Letter 9: White female chases white male

Problem I'm from Canada and I need some help.
I've had Zebra finches for over two years now. I had an all-white female and a regular grey male with normal markings. They got along well. The grey male died for reasons I do not know. I got my female another male, this time, he was a WHITE male, he was the only white male in the pet store cage. He has since gotten some light brown markings on his wings and his cheeks have gone orange. The female would occasionally pick on him, but, they were building a nest together, doing breeding behaviour and grooming and such, things were okay. But, no eggs were laid.

Last night, the female attacked the male, badly, she chased him around and around the cage, by the time I was able to stop them, she had plucked several feathers from his head, and he was raw under his beak! I caught her and separated them for a few hours, but, as soon as I put her back in the cage, she went at him again.
    I'm going to buy another cage to put the male in to let him recover in peace. Is there anything I can do? I hear that white males confuse the females because they look like females.

The cage is a large finch cage, with a bath, silk flowers, a nest, a swing with millet in it, and sprouted seeds for greens. It has plants all around it, outside of the cage.

Thank you.
Kris in Canada


Comment Hello Kris,
you should always leave the "weaker", i. e. less self-confident bird in the old cage – or put it into the new cage if they are both going to live in it. This usually boosts his/her claim to the cage (or preferably: aviary) and gives the other, the more aggressive bird a feeling of being an intruder or guest at least during the first days, which instils respect into him/her.

You cannot do anything about a white male being white, can you? This is the reason why I chose to stick to the naturally grey ZFes long ago.Your (your Zebra Finches') problem need not be due to the male's colour, though. The cause can simply be a lack of harmony that also occurs between grey ZFes – and between men and women ;-). The best and easiest (though not cheapest) way of avoiding severe fights is a really big aviary that deserves the name and gives the birds enough space to fly out of each other's way. A mere cage is a dangerous prison, you know:

Yours,
Hans-Jürgen Martin


Problem 'Tag Mr Martin, danke schön for your help.

I have put the aggressive female into another cage. It's smaller, but, it will be okay for now. How long should I keep them in separate cages? The male, the weaker one, looks much happier, but the female is ticked off.

Before I put the female back into the cage with the male, should I remove the nest they built? I have the shell that I bought them, but, it's lined with their feathers and bedding material they used.

We are in an apartment, so, no room for an aviary yet, some time in the future, in a house, we will build one. The main cage is about 80 centimetres wide, 40 cm deep and 60 cm tall. It's up on a stand. It was the biggest cage I could buy with the smaller spaced bars. All of the bigger ones were parrot cages and not suitable.

Thank you!
Kris.


Comment Hello Kris,
I do not know how long the female feels quarrelsome, and you probably don't know either. The two birds may (!) not be a good pair at all, in which case they should never be together again.

Whether or not you should remove the nest they built depends on whether the nest was the object of their dispute.

80 centimetres at least enable the birds to fly a little bit (some 50 centimetres) if no perches (twigs etc.) are in the way.

Mit freundlichen Grüßen nach Kanada,
Hans-Jürgen Martin


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