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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 #8

Mites can be a serious problem especially during the time for brooding and raising chicks. Red mites hide in crevices in your cages and nest boxes during the day.

They come out in darkness to bite and suck the blood of their victims usually inside the nest boxes. They are very hard to see because they are so tiny and move quite quickly.

One may try to observe them by shining a flashlight into a dark nest box. Look for tiny little red dots trying to escape the light or place a white handkerchief inside the nest box over night.

When the mites hide in it they will be visible on the white handkerchief the next morning. These mites can cause exhaustion in parent birds, anemia, death of nestlings and indirectly dead in shell chicks because the parent birds are so exhausted by them they are forced to abandon brooding.

Another type of mite resides on the skin and feathers of Lady Gouldians, damaging feathers and causing serious skin irritation. Lastly, the air sac mite lives in the airways and air sacs of Gouldians.

They cause internal irritation, wheezing and difficulty while breathing. Severe infestations can clog the breathing passages and cause death.

To diagnose the presence of air sac mites, listen closely by the cage for a clicking sound from your birds at night. When all else is quiet in your cage, the difficult breathing sounds are easy to hear.

Thoroughly clean and disinfect cages and nest boxes. There are several over the counter medications known to rid your birds of these mites.

Do some research pertaining to Ivermectin and Scatt as they are the most widely available agents used to fight these mites.

Again, contact a breeder, an avian supplier or an avian veterinarian to obtain these and the important dosing methods and directions.

Nesting and the Very Young

Hanging either a wooden or plastic nest box onto the side of the cage should be done before introducing the male Lady Gouldian to his breeding cage. If you prefer it is perfectly fine to hang a nest inside the cage.

Two disadvantages for that method come to mind. First, a nest inside the cage cannot help but decrease the valuable flight space and secondly, a nest in the cage is very difficult to examine.

Both the wooden and the plastic boxes hung on the outside of the cage allow for easy examination of eggs and chicks. The lovely plastic ones can go into the dishwasher for sanitizing.

After selecting a nest, some of the nesting material will need to be placed into it. It is the role of the cock to build the nest.

However, frequently, if not always, a sufficient amount of nesting material must be placed into the box to help him do a good job. Left to do all the work himself can lead to eggs being laid on the bare floor surface of the nest box.

In the wild nesting takes place in holes in dead tree limbs. Not a lot of additional material has to be added to a site like that.

Safe nesting material includes coconut fiber and fine hay. Avoid any material that is stringy or too fine like hair.

The material needs to be both a course and also fine grass like material. Put in enough to keep the chicks well above the box bottom, but not so high that they could fall out.

As time goes by the chicks will display their habit of backing up as far as they can in their nest and as close to the box sides as they can get to place their droppings. There the droppings will dry out and the nest will not become mucky with wet droppings.

It may take anywhere from 10 to 20 days before the hen lays her eggs. She will start laying one egg each morning until her clutch is complete.

My book goes into eggs and egg laying in much greater detail than I can in this e-zine.

Chicks will most often all hatch on the same morning. They are born with bare skin and closed eyes.

The skin is a pink to tan flesh color with a bright sheen. In about a week, their eyes will open and the first signs of their dark feathers can be noted. Both parents will feed their young by regurgitation.

It is the responsibility of the breeder to see that there is plenty of fresh soft food available, (mashed cooked eggs and finely grated vegetables), for the parents to easily eat. This is crucial for the development of the chicks and energy for the adults.

If the parents show even the slightest sign of agitation in the early days, when you examine their nest box, it will be best to heed their message and leave the box alone, otherwise it is possible to trigger the parents to toss out or abandon their young.

There are pairs of Gouldians who, for whatever reason, will abandon or toss day old or very young chicks out of their nest. It pays to be a prepared breeder.

Be ready to either foster the chicks to Society Finches or step up and hand feed the youngsters. It has been my preference to have Society Finches standing by to Nanny the Gouldian chicks.

Hand feeding will be addressed in the next e-zine for those of you who are brave and committed enough to take that path.

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When nails seriously curl it is time to cut them for the birds’ safety. If not trimmed these nails become dangerous hooks and may get caught as the finch hops around, leaving the finch unable to get free. So, hold your breath and follow these instructions.

It gets easier the more you do. Holding a bird in the palm of one hand with your forefinger resting gently on its head will calm your bird and stop the struggle to escape. Carefully extend one foot at a time with your other hand, spread the toes apart using your ring finger, steady the foot on the heel of your hand and clip off the tip with an ordinary nail clipper.

Practice first, if you can on birds that have pale translucent nails. You must have good lighting. Look closely at the curling nail close to the foot so you can see the blood in the quick of the nail. Be as careful as you can to not cut into the quick.

Always have a blood clotting powder on hand when you are trimming nails. If the quick does get nipped, place the bird’s foot in the powder to help the blood clot.


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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