Society finches, also known as Bengalese finches, are sociable and peaceful birds who love to nest together. They are a domesticated breed and can adapt to nearly any domestic setting. Nest boxes are required if you want to start breeding them. As well, these small birds have such strong parenting instincts, they are commonly used as foster parents for other breeds who are less inclined to feed and raise their young.
Best Nesting Box Size
Society finches thrive even in small cages and are eager breeders who will nest almost anywhere - from a hat or a basket to a proper nesting box. For breeding, an ideal size is around 3 inches tall, 5 inches wide and five inches deep which allows for a good-sized clutch of 4-8 eggs without overcrowding when the chicks hatch. If you are not breeding and have several finches, get one big enough to accommodate all of them comfortably. They love to nest together at night and will all cram into one if possible.
Best Nesting Materials
Finches are not picky about nesting materials. Shredded cotton balls to a few strings and feathers dropped into the nesting box are enough to satisfy most of them. They will build better nests with natural materials supplied. The best nesting materials include coconut fibre, dry grasses, or mosses. Many breeders prefer using jute which is commercially available as a nesting material called sisal. Providing a mix of suitable nesting materials will encourage nest exploration whether or not your finches turn out to be master nest-builders or not. You can also put in a nesting material dispenser to stimulate nest-building urges.
Best Nesting Box Model
Finches are happy with any type of nest box but a standard finch nesting box with a half open front is better. If possible, get a nesting box you can hang on the outside of the cage for easier care and inspection -- especially if you are planning to breed. Some cage and box models will allow for this. Look for a box model that has a top that can be flipped open to look inside without having to remove or disturb the box itself. Both plywood and plastic boxes are fine.
Nesting Box Care & Hygeine
A good idea is to toss a pinch of 5 per cent Sevin dust in the bottom of each new nest, to prevent insects from also making their home in the nesting box. Each box should be cleaned after each clutch fledges. As well, cleaning during the breeding cycle is a good precaution against diesease if there are many young in the nest box and it appears overly soiled.
If you have a group of finches and want to breed, you may have to separate them into pairs or trios in different cages with a nesting box. Otherwise, their tendency to all squeeze together in a nesting box will hamper breeding efforts. You may also want to introduce nesting food and extra protein such as mealworms into their diets for mother and baby birds. Finches are such avid breeders they will continue to raise clutch after clutch once the babies fledge in 21-25 days. You will need to remove the nesting box when you have enough clutches raised.