Finch and Small Bird Health Care

Gouldian Finch, Finch and Small Bird Health Care – Nutrition, Breeding, Molting, Pest & Parasite Control

By Gary & Barbara Solomon, Frisky Finches – Copyright 2006

If you keep the bugs, parasites, protozoan infections and most importantly “nutrition” all in check, your Gouldians and all birds in captivity will be happy, healthy, feel good and breed. Birds are allot like people when it comes to breeding. If your sick with the flu, have a bad case of food poisoning just not feeling very well there is not going to be any hanky panky going on… Birds are the same…

If they are lacking nutrition in their body due to having an intestinal infection caused by bacteria (“usually with dirt floors or feeding wet foods”) or a parasite like worms or canker causing them not to feel well or if they are being attacked by bugs, they are not going to be able to focus on breeding. If you get all these things in balance on a regular schedule the birds will quit dyeing and breed like mice. Like people occasionally you will run across some birds that just are not attracted to each other, switch their mate or sell them if you want to breed Gouldians…

Feather loss in Gouldians is usually because of a lack of nutrition in their diet or the vitamins and minerals to maintain healthy plumage. Seldom is it a lack of iodine in their system or bugs. Canker can contribute and I will explain that below. Seed alone is not enough for Gouldians in captivity, it is all grown on heavily farmed land these days and it has very little nutritional content. Gouldians need a verity of additional nutritional supplements added to their daily diet in captivity. When low nutrition occurs the feathers are the first to go like the leaves on a thirsty bush or tree. If Gouldians start to look scruffy before the year is up you need to increase the vitamin supplements in their diet so they have what is needed in their bodies to replace the lost feathers. You need to add a little more vitamins, Calcivet and Multivet to their diet to force them into growing back the lost feathers.

Basically here is what we use and how it’s used…

DAILY USE: You can use the Frisky Finches Feather Glow and Vetafarms Calcivet at a rate of 2 tablespoons per gallon and the Vetafarm Multivet at 1 tablespoon per gallon of drinking water 3 to 4 days a week and use – plain drinking water – for the remaining days of the week if you want your birds to have some fresh water part time or we use 1 tablespoon per gallon of the Feather Glow along with 1 tablespoon of the Vetafarm Calcivet and 1 teaspoon of the Vetafarm Multivet (previously known as Vetafarms Moulting Aid) per gallon of drinking water for daily use and year round feather health. Use this formula as their only source of water daily. You can cut doses in 1/2 for making 1/2 gallon or in 1/4 to make a quart. Keep extra formula/cocktail in the refregerator and mix a fresh batch after 14 days (2 weeks).

You should treat your birds at least once every 6 months with Vetafarm Scatt, Avimec or Ivomec to be sure they don’t have any parasite bug infestations such as lice or mites – air sac mites, scaly face mites, red leg mites, feather mites or other unwanted bugs or parasites which are internal or external, which can contribute to feather loss or even death. If your birds in the middle of breeding and have a bug infestation we recomend using Scatt or wait till they are done breeding for Vetafarm Avimec or ivomec treatment. It’s best to treat them with an Ivomec product 1 to 2 months before breeding if possible. There is speculation Ivomec may cause temporary sterility therefore it could delay successful breeding. This is why we recommend using Ivomec or Vetafarms Avimec 1 to 2 months prior to breeding and use the Scatt during breeding if necessary.

PREPARATION FOR BREEDING, MOLTING, FORCE FEATHER GROWTH ON BALDING BIRDS:To FORCE grow your birds feathers back I would use 2 tablespoons per gallon of the Frisky Finches Feather Glow and 2 tablespoons of a liq calcium “recommend using Vetafarm Calcivet” plus 2 tablespoons of the Vetafarm Multivet – previously known as Vetafarm Moulting Aid – per gallon of fresh drinking water, all mixed together into one cocktail. Supply this to your birds as their only source of water for 3 to 6 weeks straight or until you can see pin feathers growing out, then cut everything back to 1 tablespoon per gal formula as the only source of water for another 6 weeks or as needed until they are done molting or feathering up. Then go back to using the daily cocktail 7 days weekly. Use this formula as their only source of water daily. You can cut doses in 1/2 for making 1/2 gallon or in 1/4 to make a quart. Keep extra formula/cocktail in the refregerator and mix a fresh batch after 14 days (2 weeks).

If breeding use 2 tablespoons of the liq calcium with the Frisky Finches Feather Glow for a minimum of 30 days prior to pairing your birds and before the hens start to lay eggs, (to avoid egg binding) then put your birds together for breeding or if already together, give them the nest boxes after 30 days and reduce the liq calcium to 1 tablespoon per gal with the Frisky Finches Feather Glow while breeding. You can still give them the Vetafarm Multivet at 1 teaspoon per gallon year round. It has amino acids, minerals and other ingredients to help keep the birds feathers remain healthy year round. It is a wonderful product!

All of the products in the concentrate form are good for years. Use them until they are gone. Once diluted into a cocktail and mixed together you should keep the supplement solutions refrigerated and after about 2 weeks if there is any left, make a new cocktail. If using the 23% gluconate rather than the Vetafarm Calcivet be sure to keep the concentrate refregerated or it will grow mold and you will have to toss it all out. The Vetafarm Calcivet has a stronger persentage of calcium content with vitamin D added and is a better form of calcium for the birds body to absorb, vitamin D is needed to help the birds body absorb the calcium.

You should always treat your birds with Vetafarm Ronivet 12% for finches and small birds 1 month prior to molting season or 1 month prior to breeding your birds and repeat the Ronivet treatment every 4 to 5 weeks during the breeding season and treat them on a regular basis about once every 6 to 8 weeks when the birds are not breeding. This is to clear up any inflammation in the intestines so your birds can absorb the nutrients in their diet better. Canker inflames the intestines and prevents them from working properly and does contribute to feather loss, poor breeding behavior, egg binding and a host of other problems that can occur with a weakened bird. Canker can eventually kill your birds, more so when breeding, molting or in stressful conditions such as transporting. Vetafarms Ronivet if used as we recomend will dramatically reduce your baby bird mortality rate. The Ronivet can be mixed into a cocktail with all our Frisky Finches liquid supplements noted above at a rate of 1 TEA-SPOON per gallon of fresh water. Under normal conditions treatment for 5 to 7 days is recommended. Do not exceed 14 days. TO MIX WITH FORCED FEATHER GROWTH COCKTAIL ADD RONIVET 12% FOR 14 DAYS, then continue using the forced feather growth cocktail (without the Ronivet) for an additional 1 to 2 weeks till pin feathers appear and start growing. Then return to the daily cocktail formula. If treating your birds while breeding the Ronivet will not hurt your birds hatchlings or young birds that have fledged the nest. In fact it will likely help keep them from dieing if they have canker. There is info on my site about how to identify this infection by your birds droppings to help you recognize if they need to be treated. If your mixing Ronivet in your supplement cocktail you should always keep it refrigerated and mix a fresh cocktail after 7 days. – An article I wrote about Canker in Gouldians. I believe this contributes to the Gouldian finches inability to absorb enough calcium into their diets, and other necessary nutrients and supplements.

There are several basic liquid supplements that I use which you can give your birds to feather them back up, prepare them for breeding and keep them healthy as noted above…

  1. Frisky Finches Feather Glow
  2. Vetafarm Calcivet
  3. Vetafarm Multivet – Use year round…

Please call us and leave a message if you have any questions… Thank you!