Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and veg should be fed daily, making up 50% of the food offered to your finches (25% if you are feeding pellets). All leftovers need to be removed from the cage at the end of the day, as they quickly spoil and rot (or attract mice, rats and wasps in aviaries).

Java sparrow food
Food fit for a Java Sparrow

Finches are generally unfussy and will enjoy any suitable vegetables you offer. A mixture of bright colours appeals to them, so mix green courgette and broccoli with red apple and bell pepper, orange carrot and butternut squash, yellow corn cobs and… well, you get the idea. The key here is to provide food that is good for the birds, and to avoid ones that can upset their stomachs. As a starting point, try to source organic food, and always wash it well before serving to the birds.

Suitable Fruit and Vegetables For Finches

  • apple (avoid the pips: they contain small amounts of cyanide)
  • banana
  • beetroot
  • bell peppers (all colours)
  • blueberries
  • broccoli (the sprouting varieties are best)
  • butternut squash (and any other squash)
  • cabbage (savoy, kale)
  • carrot
  • celery (leafy ends – the sticks themselves are too watery and will fill the bird without adding much nutrition)
  • corn on the cob
  • courgette (zucchini)
  • fennel bulb (especially the feathery green parts)
  • greens – try dandelion, chickweed, nasturtium, spinach, parsley, spring greens, mustard cress; but only in small quantities – an excess of greens can hinder calcium absorption
  • mango
  • melon
  • papaya
  • peach and nectarine
  • pear (not the pips – for the same reason as apples, above!)
  • peas – fresh from the pod
  • pumpkin (and any other squash)
  • raspberries
  • strawberries
  • sweet potato
  • tomato (ripe – never green)

Unsuitable Foods for Finches

Never feed your birds the following:

  • acorns
  • alcohol of any kind
  • aubergine (egg plant) – the stem and unripe parts are toxic, and finches don’t tend to be very interested in the flesh if there are other vegetables on offer
  • avocado – this is both fatty and toxic
  • beans – no uncooked bean is suitable
  • broad beans (fava beans)
  • caffeine
  • chocolate or any other sweets and confectionary aimed at sweet-toothed humans
  • citrus fruits – these are fine in very small amounts, but too much can cause digestive problems and loose droppings
  • elderberries
  • fruit stones, pits and pips – most of these are mildly toxic (or, in the case of peach stones, lethal)
  • garlic – opinion is split on whether the garlic and onion family is okay for finches, and wherever there is doubt, it’s easier to simply avoid
  • lettuce – not toxic, but of very low nutritional value, so there’s no point having your birds filling up on it. It can also turn droppings watery if eaten in bulk.
  • mushrooms of any kind
  • nettle
  • onion – see garlic, above
  • peanuts
  • potato – these are mildly toxic when raw
  • rhubarb – the leaves are toxic
  • sweet pea
  • tobacco

Dried Fruit and Veg for Finches

Finches enjoy dried food, but you should avoid giving them too many sweet treats such as raisins and sultanas. You can buy prepacked dried fruit and veg, and as long as it’s organic and without preservatives or colourings (sulphur is one to watch out for, as it’s routinely used to colour things like dried apricot), it’s a suitable finch foodstuff. The one advantage of dried food is that it doesn’t spoil as quickly as fresh fruit and veg. Many finches enjoy the texture, too, and some like to put the bits of the mix in their water trays, eating it when it has partially rehydrated. Dry food can also be a handy bridge between seed and fresh food if your seed-addicted bird is reluctant to add new stuff to his diet.

Canary feeding
Dry food and fresh food each have their place in your pet finch's diet

Preparing Fresh Food for Finches

Hard vegetables and fruits such as carrots, squash and unripe pears should be finely chopped or grated. Greens can be left whole or chopped – it’s a good idea to mix the fresh foods together, though, so chopping usually works best. If serving sprigs of greens separately (dandelion, for example – a particular favourite with many finches), leave them whole, and tie together in a bunch for the birds to snip with their beaks.

Serve fresh food on feeding stations away from the dried food – any fresh stuff landing in the dry seed will encourage rotting. If you have an aviary, the fruit and veg can be served on the floor. In the wild finches search for fruits and seeds on the ground, so this appeals to their natural instincts.

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Charlene, 6 August 2019

Regarding the birds in the aviary that aren't moving. I would first think that they've been startled by a hawk. When a hawk comes around, after flying to safety, my birds wouldn't be budged for anything. :)

Riyaz, 3 August 2019

My finches lose all its hair near its leg I have given them nutritional liquid mix along with cage insect spray is there any way to stop that?

Merrilyn, 22 May 2019

I have an outdoor loft with about 20 finches. I've been feeding them fresh vegies and fruit along with their seed, and am always rushed by them when they see me carrying the white plate with the fresh cut food. Today none of them moved as I entered the loft and put the plate down for them. I went out and watched them for a minute or two and saw no action whatever. I checked on them 30 minutes, and an hour later and still no response to the plate of fresh micro greens and watermelon. Are they sensing something I'm unaware of, or? Their behavior is so bizarre, especially since not one of them ventured towards the food, and they're usually allover it. I'd appreciate any insights you may have. Thanks so much.

Janet, 25 April 2019

Hi, My orange breasted finch just laid 2 eggs so far since yesterday. You can give your finch protein rich types of food as she needs it otherwise she will be egg bound. Try to hand crush the egg shells but offer this separately to the crushed hard boiled egg, make sure not running yolk. They would benefit from live food such as fruit fly larva maggots or mealworms and small crickets. My finch is tiny in size being African finch so I had to have those caterpillar forms from moths or weevils. My finch enjoys cucumber seeds, but you could try silver beet leaves. Finches are mainly seed eaters so make sure you give good quality seeds as they would not touch the poor quality ones. They enjoy millets white and red panicums due to sweeter taste though lower in nutritional value. They also eat millet sprays but my ones not eating much. My finches are in cage indoor due to the cold weather where I live. I tried to give my finches many different types of fruits and vegetables but they don't seem to eat much variety. Fruits and veggies should make up around 40-50% of their diet. Try and see how you go. Note that most finches would not raise their young without live food and if you decide to rear them yourself would,be very hectic job. Some finch breeders have been giving them frozen pinkie maggots but they get too mashy and go yuck afterwards. So I would not try frozen food. Some were successful in raising them with seeds and vegies but i have in place weevil eggs and moth eggs and some live caterpillar forms. My finch been eating 4 a day for 2 days then stopped. They don't eat every day but some do. Note that even if they lay eggs does not mean they are all fertile especially if the male is inexperienced. My male finch took more than 20 times to get it right over few days. But he does it straight after she just laid her egg so more chance to get it fertile and she can store it up to 16 days. I done lots of researches on finches and watched many YouTube's as I'm new myself and I have many different types of birds indoor. So best of luck and enjoy your finches. Try go onto the finches club rad their questions and answers. You learn heaps from experts.

Dave, 17 March 2019

Can i give fresh fruit to avery if canaries in with finches

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