What Do Finches Eat and How to Feed Them

Wild finches get their nutrition mostly from seeds but they often rely on vegetables and fruits along with insects because seeds are not easily available in all seasons. But when it comes to pet finches, it is your lookout to provide a balanced diet, and discussing a professional vet for this purpose is recommended.

How Much to Feed Your Finches

Like most birds, pet finches should get food worth a quarter to half of its body weight, daily.

What Food to Give to Your Finches

Name of Food How Much to Give (for an average-sized bird like Zebra or Gouldian finch) Notes
Vegetables (like broccolis, parsley, zucchinis, tomatoes, cucumbers, winter squash, and carrots) 20-25% of the meal (in combination with fruits) 1. The nutrition value of iceberg lettuce, celery, and head lettuce is low, but they are safe to give occasionally
2. Organic vegetables are preferable
Fruits (like fresh bananas, pumpkins, strawberries, apples, melons, peaches, cherries, and blackberries) 20-25% of the meal (in combination with vegetables) 1. Grapes could be occasional treats but they are also low in nutrients
2. Always cut fruits or any other food into small pieces to make them easy to eat
Home-cooked foods (Meat or fish, mashed hard-boil eggs) In moderation Always give in small amounts at first to see if your bird is liking it or not
Seeds (like millet seeds) 1.5-2 teaspoons per day 1. Seeds should be given in combination with fruits and veggies, as an only seed-based diet might lead to obesity
2. If you feed your finches with seed mixes meant for other birds, like parakeets, it might not provide enough nutrient. So offer more fresh foods to balance the diet.
Water In moderation Should be provided in a clean bowl, and should be changed every 4-5 hours

However, each bird has different preferences when it comes to food, for example, some can like seeds over vegetables while some love fruits. As a responsible and attentive owner, you need to observe what your bird prefers. At the same time, you should never ignore what it really needs in order to maintain good health. Besides giving fresh foods, use clean plates and bowls for maintaining hygiene.

What to Avoid

  • Avocado and chocolates, as they are toxic to finches
  • Mushrooms, onions, garlic, as well as uncooked beans, and potatoes
  • Pelleted diets including preservatives and colors
  • In case your birds tend to get obese due to dietary reasons, lessen the quantity of millet seeds and other fatty foods like sugary fruits

What Kind of Foods Do Breeding Finches and Baby Finches Need

Egg laying females need calcium enriched foods and supplements along with their normal diet, while newborns and juveniles prefer seeds most of the time. As they grow you can rely on a combination of home cooked, pelleted and mineral supplements. You can also try the commercially available foods meant for baby finches.

Make sure to consult your vet regarding the proper diet for breeding and baby birds.

Pelleted Foods for Finches

It is recommended to gradually switch to pellets as the primary diet, as these are manufactured according to the specific needs of different birds. You can easily get commercially available pellets meant for finches, but make sure to talk with a vet, and check the ingredients before settling for any brand. There are different combinations available for baby finches, adults, and pregnant birds.

Our Recommendations for Pellets for Finches

ZuPreem FruitBlend Flavor
Colorful pellets with fresh fruity flavor encourage your birds to try it.
LAFEBER’S Premium Daily Diet Pellets
Manufactured by a veterinary-owned company to meet all the nutrient needs of your bird.
F.M. Brown’s Zoo-Vital Daily Diet
Made with high-quality ingredients to meet the same dietary standards of major breeders
Quiko Eggfoods
Contains real honey and eggs to add a nice variety to your bird’s diet.

Provide one spoon of pellets per day, mixed with seeds. Start a pelleted or formulated diet after the finches grow past the early juvenile stage. It might be tricky to get your finches to eat the pellets at first, though it is usually a little easier for hand raised young birds. Keep offering it with their regular food, and they will eventually try it.

Food Supplements: Do Finches Need Them?

If the diet of a pet finch contains 70-75% of pellets, then chances are no supplements are needed. But for birds eating only fresh foods like fruits and seed, supplements are required to ensure vitamin, mineral and amino acid intake.

  • For calcium: Cuttlebone; crushed egg shells may also be given along with boiled eggs for calcium
  • For iodine: Provide iodine blocks; in case your bird does not directly eat the block you can grate it and mix with eggs, or add to their drinking water

It is important to make sure that your bird is getting sufficient amounts to eat. If it appears to look for more food, maybe in the empty food bowl or litter tray, then maybe you are underfeeding it. Try increasing the amount of food offered, and keep looking for reappearance of similar behavior. You may need to talk to an expert if your bird still seems underfed.

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