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                               Lady Gouldian Finch Breeding FAQ

What age is ideal to start breeding lady gouldian finches?: 
We recommend pairing birds that are no younger then 16+ months
( after first adult moult ) for optimal breeding results.  
Too early and you can have poor immature
gouldian parents that are not very patient. 
This can lead to:

-short incubation periods

How old ca
n gouldians be bred too?:
The cockerel gouldian finch can be bred up to 7-8 years of age
The gouldian hen about 5 yrs.  

The gouldian hen lays her best clutches usually in the 2nd and 3rd breeding
This is when strike rate ( amount of chicks that survive) increases.

How do I know a  gouldian pair is ready for  breeding?:

There are many signs
These include in the gouldian hen:
-wing flapping

-crouching low on her perch

-change in beak tip sheen or colour

many green backs have red , black, or orange beak tips
this will vary in mutations.

-feathering will be immaculate

The cockerel is much more noticeable, as he will
-sing more than in austerity
-start wing and or neck stretching


-beak will go pearly white ( glossy shine)

-beak tip will increase in intensity.

-will be more territorial

-feathering will be immaculate

If all these are present the hen and or cockerel are ready
to pair.

What is the best cage size for breeding?:

A cage that is about 2 1/2 to 3 feet square works best.
The rule of thumb is to allow 1-1/2 sq. feet of personal space per bird.
In breeding expect a cage that is at least 2 feet
long and at least 1.5 to 2 feet wide for best results.
Height is not so important as caged birds fly side to side (laterally).
This  will allow the chicks to remain with the parents until the next brood hatches, so they
can learn the fundamentals of breeding ( courtship/laying/brooding/feeding).
Smaller cages equal less room for the chicks and parents to co cohabitate comfortably. 
Chicks cannot be left in to learn the fundamentals of breeding as there will be too much

You should/will be placing chicks in colouring out flights later to strengthen muscles
after weaning/rearing these should be a minimum of 4 feet high for best results.

How do I set up a pair for breeding?:

Setting the birds up can be tricky, but there are ways to do it  so fights
and rejection are minimized.
First place a male in the breeding cage.

Allow 5-7 days to pass and then introduce the hen.
After 2-3 weeks assess the birds and if you  note the gouldian pair seem to be getting  along.
You will know if they are not as hen will sit far from male and ignore him. 
They may even beak fence.
However if they are compatible
introduce some nesting material to see how the cockerel
gouldian reacts.
You will know if they are not as hen will sit far from male and ignore him.
If he starts playing with it, introduce a  nest the next day.
If he ignores it then  observe how they interact.
Hen usually choose the ,ale so if he 
Only introduce the nest when the male is in a building mood, otherwise it just fouls the cage.

What type of breeding diet should I provide?:

The breeding diet is essential in producing good, healthy chicks.
We provide seeds high carbohydrates, fibre and fatty oils for the
gouldian finch parents to feed to their growing chicks.
The breeding/moulting seed is added to the pair's diet once the
hen starts brooding. 
The mash is essential in administering all the vitamins, minerals
and proteins a growing gouldian chick needs to develop.
Any good mash needs
-animal protein
to ensure the chicks proper growth.

We have found that gouldians at out aviary seem to prefer a
mash that is about the consistency of oatmeal..in other words lumpy.
Too wet and they won't eat it.  
We provide a long list of vegetables and fruits as well as some bugs
These include:

  • spinach
  • carrot
  • peppers
  • apples
  • berries
  • bananas
  • crickets
  • wax worms
  • eggs

Gouldians are not fond of  bugs but when we powder them it allows
us to sneak
in extra animal protein besides the egg.
We like the birds to receive natural vitamins, minerals, proteins in
the organic fruits and vegetables and try to supplement very little.

This is all then folded into sprouted seed ( soaked in our G Tea) and quinoa
This is then fed to the birds.
This is a long process and so over the years developed protein complete plus
for many of our clients which has everything we use including the
seed soaked in our secret G-Tea.

Chicks also need minerals
These include
-grit ( assorted minerals..)
-calcium ( usually found in cuttlebone)

Finally good clean drinking water.
When breeding water dish should be cleaned daily. 

What is an ideal gouldian nest size/shape etc.?:

We prefer nests that are narrow and deep as the gouldians seem to prefer these.
We have not used the L shaped nests so frequently advertised and have had
no problems with the ones we use.
We prefer the lifetime nest's ease of disinfection and reusability.
Gouldians finches at our aviary are more comfortable in nests which have the half open
entrance feature
as opposed to hole entranced ones. 

