Feeding Finches


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For bird seed many pet stores carry a lot of different brands of finch seed. Any of those will be fine for the birds. Just make sure that is for finches and softbills. In an emergency, you can use canary seed. However, the seeds marketed for hookbills (parrots, conures, lovebirds, etc) are too hard for the finches to crack open and eat. There are also pellet foods available. Some people report great success with pellet food. I tried one of them, and most of my birds would not eat them. Those that did exhibited excessive flatulence (yes, birds can do that).

The rest of this page talks about the way that I feed my finches. 


Seeds are the basis of the diet that I give all of my finches.  I have tried many different varieties, but I have found a mixture that all my finches enjoy.  I use a mix of one part KG Special Finch Mix, 1 part EM Special Finch Mix, and 3 parts Finch Mix Number 1.  These seeds are available from Herman Brothers Seed Company.  I always have this seed mix and water available for all my finches.  However, any good quality finch seed mix should be fine. 

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Making Egg Food

When I first started to read about finches I kept hearing about something called "Egg Food".  I found many different ways that people made it for their birds.  This is the mixture that I have found works best for my birds:  (Note:  if you want to keep things simple, you could just use a commercial egg food product fed at the intervals I suggest.) 

Hard boil two eggs.  After they are cool, peel them and grate the eggs.  I microwave the shell fragments on high for 60 seconds to make sure they are sterile, and then I grate them up into the grated eggs.  To this mixture add 3 teaspoons of corn meal and 6 teaspoons of wheat germ and mix by hand until the entire batch is thoroughly mixed.  This basic egg food mixture can be refrigerated for about 3 days.  I then add my basic egg food to a commercial egg food:  I use a "one to one" mix of ORLUX "British Finch Egg Food" with my egg food as the basic egg food for my Zebra and Society finches.  I use a "one to one" mix of "Goldy Egg Food" and my egg food as the basic egg food for my Gouldian, Owl and Blue Cap Cordon Bleu finches.  I mix the two types of egg food as I am preparing the dishes to go into the cages. The egg food should be spread thinly on the feeder, and should be removed and any remainder discarded after two hours. 


Feeding Egg Food when finches are breeding

Feed once a day, about 1/2 Teaspoon per bird.  Just before putting the dishes in the cages, I LIGHTLY sprinkle the food with a supplement. I alternate, one day using "Feather Up" and the other day using "Daily Essentials 3". 

When finches are feeding nestlings or fledglings, or for the fledglings or nestlings eating on their own for the first three weeks:

Twice a day, about 1/2 Teaspoon per bird, counting all nestlings and fledglings.  I alternate the supplement with each feeding, so the birds are getting a dose of both supplements every day.  After three weeks I go to once a day for about a week or two, and then every other day for a week or two, and then to normal feeding.  Additionally, from the time of breeding to three weeks after the fledglings are weaned I also lightly sprinkle each dish with Petamine Nestling Formula or Lafeber's Premium Daily Diet for Finches. 

Feeding Egg Food when Finches are not breeding

Feed once a week, about 1/2 Teaspoon per bird.  Alternate supplements as before. 

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Other foods for Gouldians, Owl and Cordon Bleu Finches

For proper nutrition these finches require insects.  My finches prefer Orlux "Insect Patee" from Chris's Birds N' Things, but any dried insect mix should suffice.  I have also used "Insectivorous Feast" from The Birdcare Company.

I also keep small quantities of "Herbal Salad" available for these birds.


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Other Supplements for all finches and softbills

I always have calcium available for my finches.  It is critical for the hens during mating season:  the eggshells are a coating of calcium that is deposited just before the egg is laid.  I have found that crushed oyster shells, available in most pet stores, it fine.  I also make sure that every cage has at least one cuttlebone:  the birds get their calcium from the cuttlebone and they also use it to keep their beaks properly shaped. 

Two other supplements I always have available for my birds are charcoal and salt.  I usually buy the charcoal from a pet store, and the best salt "wheels" (round disks about 1 inch in diameter) were originally intended for wild birds: they also have trace minerals that the birds need in small quantities.  I get these from my local "feed and seed" store.  I also keep a mineral supplement called "Miner-A-Grit" available in small quantities for all my birds.  I buy the one for small to medium birds at pet stores. 

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You can get these supplies from many different places (except for the seed mixture, which is only available from Herman Brothers ).  Two suppliers I generally use are Chris's Birds N Things, and Bird Supply of New Hampshire

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This site was last updated 10/14/07