I am a pet and plant lover. I remember my first walking years with my
Dad and Grandpa, doing all sort of things with fishes, plants, dogs, and
birds. We moved to Hawaii in 1989, and ever since I have been spending
lots of times at the local pet stores. Honolulu is a small city, but we have
many pet stores. In one day, I am able to visit 5 to 10 of them, especially
when I become obsessed with something. One of these obsessions is
Lady Gouldian Finches. I don't know of any other bird who has all these
colors put in one single bird.
Back in 1995, I purchased my first pair and that is when I started learning from mistakes. They quickly learned how to feed from my hand. Basically, the cage was in my bedroom, the water bottle was in the cage, and the seed was on my hand. The birds will always come to me because they see me as food, but they will always return to their cage because of water and that is where they had a decent perch to rest on. However one day, I got too busy and forgot to feed them. Then is when I learned that if birds are deprived of food for a few hours, they die. Bird metabolism is very fast. My birds died. I could not afford to spend another $150.
A few years passed by and I kept noticing that the local pet stores always carried Lady Gouldians, not in many quantities, but they always had them. Most of these birds were locally raised. Though the years I've heard stories of people in Hawaii raising these birds. In 2001 my family and I moved to a house after living nearly 10 years in a small apartment. I decided to start over with finches. Actually, my Mom wanted a pair of white zebras...
well, then, I had to have my own pair of Lady Gouldians. I read everything I could find about finches, specifically Lady Gouldians. On the Internet, I found Laraine to have the best information. One day I decided to move my cages outdoors, and the birds did not seem to mind. Our humidity is a constant 60 to 70% throughout the year, and our temperatures are also a constant 80 degrees. Some cold nights our temperatures will drop to 70, or maybe 65, very occasionally. Some humid days, especially on sunny days without any tradewinds, our humidity will rise to 90%, but it isn't usual. One year passed, and I don't think I lost any of my birds due to heat or cold.
A Magic Act
Two months after I placed my Gouldians outdoors, they started to breed. I call it a magic act. On a cage, where you only have 2 birds, in no time you see new birds appearing. I also call it a parenting chore. It is amazing that the parents know what to do, and how to care for their babies. I love watching them.
I only have 1 breeding pair of gouldians, my only pair. So far they have made 5 clutches with a total of 18 baby birds. The cage is a "pet store" cage, rather tall, about 1 foot square, and 4 feet tall. I use a cockatiel wooden nest outside. For bedding I cut fresh grass from my yard (soiza grass). I throw the grass on the cage, or sometimes I tie it in a bun.
The male quickly picks up one grass at a time, and builds this giant nest. I feed pellet food for finches, and occasionally I add drops of Cod Liver Oil or Wheat Germ Oil. I have about 1 to 2 unhatched eggs per clutch, but I don't remove them, because I am just too lazy, or at least, I want to let nature just happen. All of my babies have grown to adults. Two of them flew away don't ask me how. Two died from what I think was fighting with other birds. I think young gouldians should not be placed in the same cage with adult/breeding gouldians. Also, gouldians should not be placed together with white zebras. I think my breeding pair of gouldians are well "mated." They don't seem to mind all the human house activities going on. Initially, I think I helped the pair to mate by placing other birds near their cage, I had a second cage with white zebras and a third cage with societies. On their first clutch, I also placed one male gray zebra in the cage.
Now I have all these baby gouldians, and I am considering seriously getting into more breeding. My local pet store will trade birds, so I am looking forward to getting more breeding pairs. I think my birds are handsome, full, and nicely feathered. Maybe I can start my own breeding line, since it is hard for us in Hawaii to import birds from the Mainland. After writing many times to Laraine, I switched to seed and vitamins. My birds are drinking Daily Essentails in their water. My birds like the taste, they think it is lemonade (it looks like it and smells like it also) it took about 2 days of training. I am also feeding an un-enriched finch mix. I think my birds will be happier to play with seed, plus it will be more cost efficient. The one thing I like about pellet food, especially when I had my birds indoors, is that there would be little waste. I don't like all those empty seed hulls flying all over my home. Outdoors, it isn't a problem.
My GOOD Christmas Present
In these photos, you can see several of my new experiments. I have a terrarium that my friend gave me for Christmas. It was expensive, over $500. Well, I call it a GOOD Christmas. I planted soiza grass on the pan, placed a cup with water and a cup with pellets, attached a perch, and placed 2 of my young gouldians in there. They were uncomfortable for 1 day; they weren't used to being enclosed by glass, and sometimes would hit the glass. Now they seem fine and happy. I raised the glass enclosure about ½ inch off the base so air will ventilate. I also changed one of the glass panels with screen to furthermore increase air circulation. It is just cute. The terrarium is about 4 feet square and 8 feet tall. I am thinking on converting one of my fish tanks into another bird house, too. I think, it is a good way of displaying birds in the house, and also for taking good pictures.
However, my favorite setting is my cages outdoors. Currently, in addition to my cage where I have my breeding pair, I have 2 smaller cages, one filled with white zebras and the second with societies. These are just play birds. I have another cage, a larger flight cage, about 2 by 4 and 5 tall. This is where I keep all my juvenile gouldians. I have a smaller flight cage that I plan to use as my second breeding cage or to sex the birds. Another favorite setting is to watch all my societies sleep on top of another at night. I have been letting some of my dwarf bamboo plants grow through the cages. The birds seem to love chewing on young bamboo leaves. I also have lots of palm tree flower branches with tiny pollen sacks. Birds treat them like seed. I am trying to find a native Hawaiian vine that will grow through the cage and produce some berries for the birds. That is my "soft" food.
I think I wrote way too much. In summary, I do believe that birds grown outdoors are happier and healthier. I think vitamins are a must, either with the food (pellets) or in the water. But the neater thing to have, is a pair of breeding gouldians that know what to do. It is like watching free TV.
I would love to chat with others about the Lady Gouldian Finches. My email address is: email@example.com. Please make sure you place Lady Gouldian Finch in the subject line otherwise the email will go to my junk email filter!
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