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Zebra Finch Housing

Basic Housing

What cage should I buy?  Buy a cage with bars no larger that one half inch apart.  These are little birds.  For a pair of birds the cage should be no smaller than approximately 16x12x16 inches.  How would you like to live in a closet?  The larger the cage is, the more room they will have for exercise.

There should be at least two perches but not so many that there is no room to fly.  Donít use a perch with sand paper on it.  This is too hard on their feet.

Most any style/shape of cage is ok.  Consider how easy it is to clean, how well it contain the mess of seeds flying, and how easy it is to catch a bird. 

Zebras like to spend the night in a nest.  This is not a requirement.  One thing to keep in mind, if there is a nest, they will breed and lay eggs.  If you do not want babies, do not buy a nest.  You can buy a nest from the pet store.  The most common for Zebras is the enclosed wicker nest with a front opening hole.

Newspaper works well for a floor covering.  It is cheap, collects the droppings, and is easily removable.  The birds also like to play with it.  Other animal bedding materials can be used.  Crushed corn cob and pine shaving are a couple.  I would not recommend aromatic cedar shaving.  Some of these may make a big mess depending on your cage style.

Again, no strings!  Toys are a welcome treat.  Your birds are living in a one room house. Give them something to do.  Finches donít play with toys as much as parakeets and parrots, but still are curious and like to put their beak into things.  A sturdy string of beads hanging the from the top, a plastic ball on the floor, etc.  Try different things.  They may ignore, may enjoy it.

It is recommended that only one pair be kept in the same cage.  Zebras have a hierarchical society, as do many animal groups.  When you put two pair together they may fight for the top position and feather pick each other.  This situation does not promote breeding and of course is not healthy.  If you want more birds you will need multiple cages or a larger cage. With a large enough cage you can certainly have multiple pairs together. I have had three pair in a cage 20x20x60 inches. This is the minimum for three pair. They even pick on each other a little in this cage. Be sure to have at least as many nest boxes as you have pairs. Also have many perches at different heights.

A trick to help diminish the fighting is to use pinch clothes pins on the perches about six inches apart. This way the bully can only push the others just so far or the others can be on the opposite side of the clothes pin.

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