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Maureen Cranston 2002-

Finches

 

Having had four new aviaries built I have filled them with finches of varying kinds. Nothing too complicated to keep, just nice to look at and easy to colony breed. Easiest of all are zebra finches and I have one aviary dedicated to then. They are such cheerful little birds, always on the go and chirping away to each other constantly.


A group of assorted Zebras in the 'long aviary'.
A group of zebras.
I have 5 pairs, two grey pairs bought locally and three pairs bought from near Doncaster and they are a variety of colours including pied.
I couldn't believe it when they started breeding almost immediately and have now increased my numbers to a total of 16. They seem to be very comfortable in the long aviary and the only problem I can see is trying to persuade them to go into the indoor roost at night instead of their beloved bush outside but I'm sure I'll manage.

The other three aviaries have different species in them. One has a mixture of red ear and orange cheek finches which seem to live happily together and are so settled that they laid eggs but too late to hatch them for this season. The only fatality I have had is one red ear and there seemed no real reason for it, and everyone else seems OK.
The next aviary has three pairs of gold breast finches. They are lovely birds to look at but painfully shy. They will, through time, get used to us passing by and talking to them. Doesn't affect their appetites though so they are obviously building up for winter.
Last but by no means least are my absolute favourites, the bichenos. I only have one pair and they have an aviary all to themselves. This is my third attempt to keep these beautiful birds and, so far, so good. They have a lovely call and are really wonderful to look at. Fingers crossed this time!

Season 2004

There have been a few changes in the finches so i have a bit of catching up to do.
The Gold Breasts did breed last year and had one chick the first time which died fairly quickly after it fledged and the second time they had two. One was a very small bird but survived until a short while after fledging too but the other is OK and looks to be a cock but is not fully in adult colours yet. It would be wonderful if it was a cock as I lost a cock during the summer. He broke his leg and didn't fully recover.
So I still have three pairs and they are settled in well and showing interest in the nestboxes already.

In the mixed aviary I had two young red ears hatch last year and they are part of the flock now and fully grown.
I have added to the group two pairs of Aurora finches (sometimes called red winged pytillia) They have settled in well and although they are a shade bigger than the others there doesn't seem to be any bother at the moment. They love live food and the highlight of the day is when all finches are presented with the mini meal worms. they really love them and, I wouldn't fancy being a worm in there!

Now to my absolute favourites, the bichenos.
I bought another pair but lost the hen quite quickly so was left with one pair and a single cock. next thing,I lost my hen but was lucky enough to be given one by a friend so then I had one hen and two cocks again. I managed to but a hen at the Scottish National Show this month so now I have two pairs.
They all seem to be getting along well with no squabbling and hopefully I will have some good news later in the year.

I am hoping for a reasonable breeding season this time and a friend of mine is waiting to swap stock if she has success too.
So far there has been lots of eggs but no chicks. The bicheno hens lay eggs but they mustn't be fertile so I'm still keeping my fingers crossed.
The gold breasts have suffered another set back and I have lost another pair. No reason,just gone. They have made nests and at present there is one solitary egg in one of them. Fingers crossed.
The mixed flight has nests galore and more being built in the outside flight amongst the bushes so, looking good there.

 

One of the pair of Bichenos (Owl Finch)

Male Bicheno.