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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 #7

Watch very carefully that molding foods and molding nesting materials never enter your bird cages or nest boxes. Molding food has much less nutritional value and will lead to malnutrition.

Worse, it also will contain lots of fungal toxins. The worst of these toxins can alter and weaken the Lady Gouldians immune system, thereby opening the door to microscopic pathogens that would normally be unable to gain a strong hold in an otherwise well bird.

Over crowded juvenile Gouldians and the weaker mutation will be the first to show signs of illness and dying. Egg food or soft food left too long in cages can easily become spoiled.

Remove uneaten soft foods within 2 hours of offering it to be certain to avoid mold. Incorrect preparation of soaked and sprouted seeds is a major cause of mold problems.

About a week after ingesting moldy foods, almost all of the birds in the contaminated cages will begin to show the typical signs of being an ill Gouldian previously described on our web site. There is no known remedy for the problems caused by eating mold.

Best avoid the possibility, by being ever vigilant and avoid the introduction of mold to your birds environment.

Breeding in Captivity

Successful breeding in captivity is a little different than in the wild. You may want to select each bird for pair breeding as opposed to colony breeding in which the birds pair at will.

Captive Lady Gouldians don’t necessarily have to be bred in tune with the seasons in the wild. Since there is no shortage of resources all year round captive Gouldians can be bred all year round.

Despite this, typically the best breeding results occur when birds are partnered up at the beginning of the usual breeding season. In the Northern Hemisphere this is around September/October and in the Southern Hemisphere this is around March/April.

Despite receiving plenty of food all year round, you can encourage your birds to feel that the breeding season is approaching. The introduction of a pre-breeding diet should occur around six weeks prior to the breeding season.

You do this by changing their diet to include new seeds similar to those that the pre-breeding season would normally provide for them via seasonal wild grasses. It is important to try to feed exactly the kind of nutrients necessary to prepare them for the additional physical strain the breeding process places upon them.

This is done by reducing their standard seed mix ratio to allow for the introduction of new seeds that contain the new nutrients required. It is desirable to add a mix of Niger, Rape, Phalaris and lettuce seed, all in equal quantities.

In total these seeds should make up another 20% of the pre-breeding seed mix. Canary seed should make up another 20% with the remaining 60%made up of French Millet, Panicum, (Hungarian Millet), and Japanese Millet, again in equal quantities. You may have to settle for preparing a mix using wild finch seed and canary seed as supplements.

It is not a good idea to pair birds that are six months old or younger.

Sometimes it can be hard to wait because the five and six month olds are so beautifully colored out by now and they are acting like flirtatious teenagers, but the best breeding results have come from pairing birds who are twelve months of age. Experience has shown that selecting pairs of the same head color will provide the best results.

If birds having different head colors are paired, the sex ratio of offspring can turn out imbalanced. Avoid this issue by pairing red heads with red heads and black heads with blackheads and so on.

The exception to this rule becomes important if a breeder is attempting to strengthen a weakened genetic strain, an example would be having two yellow-headed Gouldians both of which appear a bit smaller than the rest of your birds.

In such a case pairing each of the smaller birds with strong, vigorous black heads could produce stronger and larger offspring while retaining the genetic traits of the yellow head. Last, but not least be sure to pick pairs that are not closely related. Inbreeding will weaken any offspring and over time will lead to many breeding failures and disappointments.

Now is the time to move the selected pair to their very own private breeding cage. Have everything in place for them.

Provide what privacy you can for them by covering some of the outside of their cage with clothes pins and cloth. Be certain to move the male into the cage first.

Allow him to be alone for 1-3 days before introducing the female. This will enable him to become familiar, relaxed and confident in his new surroundings so that when his mate enters she will be entering his domain.

Maintain the room at a constant 77 degrees F., (25 degrees C.), keep the humidity at or above 50% and provide 14 to 15 hours of daylight. Now, just sit back and enjoy their courting!

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A guide about Gouldian finch care would be incomplete without mentioning how very much these birds enjoy bathing. Provide bath water in the mornings rather than afternoons to make certain their feathers will be dry before roosting for the night.

If your cage is large enough in which to place a bowl about 1 ¼ inches deep, filled with room temperature water, your birds will become very excited and active. It’s best to do the bathing before rather than after a paper change. Their enthusiastic splashing gets water every where.

If your cage appears too small for a group bathing dish or if you just want to keep the water confined, there is a specifically designed plexiglass container that will hang on the side of your cage and cover the area of an open cage door.

Twist tie the door open, hang the large box tub over the cage door opening and stand back for the fun.


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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