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Gouldian Breeding Faq 

Answers to some of our followers most asked queries

What Age is Ideal for Breeding Lady Gouldians?:
16+ months ( after first adult molt )  Too early and you can have poor immature gouldian parents that are not very patient.  This can lead to:
-short incubation periods

How old Can Gouldian Finches Breed ?:

The cockerel gouldian finch can be bred up to 8 years of age
The gouldian hen about 5 yrs. 
The gouldian hen lays her best clutches usually in the 2nd and 3rd breeding seasons.

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

First note the condition of the gouldian hen and if she :

-more than 35% of her beak is red, black, or yellow depending on mutation.  beak , this is a sign of peak hormonal condition
-crouching low on the perch
-eats lots of protein and cuttle bone.

-spends a lot of time preening

Next look at the cockerel for the following signs.
-has a pearly white beak ( glossy shine)
-beak tip colour is bright in intensity
-eyes are bright and alert
These are all good signs the pair is ready.

What is the best cage size for breeding?:

A cage that is about 2 1/2 to 3 feet square
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 = less room for the chicks and parents to cohabitate comfortably. 

Chicks cannot be left in to learn the fundamentals of breeding as there will be too much squabbling. Stress can also lead to opportune illness like thrush.

How do I set up a pair for breeding?:

First place a male in the breeding cage.
Allow 8-10 days to pass and then introduce the hen.
After 1-2  weeks and you note the gouldian pair seem to get along introduce some nesting material to see how the cockerel gouldian reacts.  If he starts playing with it, introduce a  nest the next day.

What type of breeding diet should I provide?:

One that includes:
-breeding mash with lots of protein ( both animal and vegetable is best)
-calcium ( cuttle bone  or liquid calcium
-mineral block or any type of mineral product
-charcoal ( optional)
-seeds ( high in carbs)

-sprouted seeds ( high in protein)

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

We prefer nests that are dark 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.
They 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?:

The easiest way to tell is if the cuttle bone consumption increases quite a lot.
If the hen/cockerel seem to disappear for great lengths of time.
The cockerel and hen gouldian are in the nest box chatting ( soft clicks/ coos etc..)

Synchronizing a Clutch

Many breeders will synchronize a clutch by removing the eggs as they are laid and placing them in a cool dry place.

Rotate the eggs twice daily to prevent the yolk sticking or settling ( addling the egg).

Replacing them with dummy eggs. When the fourth egg is laid the dummy eggs are removed and the eggs are replaced. This should guarantee all chicks hatch within hours and not days of each other. Giving every individual in the clutch a better chance at survival.

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).

We have added a handy hatch chart here

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?:

Very few as this can be very stressful on the gouldian parents 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 gouldians.
-a week 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.

Hours after banding to make sure a chick was not overly stressed and has passed, 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.

What age is ideal for banding?:

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 mat harm the gouldian chick.

When the chicks are ready for banding the parents no longer clean the nest and so it is the ideal time to put in some paper towel or similar in the nest to prevent soiling of the chicks and to make nest cleaning that much easier on a weekly basis and when the nest is removed.

What age do gouldians normally fledge at?:

Between the ages of 22-25 days is normal.  Any longer than 25 days and you may have a severally ill chick.

How do you manage your broods so that you do not have fledglings just coming out of the nest and and the hen laying another brood? :

We remove the nests after the chicks have fledged and replace it after about 3 weeks, so that the hen and cockerel do not lay a second brood and 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 -2 days 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 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 forum or at our yahoo group and I'll see if I or one of our members can answer it for you.

good size for  breeder cage ( 76.20  X 76.20 X 91.44 (cms))

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

Video of Gouldian Male collecting Nesting Material

Brooding Hen