One Hundred Finches Versus One Hundred Macaws

I get some strange looks when I tell people I have 70 birds. Years ago, when I had one hundred birds, I got even stranger looks. But as I rescued cockatiels and budgies and conures, the flock just grew until cage space became limited. Then we acquired the aviary, and our daughter moved out. Birds migrated to the outside cages and the back bedroom became the bird room.

I try to explain to my surprised listeners that 18 of the birds are little finches, another 10 are budgies, and another 14 are cockatiels. Eight conures don’t take up much room. The bigger parrots number only three, and really that’s not so tough to house and feed and clean up after. Or to spend time with, sharing love and scratches and silly games.

Dad and baby

Comparing one hundred large birds, like macaws, to one hundred small birds, like finches, is pretty funny. For instance, the society finches love to be grouped together in a smallish area. I have four in a flight cage, but at night they crowd into a nest box on top of each other. Even my zebra finches, which don’t much care for community cages, can be happy during breeding season in a three by two utility cage. One pair per cage means 100 finches can be housed in twenty stacks of five cages. Two rooms full at the most.

031316 hyacinth macaw


Macaws are the largest of parrots. So if we are talking hyacinths, they need a cage big enough to turn their 3.5 foot long body and tail around in and spread their 5 foot wing span. You might be able to keep pairs in one cage, but a little more room could be needed then. A basic cage is 50″W x 36″D x 68″H. That’s still going to ruffle a few wingtip feathers, but it’s doable. So then you need 5 feet for each cage, and they can’t be stacked. Wow. Time to rent a warehouse.

Finches can get by on seeds and occasional fresh greens. Mix a good pellet in to the seed, and dice up fruits and veggies, and you are good to go. The occasional cooked barley or quinoa also makes a healthy treat for the little guys. When breeding finches, make sure they have a constant source of calcium and add egg food or chopped hard boiled egg to their feeding. Be sure to remove the uneaten portion of the egg after two hours.

031316 chopped food

Finches require 1.5 to 2 level teaspoons of seed or pellets or a mix of both per bird per day. Add fruits and veggies in small quantities, and you have about six cups of food every day to store and prep. That’s a pretty large amount to think about.

031316 egg food

Macaws need a variety of food every day, and will be picky in different ways from one day to the next. I just can’t get my head around storing enough fresh food for one hundred macaws.

This is a reason I stick with my smaller birds and my few larger parrots. Loving your companion animals means knowing your limits for caring and feeding and cleaning them. Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Thursday.


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