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What Do Baby House Finches Eat? Everything You Need to Know!

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house finches eating on a birdfeeder

The house finch is an incredibly common bird in the United States. It’s also a popular pet for bird lovers and children. It’s friendly toward other birds and doesn’t seem to mind living in captivity. However, if one of your finches has babies or you find an abandoned nest in the woods, you might wonder what baby finches eat and how to care for them. If this sounds like your situation, keep reading as we explain what to feed baby house finches in captivity and the wild.

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What Do Baby House Finches Eat?

Unlike many other vegetarian bird species, which start out eating insects before switching to nuts and berries later, the house finch parent only feeds mashed seeds to their young. Their beaks are too weak to crack open the seeds as they are, so the parents must mash them up and grind them with their saliva to form a paste that’s easy for the newborn to digest. The wild house finch primarily feeds its young sunflower, dandelion, weed, and thistle seeds. After they are about 3 weeks old, the parents may give them small insects, and after about 5 weeks, they can feed themselves.

Baby House Finch Bird

Image Credit: Donna A. Herrmann, Shutterstock

What Do I Feed Captive Baby House Finches?

If you are caring for captive baby finches, you can attempt to create something similar to what the parent finches make. Create a baby food by mashing dandelion and sunflower seeds and mixing them with water or an electrolyte solution. You can also purchase commercial bird food or a baby finch food formula. After about 3 weeks, you can start to grind up small insects to add them to the paste, and the babies should start eating seeds after about 5 weeks.

How Do I Feed Baby House Finches?

Baby finches cannot feed themselves, so you must be their parent and feed them by hand. An eye dropper or syringe works well, and you can use it to squirt food directly into their mouth. After you feed it, gently clean off the bird with warm water, and wash the utensils to prevent bacteria from growing. Once the bird is a little bigger, you can get it used to eating seeds from a bowl that it can share with other birds.

Baby House Finches in The nest

Image Credit: ShuttphotoVIP, Shutterstock

What Do Adult House Finches Eat?

Seeds

The house finch is extremely fond of seeds and will go out of its way to visit backyard feeders to get them. Black sunflower seeds are its favorite, but it will eat almost any kind, as seeds are a large portion of its diet.

Grain

Green is a staple food for the house finch, and it enjoys eating buckwheat, rice, cracked corn, oats, and barley.

Whole dry Proso millet cereal grains

Image Credit: ManeeshUpadhyay, Shutterstock

Fruit

If the house finch has difficulty finding seeds or grain, it will eat apples, grapes, cherries, bananas, and other fruits.

Berries

The house finch loves many kinds of berries, and you can feed these as treats. Most finches love blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and cranberries.

House Finch eating berries from the tree

Image Credit: Tyler Jamieson Moulton, Shutterstock

Greens

Greens are an important part of the house finch’s diet because they provide plenty of important nutrients and fiber. These birds will be happy to consume dandelions, lettuce, spinach, parsley, celery, and more.

Vegetables

Vegetables can also be good for your house finch, and excellent choices include broccoli, carrots, green beans, peas, sweet potatoes, and zucchini.

Insects

The house finch’s diet primarily consists of seeds and grains. However, this bird will eat many small insects, including beetles, mealworms, and caterpillars.

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If you need to care for baby house finches, it’s important to remember that their beaks are too weak to break open the seeds like adult birds can. Therefore, you will need to crush the seeds for them and mix them with water or an electrolyte solution to form an easy-to-digest paste. Use an eye dropper or syringe to squirt the paste into the mouth of the baby birds each day until they’re about 3 weeks old, when you can start including crushed insects. After 4 or 5 weeks, the bird will be mature enough to eat seeds from a bowl, like an adult.


Featured Image Credit: Chiyacat, Shutterstock

About the Author Ed Malaker

Ed Malaker is a veteran writer who contributes to a wide range of blogs covering information on computer programming, pets, birding, tools, fitness, guitars, and optics. Outside of writing, Ed is often found working in the garden or performing DIY projects in the house. Ed is also a musician, spending his time composing music for independent films or helping people repair their guitars.

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