How do I know if the gouldian pair is laying/ incubating?
What are the signs?

There are many clues you can look for to determine if the hen has begun laying; these include
-cuttle bone consumption increases quite a lot.
-hen/cockerel seem to disappear for great lengths of time.
-large feces foumnd on cage bottom
The cockerel and hen gouldian are in the nest box chatting ( soft clicks/ coos etc) are all
very clear signs the pair is laying and or brooding.

How can I tell if the gouldian eggs are fertile?:

-fertile eggs after 8 days have a sheen to them and are like white porcelain. 
If candling you will see red veins in the eggs beginning to grow and branch out.

-clear eggs are easily detectable after 8 days of incubation
as they:

-have no odor
-do not change in appearance from time of laying.

dead in shell eggs are easily detected by:

-dark un-even striated ( striped) colouration of egg
-strong smell if broken open
-un even weight distribution visible when egg is placed on flat surface as it
constantly rolls to the same side.

How often should I do nest checks?:

We recommend very few gouldian nest checks as this can be very stressful on
the goulds and may cause adverse reactions if gouldian finches are stressed too much.

We recommend:

- 8 days after incubation begins to determine if the clutch has any fertile eggs.

-two days after eggs are expected to hatch to make sure chicks have hatched successfully
and are receiving feedings from  the parent goulds. 

-9-10 days after the eggs have hatched to make sure they are still being
fed and gaining weight and there are no dead in nest chicks
that may cause disease or death of  their nest mates.

These are the only times we recommend nest checks. 
We realize that this can be a very exciting time for the breeder but caution is very much
warranted if you wish to have  a successful clutch.

How long does it take for the eggs to hatch?

-eggs take up to 16 days after the hens starts brooding ( usually after 4th eggs is laid).
-can take longer if the pair does not incubate continually ( day and night).

What was the longest time from laying to hatching that we
have experienced?  

The longest we witnessed ourselves in the early days of our breeding  was
24 days ( many years back)  by a  pair of totally incompatible birds.

The hen sat infrequently and the male not at all.
The male never spelled the hen and so she simply was too exhausted
to sit non stop.

We have read of another case when the birds took 27 days with only
a 30% strike rate.

What age is ideal for banding?:

The ideal age to band is between the 9th-12th day after hatching
-too young and the band slips off
-too old and you cannot get the band on easily and may harm the gouldian chick
in the process. 

This is the ideal time to put in some paper towel or similar to prevent soiling of the
chicks and to make nest cleaning that much easier when the nest is removed.
The paper towel or similar will allow for you to clean the nest a few time a
week very easily.

What age do gouldians normally fledge from the nest?:

Gouldians usually fledge from 22-25 days after hatching.
Between the ages of 22-25 days is quite normal.

Now is the time to provide a water dish at the bottom
of the cage to prevent dehydration.
iT is a small trick that has saved me many clutches.

How do you manage your broods so that you do not have overlapping
broods in a family 

We remove the nests after the chicks have fledged and replace
it after about 3 weeks, so that the hen and cockerel do not abandon
the first clutch before they are weaned properly.

When should you remove the gouldian chicks from the parents?:

I would recommend removing the gouldian chicks after they have witnessed
their parents feed the next clutch at least for 1 day so they understand all the
fundamentals of breeding.
Chicks removed too early can make poorer parents as they lack the
education necessary to be successful brooders/feeders. 
If you are not interested in teaching the gouldian chicks then removing them at about
4-5 weeks after
fledging should allow them enough time to be eating on their own.

Got a  question/comment  regarding lady gouldian finch breeding please post it to our
or at our yahoo group and I'll see if I or one of our members can answer it
for you.
If you have any immediate queries/emergencies on gouldian breeding

gouldian male in top condition
gouldian hen in top condition
gouldian finch breeding cage

cockerel in top breeding condition ( notice pearly sheen on beak)
hen in top breeding condition
(notice whole beak is blackened)
good size for  breeder cage ( 76.20  X 76.20 X 91.44 (cms)) pictured: lutino hen and rh pb gb cockerel

ideal size for gouldian finch pairs
  (12 X 13 X 16 (cms))

gouldian hen on chicks
Gouldian Hen on chicks

video of gouldian finch male collecting nesting material
gouldian finch chick singing
gouldian male collecting nest material
5.3 mbs
gouldian chick singing
1.6 mbs

All pictures and text are the intellectual property  of  Lady Gouldian Finch Canada and  cannot be  reproduced  in  print on  any medium including on line. without the expressed written consent of  Lady Gouldian Finch Canada
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