Why should I supplement my Finches? They do very well on dry seed.
Australia is the driest continent in the world. So we all know that the wildlife there exists on very dry feed all year round. Wrong! Certainly this is true of the dry season. This is why many of the Australian and African species can tolerate poor quality diets for extended periods of time. Dry seed diets reflect dry season diets and are not adequate for either the long-term health of pet birds or good breeding performance.
In the Australian wet season even the deserts come to life and bloom. The dried up creeks flow into the salt pans and turn them back into real lakes again. Plant growth is spectacular; the landscape turns bright green; insect numbers increase and feed quality improves dramatically. In the wet season wild birds breed! In temperate climates it is the summer that provides the best nutritional conditions for breeding.
How do I know if my finches have vitamin deficiencies?
Some signs of vitamin deficiency are: poor reproduction, lethargy, poor appetite, fits, egg binding, wasting, kidney disease, low fertility, hemorrhage and over eating to name a few.
Can I over-do vitamins?
Most vitamins are soluble in water. Any excess of these taken in through the diet are flushed through the system and excreted in the urine. So these vitamins are safe at almost any dose. Four vitamins however (A, D, E and K) are fat soluble. These are stored in the liver and if given in huge amounts over a very extended period will overfill the liver and cause damage. Too much vitamin D may also cause calcium problem in the bones.
For these vitamins to be dangerous, however, the levels have to be very high. None of my recommended diets get anywhere near these levels. However, one word of warning is worthwhile. Don’t feed lots of different unbalanced vitamin supplements all together. Cod liver oil, wheat germ oil, carrots and a few egg foods contain very high levels of fat soluble vitamins without a good balance of other vital water soluables.
Why do my birds never look in peak codition?
Consider the following reasons: harassment from other birds, inadequate bathing facilities, parasite infection i.e. worms or lice, overcrowding, obesity, stress, stuck in the molt or improper diet. Any diet that is low in fats and oils will be deficient in linoleic acid. Deficiencies of this vitamin will show up as dullness and lack of sheen in the feathers, poor feather condition listlessness and loss of weight. Try supplementing with Breeding Tonic and see if it helps.
Can you mix drugs together?
No. But CalciBoost/Calcium Plus, Saniclens/Sparakle, Survive, Daily Essentials and Energize can be mixed.
How can I get my Gouldians to eat more than just seed? Help!
Reference my articles on Sprouting Spray Millet and Teacher Birds. You will find great suggestions to improve their diets!
Why do you recommend supplementing finches with Bee Pollen?
Because the Lady Gouldian finch is a very "picky eater" it is hard to insure a proper diet. Bee Pollen contains amino acids, omega3 fatty acids, complex carbohydrates, up to twenty five naturally trace elements and all know natural vitamins. Bee Pollen contains bioflavonoids which promote health in many different ways. Bee Pollen is also very rich in enzymes which are necessary for the digestion and absorption of nutrients. Bee Pollen is an extra insurance policy to guarantee good health for my Gouldians.
Everyone tells me my Gouldians need grit in their diet, is this true?
Birds that crack seed do not need grit. Others like poultry that consume the whole seed need grit to grind the husk.
Do my finches need Oyster shell and Charcoal in their diets?
Oyster shell is an excellent source of calcium and iodine that is necessary for all caged birds to aid in the formation of strong bones and firm egg shells. Charcoal is an excellent aid to digestion. Charcoal helps combat hyperacidity and it sweetens the stomach. See Dish of Dirt.
Why did my hen get egg bound? She has cuttlebone all the time!
Throw away that cuttlefish bone! Most of the cuttlefish eaten goes straight out in the droppings. The difficulty with calcium is getting it to dissolve inside the gut. I use Calcium Plus a super-saturated calcium solution that is easily absorbed and quickly gets to the bones, nerves and muscles where it is needed. It is so effective that most of the year you will only need it once a week (twice for African greys and eclectus).
Why is my Gouldian bald?
Balding is caused by an iodine deficiency. Iodine deficiency is a common problem in caged birds but especially common in the Goudian and other Australian finches. Insufficient iodine results in balding around the head and neck. Why these finches have a much higher requirement for iodine is not known. The Australian conditions may have an abundance of iodine in the food chain. Additional iodine can be provided by adding grated cuttlebone on their greens, sprouted seed or egg food. Oyster shell is another great source of iodine. Liquid-Kelp is an excellent provider of iodine. Refer to the Remedies section of the site for administration and additional information.
Why didn’t my Gouldian’s head finish getting all it’s color?
Your bird has had an incomplete juvenile molt. This is called "Stuck in the Molt". This can happen for several reasons change in temperature, improper diet, bacterial or fungle infection. When they molt for the first time as an adult the coloring out process will finish.
Why does my Gouldian sit fluffed up?
A chronic disease or infection will cause this behavior. Exposure to too low a temperature can also cause him to sit fluffed up.
Why did my juveniles waste away and perish?
This question is hard to answer. Some areas to consider are: weaned too soon by the parents, stress, sudden weather change or insufficient food. A finch’s metabolism is very active and it can starve to death in as little as 24 hours if it does not eat or drink. Read below what happened to an experienced breeder when he forgot to supply water to his juveniles.
I wanted to share my terrible experience with your viewers. Hopefully it might prevent this from happening to someone else. I am an experienced breeder. I had taken 13 baby chicks from their parents, banded them and placed them into a large flight in order to observe them for several days to make sure they were eating on their own. Completing my task by 5:30 p.m., I didn't return until 6:30 the following evening. ALL 13 babies were dead on the bottom of the flight. I forgot to give them a water bottle. Most birds will not survive 24 hours without water, especially babies. Please be CAREFUL.
