Baby finch... any one raise finches?


13 Years
Aug 30, 2009
Mt Repose, OH
My Coop
My Coop
Here I am, mother to some sort of finch that's no bigger than my thumb. Courtesy of my mother in law who found it blown out of a pine tree right in the middle of a cold snap after the heat. Nest out of reach and keeled over sideways after a storm last night. Little bird chilled and near death. I thought I was being all proactive calling the rehabber and leaving a voicemail before MIL even pulled in the driveway here with it.

Turns out... they're not in a panic to come get this bird from me.. so here I am with it. TINY it is. Not naked, luckily... just enough feathers for me to think it's something like 3 weeks old or so.

Does anyone raise finches? Is it really going to be ok on dog food soaked in water? I also have baby parrot formula, little finch feed crumbles I could turn to a mash... or chick starter (unmedicated) I could make a mash of?

It has no interest in taking food from me, and I've had it warmed up for about 6 hours now. I really thought it was going to be someone else's problem by now. But I guess I get to give it my best go and hope for the best.

I waited for it to be warm and start cheeping before offering food. I've been returning every hour after that to try again, talking to it and following the tone of it's chirps.

Any finch people with any pointers?

Here it is... It has a short little beak, like a finch. Edges still very soft and rubbery like.

Looks like it's just about ready to fly. It's a fledgling and probably one of the reasons you found it on the ground is because it was practicing. The wind probably didn't help it either!

You could try soaking some hard dog food in water and feeding that, but it probably will be reluctant to take it from you. You could also try some finch seeds. At that age, I was leaving some soaked dog food in a little dish and letting the bird pick for itself. I then stuck the babies in a cage and left the cage outside (during good weather and while I was home). Once it was acclimated to its surrounding, I would leave the door of the cage open. The babies would venture in and out. They returned to the cage for a few nights, then started sleeping in a nearby tree. Pretty soon, they were on their own.

Since you may have the bird for a few days, you may have to gently open its beak to give it some of the soaked dog food. You can also leave a small bowl of water for the baby. If it is too cold (nights around here are getting pretty cold) you could use a heating pad set to low underneath a towel. I'd say the baby will be ready to be on its own in a week or so. It's amazig how quickly they grow!
I was thinking it wasn't a fledgling yet because it's barely using it's eyes, they remain closed, and it only really opens one of them. It can't seem to balance itself very well either. This was after it was warmed up. It was even weaker and pretty dang cold.

This last visit I made it popped it's mouth open. I opted for the parrot food mixed with the finch food into a mash. Dog food seems like a step backwards if it's that close to weaning. I used a toothpick to get a little dab far enough back not to choke it, it seemed content with that and went back to sleep.

The way it promptly fell asleep after that little meal makes me think younger then fledgling too... don't they come after you for more? Escape their towel trying to explore? This one hunkers down and stays put.

It did have a rough day and or night too... so it could still be very much stressed. Just seems so... reliant on care still. I told MIL to go ahead and bring it because of how she said it was acting. First thing I asked was "Does it have feathers" and instead of saying yes, she went on to say how weak and cold it was, knowing my answer would be to leave it alone if it had feathers.

Bad day to fledge yesterday or today, so if it is right at that age.. worse timing ever.
Whole different bird today! Perched on the side of it's tray, chirping away. It greeted me with shaking wings and open mouth this morning. I had left it a small pile of Finch crumbles, they were disturbed but I don't know if it's from eating or walking on it.

So it is a fledgling... who had the absolute worse timing ever and about died after being forced from the nest by weather. Right age I guess, wrong time.

I'm happy it's doing better. Hopefully it can continue to improve and it's big enough to go free this coming weekend with the warm up. I'd feel bad putting it right back out into the cold this early. But the weather is supposed to improve again.

Just seems so late in the year... is this normal? Must have been a 3rd batch for the parents are something.
Well, day 5 and going strong! It's much stronger, and flaps it's wings better while feeding. It can jump, but no flying yet. Seems to like the baby parrot food. We both have the hang of feeding... though there was a learning curve.

With it having made it this far, I'm going to drag the wire duck brooder up here and put it by the windows and install a series of branches and brush, 4 ft long and 2 ft high/2ft deep should be enough room to practice flight.

Release will be at my dad's house, he has a field next door, and lot's of wild flowers that produce seed in the yard, and the neighbor across the street keeps feeders out year round. Lot's of other finches, sparrows, doves... all that. Minimal cats. There's only one nuisance stray.. not like here and where the baby was found where there are several.

I'm really happy it's doing well, I started feeling real doomsday like when the rescue pretty much said they were leaving me to it.

It's so little... feeding with the dulled end of a toothpick is working though, it's the smallest thing I have to deliver food to such a tiny mouth! I balance a little ball of food on the end and get it in there as far as I can. Very tedious. Every hour or so, little bits. It will eat itself dead if I let it... never stops asking for food.

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