I don’t know how you feel about fireworks. Since I became the parent of a deathly-afraid-of-them dog, I find them an unnecessary evil. With the birds, I mostly try to provide lots of white noise and comfort them in a…
In this video, I talk about the bird supplements I believe most pet finches and canaries need.
Depending on their diet, yours may need more or less.
Here’s the downloadable schedule I use to give supplements to my birds.
Can’t listen to the video? Here’s a written version (maybe not a perfect transcript).
Should you provide finches with supplements? If so which ones? There are so many out there, how do you choose?
Finches definitely need supplemental care unless you are providing an extremely diverse whole food raw diet. One that covers all the bases.
But for the rest of us, we need to use supplements. Because 90% of bird illness is diet related, meaning deficient in something. Usually calcium, D3, and A but sometimes other things.
So – let’s talk about the supplements your birds need. Not during austerity and not the extras for breeding, but just on a daily basis.
A good brand multi-vitamin.
It needs to be bird-oriented, not one made for dogs and cats. I say that because I just saw one for dogs and cats being advertised as ‘for birds’ and that may be but… I have a hard time believing it! Here are a few that I personally have tried and believe to be good products.
We struggle so much with our birds having enough calcium. Part of this is because we’re not giving them enough in their diet. We rely on cuttlebone, which isn’t the best (they don’t absorb it that well). Part of it is that the ratios are off: there has to be a 2:1 ratio of calcium: phosphorus for their bodies to use it correctly. OR there’s no D3 available so they can’t utilize the calcium.
Sometimes we think there’s plenty in the multi-vitamins. That’s not always the case. So it’s good to keep a calcium supplement on hand. Many calcium supplements contain D and phosphate, sometimes other vitamins. We can find calcium to sprinkle on food and some that goes in the water, so get what works best for you. I have switched to putting it on food because I feel like I can serve food I know they’ll eat (the ULTRA yummy stuff) and they will get the calcium.
Gouldians and other finches need a good iodine source. It’s easy enough to add a drop to their water every day.
None of these bird supplements will help anything if you aren’t making sure they can actually absorb the things. Probiotics help with gut health and they’re safe to use year around.
These can come from a salt block, a grit mix from the Big Box store, or use a product like F-vite which is supposed to replace cuttlebone and the grit mix. (I keep it on hand and have used it for years.)
Apple Cider Vinegar.
Although this is not a supplement in the strictest sense of the word, ACV is something we supplement with to improve everyday health. It lowers the pH which is supposed to be very beneficial to finches in their digestion. Use ACV that has the mother (the stuff that looks like somebody forgot to filter it). There are about a million ratios on the Internet, but my vet told me to use 15 ml to 1 liter of water so that’s what I do, 2 days a week. Some people like to use it for an entire week every month instead of weekly.
Prima – from the Save the Gouldian fund – says it contains all nutrients needed – I noticed the protein level is high, 24% which is good. You’ll find a study saying 12% is adequate, that’s incorrect.
Sometimes it’s hard to know if your bird is ill…. here’s a quick discussion and a couple solutions. Links below for items discussed in the video. *This article may contain affiliate links. If you click them and choose to purchase,…
You’ve probably noticed by now that most bird supplements suggest adding them to water. You may think that’s a great way to do it, since surely they drink water every day, right? I used to think that way too. But…
Any product that makes your home smell good is probably toxic. Candles, wax melts, fragrance oils, air fresheners. Room sprays. Plug-ins.
In what’s becoming almost a weekly thing, more than 40 parrots were seized in Las Vegas in what’s being called a hoarding situation. I use that phrase with caution, because this man was physically ill and passed away while, it…
the wild, they go through a period of little nutrition, then the rainy season comes and everything begins to grow again. This triggers the Gouldian finches’ bodies to prepare for breeding. If you aren’t giving them
Missed Part 1? Go here Pre-breeding Diet At this point, the finches have (hopefully) lost excess fat and spent time flying in aviaries or large cages to become stronger. It’s time to get them ready for breeding. That means…
…and whether we’re going to follow them When keeping animals, it’s always a question whether we’re going to follow the “in the wild” habitat as closely as possible, or are we going to do our own thing. After all, they…
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
Egg Food or other protein
Tiny bit of Fruit
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. I usually serve vegetables in the form of chop, which you can read about here.
Here are just a few of the veggies we serve. The first 5 are their favorites.
Corn (cut off the cob, although they ‘re happy to eat it on the cob)
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.
UPDATE: I will leave the following information here, but we now have reduced our pellet use and increased the protein foods. Pellets were sometimes being changed by the manufacturer, we couldn’t get some birds to eat some brands so we were buying 3, they’re reportedly hard on the kidneys so we were grinding them into the chop anyway— etc etc. I’ll write a post and link it.
[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.
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.
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One of the first things new Gouldian finch owners learn when they go online is that seeds are not a complete diet. In fact they are a very, very incomplete diet lacking in most nutrients. So one of the foods…