Why do my finches hate being outside of their cage?

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RPatchett
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I try to give my finches flight time around the living area of the house at least once a day but both of them just do one circle then head straight back inside their cage. If I shut the door of the cage they panic and call to each other and breathe heavily. They don’t calm down until they are back inside. Why is this? I know they aren’t tame but I would have thought that a bird would like to have at least a bit of flying around per day.

They are a “cage inside the house” female pair of zebras. We have no other pets or scary things in the house that would make them scared. They have a fairly big cage for the two of them (80x55x95cm). We have three young kids 10, 8 and 6 who don’t try and hold them or chase them. I’ve tried putting food and water outside the cage in a visible and accessible place but they don’t realise it’s there.

Also, I get them out by opening the side door of the cage and putting my hand in the main door which makes them fly out the side door. Is this mean? Should I just leave them in the cage 100% of the time then?
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finchbreeder
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Never kept finches in a small cage, so answer is suposition. Perhaps the being evicted by hand makes tham unhappy? Try just opening the door and putting a treat e.g. some greens a little way outside the door and see if they are interested in coming out themselves. Good luck in solving the mystery.
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JustPerching
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Sounds like they don't feel secure. I would suggest you build them a larger flight instead of a cage. Letting finches loose indoors is an accident waiting to happen, it only takes a moments inattention with an unexpectedly opening door or window & they're gone.
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RPatchett
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Thanks so much for the replies and suggestions. We’ll have a think about what we can do!
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Craig52
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Finches are not generally renowned for being pets and not normally kept as pets indoors in small cages like budgies and parrots and even canaries. They seem to be held back by their wild callings and don't want to be totally domesticated. I have seen some finches that have been hand reared but their closeness to the owner is more imprinted so think they are human more than being a bird. These finches will settle down quite well as they haven't experienced what a finch should be so don't know any different.
The panting and calling you talk about is most likely them being obese as finches never stop flying /moving in a large aviary or in the wild which keeps them trim so being in a small cage will never suit them imo.
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Brisbane_Finches_333
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Yes, I agree with @JustPerching. Make them a larger cage or aviary where they can fly whenever they want. Your finches are most likely former aviary birds who are not being used to being in a small cage (they're not like budgies who sit around all day, they're very active) and need to feel secure in a larger flight.
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jluna
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I think there are some things to worry about and things not to worry about.

Heavy breathing - they are exhausted! The are in a cage where they can essentially 'flutter' from one perch to the other and then they get forced out to a marathon lap of the room. I'd set up some perching for them a little distance from the cage to help them 'train up'.

Calling - they are zebs. They constantly call, especially if out of sight of each other. The calling is not a problem.

I would definitely not force them out. Leave the cage door open and let them explore if they feel inclined. But be careful, there are so many dangers in our homes - windows cause concussions, even a small bit of water can drown them, plants could be toxic, etc etc. As other have said, the best idea is a bigger cage/flight box.
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RPatchett
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I really appreciate all of these replies! Thank you so much!
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