Finches are a lovely pet that are fairly easy to care for. They are social birds and need to bond with other finches; however, they don’t often attach to humans. That being said, you can still interact with your pet finch and over time they will become comfortable in your presence. In order to bond with your pet finch, you need to get them used to your voice and hand. Try giving them treats so that they create a positive association. Eventually, you will be able to handle them and even remove them from their cage.
EditGetting Finches Comfortable in Your Presence
- Make the same noise each time you enter the room. When you first get pet finches, they will likely be nervous in your presence. In order to get them more comfortable, you need to demonstrate that you are not threatening. Try making the same calming noise each time you enter the room with the bird cage. This will help them get to know when you are around.
- For example, you could make a low whistle sound.
- Avoid making quick movements. The finches may panic or become nervous when quick motions happen near their cage. You do not want them to associate you with a negative experience. As a result, you should always move slowly and carefully around their cage.
- Don’t look down on the cage. Try to position the cage at eye level and avoid looking down on the finches inside the cage. This can cause them to feel vulnerable and nervous. Instead, it is best to look at the finches at eye level.
- If you are unable to position the cage at eye level, crouch down when looking into the cage so that you don’t intimidate the birds.
- Speak to your finches in a calm voice. When you are in the room with your finches, speak to them in a calm and quiet voice. Give them treats each time you enter or exit the room. Eventually they will begin to make a positive association with your voice.
- They may even respond to your voice with chirps, but don’t expect them to mimic your noises.
- Spend time watching your finches daily. Sit in the room with your finches on a daily basis. You will begin to notice that they are comfortable in your presence. For example, they will stop fluttering around the cage and will begin preening, feeding, and bathing. These are signs that they are comfortable with you.
- At minimum you should try and spend at least an hour in the room with their cage. The more time you spend in the room with them the quicker you will bond with the birds.
- Provide a quiet environment. Place your finch cage in a quiet environment and avoid moving the cage around frequently. Your finches should be located away from the hustle and bustle of the household and should not be kept in a main or central room. Instead, place them in a quiet room with a door that can be closed.
- The door does not need to remain closed at all times, but should be closed if the house becomes loud or there is lots of activity happening that might frighten your finches.
EditHandling a Finch
- Place your palm across the finch’s back and wings. You may need to pick up your finch in your hand to remove it from the cage periodically. To do this, place your palm around the finch’s back and across their wings. Your index and middle fingers should wrap around the bird’s neck and your them and remaining fingers can be cupped around the bird for support.
- You may need to handle the bird in order to clean out the cage, or to remove aggressive or injured finches from the cage.
- Don’t squeeze the bird too tight. While you are handling the bird, you want to have a firm grip. This will prevent the bird from moving around too much and panicking. That being said, you should not squeeze the bird too tight. Instead, it should be firmly contained in your hand.
- Speak gently to the bird when handling it. Handling a finch can be an unfamiliar and scary experience for the bird. In order to make your finch more comfortable, you should talk to the bird in a soft and reassuring voice. Alternatively, you could try whistling to the bird.
- If your bird has bonded with you, then it will know the sound of your voice and will feel reassured by your presence.
EditTraining a Finch to Perch on Your Finger
- Isolate a single bird before finger training. Finches are often kept together in a single cage because they are social birds. Before you begin finger training your finch, you should isolate one finch in a separate cage. You should only train one bird at a time. To do this, simply remove a finch from the communal cage and place it in a separate cage during each training session.
- Position your hands near the cage. Before you begin finger training your finch, ensure that it is comfortable with your hand. Start by moving your hands around near the cage while talking to your finch in a soothing voice. Once it becomes comfortable with your hand near the cage and appears unflustered, begin rubbing the outside of the cage with your hand. This will help it associate your hand with noise.
- This process will likely take a few days and can not be rushed.
- Place your hand in the cage daily. Now that the finch is comfortable with your hand, you can try placing your hand inside the cage. The bird will likely retreat to the far side of the cage and that is fine. Continue to place your hand in their cage daily. After a while, it will become more comfortable and possibly even curious.
- Hold a treat for the finch. Once the finch is comfortable with your hand in the cage, you can begin offering small treats, such as a small piece of fruit. This will help to entice the bird to your hand. Repeat this process until your bird comes to your hand routinely. At this point, the finch will likely perch on your hand or finger.
- Finch proof the room. Before you attempt to remove the finch from the cage while perched on your finger, you need to ensure that the room is safe for the finch to fly around. You will need to close all windows and doors so that the finch does not escape. You should also turn off any ceiling fans, remove other pets from the room, and dim the lights.
- Remove the finch from the cage. Once the finch is comfortable perched on your finger inside the cage, you can slowly remove your hand and the bird from the cage. Your finch may remain on your hand once outside the cage, but it may also fly around the room. You can position a few perches close to the cage so that the finch has something to land on.
- Don’t chase the bird back to the cage. Keep the door to the cage open at all times. The finch may fly back into the cage on its own. Never chase the finch back into the cage. This will cause the bird stress. Instead, you can try and lure it back into the cage using treats.
- For example, you could place some fruit or insects inside the cage. Your finch will likely be unable to resist.
- You can’t train a pet finch to fly onto your finger from afar (like a well-trained budgie or cockatiel).