How to Set up a Cage for Finches


Finches are active birds that amuse themselves without the need for much human interaction. In fact, they prefer the company of other birds and don't like to be handled or taken out of their cages. Since they spend all their lives in their cages, however, it's important to make sure the cage is the right size and shape and is properly outfitted for feeding, perching and playing.

Choose a Roomy Cage

Finches range in size from 3 to 8 inches long. Even with the tiniest finches, though, you need room for two or more birds because finches don't do well alone. Add to that the fact that finches need room to fly, the recommended size of cage for two finches is, at minimum, 24 inches long and 12 inches deep. Since the birds fly horizontally, the height of the cage is not critical. Be sure the bars are no more than 1/2 inch apart so the small finches can't get caught in them. Line the cage bottom with newspapers to catch droppings, food and spilled water.

Be Picky on Perches

Have at least two perches for the cage or one for each bird. The birds may like to sit together, but they need the option to go off on their own and sit, too. Choose natural perches or those that are preformed in the shape of natural perches; their uneven shape exercises the birds' feet. Unlike parakeet cages, which may have a long perch stretching from one side to the other, finch perches should be smaller so the birds have room to fly across and up and down. Consider adding a swing; some finches love them.

Have Up and Down Dishes

The food and water dishes that come with the cage are fine, though with two or more birds you may want to have several. Stagger the dishes at different levels so the birds have to fly each time they want to eat or drink. You'll also need a dish just for treats or new food to try. Since that dish will go in and out frequently, set it on the bottom of the cage so the birds can use their natural ground foraging instincts to explore the food there. Be careful not to place it under any perches, though, where it could be soiled by droppings.

Experiment with Toys

Finches don't require toys to chew on or unravel the way many other birds do. But while finches enjoy themselves in a cage without toys, they also enjoy mirrors, bells and many of the small, dangling toys designed for parakeets or canaries.

Give Them a Bath

Finches need to have the opportunity to bathe regularly. The bath should be large enough for the bird to splash around. It can be placed on the cage door if it's designed to do so, or it can be a saucer or bowl placed on the bottom of the cage. The bath doesn't require a permanent spot in the cage, since it will be moved in and out.

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