Finches Pick At Themselves

by John
(Ohio, USA)

I have two gouldian finches that are just about one year old now.

They live in seperate cages right next to each other. They used to live in the same cage together, but the bigger one always seemed to be pushing and chasing the smaller one around and the smaller one could rarely have peace to be able to eat. So we put them into seperate cages and set the two cages immediately next to each other.

The cages are on a table in front of a picture window so they can get light and see outdoors.

The problem is that both of them seem to do a lot of picking at themselves and dropping feathers on the cage floor. They do not seem to be going bald but they act like they are in a continual molt.

They have swings, a mirror and a cuttle bone in their cages.
They seem to love to swing and to sit for hours and watch themselves in the mirrors, hissing at the reflection once in awhile.

The continual scratching and picking bothers me for some reason. Is this normal or might there be a problem and if so, what might be done about it?

They are otherwise healthy, happy, active and responsive to me when I talk baby talk to them.

Hi John,

A couple of ideas occurr to me as possible explanations. Are your birds picking and then carrying their feathers around in their cages? If the birds are a breeding pair, feater plucking can be an indication that they are ready to go to nest.

More likely is it I think that the birds are craving a nutrient, one that is found in feathers. Feathers are made up of protein, fats and trace minerals. I keep a dish of mineralized oyster shell grit in the cages along with their cuttle bone. Finely chopped hard cooked eggs offered early in the morning along with some fresh dark green leafy vegetables should remedy things if there are deficits in their diet. In the wild, Gouldians are insect eaters as well as seed eaters. Our domesticated Gouldians won't eat insects so their only source of animal protein must come from eggs.

Hope these ideas help you, Jeanie

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Nov 09, 2014
by: Willie

This explains a lot I heard if you boil the eggs for 45 mins. let cool the cut up whole egg they will eat it. You and I always give Romeo and Juliette spinach they love it.

I put egg in cold water. Bring it to a boil. Turn off the heat and cover the pan for 18 minutes. After 18 minutes, I pour out the hot water and fill the pot with the cooked eggs several times with cold water. Chilling the eggs quickly, I think, makes peeling them easier. Sounds good to me. Jeanie

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