Ideal Lighting, Temperature, and Humidity
Lighting should consist of either direct, natural sunlight (not through a window unless it is open, since glass filters out UV light)2
or a full spectrum light source which accurately mimics sunlight5
(setting a light on a timer that turns on at sunrise and off at sunset is easiest). Full spectrum lights come in a variety of sizes (note: they are not the same as the broad-spectrum type used for plants), and can be found at specialty pet stores as well as online
. A light source should only be considered "full spectrum" if it produces enough UV light to induce tanning5
(these bulbs do not produce enough UV to be harmful and must be replaced when recommended by the manufacturer to remain effective). Regardless of the type of light source used (natural or artificial), some shaded areas should be available in the enclosure for the birds to retreat to
Overheated finches pant, keep their feathers tight, and hold their wings away from their bodies, a sign that they need to cool down immediately.
Healthy birds can tolerate a wide range of temperatures when slowly acclimatized
. Birds may become comfortable at near-freezing temperatures or at temperatures upwards of 90° F (32° C); the key is that they be healthy, well-nourished, and allowed to adjust to any temperature changes slowly
As a general rule, any ambient temperature you (the owner) are comfortable in is adequate for your birds
The exception to this rule is for birds whose health is compromised. Sick birds should usually receive supplemental heat as a primary first aid measure (and be kept in an area which is maintained at 85-90° F or 29-32° C).2,5
Whether your bird is sick or healthy, be sure to watch for tell-tale signs of temperature-related discomfort
: cold birds will often remain fluffed up for extended periods of time, and overheated birds will hold their wings away from their bodies and pant. Birds can suffer from heat stroke,2,5
so be sure to provide means for your birds to cool off if temperatures in your birds' area exceed 90° F (32° C). Examples include shaded areas, bathing opportunities (remember to clean the bird bath and replace its water daily since the birds will likely drink from it), and perhaps a water misting system
if necessary. For cold climates, a heating system
(panels and/or lamps) can be installed easily for a relatively low price. Additionally, when temperatures drop below 68° F (20° C), either keep breeding birds indoors or provide auxiliary heating for them (since 68° F is the minimum temperature for successful egg incubation and hatching). Also, bring your birds indoors if the temperature drops/rises considerably lower/higher than what the birds are accustomed to.
As with temperature, finches can tolerate a fairly wide range of humidity levels. However, for birds from subtropical areas as well as for breeding birds, the humidity level should be kept fairly high
around 50-70%. This will ensure that any eggs laid do not dry out during incubation, and is especially crucial during hatching. Humidity may be altered by simply providing a bird bath to the finches, or through occasional misting
, and should be of special consideration during winter months and in dry climates.
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