What Do Finches Feed Their Babies? Inside The Wild Bird’s Diet

Last Updated on March 15, 2022 by Cristina

Ever wondered what do finches feed their babies once they hatch? Similar to human babies, finches require their parents’ attention once they hatch. They also need frequent feedings in 20-minute intervals.

There are 17 types of finches; some are kept as pets, while others are roaming independently in nature. The diet of each type differs. However, there are 2 main food groups for finches; seeds and insects.

We’ll explore what do finches feed their babies, so you can provide some food if you have finches nearby.

What Adult Finches Eat

Adult finches are not picky. In nature, their diet is based on either seeds or aphids. On the other hand, House finches mostly eat seeds, vegetables, and fruit. You can get bags of bird food explicitly made for finches or create your own mix.

Finches love nyjer seeds, mustard, knotweed, and sunflowers seeds. In addition, they devour late summer fruits like peaches, plums, apricots, grapes, cherries, melons, strawberries, and pineapples.

What Adult Finches Eat

Vegetables are another favorite. Finches gladly nibble on cucumbers, cabbage, broccoli, zucchini, carrots, tomato, bell peppers, sweet potatoes, and spinach.

But what do finches feed their babies is very different from their adult diet.

Read more about What Does It Mean When You See A Blue Jay

What Not To Feed Finches

Avoid giving finches stale or moldy bread. The bird doesn’t know they need to avoid it, but ingesting the mold causes respiratory issues leading to sickness and death.

Chocolate and caffeine are a great danger. Cocoa beans, coffee beans, chocolate, and coffee grounds are highly toxic to finches. They can’t process caffeine which leads to severe dehydration and strokes.

Beans, avocados, acorns, and eggplants are also toxic to these birds and shouldn’t be given in any form.

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Baby Finches’ Diet By Age

Baby finches go through several periods; hatching, nestling, fledgling, and juvenility.

Baby Finches' Diet By Age

Hatching and Nestling Finches

The adult female finch lays between 2 and 6 eggs, 5 to 7 days after mating. The incubation period takes 12 to 16 days. The male and the female bird take turns in laying the eggs. They constantly turn the eggs to keep them warm and humid. They might leave the nest for 15 to 30 minutes to wet the feathers if they feel the eggs are not getting enough humidity.

After the finches hatch, the nestling phase begins, and it can last for 14 days. The babies require undivided attention and food every 10 to 20 minutes at this stage. What do finches feed their babies at this phase?

What do newly hatched finches eat depends on their type. House finches select the small seeds from the mix for their babies. Wild finches provide weed seeds and aphids for their young.

Fledging Finches

After the 14 days mark, the finches go into a fledging phase during which they’re supposed to start flying. So what do finches feed their babies after they’re able to fly? The baby bird develops wings and feathers, but it’s still dependent on its parents for food.

But do baby finches need water at this stage? Yes, this is when the babies can drink from a water bowl. If you’re caring for house finches, replace the water often and deeply clean the bowl.

But how long do baby finches stay with parents? They return to the nest to get seeds and aphids from the adult bird for 10 to 14 days.

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Juvenile Finches

What do finches feed their babies at this stage is almost equal to an adult finch’s diet. They still consume seeds and aphids, but they also indulge in vegetables, fruit, wild berries, and other plants.

The finches are juveniles for 3 to 4 months.

Who Feeds The Babies

It’s not uncommon to see both parents raising their young in the bird world. Finches families are one of them. After mating, both the mother and the father incubate the eggs. Then, after hatching, they both provide food for the baby finches.

What do finches feed their babies depends on their type; small ground finches eat seeds, flower buds, and aphids, while the goldfinch loves nyjer and sunflower seeds.

How To Care For A Baby Finch

Finches take good care of their young, but occasionally you might find an orphaned baby finch. So, how do you take care of newborn finches?

The first step is to determine their age. Take the bird in your palm and let it grip your finger. If it successfully manages to perch on your finger, the bird is in a fletching state. In this state, the bird is learning how to fly, so it’s possible to find it on the ground. You might notice their newly developed feathers and wings.

If you’re wondering what do finches feed their babies at this stage so that you can provide food, don’t worry. You don’t have to do anything; the bird will find its way back to the nest where the parents provide food.

But if the baby finch is nestling, you need to find their nest. If you can’t find it, contact your local wildlife rehabilitation center. Depending on the type, they will explain how to care for the baby bird properly.

Bottom Line: What do Finches Feed their Babies?

Finches are among the most intelligent and cheerful species in the animal kingdom. When it comes to mating, both males and females are involved in nesting and raising their young.

However, what do finches feed their babies varies by type of finch. Some eat only weed seeds, while others pick insects and aphids. As the birds grow, they consume fruits like berries, vegetables, and other seeds.


How long do baby finches stay with parents?

Baby finches stay up to 14 days with their parents after hatching. While the bird learns to fly, it eventually leaves the nest but returns as the parents are still the ones providing food.

How do you take care of newborn finches?

Look for a nearby nest to return the baby finch into, as it might have fallen. Contact a wild bird rehab center if you can't find a nest. If it's a pet finch, administer baby electrolytes with a small syringe every 2 hours for a week. Then you can switch to baby bird formula until the bird develops wings and starts to fly.

Do baby finches need water?

Baby finches need water as soon as they enter the fletching stage. They can then drink from a water bowl or dripper.

What do newly hatched finches eat?

Newly hatched finches eat seeds and insects. Bird parents eat small insects and take the bigger ones to the nest for their babies. They also give them weed and sunflower seeds.

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