New Gouldian Mother W/ 1 egg 1/2 time incubation

by Leah
(Washington State)

I have a pair of hobby bred Gouldians, the female is about 3-4 years old and the male is younger but in full fledge.

The last time I paired this female with a different male, she laid an egg on the bottom of the cage and then gave up.

This new male is very attentive and they have performed the entire courtship procedure, built a nest, laid 1 egg in the next 6 days ago (no new eggs since). 4 days ago she began sitting on the egg all day by herself but not at night.

He doesn't incubate at all, but is very interested and peers into the nest.

I don't know what to do because it is not following standard procedure that I have read about and I am a total novice at Gouldian Breeding.

Hi Leah,

Without knowing more about your birds set up, it is hard for me to know what to tell you. If you are giving your birds 14 - 15 hours of full spectrum light and keeping the temperature in the high 70's, that's a good start. Of all of the finches, Gouldians need the most heat when breeding. Sometimes I pin a heating pad set on low to the cage side or I use a ceramic heat bulb and clamp on light fixture to increase the temperature in their cage. These heat bulbs are marketed to reptile owners and don't emit any light. I give my birds lots of spray millet, provide a cuttle bone and a quality mineralized grit. I crumble up the egg shells from the hard boiled eggs, microwave them on a paper towel for two to three minutes to sterilize them, and offer those to the pair too. The breeding diet consists of egg food, chopped hard boiled egg and either soaked or sprouted seeds or fresh vegetables. It needs to be given to them early every morning. Sometimes I cover three sides and the top of a pair's cage so that they will feel protected from those directions and only have to be alert for attackers from one direction. This will help increase the temperature too. If you haven't done so, I would remove the single egg from the nest and hope that they will start a second clutch. I'm curious about the nest you said the male has made because I find I have to make the nests and put them in the nest boxes for the birds. In the wild Gouldians breed and lay eggs in hollows on tree limbs or trunks. These are naturally soft inside. Domesticated Gouldians are not known to make adequate nests. The male only puts a few pieces of nest material into their nest box. The bottom of the nest box must not be a hard surface for the eggs to lay on. Coconut fibers make great nesting materials. The fact that they have mated and delivered one egg tells me you are doing the right things to get your pair to succeed. There are some things that are not under our control so don't think that this problem is something you did wrong. I hope this is helpful information. Good luck, Jeanie

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Apr 10, 2011
Thank you
by: Leah

Thank you for answering my question, here is how they are set up...

They have a wicker nest with natural cotton in the bottom, to which the male has added coconut fiber.

I keep a red heat lamp on all day and at night to keep them warm (lizard light). I also have a daylight bulb on for at least 12 hours per day.

They are given fresh millet sprays all the time, a feeder of red millet seeds, a feeder of Goldy egg/insect/honey food, a feeder of nyger seed, a feeder of mixed high-end finch seed, a cuttle/mineral block, oyster shell mixed with microwaved egg shell and a feeder of bird charcoal.

They are covered on 2 sides during the day and 4 at night by a black fleece blanket.

They spend most of the day in my bedroom by themselves with classical music playing (no animals bother them, like cats).

Good to know that I am not doing anything wrong, if anyone has any further suggestions...I am definitely open...

Hi Leah,
I have a few ideas for you to consider.
(1) Since Gouldians actually mate inside their nests and their young use the nest for a slightly longer period of time than most other finch species young, I think giving them a nest box or a larger wicker nest might improve things.
(2) If a "daylight" bulb is the same as a "full spectrum light bulb, that's great. I give my pairs 14-15 hours of "full spectrum" light, (I suspect that is what you meant by writing, "daylight," but just in case I am wrong).
(3) I hang a thermometer on the cage so I can check and be sure of the temperature. 78 degrees is what I aim for.
(4) You didn't say, but since you are giving them egg shells, I suspect you are giving your pair chopped hard boiled eggs mixed into the dry egg food and some vegetables or soaked or sprouted seed also. Each morning, I fix a little plate for each pair with less than a tablespoon of the moist egg mixture and the chopped vegetable of the day or chickweed and put it in their cage for a couple of hours. Hope this is helpful, Jeanie

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