Bev’s Birds

Lady Gouldian Finches

Breeding Program

These birds are truly beautiful, peaceful, quiet and easy to keep.  The Gouldian’s that I raise are called “normal”.  Normal represents the colors they naturally have in the Australian wilderness.  They are not mutations.  These color variations are: Red Headed, Black Headed, or Yellow (Orange) Headed with a Purple or White Breast and a Dark Green body.  I now have a few lilac breast colors in my lines and fusion bar.  People who see them can’t stop looking at them because of their bright colors and crisp contrast.  These birds show very well in a lighted cage and will draw a lot of attention and brighten up your room. 

             In my breeding program I focus on pairing non-related large birds.  I also select the brightest colored birds.  To keep track of all of this, my friend Jessie and I have developed a database in MS Access.  I couldn’t manage this selective breeding activities without this computer program.  It provides me with lists of birds that are not related along with their head and breast colors and their color genetics.  It calculates what head and breast colors (the genetics) the offspring of existing pairs and potential pairs may be.  I am also able to grade each bird for a set of criteria that I developed to help me choose the best birds.  This database is a work in progress that enables me to be sure of what I am doing with my birds.  I have used National Finch and Softbill Society (NFSS) closed numbered bands to identify each bird in the database and visually identify the birds.  In 2016 I switched to another type of closed numbered bands. 

             When establishing pairs. I put three to four unrelated birds of various head and breast colors in large flights (8 feet long).  After they have bonded and hatched their first offspring, I move the family to their own breeding cage.  I’ve noticed the birds seem to choose their mates based on dominancy, not head color, so I end up with pairs with different head colors.   Although literature suggests gouldian’s produce more males and fewer offspring when the parents have different head colors, that has not been the case with my birds.  Additionally, literature suggests that red heads are most dominate, that doesn’t appear to be the case with my birds either.  Some birds are quite picky when choosing a mate, others, not at all. 

             After pairs have bonded and have been moved to their own breeding cages they tend to be good parents.  Newer pairs are known to toss their chicks out of the nest box.  I hypothesize, this happens if a chick hatches during the night while the female is setting the eggs.  When the male comes in to give the female a break, he sees this strange looking creature in the nest and he throws it out… not realizing it is his baby!  I collect the chick, warm it and feed it, and put it back in the nest box after other chicks have hatched.  Assuming the male catches on and doesn’t continue to toss the chicks.  When I allow my birds to breed in colonies, I’ve had more problems with chicks being tossed.

             The base feed I provide my birds is a seed mix purchased from Miller Feed in Phoenix (they ship).  The mix varies on the season and consists of canary seed, japenese millet, white proso millet, german millet, siberian millet, and nyjar seed.  On a regular basis I provide grit with carbon, and dried crushed egg shells, fruits, vegetables and sprouted seed.   During molting and breeding seasons I provide an egg food mixture.  Breeding females are prone to egg binding however, I rarely have any issues with egg binding.  I suspect the egg shells and additional calcium provided is the key.

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