Breeding the Colourful Songster







Colour Variant Chaffinches Click Here

The Chaffinch is a flighty bird always on the go but they can be steadied each successive generation bred the birds do get steadier, they come in a huge range of colours, and sing beautifully they were bred in the early 1900's  for there song and were entered into singing competitions this practice died out in England but is still practiced to this day in Belgium.

The pictures on this page were parent reared by the Hen alone. the cock is the dominant bird of the pair he will usually damage the eggs or the hen when he is in breeding condition, so better removed once the hens as laid her 3rd egg and is sitting and fully broody.

This picture shows Hen No 1 with 5 young at 3 days old, this hen has already had 2 rounds but let the youngsters die at 7 days old after ringing 4 birds lost first round and 5 birds lost 2nd round

It is important to remove the cock from the aviary as he will cause trouble but with any pair of birds,

These birds will probably breed in large cages but as this was the first season with this trio I felt the aviary was the best bet to build up my stocks

 there are no rules and each pair must be treated  individually the cock was the very dominant and was fierce and he was removed after mating

Cocks may also kill young cocks, or as they colour up as fledglings, and refuse to feed them so i am very careful hen returning the cock for the next round.


3 young in the nest of hen No2 at 14 days old

This pair were fed on Mealworms and waxmoth pupae sprinkled with calcium and multi vitimins, normal hard seed mix, Soaked seed and Softfood (see softfood page for details of the mix) no other food was taken I tried all types of fruit and greenfood but none was eaten other than the broccoli and carrot that is mixed with my softfood

The aviary size was one of my 6ft x 3ft pens that can be seen on the aviary page of this website

3 young in the nest of hen No2 at 14 days old you can just see 1 very light bird and 2 normal coloured birds hopefully one of these Normal looking birds will be a carrier cock, as after mating with this hen the cock fell ill and died within 24 hours, there was no reason for this that could be found just very unfortunate as the only other cock I have available is a normal to try for the next round.

Dark Silver Chaffinch Hen No 2 the light does not show the colour of the hen properly
Dark Silver Chaffinch Hen No1, lighting is better with this hen

Light Silver Carrier Chaffinch Cock with Dark Silver Chaffinch Hen No1 before the commencement of the breeding season
Light Silver Carrier Chaffinch Cock with Dark Silver Chaffinch Hen No2 Hen is sitting on the nest. this hen preferred the open type nest site for her first round you can see I don't use much nest site cover as this allows you see the progress to a certain extent without disturbing the pair, you can always then see both parents as well to make sue they look ok,

the cock again was removed shortly after this picture was taken.

Chaffinch Hen No1 Hen is sitting on the nest. she preferred to use this cage type nest pan and used it for all 3 rounds I always offer at least 2 types of nest site normally an open type and a more closed in cage type with just the front open.

The cock at this time was with the second hen, never lave cocks with one hen to long as they can create a pair bond and refuse the second or even third female.

Fledgling, Isabel Chaffinch16 days old
Another Fledgling, normal split Light Silver/Isabel Chaffinch16 days old
Dark Silver Chaffinch Hen
Silver Chaffinch Cock







Isabel Chaffinch Hen
Dominant white Chaffinch Cock Dominant white Chaffinch Cock
Light Silver Hen Agate Chaffinch Hen
Agate Chaffinch Hen Pastel Chaffinch Cock
Cinnamon Opal Chaffinch Cock Cinnamon Opal Chaffinch Cock

Isabel Fledgling                                                      Below: Left Silver Cock, Right Dominant Pastel Hen

In these next two pictures you can see the damage that a cock Chaffinch  caused to his hen in only 2 hours, as I have already said before Cock Chaffinches can become very aggressive when in full breeding condition, Look out for tell tale signs, feather loss on the hens head, Cock continually chasing the hen around the aviary, although there will always be a lot of chasing that can look aggressive in normal behaviour, but normally cocks do not show this behaviour when you are in close proximity to the birds and sit with the hen as good as gold when you are close, if the hen spends long periods on the floor of the aviary this can show that she is being bullied.
Never leave the cock with the hen once she is incubating, It is best to remove the cock after the 3rd egg is laid, if the hen start to pine put the cock into a small cage in the aviary until the hen is fully broody it is then normally possible to move the cock and run him with a second hen especially if he is not pair bonded. Chaffinches generally need more room to breed to give the hen a chance to avoid this type of damage, generally small cages are unsuitable to breed this species