Like many birds, finches have a pecking order, which determines which birds eat first and which have to wait until last. In households with multiple pet finches, it is important that there is plenty of food to go around, so that all of the birds, from greatest to lowest, get fed each day. The same thing applies when feeding wild finches as they will fight each other for the best bits of food.
Natural Diet of the Finch
Depending on the type of finch, most will eat seeds from plants and weeds, as well as pine cones and berries. The red crossbill finch eats mainly pine cones and very little else, but most finches are granivores, consuming mostly seeds. Some species of finches eat the leaf buds from a wide variety of trees, as well as seeds and berries. Some will chew up fruits and eat the seeds, while leaving the rest of the fruit behind.
Amount of Seeds Per Day
Pet finches should be given 1 to 2 teaspoons of seeds each day. For multiple birds, putting the same amounts in separate dishes counteracts the pecking order problem. The finch determines which seeds are favorites and those will be eaten first with the least favorite being tossed out of the bowl or left behind with the seed shucks. Once the favorite foods are determined the owner will be able to feed the bird more of what he likes.
Amount of Fruits Per Day
Around 20 to 25 percent of the finch's daily diet should consist of fruits and vegetables. Quite often, the finch will eat the seeds out of the fruit first, before tasting the fruit itself. It's important to wash the fruit thoroughly before feeding it to the bird to remove any toxic chemicals. Section each fruit and serve it separately from the seeds to prevent the bird from messing up his seeds with fruit juices.
Vegetables for Finches
Green, leafy vegetables are good for finches, but should be cut up into manageable pieces. Peas make a good selection as well as beans and other green vegetables. The bird will get enjoyment out of chopping up vegetables to get to the seeds first. Pale vegetables with high water content have very little nutritional value to finches, and avocados should not be fed to them at all as those vegetables are toxic to finches.
Finches get considerable nutritional value from formulated mashes, crumbles and pellets. Any finch's diet is enhanced by the addition of powdered foods. It's important to choose foods that are made specifically for finches so the birds get proper nutrition. There are different formulas for all the different stages of the bird's life. Powdered foods should be mixed in with seeds at first to get the birds used to it. A teaspoon of formulated food each day works well.