Breeding

Each of my breeding cages contains grassy hay as bedding, a five inch wooden nest with a round hole entrance and a perch underneath the hole, hanging bundles of dried seeding grasses, coconut fiber and lots of greenery surrounding the outside of the cage. Grit, ground organic eggshells, cuttlebone, free-choice vitamin/mineral

Over the many years that I have been breeding Gouldians, I have come to fully appreciate the challenges we face in producing healthy birds with no visual flaws. I try to do both for two reasons: I feel badly for the genetically-compromised babies that come from poor pairing choices in the parents, and I really enjoy looking at no-fault birds. Maybe I’m getting fussier, or maybe I’m finally being realistic about the type of stock quality that is required to accomplish my goals, but for whatever reason, I no longer work with birds that have aesthetic or health flaws that I can see. Since mutations tend to have more genetic weaknesses than “normal” Gouldians, I prefer to work with the normals. Finding high-quality new stock is challenging, and encouraging

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powder. eggfood and sprouted seed are offered at all times (see “Feeding” page). This type of grass-filled, food-filled environment does seem to signal to the birds that breeding is a good idea. They especially love to forage among the dried seeding grasses, which are amply available in their wild breeding habitat.

the birds to form strong breeding bonds based on my (rather than their) choices can take several months and a great store of patience. But it’s worth it!


Breeding Preparation:

Once I have purchased or produced good quality breeding stock, I wait until the hens’ beaks are dark, which indicates that their hormones are ready for breeding, and then place

single pairs in individual 36 by 24 by 20 breeding cages. If the pairs do not bond right away , I might have to wait up to four months for the bond to form and breeding to begin. But if I am patient, I find that the birds will eventually pair to my choosing. After that point, I don’t break the bond unless one of the pair becomes ill or dies.

Society Finches:

Many people feel that the use of society finches as foster parents for Gouldian babies is dangerous due to the presence of diseases in the societies and also due to the possibility that fostered Gouldians will not make good parents when they reach maturity. I have never had either of these problems, so I do use societies in emergency situations when Gouldian parents fail to raise their own chicks. I believe the reason I have never

had a problem with society diseases causing mortality among my Gouldian babies must be related either to my feeding practices or to my herbal medicine practices, or both. I have found societies to make wonderful foster parents in times of need, and I have found that fostered Gouldian babies grow up to raise their own babies most of the time with no trouble.



Juveniles:

Many baby goudians die after fledging. I watch my chicks closely during this time, and continue to monitor them throughout their juvenile molt. Ample bundles of spray millet are tied near favored perches whenever I see a puffy baby; and if that doesn’t produce tight feathers I immediately offer a heat lamp overhead and begin an herbal antimicrobial treatment (see “Healthcare” page). Gouldians are simply more delicate than other finch species, and we notice this particularly in Gouldian chicks. I never put off treating a puffy Gouldian baby, even if it may be a false alarm. But for the most part, I have found them to be wonderfully responsive to healthcare interventions.