Chaffinch: care, social behaviour, nutrition, housing, breeding

A little bird that looks beautiful and whistles beautifully? That must be the chaffinch. Read more about its care, housing, nutrition and breeding.

Which species: finches

What it looks like: males: reddish-brown back, dark brown wings with two white bands, black tail with white sides, underside is merlot to white at bottom of belly, head and neck blue-gray and black forehead. Females: brown, with distinct wing stripes. 21 g

Where it comes from: Europe to Western Siberia, Middle East, North Africa, some islands in the Atlantic Ocean

How long it lives: up to 25 years (in captivity)

Number of eggs per nest: 3-4/5

Did you know: the chaffinch is one of the smallest birds you can keep: it’s usually barely 10 cm tall!

Chaffinch: beautiful bird, beautiful song

The chaffinch is among the most commonly kept birds in Flanders, and this is no coincidence. Not only does the bird have a gorgeous appearance, the male also whistles beautifully between March and August.

Social behaviour and care

The chaffinch is a relatively easy bird to keep as a pet. For example, you should not leave it outside its cage or aviary. It’s also best to touch it as little as possible, so as not to frighten it or cause it stress.

The chaffinch does not even crave your attention that much and rather prefers the company of its own kind. Therefore, it’s better not to keep one finch, but a couple at the very least. Chaffinches that are left alone often become unhealthy, and mentally and emotionally unstable.

Be careful: a chaffinch is sensitive to change. It’s therefore important that you always speak to the bird in the same way when you approach it. Also, as much as possible, wear clothing the bird is already used to. And avoid bringing strangers in the neighborhood of its cage as the finch becomes restless by that too.

Food

Either give your finches the quality seed mix Prestige Triumph Mix for Finches, supplemented with egg food, vitamins and minerals, or Prestige Premium Mix for Finches which already contains all the vitamins, amino acids and minerals in the added VAM pellets. Or choose NutriBird C15 pellets, which has all the essential nutrients in the right proportions. In addition, the chaffinch likes berries, germinating seeds, and live mealworms. You can also give them fruit and vegetables, but not avocado, as it is poisonous. Always provide food, fresh drinking water as well as stomach gravel and grit.

Housing

It’s best to house finches in a roofed aviary outdoors with evergreen plants. A night shelter is not necessary if the aviary is sheltered and planted densely enough for the birds to retreat to the foliage. It shouldn’t be draughty either. You should also place perches as high as possible: thick and thin sticks, branches or twigs.

The aviary must be large enough. As a benchmark: 2 m long, 1 to 1.8 m wide and 2 m high. But the more spacious, the better.

Breeding

In general, breeding chaffinches is not easy. The best results can be achieved in breeding cages or a separate aviary with lots of plants. Regardless, it’s best to keep a pair isolated in a cage during the breeding season. Males can be aggressive towards other birds and defend their territory.

The hen will build a nest from materials such as coconut fiber, grass stems, feathers, hair or sisal. She breeds from mid-April to July. After thirteen days the young are born. After twelve to seventeen days they fly out, after which the parents feed them for another three weeks. Then the young are chased away and you can keep them separate from each other.

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