try small bits of apples pears bananas pumpkin strawberries bell peppers carrots spinach and cabbage. They like most of these. Be sure and take out all fresh fruits and veges when they wilt and begin to dry.


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October 11, 20190 found this helpful

You can add a little extra grain to the dish each day or fill it a bit more often. Keep your eye on the dish and fill it when it is empty. You can also add some fresh veggies and fruits to the cage. Just take off the seeds so the birds don't get sick and try to eat them. You need to keep an eye on the fresh fruit because it can attract fruit flies so be careful of this and clean it out often.

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January 18, 2019

What if the zebra finch mothers are feeding their babies too much so that the food is getting stuck in the babies' neck and the babies cannot breathe? Two have died like this.


Gold Post Medal for All Time! 677 Posts
January 19, 20190 found this helpful

You may have to separate the babies and feed them yourself.

January 22, 20190 found this helpful


There are occasions when the baby finches have a blockage ftom birth. This means that they indicate to tje mama finch they are interested in more food. The mama finch will feed a baby finch. However, with a blockage, the food will not be going where it should. This coukd be the case.


January 22, 20190 found this helpful


It is possible the babies have a blockage and the food isn't going where it should. The mom sees they are hungry and will continue feeding them because they will be hungry no matter how much she feeds them.


February 5, 20190 found this helpful

thanks 2 hatching 3 weeks ago and can almost fly onto the perches proply,

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August 6, 2019

I believe I have three baby zebra finches! I did see 3, but now I only see 1.
They are in a small nesting basket so it's hard to see inside. The baby that I can see has full feathers even tail feathers. When will it come out of the nest?When Do Baby Finches Leave the Nest? - view down into the nest


Is it going to get hurt falling 12 in to the bottom of the cage? I'm not sure if the other babies are still alive and am wondering if I should check. I don't know how. I don't really want to roll them around inside the nest.

When Do Baby Finches Leave the Nest?


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August 6, 20190 found this helpful

They leave the nest 11 to 19 days after hatching.


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August 7, 20190 found this helpful

Once the tail & feathers are fully formed & they are able to feed themselves & fly it may be a good idea to seperate them into another cage as most parent birds will attack the fledged babies to get them out of the nests so they can breed again. If you do seperate them make sure you observe them eating.

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October 22, 2019

I put my zebra finch cage outside today. I have a male and female. They have two babies, the babies have been out the nest about a week now. Somehow the bottom tray came out a bit and my female escaped.

Will the male cope feeding the little ones or do I need to intervene? I'm heartbroken.

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January 21, 2015

My finch's eggs are just about to hatch. Is there anything the parent finches need to feed or care for the babies?

By Terry from Roscommon, MI


January 26, 20150 found this helpful

Just keep feeding them whatvu been feeding the boiled eggs with shell crush together and pellets are good they will feed it to the babies.

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March 14, 2012

My zebra finch has laid eggs. When they hatch will all of the birds be able to live in the same cage as their parents when they are mature?

By Katie


Silver Post Medal for All Time! 398 Posts
March 15, 20120 found this helpful

The mother will lay about eight eggs, which will hatch in about two weeks.
Be sure to count the amount of eggs laid and without disturbing the nest too much or at all.

If after three weeks has passed and the eggs have not hatched, they are not ever going to hatch and must be removed quickly as the mother will lay more eggs, and then it will be hard to tell which ones are going to hatch and which ones are not going to hatch.

It is necessary to separate the pair between egg layings in order to rest before breeding again.
After 21 days the baby birds will leave the nest to the cage and start to eat on their own.

After 6 weeks they will develop their adult coloration and feathers.
Separate the little finches from their parents after 6 weeks.
They should be moved to a separate cage at this time.
Talk to your local bird store about selling or trading them for seed and supplies.

For more information go to:

Have fun, these are beautiful birds!

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November 26, 2011

Finches in a chicken wire cage.I have a male and female zebra finch. In the cage there are 2 open half shell-shaped nests and one enclosed peep-hole type nest. Usually every other day I remove the eggs, but recently I couldn't get to the ones in the enclosed nest. Then I noticed they were each in that nest more often, together at night, and usually at least one was always there during the day.

I stuck my finger in the opening to check for eggs, it had been a couple of weeks and felt a live baby bird, to my surprise. I called the pet store and they basically said to leave it alone, the parents will care for it. I can see it moving in the nest and I can hear it's attempt at "trumpeting". I'm guessing it is a male. I can see grey fluff, but it hasn't come out yet.

What are the stages of egg laying to hatching and the stages of development and growth for these birds? (How old do you think it is and how does it grow week by week?) I've read both to separate and not to separate them "at the right time", please explain. What can you tell me that I would not think to ask? I've had 2 pairs (in separate cages) for 8 months now, but I am still new at this. I really do not want any more babies.

By Kim


March 28, 20130 found this helpful

I would suggest putting the finches in seperate cages or not putting in a nest for them. They don't really need to have one to sleep in.

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June 10, 2011

I have a male and a female finch that both live in the same cage. They recently laid 5 eggs in their cage, but they decided to lay their eggs in their food bowl that had all their food in there. I put a new food bowl with new food in the cage.

Yesterday I found that 2 eggs were hatched, but three still need to hatch. With the parents going in and out of the food bowl, and sitting on the eggs, the food dish has poop and old pieces of cotton all on the side. I don't want to mess with the birds until all the eggs have hatched. But I want to be able to clean their area and make it more comfortable for both the parents and for the babies to grow up.

When the babies are fully hatched out if their shell, can I clean the food dish and make it cleaner? Or should I just leave it alone. I also don't want them to suffocate the babies with the old stringy cotton. Can someone help me please. Thanks. I also want some tips on food the mother and father can feed them.

By KaitlynB


June 13, 20110 found this helpful

You didn't mention whether or not there is a nesting basket in the cage. Did they just ignore it or was there not one in the cage?

I never had the problem you do but i would not mess with the birds or babies.
If there is no finch nesting basket in the cage, get one and line it with new nesting material. Maybe the parents will check it out. If they start using it, maybe you could put the babies in there when they start feathering. Or not. You might want to check with an avian vet.

I feed my finches raw veggies and fruit all the time along with their seed. Mine love broccoli and apple best. Oh and corn on the cob (not cooked). I also make up a small batch of rice with mixed veggies in it. They munch on this all day.

Also for breakfast I make them scrambled eggs (use water not milk) I leave in the shells (crushed) this is good calcium. Just remember not to use salt. When they have babies I also have put in a dish of baby food mixed with baby rice cereal. Sometimes they eat it and some times they don't. Might be worth a try.

Hope this helps somewhat with your problem. Please keep us posted. At one time i had 13 birds of various varieties large and small. They are a joy (work yes, but worth it).

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

February 16, 2010

My Finch has hatched an egg. The mother bird doesn't seem to be feeding it. The baby is moving. I don't know what to do?


November 15, 2010

I have a male and female finch who had two baby finches. The babies came out of the nest today. Will they need to be put in a separate cage from the parents eventually and if so, how do I know when it's time to separate them?

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