Why a finch makes a great first-time pet 0 177

Pet zebra finch

Finches are the choice of many a new pet bird owner. These tiny little birds may seem an unusual pet at first sight, but they make a great choice and here’s why:

They’re great for busy people

This is good if you’re someone who works a lot, or you’re a busy mum. As long as you have a pair together, they’re quite happy to hop about their cage or aviary all day long. They don’t need walking and they don’t make a huge amount of mess.

They come in all colours

From Zebra Finches to the Cut Throat Finch with its red throat feathers, to the more exotic Parrot Finch, there are a number of different types of pet to choose from. You can mix some types of finches, but it’s worth taking advice before you do.

They don’t need a huge amount of room

Although birds would always prefer a larger space to fly about in, finches don’t need a lot of vertical height due to their size. You will need to make sure they have at least 30 inches to fly across, though, as they love flitting about all day long. However, compared to a larger pet bird, they need a much smaller cage or aviary.

They sing

Lots of finches are songbirds, and have a beautiful singsong call. Zebra Finches are known for their long and complex songs. If you live alone or would like a companion, get a pair of Zebra Finches and you won’t feel lonely at all!

So a finch makes a great first-time pet, but it’s important to make sure you give them the right pet care. Finches need sunshine, so make sure their cage or aviary is positioned in a sunny area with a place for shade when needed and somewhere where they can get away from busy areas as they don’t like a lot of noise or being around people all the time.

Make sure you have lots of swings or perches for your finches to fly to – they love this. Don’t worry about buying them toys though. They would rather hop from perch to perch, eat their seeds and have a sing!

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Hatching Chickens 0 202

Chicken hatching
Hatching chickens
Two chickens hatching

It’s the 18th day of incubation for your chicks, and one of them is beginning to hatch from its shell! You may even hear peeps coming from the eggs. What do you do now? Here’s a quick guide to hatching chickens.

When an egg is freshly laid its temperature is 105 degrees Fahrenheit. A chicken begins to develop at 88 degrees Fahrenheit. The chicken does not develop from the yolk or the egg white, but from a small segment of cells called a blastodisc.

First, try not to move the egg because the chick is already in a position to hatch. Moving the egg means the chick has to move back into the hatching position, and this causes them to expend energy and weaken them.

After 2 more days of incubation, the chick will more than likely begin to pierce the membrane of the egg with its beak. This lets in outside air for the chick. Then, the chick must chip away at the shell, and it does this in a circular pattern. It may take up to a few hours for a chick to complete chip away the shell so that the top pops off. After this tiring process, the chick may simply lie there for a while to rest and dry off.

While it may be tempting to help chicks come out of their shell if they are having difficulty, it’s actually not a good idea. Hatching is an incredibly slow process, and patience is key. If the membrane of the shell has dried out too much around the chick, you can slowly and very carefully help the chick with tweezers.

So what should you do if the eggs hatch late? (FYI- If the eggs hatch early, the incubator temp was probably too high, or you miscounted the days. If the eggs hatch too late, the temp was probably too cold, or you didn’t store the eggs properly before incubation.) If a lot of the eggs fail to hatch by day 22, pull some out and open them. They could have improperly formed embryos or no embryo at all. If you do find some living embryos, put the unopened eggs back for more time in the incubator.

Many problems are associated with incubation temperatures and humidity level. High temperatures can result in malformed chicks, and temps that are too low can result in chicks hatching with egg goo on them. If chicks have bad legs, it may have been caused by hatching them on a slippery surface.

There’s much more to learn about backyard chicken care…

Facts About Chickens: 6 Cool Chicken Facts 0 172

Facts about chickens
Facts about chickens
Facts about chickens: a chicken holding some chicken facts!

Chickens are beautiful and social creatures. There’s a wide variety of reasons that chickens are unique and special, such as these 6 cool facts about chickens:

Chicken Fact #1: Chickens start communicating with their mothers before hatching. 

Unborn chicks and their mothers have a strong bond – so strong, in fact, that they start to communicate before the chicks have even hatched. Mother hens will make soft purring sounds, and in return, the chicks will respond by making cheeping noises from inside their eggs. 

Chicken Fact #2: Mother hens teach their chicks to avoid danger. 

In a handful of different tests, hens have been observed and it’s been noted that hens teach their chicks to avoid food that is bad for them. In one test, observers watched as a hen taught her babies to avoid unhealthy color coded grains. If a hen can do this, she most likely is able to teach her young to avoid other things as well. 

Chicken Fact #3: Chickens enjoy dust baths. 

Much like chinchillas, chickens love rolling around in the dust to get clean. Many times chicken owners will see their chickens digging holes in the dirt and rolling in them with their wings outstretched at weird angles. Don’t worry, though – the chickens’ wings aren’t usually hurt by doing this. 

Chicken Fact #4: Chickens can eat a plant and animal-based diet. 

Chickens are omnivores, meaning they eat meat and plants. Most chickens that are raised on farms or in someone’s home are fed a plant-based diet. Chickens can eat small animals like mice, as well as animal fat or lard. Lard is especially good for chickens when they need to bulk up for winter, as it makes them gain weight quickly. 

Chicken Fact #5: Hens can choose which male fertilizes their eggs. 

Hens will mate with plenty of different males, but if she doesn’t want to have the offspring of a certain male, she can choose to simply eject his sperm before fertilization occurs. This is known to happen when the male is lower than the female in the pecking order, and is done to make sure that the chicks are of high status and as healthy as possible. 

Chicken Fact #6: A chicken’s fear can paralyze it. 

When a chicken gets too scared, it can suffer chicken hypnosis (also called tonic mobility), which is essential when the chicken goes into a catatonic state after being scared. Chickens can be tricked into this state, and are often put into it when restraining the chicken is necessary, but may also be dangerous. The chicken being totally immobile allows for a safe restraint. 

Chickens are really unique animals, and whether you’re raising backyard chickens for food, or to become the family pet, there’s no denying that they’re pretty interesting.