Posted Mar 05, 2015
First off, I don't want to make people think I'm "anti-finch." I'm absolutely NOT! Finches are very pretty little birds -- we get them into our avian rescue frequently and we very much enjoy their sounds and constant activity. But the problem is that when we see them in the rescue, we see them by the DOZEN, literally. People start with two and end up with more than they know what to do with. Finches, as it turns out, breed like crazy... and the pet stores they come from are complicit in the over-population which causes these cute little guys to end up in the "unwanted" category and into rescues like ours.
When you buy a pair of finches, you should first do a little research to find out what you're getting yourself into. If you buy a male and a female (the male Zebra Finch has a little round-ish patch on the side of his face - the female doesn't), you can pretty much count on them eventually mating. You should understand that the mating will result in many little finches. You should also understand that there's a pretty reasonable chance that the finches you bought are related -- likely part of the same clutch of babies, or at least in the same blood line... so allowing them to procreate can be problematic beyond the obvious overpopulation!
When the kid at the pet store explains how important that little thatched hut is -- as a place for the finches to hide and sleep, you should understand that the little thatched hut is, to the finch, a nesting box. That's where the eggs will be laid and that's where the babies will hatch. Depending on the nest box, you might not even be able to see inside it easily... so removing the eggs (to discourage the population explosion) may be difficult to do regularly and you could end up with babies whether you're vigilant or not. You don't need the nest box. The finches will be just fine if you give them a variety of perches, and toys to play with and sleep on. Also, you don't have to have a male and a female. A pair of same-sex finches will get along just fine.
Finches have turbo-charged metabolisms, so they eat and drink constantly. Keeping an eye on food and water levels is of huge importance because both can run out seemingly in the blink of an eye. The "shrapnel" from the millet seed that makes up a large portion of their diet will go everywhere, so you'll want to either buy some sort of seed guard or resign yourself to never being more than a few feet away from a broom when you're around the finch cage.
They're messy and they breed like crazy... but they're cute and wonderful to have around the house. They are not song birds per-se, but their chirping is pleasant to hear... plus they're fun to watch -- they never run out of energy!
Just please be responsible with them. We'd love to keep them in your home and out of our rescue!