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LGF Health Tip
LGF Article by Jean Ferguson
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Lady Gouldian Finch 14 Health Care Tips

The information contained in my free E-zines is intended to add to the knowledge and pleasure that you will have while keeping these intelligent gorgeous Lady Gouldian finches happy and well. My promise to you and the goal of this web site is to continue accumulating and publishing current accurate information and ideas to improve the well being of Lady Gouldian finches.

Owning Lady Gouldian finches requires some knowledge and planning, but is not mystical or difficult in any way. It just requires obtaining complete and correct information, before you actually begin if possible. If this ezine and site can provide just one piece of information that helps you and your birds, I will have accomplished my mission.

These colorful little guys do have some specific needs that most other pet birds do not.

Many times information will vary from breeder to breeder leaving you perplexed and uncertain. Not a lot of accurate published information is readily available. Lady Gouldians do have some specific needs that are different from the care requirements for many other caged birds.

My e-zines will address issues of common concern such as what are the dietary needs for breeding and molting, how to recognize problems when pairing your finches for breeding, what to do if the newborn chicks get thrown out of the nest. What can be done to assist your birds if there is a problem and there is no avian veterinarian available.

I am not a veterinarian. My web site, news letters, tips and book do not dispense medical information. I write about my own experiences. Sometimes bad things happen. When that involves our Lady Gouldians, we want always to be as well prepared as possible to do the best we can. Not everyone has an avian veterinarian with Gouldian finch expertise available to them.

Not every bird keeper has access to experienced Gouldian breeders who will selflessly give their time to help when needed. I do not presume to give advice or to replace information from a veterinarian. Should your bird need help, find a vet!!!

Lady Gouldian Finch Health Care Tip #10

A hospital cage does not have to be a specially made five sided wooden box with places for electric light bulbs to increase warmth.

Any small cage can be wrapped on the top and all four sides with toweling held on with clothes pins to minimize stimulus and to keep in warmth and encourage calmness.

A ceramic heat lamp, as mentioned, or a heating pad under the cage or even wrapped around a side of the cage will help to increase the temperature for your bird and by doing that your bird will be spared expending the energy to do it for himself. This is a twofold benefit.

The already weakened bird conserves his already taxed energy supply and the increased body temperature of the bird works to kill off the bacteria or microorganism that is causing the illness.

The Hospital Cage and Why You Should Have One

It is always recommended that a sick looking or behaving bird be separated from its’ cage mates as soon as it is recognized. If your bird is fluffing up its feathers, sitting on the cage floor and tucking its head under its wing in the day time, you may be uncertain as to whether or not your Lady Gouldian is ill or if a veterinarian is needed.

Take precautions immediately by removing this bird from its cage and placing it in a smaller enclosure which can be called a ‘hospital cage.’ This will allow you to monitor your bird more closely.

Hospital cages can be purchased commercially or you can make your own. There are many different plans available for building hospital cages out of plywood on the internet.

From my perspective, these plans involve a great deal of tedious carpentry, unless of course, you happen to be a carpenter. What is important is not how the hospital cage is made or what it is made of.

It must accomplish several purposes. The hospital cage must be cozy and fairly small. This will restrict the activity of the patient bird, but not impede air circulation.

A box no more than 28” high, 20” deep by 16” wide, (70x51x40 cm) will do quite nicely. The reason for having an enclosed box is threefold, first is to minimize the external stimulation that a bird in an open wire cage is always exposed to.

This allows the ill bird to rest more efficiently while feeling secure and calm. Equally important, the temperature in a small enclosure can be more precisely controlled.

Lady Gouldians use a great deal of their energy just to maintain their body temperature. Therefore, if the temperature in the hospital cage is increased slowly to a constant temperature of 85 degrees F, (29 degrees C), the bird will be conserving energy that can be used for other purposes such as healing.

Lastly, if your Gouldian is sick from a bacterial infection, the bacteria will be present in the bird’s droppings. Your hospital cage also allows you to separate any possible harmful bacteria from your other birds.

Line the bottom of the hospital cage with paper toweling to catch the droppings so they can be quickly removed from the cage. If you decide to have the bird’s droppings microscopically examined by a veterinarian, a piece of plastic or waxed paper on top of the paper towel may be helpful to keep the droppings moist long enough for the examination to be beneficial.

Since I have no carpentry skills what so ever, it has been my preference to simply use a small plastic bird cage as my hospital cage. Place this small cage in the most quiet and warmest room of your home.

I wrap the sides of the cage snuggly with small clean towels held by clothes pins. Always place a small thermometer inside the cage along with food and water on the floor of the cage.

Place the cage on another towel above a heating pad if you choose a heating pad to be your heat supply. Cage temperature can also be increased by placing one or more 60 watt light bulbs close to the cage sides and observing what brings the temperature to the desired degree before placing the ill bird inside the cage.

Using common sense, don’t place the light bulbs too close to the toweling that a fire could start. Place the ill bird in the cage before increasing the heat so that there will be a gradual increase in temperature for the bird.

Many small plastic cages will have wire mesh flooring that sits just above the bottom plastic pull out tray for cleaning. This offers a great way to decrease the chances that the bird will become re-contaminated by his or her own droppings.

When the emergency is over, this hospital cage can be stripped down easily, towels laundered in a diluted bleach solution and the entire cage can simply go into the dishwasher to be sterilized.

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Seed moths can become quite a nuisance. Even worse, they are stealing the nutrients that were intended for your Gouldians.

Buying the freshest seed is not always possible. There are no dates on the seed bags.

Purchase your seed when it is first harvested if at all possible and then either freeze it or refrigerate it until you are ready to feed it to your birds. This will limit the seed moths’ development only.

If refrigeration is not an option, there are safe, non toxic, seed moth traps that, when placed close to your bird cage will attract the male moths to a nice sticky pad thereby eliminating reproduction.


Thank you for reading my newsletter, I will try to make sure all editions are informative and helpful to you and your Gouldians!

Let me know if there are any topics you would like me to cover in the newsletter, and I’ll try to oblige.

Remember also that you can post your questions direct online at: Gouldian Finch FAQ where you can also read my answers to other questions.

Jeanie Ferguson
“Lady Gouldian Finch Tips”

Severna Park
MD 21146, USA


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