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Discussion Starter #1
I'm very, very close to getting finches. In fact, I have the cage in the shopping cart online, but can't quite bring myself to complete the purchase. I want to look around at a couple of pet shops here to check out the possibilities a little more tomorrow. After reading, I've decided I want to go as simple as possible, with society finches. Anyway, I like how varied they are in appearance.

I know at least madhen has, or had finches, and I imagine some others do too. What is your experience with them?

My main concern is that I work the evening job, but on a finch forum someone replied that her finches, also in her living room as mine would be, sometimes end up in a dark room and go to sleep, but when she comes in and turns on the light, they get a "second wind" for a couple of hours and then drift back to sleep. Apparently they suffer no ill effects from it. I don't want to breed them, and would discard any eggs, so light wouldn't be an issue in that regard. I could leave a light on for them while I'm at work, but it would extend their day quite a bit, unless I could persuade them to sleep late like civilized birds! Yeah, not likely.

What do you think?
 

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I think you'll love having the lovely little birds. I have four parrots. Something to consider: While parrots can be loud, their "noise" doesn't bother me; however, finch "twitter" somehow really grates on my nerves (isn't that weird that louder parrot noise is okay but not the happy chattering of finches?). So, I urge you to borrow some (maybe offer to board some for a friend for a few days, long weekend?). That might not bother you at all but it's worth checking on. Also, on the light, despite everything I've ever read to the contrary, my birds (some I've had for going on 20 years) have always been awake with me in the evenings until bedtime (they hang out and watch TV with us) and they really have learned to sleep late in the mornings. They have zero health problems, and not one is a plucker, so I have to believe that that schedule is not harming them any more than it would a human or a dog. Congrats on your decision to become an avian owner. I think you'll really enjoy sharing your life with birds.
 
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Zebra finches have a twitter that some find annoying. (I would call it more of a beep.) A lot of finches, including Lady Gouldians, have a beautiful little song. I have those, zebras, societies, owls, and one rescued spice finch. :) The owls are the cutest and also the quietest.

You could put a night light on for them, because coming home and shocking them with an overhead every night is a bit rude. You might put the night light on, then when you get home from work, you can cover them, if you want to allow them to keep sleeping. They will get used to whatever routine you set, eventually.

Love my finches, but I keep mine in a flight, because I don't like having them confined to a small cage, and it isn't safe to let finches fly loose in the house (at least not mine, because it is all windows). They are not like parrots, and, unless you hand-raise them, and won't come back to you readily if loose.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Thanks, madhen (and Oowl). I knew I could count on the village! I've had parakeets and cockatiels in the past, we won't say how much past. One of my cockatiels, Lady Bartholomew - one of those cases where it was supposed to be "Bartholmew" but she had other ideas - was my best pet ever, even more fun and more companionable than cats or dogs.

I can't promise that when I actually go bird shopping I won't go in for finches and come out with a cockatiel, but I really don't have the time or energy for all the one-on-one time that the parrots and their smaller kin require. At this point in my life I want something to enjoy that won't suck the life out of me with their emotional needs and time demands.

I like the owl finches, handsome birds, but I doubt they are available in the pet stores around here, and I haven't found any breeders. Also, I want to keep costs down (this is a frugal forum, after all!). However, I like your recommendation that they are quiet. I keep reading that zebras, beautiful as they are, can be aggressive, and after years and years of struggling with compatibility issues in aquariums, I just don't want to do cranky any more. It sounds like the societies are the most reliably happy with each other's company.

This is the cage I have in my shopping cart:
Prevue Hendryx Flight Aviary White Bird Cage - Prevue Bird Cage and Finch Bird Cage from petco.com

I know flat roofed cages may be more practical, but it's going to be sitting in the living room, and this is more decorative and attractive than just a boxy one. All the reviews around the internet say it is good for finches, and the guy who posted his own pictures on the amazon reviews said his finches used the whole space, not just the top portion.

I am also considering parakeets, but they would be very hard to hand tame, I think, in such a large cage, and there is the time and noise issue. If the finches got too loud, I could always retreat to my bedroom and shut the door for a while. I think they would be less likely to disturb the neighbors. On the other hand, the neighbors don't seem to worry much about disturbing me. But if I get anything that needs out of cage time, I run the risk of incurring a huge pet deposit and increased rent. So I think in my situation the finches are the best choice.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Oowl - When I was answering I subsumed some of your info into Madhen's reply. I'm not quite awake yet. Thanks for sharing your experience.

Birds are wonderful pets indeed. In some ways, fish are the least problematic of pets for apartments, but a few years ago I decreed never, ever again anything that required hauling around water, and I'm sticking to that! Fish are just Too Much Work.

I haven't 100% decided yet, but after making the rounds of a few more places, I'm almost certain I'll do it.
 

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Societies are very sweet and they have a cute chirp. :)

Zebras can be aggressive, but that is more related to sexual agression and lack of territory. Mine don't have the latter issue, and they seem to get along fine. I get you on the fish thing, though. If I ever do another aquarium, no platies or mollies. Vicious little things.

You might also consider a canary. Beautiful little birds and beautiful little songs. (Or get a female if you don't want to be serenaded.) :)

I like warm and furry, so I'd probably go with a guinea pig or hamster. Clean-up is about the same as with a bird, and you can stick it in your pocket as a hand-warmer. :toothy:
 

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Keep in mind that breeders will hand tame their parakeets before releasing them for adoption.

We have one and after the first two days of leaving him alone to acclimate to his surroundings, he's the tamest and smartest parakeet we've every adopted. He's our first from a breeder. She clipped his wings so that he only glides and doesn't fly into walls, etc. The adoption cost $30 ♥
 

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Something else to consider is to adopt your bird. Finches are turned in by the dozens.

Just do a search for parrot rescue in your area, and contact them, and chances are, they'll have a few finches that need a good home!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
How the window shopping went today

Few finches, many other temptations.

The other day, Petsmart only had a few rather scruffy finches, no societies. But there was a gorgeous cheeky active blue gray parakeet that I wanted so badly.....

The first I went to today, one of my good bets, did have 8 or 10, and two of three of them were really lovely. And in the cage below them - oh my, two beautiful yellow cockatiel babies, almost ready to find a home, one yellow with a little gray, one yellow with some pale cinnamon. And another young one, yellow/white (I don't know all the color descriptions) that, like all cockatiels was friendliness incarnate. I also saw my first Quaker parrot in the flesh, a stunning bird. There is no way I can either have or afford one of those, and it would be foolish to get so long lived a bird, and one so gifted in the volume department, but oh my, what a gorgeous bird!

Petco, where I will get the cage, had no finches, but some utterly charming female mice. Ok, no mice. The apartment manager would have a stroke.

The other mom and pop that I was really counting on had a cage full of zebras (I found their songs and chirps funny, not irritating), and astonishingly, a few Gouldian finches (at $99 a pop, I think not!) No societies, but he said he would be glad to order them for me. He has done special fish orders in the past for me. And there I found a young cockatiel, the normal gray that I love, who was begging her heart out to come out and play with me. It was hard to leave her behind.

Must be strong. Must be strong.
 
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