General Management of Zebra Finches

20 05/2008 | 15:52

The routines associated with managing a birdroom must never be overlooked even when dealing with a relatively hardy species such as Zebra Finches. Well organised birdrooms tend to be those where the birds are fit and healthy. Successful exhibitors invariably bench birds which are clean and in good physical condition.

Routine daily tasks

Routine daily tasks include the replenishment of all seed pots, removing any old seed husks before adding fresh seed. Water should also be replaced on a daily basis even when using tubular drinkers, which hold more than a day's supply of water. Additionally it is important to set aside time every day just to look at each individual bird. Often when rushed for time it is possible to top up both the seed and water pots without actually looking at the birds. Daily inspection allows early signs of trouble to be spotted and the sooner remedial action is taken the easier will be the cure. Any birds looking off colour should be caught up and examined more closely. If the cause of birds appearing to be unwell is not obvious, they should be housed separately from other birds until they return to full health. Certain individual birds will dislike each others company and when they are kept in the same cage this will lead to one or both looking off colour.

Weekly chores

These include cleaning out cages, providing baths for your birds and replenishing grit pots. Cages should have old floor coverings completely removed and replaced with fresh material. Sand or wood chippings are the most usual coverings, although paper may be used in some cases. Wood chippings tend to be the most absorbent, keeping cages drier and birds cleaner, however it is important only to use clean, course softwood chippings or sawdust. Many fanciers have had birds die because wood chippings or sawdust have been contaminated with creosote and other toxic chemicals. Paper keeps the cages themselves fairly clean but birds kept on plain paper tend to pick up dirt more quickly than those kept on wood chippings or course sawdust, if you intend to use paper as a floor covering then it is advisable to place several sheets in the cage and remove the top sheet on a daily basis.


Birdroom Cleaners
Weekly cleaning may seem to be a bit of a chore, but less frequent cleaning is less than ideal. Perhaps during the breeding season it may be wise to restrict cage cleaning for Zebra Finches, to avoid disturbing parent birds unduly. Giving your birds access to baths once a week is a bare minimum, more frequent bathing will help to promote better feather condition. During the breeding season when birds are sitting eggs or incubating small chicks it may be wise not to supply baths. Bathing can lead to the feathers of damp birds sticking to the eggs or chicks and they can be accidentally dragged from the nest. Although grit pots will oftern seem to contain ample grit, fresh grit should be added on a weekly basis to ensure a supply of the right minerals is available.


Less frequent tasks

These include cleaning flights and aviaries, indoor flights need cleaning about once a fortnight and outdoor aviaries about once every four to six weeks, depending on their size and floor covering. All receptacles used for seed, water and grit must be kept clean and will require washing out fairly regularly. Seed pots should be emptied and their contents sieved at least every other day. Perches also require attention, any which do not fit properly should be discarded and replaced. Whether to use natural perching or dowling is a matter of personal preference, I use natural perching in my flights as i find it kinder on the birds feet but i use dowling in my breeding cages, both the round and square type of about 3/8'' diameter and these are sanded slightly to remove any rough edges and also provide some variation in thickness. In addition to scraping perches clean they also need washing thoroughly about once a month, if used in flights or weekly if used in cages. I soak mine in a bucket of warm water and bleech for a few hours then use a scouring pad to clean the perches before rinsing them in clean water, then leaving them to dry over night. Dirty perches, in addition to encouraging foot sores, can also be responsible for eye infections. Loose perches which fall down continually make birds nervous and flighty. Birds should be treated with an antimite spray, exactly to the recommendations of the manufacturer, at least twice a year. Zebra Finches are unlikely to be infested with red mite or northern mite, but can carry feather mite.

Annual jobs


Various mite treatments
These include cleaning nest boxes after they have been used, before they are stored away for the following season. After cleaning it is a wise precaution to spray them with a mild solution of disinfectant, or better still a quick spray with a mite spray. Cages and indoor flights usually require repainting at least once every twelve months, either gloss or emulsion paint can be used, providing the paint is free from any toxic elements. Exterior woodwork should be treated with a preservative, remembering not to allow birds to come into contact with the preservative until it is thoroughly dry. Birdroom roofs should be inspected annually to ensure the roofing felt is not damaged allowing damp to seep into the fabric of the birdroom. Any other running repairs should be attended to promptly. Damage which permits draughts or vermin to enter a birdroom will be detrimental to the birds well being, unless repaired quickly and properly. Once mice are established in a birdroom they can be very difficult to eradicate. It is a wise precaution to make sure your birdroom doors are tightly closed at both the top and bottom. If the door warps slightly not only will this create draughts within the birdroom but also allow mice entry to the birdroom. Mice can squeeze through apparently impossibly small gaps, especially when warm surroundings and an ample food supply will be their reward.


While it may seem optional as to whether we employ good management, or adequate general management techniques it is worth bearing in mind that those breeders and exhibitors who consistently produce good quality birds, almost certainly employ good general management. For the exhibitor failure to meet these basic standards often results in birds losing at least two or three places on the show bench, while breeders who neglect detail tend to be those who have round after round of clear eggs or high levels of dead in shell...

Club Show 2015 Preston

02 03/2015 | 09:05

The Show Organisors would like to thank all those that volunteered to be stewards on the day. At our recent meeting the stewards were selected and will be informed by letter. Those that were unsuccessful will be placed on a reserve list.

The show will be held on 19th September at:

Bilsborrow Village Hall,



Birds can be securely left but not entered on Friday night between 7-9pm. If you require any further information please contact me on 01914165585 and This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


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