Best Food for Gouldian Finches – the Gouldian Diet

Our Gouldian Finch Diet

I’m just going to share how we feed our birds. This is not intended to be the be-all, end-all ‘law’ of how to feed Gouldians. There is a lot of discussion about the “best” way to feed. There might even be the occasional heated disagreement. But we consistently raise good size, healthy finches that parent their own babies, and this is how we do it.

Note that this is what we do now. We have evolved over the years, and probably will continue to do so in the future. We like to learn, and as manufacturers improve on what they’re doing we will embrace it. If you read a post last year, it might have a slightly different list.

Basic Diet in Order

Fresh Veggies

Pellet Food

Egg Food

Birdie Bread

Seed Mix

Tiny bit of Fruit

Supplements

The Why and How of the Diet

So. The main food for our finches is fresh food. Vegetables mostly with a small bit of fruit. Mine don’t really like fruit that much, and I don’t like to waste food. So after teaching them how to eat fresh foods, they were still rejecting most fruit and I cut it out instead of continuing to waste it.

Here are just a few of the veggies we serve. The first 5 are their favorites.

Kale

Spinach

Collard greens

Broccoli

Corn (cut off the cob, although they ‘re happy to eat it on the cob)

Carrots, steamed

Peas

Sugar Snap peas

Cooked Sweet potato

Frozen veggies from Walmart: carrots, green beans, corn, peas mix, thawed/warmed –> this is the I’m-too-tired backup plan. I keep these on hand.

The Parrot University aims their diet plan, the Circus Diet, toward bigger birds but it could totally be for finches. Just chop it smaller.

The second food we serve is pellets. We have had a little bit of trouble recently with the pellet food because Roudybush changed their formula and the birds decided to reject it. I then switched to Harrison’s which they ate for a couple weeks (long enough for me to order a bunch) then they turned their beakies up at that.

Darn it.

So now I bought another bag of Roudybush and about half of them are eating it. I’m not really sure what to do. I did find they’ll eat the Harrison’s and the old bag of Roudybush if I wet and warm it. Little prince and princesses!

You’ll have to try to find the best pellets for yours, and it can be really frustrating if they have not eaten pellets in the past. More on that in a future post!

Please don’t go crazy on the pellets. They are an extruded processed food

After the pellet food, the next thing we probably serve the most of is egg food or birdie bread, which I consider interchangeable. I do make my own and avoid sugar at all costs. I see no reason whatsoever to give finches sugary food that could lead to a yeast overgrowth. Just my 2 cents.

Seed mix should come after all those foods. Seeds are not a complete diet. If you feed your birds only seeds, they’re going to have some deficits, like “holes” in their nutritional makeup. They will lack calcium, or Vitamin A, or D3. You might feel they’re healthy “except for…”

That’s what I hear. Except for egg binding.Or, Except for unexplained deaths. One lady wants to buy from me (I have finally quit selling to her) but she wants exceptionally young birds because “they don’t live more than 3 years.” Well, mine do. I bet if we examined her Gouldian diet, we’d find the problem.

Anyway, don’t believe the pet store employee who’s never owned a bird if they tell you to buy the seed and nothing else. Please. And don’t feed it because your grandmother gave seed-only to her canaries and it was good enough for her. Our understanding of birds has evolved since then. More scientists have studied their diets since then. We’ve all fed our birds and, via the Internet, we’ve pooled our information. We are better now!

So seed should fall near the bottom of  the list. It is easy, but it’s like you and me eating potato chips every meal. Do we want to? Of course! But is it good for us? No way.

Now, I’ve listed fruit way down near the bottom, although I serve the fresh fruit with the veggies or in the bread, and I’m not sure it’s really that small. Honestly mine don’t care for fruit. They absolutely won’t touch anything with orange or tangelo (darn it — I have a tangelo tree) or lime. I read that you could let a canary teach them to eat oranges; mine said no go. So I give a little apple now and then, or some applesauce in the bread, or maybe a slice of pear. That’s all.

Supplements

At the   very bottom we have supplements. Calcium, D3, or just a good overall vitamin will do well. Remember to account for what’s in the pellets — you don’t want to overdose them. I figure my birds get about 1/3 what the manufacturer recommends, so I give them 1/3 the recommended vitamins. I like to use the kind that you mix in water.

That’s about it! Please let me know if you have any diet questions. I’ll try to answer them the best I can.

 

 

 

 

 

Perches for your Gouldian Finches

Did you notice that the perches that came with your cage were all 1/2-inch dowels, and they’re extremely smooth?

Yeah. That’s not what we want.

See, your Gouldian’s feet get sores on them when they have to stand day in and day out on the exact same surface. So it’s best to give them varied types of perches –different lengths, widths, and different types of surfaces. You can find a lot: sand/cement covered, twisted wood, real wood branches fitted with screws to fasten them on. These are great because they get to exercise their feet.

 

I’m not saying don’t use the dowel perches, but add some other ones in addition to.

Just stay away from those sandpaper covers you can put over a perch, they’ll hurt them.

 

A few good perches:

Can I put my Gouldian with my >>>?

Gouldian Gardens
Gouldian Family

 

You may have purchased your Gouldian finches thinking that you could put them in the same cage as your other birds. You may have hookbills, finches, or a combination. You may have an aviary, and you’re thinking that’d be an awesome place for a few Goulds. But Lady Gouldian finches are very calm, quiet birds and don’t do well as cage mates for just everyone.

Continue reading Can I put my Gouldian with my >>>?

Before Buying your First Gouldian Finches…

Finches are often an impulse buy at the pet store. I don’t blame you if you bought some this way. What’s not to like? They’re bright, pretty, intelligent, and curious. We fall for them easily. But some people say Gouldians are not beginner birds….

Gouldian finches are only 4 to 5 inches long, and the pet store may have told you they fit in one of those itty bitty cages. That’s not true. Well, strictly speaking it is true – they fit. They just don’t thrive in there. Gouldians need to be able to fly in their cage; it’s good exercise and it keeps them healthy. Hopping from perch to perch doesn’t cut it. So before you do anything else, please buy at least a 30X18X18 cage for your finch. Like this one: 30x18 finch cage(click to enlarge)

Here it is on Amazon

Or, if you are willing to go a little taller right off (it’s even better for the birds) try a flight cage:

This one is available in both white and black: (click to enlarge) White Flight Cage for finches See on Amazon

 

I have several of these and really like them: larger flight cage for finches

click to see on Amazon
One reason I like those is that I can remove the side panels and fasten 2 or 3 together.

 

There’s a little more room inside that one ^^ because there’s less storage underneath.So it’s up to you: More room for flight, or more storage?
Now that the cage thing is out of the way…. Did you know that a seed-only diet is unhealthy for birds? Most people think “bird seed” is all they eat. That’s not the case, if you want to keep them in good health. They can eat lots of people food, like kale, lettuce, spinach carrots, and more. They can eat finch pellets, which are fortified with vitamins. And they love hard boiled egg, which you can give them fresh or, if your time is limited, supply dry egg food. Below are the seed, egg food, and pellets for feeding your finches.

Bird Seed
Egg Food
Harrison’s Pellets – be sure you get extra fine.
 

Those were the two main things for keeping Gouldian finches well even if you are a rank beginner. If you’d like to know more about keeping Gouldian finches, try one of these articles:

Gouldian Finch Diet
Compatible Species for Gouldian Finches
Gouldian Finch Tips
Article Index