need help on breeding

by ananya roy
(,barrackpore,west bengal,india)

dear madam,

i am ananya from west bengal in india. i bought a pair of red head green back gouldian finch of about 1 year old from a breeder on 26/08/2012.
i keep them in a 3x2x2 cage in our lobby where there is enough sunlight and warmth. i provided them with a nest box and some coconut fiber, cotton chunks. they started to build a nest immediately. i gave them scrambled egg with egg shells but they did not eat them. then i tried with cuttlebone and same result followed. so i give them calcium tonic, protein tonic and multivitamin syrup in their drinking water. they drink it gladly. on 10/09/2012 i noticed an egg in their nest. after making the nest,the pair frequently visited the nest in daytime but both stayed out at night. after laying the egg, both the birds became reluctant to incubate it. it is the lone egg in the clutch. occassionally the male sits on it, but the female seldom visits the nest. both of them stay out at night. i tried to take the egg out,but it drove them crazy, so i put it back,and all was fine. no more eggs till now. their behavior otherwise is normal, i mean their droppings are normal, their appetite and activity level is all normal. my hen is bigger and plumper than the male. the egg has become pale yellow with a prominent reddish-yellow yolk. i did not witness the male in courtship dance though. i mainly feed them sprayed millet and china seed mix, (that is what the breeder fed them too), and occassionally a few grains of sunflower-seed. they get afraid if i introduce lettuce/spinach so i don't give them any.
i have tried to give all details. what is their problem? i would really love to have a few gouldian chicks. what should i do now? please help me and reply ASAP.thanks a lot.

Hi Ananya,
In their native habitat, Australia, it is spring now. I think the best way to get your pair into a successful breeding cycle is to duplicate that spring environment. They will need temperatures in the high 70's or low 80's, increased humidity, 14 hours of full spectrum lighting daily and some diet changes. I am not familiar with your tonics, sorry. The vitamins are good. Gouldians take their time warming up to new foods. Lots of spray millet is good. Just keep offering Romaine lettuce and finely chopped hard boiled egg to them daily and as early in the mornings as possible. Remove the moist foods after a couple of hours so that it cannot spoil in their cage. I always stuff their nest box with enough coconut fiber to prevent the eggs from just resting on the floor and I put some loose strands on the cage floor because the males will like to carry a bit into their nest. Gouldians in the wild nest in hollow tree limbs where they don't really need the skill for nest building. I like to offer the egg shells separately from the egg. I sterilize the wet egg shells in my microwave for 3 minutes and add it to their mineral grit which is made up mostly of crushed oyster shells and some added mineral dust. My birds wear down their cuttlebone over time so I just always left one hanging in the cage. Your birds may love their lone egg, but maybe if you rebuild their nest after removing their egg, they will be distracted by the new nest and not miss the egg. I have heard that Gouldians won't incubate a clutch of one. It's said that it is such a lot of work that the pair will abandon it and start over laying eggs again.
Please let me know if you have more questions. It's not hard to breed Gouldians. I'd enjoy hearing how things go for your birds.

Best wishes, Jeanie

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