Purchasing Stock...Having prepared your birdroom, sorted out your cages and or flights your attention will now turn to the task of purchasing your stock. Zebra Finches today come in many different colour mutations making them the ideal subject for those wishing to breed an attractive selection of birds, either for there own beauty or as part of a mixed collection. Alternatively you may intend to embark on the ultimate challenge of producing a stud of Exhibition Zebra Finches, whatever your choice you will derive great pleasure as long as you take a little care with your initial purchases.
There are many colour forms (mutations) available to the Zebra Finch fancier, however it is probably best when starting off if you select those mutations that are currently recognised by the Zebra Finch Society as you are then purchasing a known quantity in as much as when these mutations are mated together they will normally produce like for like. Please refer to the listing on mutations as a guide to the recognised mutations currently available in good numbers throughout the United Kingdom.
Zebra Finches are easy to sex, cock birds carrying check patches, throat stripes, chest bar and flank markings. Hens, of course, lack these. The two exceptions to this are whites which are devoid of any markings whatsoever but in most instances can be sexed by the beak colour, the cocks being deep red when in full condition and the hens being considerably paler, and the penguin which retains all the normal markings with the exception of the tear marks which should be absent in both cocks and hens, also cock birds should not have any throat stripes or a chest bar. Therefore you should not encounter too many problems sexing your birds when selecting your initial stock.
Source of Supply:
All reputable pet shops and specialist bird retailers will stock a few Zebra Finches at reasonable prices. Alternatively you should approach a breeder, who should be a member of the Zebra Finch Society. The breeder will have an intimate working knowledge of his or her stock and will usually close ring all their young birds. This is quite important as these rings can only be fitted to young chicks and they act as a form of breeding pedigree, a part of which gives the year the bird was bred and thus determining its age. Therefore the advantage of the breeder over pet shops is the breeder is able to supply unrelated breeding pairs of a guaranteed age. The Zebra Finch Society County Representative for your area or the General Secretary will be only too pleased to help you locate specialist breeders willing to help with your stock problems.
What to Look For:
Initially you should be looking to purchase birds no older than eighteen months as these will have a good breeding life ahead of them. Health-wise any prospective purchase should be active and not subdued, eyes should appear bright and clear. Beaks should be checked to ensure that they are free of growths or deformities as should the feet and legs. Also check that the feet grip the perches, birds with foot defects will often have difficulty perching. Avoid birds that show any sign of dampness around the vent as this could be a sign that there is an internal problem such as enteritis. Missing feathers, as long as there aren't too many, should not discount a bird, as Zebra Finches when kept in groups can be notorious feather pluckers.