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Essentials for the Lady Gouldian Finch
By Gary & Barbara Solomon, Frisky Finches - Copyright 2006

Medication: Let me start by saying considering what you have invested in your birds or what your thinking about investing in them both financially and emotionally, we feel it is a "great" idea to keep a proven Canker/Guardia medication and a broad spectrum antibiotic on hand at all times in case your birds should suddenly become ill.

It's a small price to pay for the added security and piece of mind. Especially with smaller birds and finches such as the Lady Gouldian finch which has such a high metabolism it only takes a day or two for them to become very sick and parish. Once they become ill with puffy feathers, start sleeping during the day and acting lethargic, time is crucial! Chances are it would take several days for the proper medication to arrive if ordered once your birds are showing signs of being sick which would be too late if your birds are already ill, therefore we highly recommend having the correct medicine on hand, ready to be used should your birds need it...

A "must read" article on the Lady Gouldian Finch
and protozoan infections; Canker, Guardia, Cochlosomosis & Cryptosporidium.

Wet Foods: We believe that through the years in captivity Gouldian finches have become more susceptible to bacterial infections and protozoan infections in their digestive tract due to mass breeding for profit (fostering with society finches) and poor loft maintenance. For this reason we never give our Gouldian finches any "wet foods" except fresh cut grasses which they use to build their nests. The freshly cut grass dries out very quickly and does not create any bacterial issues.

Although some breeders recommend giving Gouldian finches wet foods, our birds are never fed wet foods such as lettuce, fruits, vegetables, soft egg foods, seed sprouts, soaked seed, wet hatchling food or anything else which could cause them bacterial problems in their digestive tracts.

Elimination of these wet foods from their diet stops the risk of being poisoned from insecticides sprayed on the vegetables or getting sick due to bacteria, fungus and molds which develop on these items when left for more than a few hours.

Our birds get all the nourishment they needed from the powered dry products, specialty seed mixes and liquid nutritional supplements we offer them.

If you feel compelled to offer your Gouldian finches any of these wet foods be sure to wash them thoroughly and remove them from the cage or aviary within 2 hours of introducing them to your birds. This will help to prevent decomposition, bacteria and molds from developing on these foods which will get your birds sick if left too long. This advise is especially important in the warmer spring/summer months and even more so if they are housed outdoors.

Insect Foods: Gouldians are grass finches and are seed eaters. They do not need insects in their diet as some others recommend, they are not meat eaters.

Lady Gouldian finches do not need insects in their diet for nourishment as some finches do for successful breeding such as Owl Finches, Cordon Blues or others.

In addition to several other liquid vitamins and supplements that we give our birds mixed in their drinking water during different times of year, there are 5 items that should always be presented to your Gouldian Finches at all times, 4 of which should be available in separate serving containers to help maintain their proper health.

Aside from the items listed below, Cuttlebone is a good source of calcium and trace elements and it helps to keep your birdís beak in good health by picking and chewing at it. We recommend always having it available to your birds in addition to the items listed below.

  • Grit w/minerals: Grit is a mixture of silica sand, crushed rock (usually washed granite) a small amount of oyster and crushed sea shells and added minerals which are mandatory for Gouldians and all seed eating birds kept in captivity. Grit helps to break down the grain or seeds they consume daily. It is used in the gizzard to grind the seed for proper digestion and nutritional intake. Gouldians in captivity need a special blend of calcium's, vitamins, chelated minerals, trace elements, charcoal, iodine and quite a few other nutritional supplements which do not come in the grit you will find elsewhere. We special mix our grit for our Gouldians. See our shopping pages for ingredients.
    • We use our own specially mixed blend of premium grit with our birds "year round" which contains a blend of charcoal and is fortified with several forms of powdered calcium(s), multiple vitamins, trace minerals, elements and additional organic iodine supplements. Our grit is available online along with all the products we use to raise and breed our birds. Please visit our shopping page for more information on these products.
  • Crushed Oyster shells: Oyster shells are also a recommended supplement to aid in digestion, plus they are a good source of calcium, iodine and other minerals.
    • We also offer our own special blend of premium oyster shells that are mix with charcoal, powered calcium(s), multiple vitamins, trace minerals, elements and additional organic iodine supplements. This formula is presented to our birds year round and can also be found on our shopping page.
  • Pet grade charcoal: Pure food grade charcoal should be available at all times to help keep the Gouldians digestive tract clean from bacterial problems and the birds will eat it as needed. Charcoal is a must for Lady Gouldian Finches.

  • Crushed Chicken Egg Shells: It is mandatory to have crushed egg shells available for your birds. This is a much needed source of calcium the birds can easily ingest into their systems. It will contribute greatly to eliminating egg binding in your hens and aids tremendously in molting. Both the males and females will eat this like its candy when a fresh batch of crushed egg shells is introduced to the birds. They will actually fight over it.

Note: You do not have to crush the egg shells into tiny pieces; the birds like to crunch them up themselves. You can crush them to about the size of a dime or smaller as a basic size reference after they are cooked in the oven.

IMPORTANT NOTE: All eggs and egg shells have the salmonella bacteria in them which are deadly to finches and it is mandatory you cook any egg shells your feeding to your birds in the oven on a cookie sheet at 350 degrees for a minimum of 45 minutes to kill the salmonella bacteria before crushing them up and feeding the shells to your birds. If you do not follow these cooking steps the salmonella bacteria will kill your birds!

If you are not be able to come up with enough egg shells on a regular basis to keep your birds supplied, we suggest you find a local restaurant and ask them to save you some egg shells for a few hours on a weekend (Saturday or Sunday) morning when business is booming. Then be sure to wash them before they dry to help reduce the sulfur smell a little when you cook them in the oven.

This article is copyrighted 2006 for Frisky Finches and is not meant to be reprinted, replicated, or republished without our expressed written permission. Thank you.