How to Keep Zebra Finches From Fighting

Zebra finches average at about 4 inches in height.
Zebra finches average at about 4 inches in height. (Image: Zebra Finch image by Mike Price from

Zebra finches are small grass finches found throughout Australia. They are generally light gray on their heads, nape and back, while their wings are dark to fawn gray and their tails are black and white. Both male and female zebra finches have brown eyes and brown "teardrops" below each eye. Their beaks and legs are orange and their stomachs are white. Like many other animals, zebra finches are territorial and too many male finches or pairs of finches in one cage can lead to fighting, which causes a loss of feathers among other injuries. Understanding how many finches to put in one cage will help prevent this.

Things You'll Need

  • String of beads (optional)
  • Small plastic ball (optional)

Place toys in the cage, such as a string of beads hanging from the top of the cage or a plastic ball on the cage's floor. While zebra finches do not play with toys as much as parakeets, it is still important to give them something to do, which will help prevent fighting. Experiment with a few different toys to find out what your finches like.

Place more zebra finch hens than cocks in the same cage if you are using the cage to house multiple zebra finches. This will prevent male finches from fighting for dominance.

Place pinch clothes pins on the perches about 6 inches apart. This will limit the amount of pushing a bully finch can inflict on the others.

Keep one pair (male and female) of finches per cage. Zebra finches have a hierarchical society, as many animal species do, and two or more pairs in one cage will lead to the pairs fighting for the top position, which will not encourage breeding and can injure the birds. Keeping one pair of finches in a single cage is arguably the best method for preventing fighting, according to

Tips & Warnings

  • Keep as many nest boxes in the cage as you have pairs of finches.
  • Place perches at different heights throughout the cage.
  • Use anti-mite spray to keep finches from biting at the mites and dislodging their feathers.
  • A cage size of 20 by 20 by 60 inches is the minimum cage size for three pairs of finches.

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