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LGF Health Tip
LGF Article by Jean Ferguson
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Editor’s Notes & FAQ
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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 #12
Non-fertile eggs need to be removed from nest boxes as soon as possible. If left in the nest, the eggs will most likely get broken and make an awful unhealthy mess there.
Candling, which involves holding a special candling flashlight or just a very small flashlight gently against the egg will, after a week or so, reveal tiny red blood vessels in fertile eggs if all is going well.
If there are no veins, if the egg shell has a dim pallor to it or if you see large compartments that appear to be air filled, all of the eggs will need to be disposed of. Take heart, chances are your pair will start to lay another clutch almost immediately.
If only one or two eggs are fertile, foster them out to Society finches. Lady Gouldian finches will rarely take the time to raise so few chicks.
Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamins are complex organic matter essential in small amounts to control metabolic process in the body. There are two sub categories of vitamins, fat soluble and water soluble.
Without vitamins acting as catalysts, other chemical processes in the body will not occur. A lot of the commercially sold vitamin-mineral supplements are made to be mixed with seed or water.
The majority of vitamins added to drinking water are wasted by splashing and changing fowled water. Powdered vitamins for mixing with seed are even more wasted on our Gouldians.
They don’t stick to the seed and since Gouldian Finches shell their seed before eating it, they just drift to the bottom of the container. Mixing vitamins into the soft food such as hard boiled eggs, is a preferred method and definitely reduces its waste. The fat soluble vitamins needed by our birds are discussed in the following five paragraphs.
Vitamin A is often significantly deficiency in Gouldians. It is found in dark green leafy vegetables, (spinach), and vegetables containing carotene, (carrots).
The quantity of vitamin A is higher in vegetables that have the deepest color of green foliage as well as vegetables having the most yellow pigments. Vitamin A is also found in Safflower oil, (the best nutritional oil for our birds), and cod liver oil.
Vitamin A contributes to good eye site and aids in the prevention of egg binding because vitamin A helps to prevent hardening of the mucous membranes. Therefore, the sperm travel more easily to find the egg and the passage way for the eggs remains soft, moist and flexible.
Vitamin D-3 comes from animal sources. Calcium absorption is considerably greater when there is adequate vitamin D in the diet. Natural sunlight is needed to activate vitamin D which will be stored in the skin.
Supplementing artificial daylight can be done in one of two ways, by using full spectrum lighting indoors or by exposing the Gouldians to a sun lamp for 30 to 45 minutes a day. Vitamin D is needed for the production of eggshells, bones and healthy feathers.
The only animal material we feed to our Gouldians is egg which contains a good amount of vitamin D. Cod liver oil is a good source of vitamin D, but it will turn rancid in very quick order. To be safe, if cod liver oil is used, it must be removed from the cage within 15 minutes.
Vitamin E comes from many sources; eggs, seeds, nuts and deep green leafy vegetables. Processing these foods will greatly decrease their content of vitamin E. The primary use of vitamin E is to conserve oxygen for the cells and to keep their membranes permeable.
A good supply of vitamin E has been shown to aid in healing wounds better and more quickly. It is also important in the development of nerve cells in the brain, the skeletal muscles and the overall development of an embryo.
Both vitamin F and vitamin K are found in oily seeds, (flaxseed, sunflower seed, and safflower seed). Vitamin F consists of three necessary fatty acids, linoleic acid being the most important of the three for our birds.
This vitamin is needed to assist in the formation of internal structures and cell membranes. It is also necessary for growth and reproduction. Wheat germ and walnuts are also valuable sources of vitamin F.
Vitamin K is found also in dark green leafy plants. This vitamin K is needed for use in the liver to help with the formation of blood clotting proteins. These proteins are then used by the body to properly regulate the clotting of blood.
Of the water soluble vitamins, Vitamin C, which can be manufactured by Gouldians during digestion, choline, biotin, B12, B1, B2 and all of the other B vitamins to some smaller degree are essential nutriments for both humans and birds.
Fortunately, these vitamins are all contained in sufficient amounts in the seeds that are the mainstay of our Gouldians diet or in cooked eggs.
No nutrients work in the body alone. There must also be minerals that will complete the chemical reactions necessary for life.
There are eight essential minerals; calcium, sodium, potassium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, iron and copper. I will cover minerals in greater detail in my book, but for now it is sufficient to supplement your Gouldians’ diet with what is called a mineralized grit.
This consists mainly of crushed oyster shells combined with smaller amounts of the minerals listed above. A cuttlebone and a mineral block will also provide these needed elements.
Remember that because Lady Gouldians shell their seeds before eating them, they do not need sand or ground granite for the process of digesting their food.
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EDITORS NOTES - FAQ:
Gouldian Finches Colony Breeding
Colony breeding means keeping several Gouldians together in one large flight cage or aviary. Male and female can choose their mates themselves.
Should you try this, be sure to put up a few extra nest boxes so these pairs will have plenty of nests to choose from. Outdoor aviaries in southern climates can be managed very nicely to simulate the wild.
When breeding in this manner is chosen, the finches can choose their own mates and nests and be left on their own to care for their own. However, close observation is rarely possible and breeding results are not as good as would be from a more controlled cage.
Colony breeding will be further discussed in my book, but for now the emphasis on this page is on controlling one breeding pair.
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 FergusonHOME PAGE
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MD 21146, USA
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