Young Gouldians with surprise eggs

by Pam
(Richmond, VA)

I bought what I was told were two male Gouldians as classroom pets after our lone remaining Gouldian...8 years old...died. I got my previous finches at a few years old, so I have experience only with adult birds. These new finches are is ~7 months and the other is younger. Yesterday we discovered three eggs in the wicker nest. Obviously one of these "males" is not! The children were thrilled...but beginning yesterday afternoon the female began tossing the eggs out and eating them. Are they too young? Will it hurt them to continue doing this until they are old enough? They are attached to each other, to me, and they even seem to like the children (age 5). Can I let things be or is there something I need to be doing? Thank you!

They are young, but I suspect they'll be alright. If you want to postpone or halt their breeding, separate them by getting a second cage and putting the cages side by side. I am wondering about their diet. I bet that since you thought they were both males that you aren't feeding them a breeding diet. It takes a lot of calcium to make the egg shells and a lot of carbohydrates to produce the energy to do it. I bet you have a cuttle bone, but your birds need additional proteins and minerals when they are breeding. If you want to let them breed, there are some additional things you will need to do. Nothing too hard, but if you don't want your students to be disappointed you'll have to start. If the hen is eating the eggs, I suspect she is trying to get additional calcium. For protein, boil some chicken eggs for twenty minutes, finely chop up the egg and offer a small amount to them as early as you can every morning along with either some Romaine lettuce or chickweed. After you have peeled the eggs, put the wet egg shells on a paper towel and sterilize them in the microwave for two and a half to three minutes. After that, crush up the egg shell and put the bits in a food cup and hang it up for them. If the female's body needs calcium, I suspect she'll head right for it. Very important, don't leave the egg food in the cage for more than an hour or so. As soon as you are able, go and get some mineralized grit, (this is made up of crushed oyster shells with other minerals added). It's usually blue. Also get some dried egg food so you can mix the hard cooked egg with it. If you make a bunch, freeze it in small portions so you don't have to make it every day. Breeding Gouldians need 14 hours of sunlight. Home Depot has full spectrum light bulbs and a clip on light fixture connected to a household timer will work. Sounds as though everything else is okay for them or they wouldn't have given you eggs. There are lots of other vegetables you may feed them. Soaked or sprouted seeds are really good for them, but they can spoil easily. If you start sprouting make sure you follow the directions exactly. If you have other questions I'll be glad to try to help.

Good luck, Jeanie

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