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Finch Chick Rearing

The hen and cock will both feed the chicks, regurgitating food for them. Feeding doesn’t start until a chick is two days old, at which point the nutrition provided by the yolk sac runs out. Fledglings’ eyes open after six days; and after the youngest of them has reached ten days old, the hen will incubate at night only, as the chicks are by now robust enough to survive in the nest without being sat on during the day. They will be sprouting their first adult pin feathers at this point too. They fledge between 14 and 20 days (depending on the species), but are still reliant on their parents for food at this stage.


Canary fledglings in nest
Canary fledglings - 10 days old and constantly hungry!

Chick Weaning

Depending on the species, weaning - independence from the parent birds - occurs between four and six weeks. The chicks will beg for food as they perch, and eventually their parents will stop responding. The young soon learn where the food is by watching their cage-mates, and their begging behaviour – open beak, fluttering wings – ends. If the chicks are slow in getting the message their parents may resort to chasing them away. An adult cock bird, in particular, will soon come to view his male offspring as potential rivals.

When the full quota of chicks is feeding and drinking without parental assistance, the young birds need to be placed in their own cage, away from mum and dad. In a larger aviary setup, they will all find their own space without you intervening.


Canary chicks
Most finch chicks only spend about two weeks in the nest before fledging

Second Clutch of Eggs

Left alone, pet finches will often try to breed several times in a year. In the interests of their health – egg-laying and chick rearing is a physically taxing process, especially for the hen – no pair should be laying eggs more than three times in any one season. Two clutches is plenty.

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Comments Leave a comment

Janice, 14 July 2021

I can not see inside the zebra finch hut but both male and female been taking turns sitting on the eggs it has been about 13 days and I can not tell if they hatch, how will I know if they hatche


Kellie, 17 June 2021

Hi! I just had my first batch of beautiful babies. Got 3 but one is younger and the older 2 just left the nest a couple of days and the 3rd. Has tried but found at gotten of cage as its still too little. Very concerned about the little one. I have put it back 2 times now :( is there somethng I can do to help the little one ??


E & K D Russell, 23 October 2019

Does the Chaffinch regurgitate food for its chicks? we feed meal worms to the NZ North Island Tomtit, and a pair of Chaffinchs also 'geting in on the act', eating 5 - 6 meal worms each! Quite impressive.


Shona, 28 July 2019

The father of my all white baby finch keeps chasing pecking not allowing her to perch now the mother’s is showing signs of bullying but at the same time they feed her along with the two dark in colour finches I find it quite sad as they have only left the nest about a two weeks ago or less the mother and father continue to mate I now have two eggs in food bowl as I removed the nest box for this reason as they have only just had this litter of chicks I just need to know why they are being so rotten to this one little chick she can’t do wright for doing wrong it’s sad to watch as they are not ready to be separated although they do try the seed and water but still ask to be fed please help thankyou.


Ricardo, 20 July 2019

Our zebra finches finally hatched thier first babies today do we need to give them special food or just stick with dead meal worms and seed, lettuce any advice would be fantastic as everyone has conflicting comments. Cheers