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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 #6
Knowledge regarding total nutrition for our birds is of utmost importance. What we provide for their consumption will determine their success or failure.
Ask the breeder from whom you buy your birds to write down for you what if any supplements they use, why and how often. Peace of mind comes with experience and the person who has raised the finches you want to buy clearly knows what is needed.
If they will not share their knowledge with you, you are likely to struggle from the start. The marketing of supplements is big business.
May I suggest that by frequently and separately supplementing the regular diet with fresh hard cooked eggs, sterilized egg shells, additional shelled and chopped sunflower seeds, additional canary seed, (having the highest mineral content of all of the other seeds we offer our Goulds), lots of spray millet, safely soaked or sprouted seeds and vegetables from dark leafy greens, that you will be offering foods which provide all the needed nutrients for your Lady Gouldians.
The Importance of Understanding Head Colors
Lady Gouldians are typically referred to by their head colors more than any other color, primarily because their head colors are usually independent of their body color, (usually, but not always). In the wild there are three standard head color variations, and they apply whether the bird is male or female.
They are black-headed, red-headed and yellow-headed. Note that while they are referred to as ‘headed,’ their head colors may also be just as accurately described as ‘masks’ since the head color always extends over their eyes and face.
Of the three variations the black-headed is the most common. It forms roughly three quarters of the entire wild Gouldian population and is the strongest bird amongst the different color varieties.
The tip of its beak may be colored black, red or yellow and it may also display tiny red or yellow feathers in its black mask. The color of the tip of the beak and the color of the feathers present in the black mask are indicators of the bird’s ability to produce differing head colored offspring.
If the bird has a red beak or red feathers mixed into the black mask, it will be able to produce, black or red headed offspring. If the tip of the beak is yellow and if there are yellow feathers in the black mask, it will be able to produce black or yellow headed offspring.
The red headed variety is the second most prolific color variation to be found in the wild, forming almost a quarter of the entire population. The red headed female Lady Gouldians may have varying amounts of black feathers in their red masks.
In both males and females the feathers around the red mask will appear as first a black outline and around that a beautiful blue border. Even though the black headed variety forms most of the wild Lady Gouldian population, the red headed birds actually have the dominant genetic trait.
Because it is the dominant trait, the red headed variety is considered to be the “normal color” for a Gouldian while all other head colors are considered ‘”mutations.”
The yellow headed Gouldian has an orange mask. These are actually rare and it is estimated they form around only 1% of the entire wild population. Female Gouldian yellow heads may also display black feathering within their yellow masks.
The yellow heads are also believed to be the most submissive of all three common head colors. Interestingly, studies have shown that a yellow heads whose mask feathers have been dyed red has a greater chance of establishing equal footing in a colony with other red headed more dominant birds.
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EDITORS NOTES - FAQ:
Cuttlebone and ground oyster shells are fine sources for providing the additional calcium needed. Calcium is the one mineral that must be supplemented for successful breeding.
Another source of calcium can be found in egg shells. After hard boiling eggs, sterilize the egg shells in the microwave for two to three minutes or boil them again to kill any microorganisms left on them.
Let them dry in the sun and then offer them to the birds. Dried and ground egg shells are available at bird shops. When finely ground, calcium can be mixed into moist egg food.
If the egg shells are in large enough pieces not to fall through the wire cage floor, it’s fine just to place those cleaned and dried pieces into the cage. Gouldians will nibble away at the egg shells as they need. It is also fine to offer a tiny amount of fish oil and seed in a cup separate from the regular dry seed.
If the ingredients in the fish oil are needed the birds will show an interest in it. Offer this only in very small amounts and very infrequently during breeding.
Too much fat or oil could cause a bird to become obese and not a good choice for breeding. Rest assured the birds will select from the foods that are provided to them all the nutrients that their bodies need.
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
“Lady Gouldian Finch Tips”
MD 21146, USA
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