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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 #9

Improperly soaked and sprouted seeds can lead to serious health problems for Lady Gouldians and their young. A seed mixture created specifically for the purpose of soaking must be used and the directions for soaking must be followed exactly.

Mold, E.-coli and other undesirable bacteria can grow rapidly in warm moist soaking seeds. Always add a disinfectant such as bleach or Aviclens to the soaking water using a ratio of one part bleach to one hundred parts water.

Jars used for canning come with a two part lid, a rim for screwing onto the jar and a lid to make a vacuum seal when cooling. By replacing the lid part with a piece of common screening, the rinsing and soaking will become a bit easier.

To start to prepare soaked seed, place a small amount of seed into the jar, fill the jar with the disinfectant and water mixture. Soak the seed over night.

In the morning, invert the jar, pouring the water out through the screen. Add water and rinse this way until the rinse water is clear.

Soak the seed again for fifteen minutes in a fresh solution of disinfectant and water. Rinse again several times before feeding to your birds.

Uneaten seeds must be removed from the cage after four or five hours and thrown out. Soaked seed may be stored in the refrigerator for a day or two.

Always do a sniff test as safely soaked seed will have a sweet smell. If the smell is unpleasant or sour do not feed the seeds to your birds.

Hand Feeding and Weaning Gouldian Chicks

At various times in the lives of baby Gouldians, from newly hatched to starting to feather out, something can go wrong and it becomes evident that the chicks are not being fed adequately by their parents. You as a breeder will need to be prepared with Society Finches to foster the chicks or you may attempt to hand feed them yourself.

Fostering is by far the easier of the two. Hand feeding can be very difficult. Newly hatched chicks and older fledglings are the most difficult ages to try to hand feed because aspirating food and refusing to accept hand feeding, are the two most likely reasons for failure in these two age groups.

If you have the choice, begin to hand feed between four to ten days of age.

A brooder, which can be a small glass aquarium with a screened lid or a medium sized plastic container with a ventilated top, will be needed to house the chicks.

A heating pad, set on low, will need to be taped or tied to the bottom and sides of the brooder and a reptile heat or black lamp will be needed for the top.

Take extra care by neatly and carefully placing a towel on the inside bottom of the brooder. This will prevent a squirming chick from coming into contact with the bottom of the brooder, which would most likely lead to heat over exposure and death.

A plastic bowl small enough to fit inside the brooder, lined with a paper towel, will make a fine nest. Put the chicks in their new nest and secure the ventilated lid.

Use another thin towel to cover a large portion of the ventilated lid. The chicks will do best in the dark as it would have been had they been able to stay in their original nest box.

Make sure to place the brooder in a safe place, away from children and pets. Be certain to sterilize the tools you will use for mixing and feeding formula for your birds by soaking in a diluted bleach solution for a few minutes and rinsing well.

A small cap or cup will be needed to mix the formula. Many different brands of hand rearing formulas are sold in bird shops and pet stores.

Exact is a widely used brand. If none are available, most feed and grain stores will sell some type of game bird starter.

Just add warm sterilized or bottled water to the game bird started to obtain the appropriate consistency to feed your chick. Mix formula and water for each feeding.

Do not attempt to use left over mixed formula. In order for the chicks to digest the formula it should be served to them at a temperature between 98 – 100 degrees F.

To feed newly hatched chicks instead of using water, use unflavored Pedialyte. This gives the chicks extra electrolytes needed to stay alive.

The tiny chicks cannot store very much food in their crops and will need to be fed hourly for the first three to four days and nights. Getting the chicks to open their beaks is often a problem.

Using a tooth pick to open the beak helps and it may be very nice to have a second pair of hands to help at this point. Gently rubbing the chick’s back sometimes will inspire them to open up for food.

Sometimes gentle tapping on the side of the beak will be a stimulant or just touching a drop of the runny formula to the side of a beak. At this time the chicks’ crop will be visible only on one side.

As they grow it will be easy to see the crop on both sides of the neck. Do not over feed. It is only time to feed when the crop is empty.

As the days go by and your chicks are growing well, gradually make the formula thicker. After day 5, night feedings may be stopped.

Be sure to feed as early in the morning as possible and as late as you can, just before going to bed, at night. Also as the feathers begin to emerge they will require less additional heat.

When the juvenile has completely feathered out, it is time to gradually cool the environment to room temperature. Watch for signs such as flapping wings and attempts to perch as these signs will signal the chicks are ready to fly and it is time to place them and their nest in a cage supplied with, millet soaked seed, mashed hard boiled egg finch seed and fresh water.

It might help the juveniles to have a mature Gouldian move into the cage with them so they can learn by example.

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Gouldian Finch Breeding - Optimal Temperatures

The proper temperature, humidity and lighting are very important issues to plan for when it’s time to set up for breeding.

An acceptable temperature for Lady Gouldian breeding pairs should be in the range 73 to77 degrees F, (23 to 25 degrees C), both day and night.

It can always be higher than 73 degrees, but not lower. Keep the humidity near the cage at a minimum of 55 to 65 percent.

Plan on acquiring a good humidifier and as mentioned before, buy one of the reptilian cage humidity gauges.

Be certain there are no drafts that would negatively impact your birds. Adequate lighting is another critical factor.

If you do not have enough natural sunlight, you must supplement. Be certain that the lighting you plan to obtain is labeled as being “full spectrum”. Bulbs or florescent tubes can be set on timers, and placed close to the breeding cages.

Because we can artificially duplicate a breeding season whenever we choose our domesticated birds do not all breed during any one certain season.

Caged birds usually will breed soon after a molt. During our artificially produced breeding cycle, your birds will need 14 hours of sunny daylight.


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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