The following is a short guide to breeding zebra finches.
- Select a suitable couple in good condition and place them
in the same cage (without going into detail, I will say that it
is very important that the two birds be of opposite gender
and placed in the same cage!)
- If the birds are in good condition they will usually start
to build a nest immediately, and within a few days the first eggs
will be laid.
- Check the nest every day in order to follow the progress.
Be sure to let the birds know you are coming. If you frighten
them, they may accidentally destroy the eggs in the confusion.
If the birds are unwilling to leave the nest, don't chase them
off unless you are worried something might be wrong.
- Around the time when the third egg is laid, the birds will
start sitting on the eggs.
- After approximately 2 weeks, the eggs will start to hatch.
- At this time you should start to feed a rearing food (nestling
food). This can be bought in a pet shop, or you can make your
own. You should continue to feed the regular seed mixture as well.
- When the birds are around 8 or 9 days old, they should be
fitted with a closed coded ring for later identification.
- When the birds are about 2½ weeks old you should generally
stop nest checking in order to avoid the young birds leaving the
nest early. However, if you suspect something is wrong, you will
have to check anyway. In that case, great care must be taken not
to frighten the birds.
- When the birds are around 3 weeks old, they will leave the
nest for the first time.
- Around 1 week later (at 4 weeks) the birds will start feeding
on their own.
- At this time, the nest should be removed unless you want another
clutch. Generally, a pair of zebra finches should not be allowed
to rear more than 2 - 3 clutches per year.
- Around 1 - 2 weeks later (at 5 - 6 weeks) the birds are self-sufficient
and can be removed from the parents' cage. If you leave them with
the parents, they may interrupt the next clutch. Additionally,
the parents' may chase the young birds around and pluck their
- At this time, distinguishing features should be emerging,
enabling you to distinguish males and females. Beaks should have
started to change from black to a lighter colour (will eventually
turn orange or red).
Common questions about breeding
Common questions about eggs
Common questions about nests
The above information is provided without any guarantees. Always
consult a veterinarian before following any advice that might
affect the health of your birds.