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includes gouldian, orange weaver, society, spice and zebra finches

Finches are small, gentle birds that come in a dazzling variety of colors. Finches should always be housed with at least one other Finch, preferably more.


Finch Facts

average adult size: 3 to 8 inches long, head to end of tail
average life span: 5 to 10+ years with proper care depending on species.
diet: herbivores

Bird pet parents should avoid non-stick cookware and appliances as they can release fumes hazardous to your bird's health.


A well-balanced finch diet consists of:

  • Specialized pellets should make up 60 to 70% of diet, plus fresh vegetables, fruits and small amounts of fortified seeds.
  • Clean, fresh, filtered, chlorine-free water, changed daily.
  • Do not feed birds avocado, fruit seeds, chocolate, caffeine or alcohol as these can cause serious medical conditions. Avoid sugar and high fat treats.


Things to remember when feeding your finch:

  • Fresh food and water should always be available.
  • Vegetables and fruits not eaten within a few hours should be discarded.
  • Remember, treats should not exceed 10% of total food.


  • Finches acclimate well to average household temperatures, not to drop below 65°F or to exceed 80°F; be cautious of extreme temperature changes. The habitat should be placed off the floor in an area that is well-lit and away from drafts.
  • A rectangular flight habitat, approximately 24"W x 14"D x 18"H, with metal bars spaced no greater than 3/8" apart, makes a good home for up to three finches. A flight habitat is strongly recommended. It is best to provide the largest habitat possible.
  • Perches should be at least 3" long and 1/4"- 1/2" in diameter; a variety of perch sizes to exercise feet and help prevent arthritis is recommended.
  • A metal grate over the droppings tray will keep the bird away from droppings; line the droppings tray with habitat paper or appropriate substrate for easier cleaning. To avoid contamination, do not place food or water containers under perches.
  • Finches can be kept with at least one other Finch, preferably more. Finches can be housed with several other flock, non-aggressive species in an aviary. Depending on species, some finches can be housed with other types of finches. Different types of birds should not be housed together.
  • Birds should be socialized daily by the pet parent softly talking to the bird.

Normal Behavior

  • Finches need the company of other finches to thrive.
  • Most Finch species make frequent, pleasant chirping noises.
  • Finches need room to fly in their habitat.
  • Provide foraging toys, which provide important mental stimulation.

Habitat Maintenance

  • Clean and disinfect the habitat and perches regularly with a 3% bleach solution; replace substrate or habitat liner weekly or more often as needed.
  • Replace perches, dishes, and toys when worn or damaged; rotate new toys into the habitat regularly.
  • Ensure that there are no habitat parts or toys with lead, zinc or lead-based paints or galvanized parts as these can cause serious medical issues if ingested by your bird.
  • Do not use a lot of cleaning agents around your bird as the fumes can be harmful. It is recommended to use a natural cleaning product.

Grooming & Hygiene

  • Provide filtered, chlorine-free, lukewarm water regularly for bathing; remove the water when done. As an alternative, mist the bird with water.
  • Nails should be trimmed by a qualified person to prevent injury to the bird.


Signs of a Healthy Animal

  • Active, alert, and sociable
  • Eats and drinks throughout the day
  • Dry nares and bright, dry eyes
  • Beak, legs and feet normal in appearance
  • Clean, dry vent
  • Smooth, well-groomed feathers

Red Flags

  • beak swelling or accumulations
  • fluffed, plucked, or soiled feathers
  • sitting on floor of habitat
  • wheezing or coughing
  • runny or discolored stools
  • favoring one foot when not sleeping
  • eye or nasal discharge
  • red or swollen eyes
  • loss of appetite

Common Health Issues

Health Issue Symptoms or Causes Suggested Action
Health IssueDiarrhea Symptoms or CausesFecal portion of stool not formed. Multiple causes, from change in diet to internal parasites. Suggested ActionConsult your veterinarian and ensure correct diet.
Health IssueLice or feather mites Symptoms or CausesRestlessness, scratching, feather picking. Suggested ActionConsult your veterinarian and clean habitat.
Health IssueMites(scaly face and leg disease) Symptoms or CausesWhite deposits on eyes, beak, legs, and feet. Suggested ActionConsult your veterinarian.
Health IssueAvian pox Symptoms or CausesLesions in mouth, scabs on eyes and face. Suggested Actionisolate bird and consult your veterinarian.


Ask a store partner about Petco's selection of books on finches and the variety of private brand products available for the care and happiness of your new pet. All private brand products carry a 100% money-back guarantee.

Because all birds are potential carriers of infectious diseases, such as Chlamydiosis, always wash your hands before and after handling your bird or habitat contents to help prevent the potential spread of disease.

Pregnant women, children under the age of 5, senior citizens and people with weakened immune systems should contact their physician before purchasing or caring for birds and should consider not having a bird as a pet.

Go to for more information about birds and disease.

This care sheet can cover the care needs of other species

Note: The information in this Care Sheet is not a substitute for veterinary care. If you need additional information, please refer to the sources on the following page or contact your veterinarian as appropriate.

Developed with and approved by a qualified veterinarian.