Z is for Zebra Finches.


There is a degree of fascination with many things avian.

No doubt, to a medieval peasant labouring in his Lord and Masters fields, the romantic notion of being free to soar in clear sky had considerable more attraction than wallowing in the mud.

This assumption makes bird watching an ancient, and by default, noble, tradition.

Notice that’s an assumption. That means I just made it up.  The whole, freedom to wander the sky bit, it is a romantic idea. The reality was probably thinking , there is good eating on that thing flying away.

We prefer to go with the romance, not the reality.

If we just skip through the symbolism of birds depicted in various paintings, works of art and literature and so, until we get to captive birds.  Specifically captive birds at the beginning of the twenty first century.

Captive birds as pets are very popular. Not as popular as dogs, but there are still an estimated one million caged birds in the UK. That’s a large number, until you realise the UK hosts over eighteen million dogs and cats.

Each to their own. Tropical Fish numbers are much higher. It is quite common for a keeper of fish to have fifteen to twenty individual fish. Not so common for a keeper of dogs, where one or possibly two is an acceptable number.

We had different sorts of interactions with different classes of pets. My dogs might enjoy a wander round the park, my fish, probably less so.

There appears to be a body of science claiming to be research, that asserts having a pet is good for you. The numbers show a bias towards households with children, and less so towards older people. Dogs have a particularly good reputation as a useful pet, and their therapeutic value is well documented. Many people enjoy the peaceful nature of a tropical fish tank, and personally, watching the fish in their tank beats pretty much any sort of mush available on Television.

Caged Birds are a bit like Tropical fish. Stay with me on this. Caged birds are easier to look after, but like fish, rely on you exclusively to feed them, manage their environment, and keep them safe. The easy bit comes from not having to manage the demands of acceptable water chemistry. The birds share the same air as you. If that goes bad you both got bigger problems to worry about.

Caged Birds also add value to your living space, similar to the fish, by adding movement and sound. They offer a therapeutic value, and will help you to feel good about yourself.

This is where the Zebra Finch gets my vote as a house pet in the UK. This is not me advocating you to rush out and buy some, rather a look at some benefits, and some ballpark costs involved in responsible pet ownership.

Here is a royalty free and allowed to be used ( I hope ) image of a Zebra Finch.


Having “a” of anything pet related is a tad selfish. If there are least two, then at they can communicate effectively with each other, in a species appropriate fashion, and this is a good thing. Note this is about caged pets, Dogs and cats have a very different sort of relationship with their carers or slaves.

They need some place safe and enclosed to live, and a number of organisations will provide guidance on acceptable space. A quick google on finches indicated they like a decent length (stop it..) rather than height. A generous cage size would be four foot by two foot, and about eighteen inches tall. That would be a good size for a couple finches, possibly more. A few perches, a supply of fresh water and food, and some place to hide, and your birds are sorted.

Like Tropical fish, they are bred in captivity, and are not native to this country. If people like us don’t buy/adopt pets like this, then they wouldn’t be so readily available. Provided you do some basic learning before you take responsibility for another’s life, it should all be fine.

Zebra finches are some of the least demanding pets, and with a modest amount of care will entertain you for a decent period of time, for quite a modest outlay.

Now because this is going on the internet, and the WWW is home to all different sorts of people, understand this.  The message here is that you could, not that you should. Personally, I like having other species around. That’s my view, yours may differ, that’s fine too.

Have a good one….