Hey guys saw a previous post about Zebra Finches, and well I did a research paper on them awhile back and I thought I'd share it with you all because it could be a bit informational. Zebra finches are those small little birds you might see at the pet store with white and a black stripe often on their cheeks. Ive never even seen one before till my cousin in Palestine of last summer showed me his bird collection which included two small zebra finches and I had to learn more. The first domestication of zebra finches was in 1965, the birds originally from Australia where captured and sent to Europe there they became house birds inside cages. The scientific name for zebra finches is Taeniopygia guttata. Housing for zebra finches can be very easy and quite simple. Your two options are an aviary or a simple cage. If you only have a pair or two then simple cages should do the trick, 24 x 16 x 16 inch cages will accommodate a pair very well but as always said the bigger the better. If you decide on having more then three pairs then an outdoor aviary is you way to go. The size of the aviary would depend on the amount of birds but a good way to figure out measurement is using 24 x 16 x 16 inches a pair to figure out the measurements. You must remember zebra finches can be messy seeds will spill out onto the floor so you must keep that in mind if you plan to keep them indoors. If you plan on keeping them outdoors you must be in an area where climate does not change often they can not handle a sunny day in the morning with 90 degrees and a thunderstorm in the afternoon. Materials needed besides the aviary or cage. Are drinkers that you can buy from your pet stores. Feeders which normally might come with the cage that you buy but if you built the cage or didnt get one dont try to be cheap by using a normal plastic plate, buy feeders if you think youre saving money by using a plate your not because the birds will just play with the feed and scatter it every where and not eat it. Perches are a must need, they need the perches to sit on and to get around in their aviary or cage. Like most birds zebra finches like to bathe so twice or three times a week you should put in a shallow bowl of water for them to bathe in, but remember that after theyre done things are likely to be very messy, but the amusement you get out of watching them bathe is worth the clean up task. Feeding zebra finches is a very, very simple topic. Mainly because you can walk into a pet store and easily buy the feed for them. The feed should be made up of a variety of seeds and millet. But of course who doesnt want to feed their pet treats so you can always feed them dandelions leaves, chickweed, almost any green plant from a non-polluted area like getting dandelion leaves from the side of the road isnt a brilliant idea. Calcium is very important for reproduction and their bones you can use cuttlefish bone, a chickens egg shell after being micro waved, or the most commonly used oyster shells, you can buy oyster shells usually at a pet store or a feed store. You must always make sure that they have complete access to fresh water and feed. If your birds are looking to big then they probably need to be fed a bit less and get more exercise if they are to big it will decrease their interest in reproducing offspring. The breeding environment of zebra finches. First off youll need a nesting box, it can be a simple little wooden box you built or something you bought at the pet store, but make sure it is placed high in the cage otherwise the birds wont feel safe building a nest. A cage is recommended for breeding zebra finches, aviary breeding doesnt always happen and can result in other finches killing the young or destroying others eggs. Also 14-16 hours of light is needed for good breeding conditions. Now that you have your 24 x 16 x 16 cages, perch, your nesting box and feeding and watering materials, and bathing equipment youre almost ready to go. Youll need nesting material, the material should be safe, most commonly used is dry grass, or shredded clean burlap. Zebra finches can be ready to breed as soon as theyre three months olds, but for healthier, stronger birds its recommended that they dont breed till theyre six to nine months old. The male will sing songs and try to impress the female if she accepts they will mate. Soon afterwards the male will start to build a nest for his female, he will pick up pieces of the nesting material you have given him and show it to the female before placing it in the nest. Then the hen will start laying eggs, she will lay one egg a day for three to eight days. The male and female will both sit or incubate the eggs. If after twenty days the eggs do not hatch remove the eggs, theyre probably infertile. If you take to long to remove the infertile eggs the female might have already started laying another clutch of eggs and shell keep laying them until there is no space. The life cycle of zebra finches. After fourteen days of being incubated by their parents they will hatch, and day after day theyre brothers and sisters will hatch. When theyre three weeks old they will get out of the nest that is made for them and start to walk around. When the young finches are four weeks old they will start to eat on their own and not from their parents. At five to six weeks old theyll start to get theyre adult feather and theyre permanent colors, and also at that age theyll be ready to move into their own cages, if they arent removed theyll disrupt the next clutch of eggs and parents might start plucking their feathers to use as nesting material. A zebra finches average life span is 4-8 years but the oldest recorded zebra finch was seventeen years old. Zebra finches are interesting, easy to care for little birds. If you want to raise a simple animal and get that sense of pride of breeding animals then zebra finches are the way to go. Heres a ebay store with some really cheap deals: http://stores.ebay.com/Demsond-Pet-Depot Some info I found after doing the report: Zebra Finches: Males: Red/dark orange beak, Black Breast Bar, Orange Cheeks, Brown with white spots on the flanks (sides). Males also sing. Females: Orange beak, total lack of male colors except the occasional black feather on the breast. Note: Some Zebra finch mutations such as the 'white' can only be sexed by beak color. In black cheeks, both sexes have the black cheek colors but only the males have the breast and flank markings.