Getting to Know the Finch
Finches come from Asia, Africa and Australia. They are smaller, active birds usually kept in pairs in finch cages or with larger communities of birds in aviaries. Because finches typically bond better with other birds rather than people, it is not recommended to keep a finch alone in a cage. Placing perches at the far ends of a large aviary will encourage maximum flight time, or exercise, for these birds. Owners should search for the largest finch cages they can accommodate to support their birds' natural tendency to fly - a skill necessary for proper finch health.
A Finch Cage's Composition and Style
Finch cages should be made of durable, nontoxic, easily cleaned materials such as metal or stainless steel. Any metal finch cages that are coated should have nontoxic PVC powder in case the birds like to chew on the bars. Plastic or wooden cages should be avoided because birds can tear apart the bars, which can lead to injury or escape.
Additionally, finch cages should be easily accessible to owners, easy-to-clean, and keep their occupants safe. Cornered finch cages are preferable to those with rounded edges because birds often feel more secure inside of them. Finch cages should have doors that birds won't be able to open on their own. Secure cages have sliding doors, swing-out doors or hinged doors.
The Optimal Size for Finch Cages
The most important factor to remember when selecting a cage is the finch's need for flying space. Some owners make the mistake of thinking that finches can thrive in smaller cages because they are smaller birds. But finches can fly for hours without tiring, thus finch cages should be large enough to support this exercise. Larger finch cages are also important for breeding, since courting and mating rituals require lots of spaces and flying room to be successful.
With any bird species, larger is typically better, but owners should at least understand that the flight pattern of a finch requires more horizontal space than vertical space. Finches live happiest with a partner, and most avian experts recommend 3-4 square feet of cage floor space per pair of finches. Finch cages should be at least 30 inches in length for each pair of birds. Additionally, the cage bar spacing of finch cages should be no larger than 1/2 inch to avoid injuries from birds getting their heads stuck between the bars.
Accessories for Finch Cages
The best finch cages also stimulate exercise with perches, swings and toys. Perches can be made of concrete or non-toxic hardwood branches. Swings will also keep finches engaged in healthy activities that they enjoy. Other appropriate accessories for finch cages include ladders, mirrors and shallow bathing stations.
Finch Cages to Avoid
There are many different appropriate finch cages to choose from, but owners must still be wary to avoid cages that have the following:
- Rounded edges
- Tiny crevices or hard-to-clean spaces
- Vertical designs
- Copper, bronze, brass, or any other potentially toxic material, or one that is able to corrode
- Wide gaps between bars or other cage accessories
- Peeling paint
- Toxic decorative accessories
Recognizing quality finch cages can save owners money on replacement costs and contribute to good avian health. Some owners have two finch cages so they can transfer their birds and thoroughly clean one of them. Owners who understand finch behavior will provide finch cages with plenty of room for horizontal flight and include engaging accessories.