My finch constantly ate, but he wasted away?
If your bird constantly eats, I guarantee you the bird is sick! This is called "Going Light". Veterinarians do not even know the answer to this question. Here are some things that can trigger going light: enteritis; liver, kidney, respiratory infections; worms; cancer; parasites; malnutrition; baby birds introduced to hard seed too soon; bad water; bad seed or an abrupt diet change. It is critical that you catch the bird in the early stages. Waiting greatly lessens your chances of saving the bird. Vital organs can be damaged so severely that it will be impossible to save the bird. Place the bird in a hospital cage and call for an appointment with your vet.
Why should I use Trace Minerals in my birds diet?
Many breeders maintain that the "Going Light" disease is NOT a disease, but a nutritional deficiency caused by the gut shutting down, making it impossible for the digestive system to absorb the nutrients that they are feeding their birds. Most nutritionists agree that trace minerals are vital to good health. Because Goulds are very "Picky Eaters" I use trace minerals as another insurance policy to guarantee their good health. You can not overdose with them. Excess minerals will pass through your birds system.
Can I use Ronex throughout the breeding season?
Yes, Ronex can be used with chicks in the nest.
Why are the eggs not hatching?
Consider any of the following reasons: unsuccessful copulation, parents too old, parents temporarily or permanently infertile, conditions too dry, clutch was allowed to go cold at sometime during the incubation, fungal or bacterial infection and dietary deficiency in the parent birds. In my experience I have found the most common reason is the latter. Refer to Diet article for more complete explanation.
Why are my birds "dead in shell"?
Dead in shell can be caused by a number of different problems. A careful examination of the egg is necessary to know at which point in the development of the embryo the chick died. Embryos dead in the shell are also commonly caused by a deficiency of iodine. Once supplementation begins, my own experience has shown a drop from as high as an 80% mortality rate to a rate of less than 10%. Very little iodine is needed, but that trace amount is crucial to life.
Why are my hens egg shells so soft?
Soft-shelled eggs, small clutches and soft bones are normally symptoms that will appear as a result of vitaminD3 deficiency. If your finches are housed outdoors in the sunlight, the ultraviolet rays of the sunlight shining on the skin will change a substance on the skin to vitamin D3. Refer to Robert Black’s article on lighting. I supplement my Gouldians with Calcium Plus to supplement vitaminD3 in their diets.
Why is my male sterile?
The most common reason for male sterility in birds is a deficiency of vitamin E while the male reproductive system is developing. Even if adequate quantities of vitamin E are supplied from that time on, the sterility is still permanent and irreversible. Zinc deficiency can also be a cause of male sterility. However, unlike vitamin E, in cases of sterility due to zinc deficiency, once adequate zinc is supplied in the diet, fertility will be restored.
How do I get rid of E.coli. in my birds?
How do you know it is making them sick? There are hundreds of different forms of E.coli, only a few of them are a problem (Enteropathogenic). Be very careful about blaming E.coli for your birds illness. If the E.coli is the problem, then special antibiotics are necessary (eg. Amoxycillin). The best thing you can do to control E.coli in an aviary is to have a good hygiene program. Bacteria cannot survive in clean environments.
Can I use Amtyl during the breeding season?
Amtyl should NOT be used with chicks in the nest. If the breeder is fighting a bacterial infection, the infection will bring the hen out of condition far faster than any antibiotic.
Should I treat my birds with Probotic after I use an antibiotic?
Some birds should be given a Probotic AFTER an antibiotic. All antibiotics will affect the normal gut bacteria to some degree. Probotic is composed of freeze dried bacteria which are normally found in the intestines. When added to water these bacteria come "alive" and return the conditions in the gut to normal. I recommend that a 5-7 day course of Probiotic be given after any antibiotic therapy. Because Probotic contains normal live bacteria, it MUST NOT be added to containing antibiotics (Amoxycillin) or antiseptics (Sparkle) as these will kill the good bacteria in Probotic.
Why did the hatchlings die in the nest?
Any of the following could be the reason; excessive heat or cold; male’s excessive nesting drive; fouling of the nest; nest invaded by ants or lice; night frights; immature parents; lethal factor due to genetic make-up; interference from humans, vermin, other birds or predators; insufficient or inappropriate diet. In my experience I have found the latter again to be the most common reason. However, if you are loosing your babies at the 10 to 14 days consider the information given on coccidiosous.
Why is my bird plucking her feathers?
Some females will pluck their breast as a natural part of the nest construction process. However, this is not the case with Gouldians. They do not use feathers in their nests. Boredom, stress, parasite infection or dietary deficiency are the most common reasons.
A viewer sent in this photo of her female with the following comments: " days after I placed my Gouldian together with her new mate, she started to pull her feathers out. I thought she was looking for nesting material but there was material in her cage. After six days she looked like this. I removed Her from the male and she quit. Her feathers have all grown back."
Why is my bird plucking her feathers?
The scaly face mite (Knemidokoptes pilae) is found primarily in Parakeets (Budgerigars), though it can turn up in canaries and finches, as well. The mite is found on the corner of the beak on either side, the vent and the legs, and can be diagnosed by identifying the clinical sign of their presence on the bird. This mite burrows in the shin, causing a powdery appearance. If you look closely, you will see a honey-comb pattern of holes in the skin, representing burrows and tunnels caused by the mites. See treatment for Scaly Face Mite.