Hen tired, lethargic

by Julio Martinez
(Ontario, California USA)

I bought a pair of Lady Gouldian Finches a couple of months ago, in December 2011.

I placed my beautiful pair in a cage all by themselves. I placed a box nest outside of the cage.
Everything seems to be ok until the hen started to lay eggs 10 days ago, she has 5 eggs in the nest (now is beginning of March) and she looks too tired, sleepy, sleeping with her head underneath her wings, she eats ok, and drinks ok I think, but she does not look good, she looks fat and fluffy like she is cold.
I dont have a heater at home but I keep them indoors, temp. inside is about 65 when is too cold.
This morning she was in the bottom of the cage sleeping with her head underneath her wings and she was not reacting when I was tapping the cage, also she had a dirty butt,
Is She gonna die? What should I do?

Thank you very much in advance!

Hi Julio,

You are quite right. I think your hen is too cold. Warm the hen up slowly. I do not know how things will turn out for your hen, but I think where there is life, there is hope. Let's get her stablized first and then recheck her vent.

Of all the different finch species, Gouldians require the most heat. Temperature fluctuations should be avoided along with the possibility of drafts. The summers in their native Australia often see temperatures as high as 110 F degrees and the birds do very well with that. My domesticated Gouldians were successful breeders in temperatures in the high 70' or low 80's.

I often hang a couple of ceramic heat bulbs, (usually marketed to reptile keepers), in a reflective, clip on shop light on the outside of a breeding cage. One near the nest box and one near a frequently used perch. Whenever it is possible, I cover the top and wrap three sides of the cage with small towels and clothes pins, also to keep in the heat. I have also used a heating pad, set on low, with clothes pins to the side of a cage. I do keep a small household thermometer close to the cage also so I can monitor the temp.

Hope this is helpful, Jeanie

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Mar 01, 2012
Sick finch
by: Anonymous

Could she possibly be egg bound? Give her heat and maybe she will pass the egg if she is egg bound. Is she getting plenty of calcium?

That is a great comment!!!! She very well could be egg bound. I hope warming her has revived her, but if not please place one drop of vegetable oil on her vent and place her back in her heated space.

Thank you so much for contributing to help this bird and breeder. The entire plan for this site was for it to be a place where we would all help each other. Thank you again, Jeanie

Mar 01, 2012
Sick bird
by: Anonymous


I too have been having problems with breeding Lady Gouldians. I have found that Gouldians are susceptible to air sac mites. Laying eggs and feeding young ones is stressful and they are not as able to fight them off. Hold our birds and put them next to your ear...do you hear a click click click as they breath? If you do that is air sac mites. There is a web site called frisky finches that sells stuff called scatt that you use before breeding and 3-4 times a year for the control of the mites. There is also another product that is used four days a week called feather glow which is good for your birds plumage and also fights off mites. I hope your bird makes it!

Thank you for your comment. Yes, air sac mites are frequent problems for Gouldians. I found it easy to diagnose their presence by listening with my ear close to their cage at night when all else is quiet. The bird's breathing causes a them to make a clicking sound. Jeanie

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