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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 #2

Diarrhea that does not resolve itself in a few days most likely will be fatal to your lady Gouldian. Because of the naturally high metabolic rate in Gouldians, dehydration will quickly occur and lead your bird in an irreversible decline.

In a last ditch attempt to save a dying bird, a breeder once relayed that he had some success by using a very dilute solution of bleach and water. The ratio is one to four.

He mixed together one drop, from an eye dropper, of bleach, (sodium hypochlorite) with two ounces of water and replaced his sick bird’s drinking water with this for a couple of days.

This solution kills all of the bacteria in the digestive system, the good and the bad. The good bacteria will quickly be replaced by the bird as soon as he/she is placed back in a cage with other birds.

Humans normally have the bacteria E. coli, (Escherichia coli), in their digestive systems, but E. coli is not a normal bacteria found in our birds and should we pass it on to our birds, it can kill them.

The best way to prevent your bird from being contaminated with this bacteria is to wash your hands before you start to care for your birds. See Tip #3, going light, for more details on this subject.

My Newest Gouldians Come Home

Helping New Gouldians Settle In

Start out from the very beginning being prepared. Obtain the name and location of the closest avian veterinarian to your home. If you have decided to keep and/or breed Lady Gouldian finches, you have most likely made a significant investment.

Should something appear questionable or to be wrong with your bird or birds, you will want to get the best help as quickly as possible. Something as simple as a stool specimen exam could be life saving. Most finches will try to hide being ill until they are quite sick. Being prepared can make all the difference.

So, now you have chosen and purchased at least two Lady Gouldian finches, you will want to bring them home quickly. Most likely the birds will have been placed in a small ventilated cardboard box for their trip home.

Before leaving either the breeder or the bird shop, be certain to find out what food these birds are used to eating. If it is a different mixture of seeds from what you will be offering at home, be sure to bring some of what they are used to eating home too.

Gradually and increasingly mix your seed with their seed until you can observe the birds eating the new seed. Frequently Lady Gouldians will not eat unfamiliar foods and they may starve to death while dishes of food are right in front of them.

At home, you have already prepared a quarantine or otherwise temporary, parakeet sized, cage which has been placed in a very warm spot in your home. It is already set up with two perches, finch seed, spray millet and fresh water.

When transferring your birds from box to cage, try to avoid catching up the birds with your hand. A stranger’s hand reaching into the dark box and grabbing it up can cause additional stress to your birds. Initially new finches will be very, very shy.

Place a cloth over the cardboard box so the birds will not escape while you open an end of the box. With the cloth still covering the opening of the box, hold the opening of the box against the open doorway of their new cage, slip the cloth away and let the birds hop out into the cage by themselves.

The reason for this temporary cage is so that you may observe your new birds in a controlled setting to evaluate their well being. For the first several days, try not to make any sudden movements toward the cage and speak softly to your new Gouldians.

It helps to minimize the overwhelming stimulation that a new environment creates by draping a larger cloth over the top and three sides of the cage. Ordinary clothes pins come in handy to secure the cloth to the cage.

This will give the new ones the additional security of feeling vulnerable to only the front of their cage until they become acclimated. Cover the cage entirely for the first few nights at the least. Night time is a good time to listen to your birds breathing. Listen carefully and be very close to the cage.

Air sac mites are a common problem and can be easily detected in the silence of night. Should your birds sneeze or make clicking sounds while breathing in the night, you will want to notify your veterinarian of this.

They can most often be treated easily before being moved to their permanent home or into an area where they could expose other birds. Your veterinarian or an experienced breeder will tell you how to get rid of these mites.

Next to observe are their droppings. Use plain white paper on the floor of the cage to make it easier for you to observe these. Healthy and normal droppings will have three parts.

Usually in the center is the green fecal portion, which will be surrounded by a white urate portion which is surrounded by a clear urine portion. Should your birds stool be abnormally muddy or very liquid or paste like in appearance, it is time for a stool exam. Your veterinarian will give you directions on obtaining a useful specimen.

The very best indicator of good health in finches can be assessed by their alertness and activity. Within a couple of days your new birds will have gotten considerably more relaxed. They will be getting used to your presence and you will soon notice an increase in there curiosity when you near their cage.

These birds are watching everything you do and giving it some thought. I once went to move a net that I kept for emergencies in my large aviary. The moment that I picked up that net, a few hundred birds instantly took flight in their cages. It was quite an awakening for me to know how very observant and smart our tiny little finches are.

Soon you will be able to transfer your newest birds into their larger flight or permanent cage and await greater observation of their everyday activities. You have now done everything humanly possible to get your birds off to a great start. Congratulations!

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Head color

by Jodi (Florida)

I am new to these beautiful birds so please ignore my ignorance I am learning...

I recently bought a female that was a black head white chest green back but she has molted and her head is now orange/blackish not black anymore why???

Also if I was to buy a male does it have to look like her? I am not sure if I can locate a male with split colors like that.

Confused?????? Thank you for your advice



Gouldians colors do frequently change a bit after a moult, but not always.

Sounds as though the bird you have, had a parent with a black head and the other parent had a yellow head.

Best to find a cock with either orange or black head color, but not red.

Females often have black feathers in their red or yellow masks.

Take a look at the tip of the bill. A yellow head or a black head split to yellow will show an orange tint at the tip of the usually.

Hope this helps, Jean


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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