How to Raise Baby Finches

Raising baby finches can be challenging if you don't have the parents. Successful rearing requires extensive time and attention. If you have to raise the baby birds on your own, seek the advice of a knowledgeable bird expert to help you.

Early Days

If your finches are newborn, you'll need to jump-start their digestive systems with sugar and hydration. Sterilize a half-cc syringe without the needle and administer a drop of children's electrolyte replacement formula every two hours for the first day. Use two small jars or glasses to sterilize feeding equipment. Label the jars, and fill both with hot tap water. Add 1 tablespoon of bleach to a labeled jar and stir. Immerse syringes into the jar and suction the solution to clean the syringe each time you use it. Rinse thoroughly in the other jar with plain, hot water.

Make a Brooder

Your baby finches will need to live in a brood box. Use a good-size plastic container with a ventilated lid or a small glass aquarium to make one. Wrap a heating pad around the outside and bottom of the container, and hold it in place with packaging tape. Set the heat to the lowest setting. Place a folded towel on the bottom of the container. Be sure it reaches the sides so the baby birds can't get close to the heated part. Place a small plastic bowl lined with a paper towel inside the container. The baby birds will live in this bowl initially. Cover the brood box with the lid and a towel to provide darkness for the birds. Your baby birds will rest better and feel more secure in dim light for their first few days. Once they are stable, cover the cage for 10 to 12 hours at night to replicate night and day light cycles. Once you cover the container, the space should be dark.

Warmth Is Key

Keep the baby birds warm at all times. Initially they need a temperature of 86 to 89 degrees Fahrenheit. Monitor the temperature in your brood box frequently. Never let the birds get close to the sides of the box near the heat source. Keep the heating pad set on low at all times.

The First Week

After the first day, mix a commercial baby bird food formula with electrolyte replacement solution to make a thin liquid. Continue to feed the baby birds every two hours from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. using this mixture. The birds' digestive systems need to rest during the overnight hours to prepare for growth the next day. Pause every few seconds during feedings to allow the birds to breathe, and administer only as much formula in each dose as the bird can swallow. Thicken the formula slightly around the third day, but continue to make it thin enough to draw through the syringe. Replace the electrolyte replacement solution with warm, sterilized water on the fifth day, and add a bit of lactobacillus powder to inhibit bacteria. On the seventh day, decrease feedings to intervals of 3 1/2 hours.

Growing Up

After the first week, increase the thickness of the formula and feed your baby birds as much as they will take, but do not force-feed them. Use a cotton swab dipped in warm water to clean the area around the baby birds' beaks after each feeding, and never reuse formula. Make fresh formula for each feeding. Always wash your hands before handling the baby birds or feeding equipment. When the baby birds begin to grow feathers, move them to a small bird cage. They will start to flap their wings and learn to fly soon. Your finches can now eat adult birdseed and fresh vegetables, and can drink from a bowl of water.