Getting Started with Gouldian Finches
Like most pets, it isn’t too expensive to get started with finches. What is important is to buy the right gear: The cage, the food, and other accessories can make or break your experience with Gouldians. Let’s take a look at what you need to get started.
Many people start out with a cage that is too small or, conversely, they get one with bar spacing that is too wide. That’s easy to do, because so many birds are bigger that most of the cages in the stores are set for them.
To get just the right cage, I recommend no smaller than 30 x 18 x 18. This way your finches can fly comfortably from one end to the other, which helps keep them healthy. A 30 x 18 cage is still small enough to set on top of a piece of furniture like your dresser or the TV stand, yet it allows them to feel like they have plenty of room.
Most cages this size will have a bar spacing of 5/8″, which is exactly what you want. With bigger bars, they can wedge their head between them and possibly get stuck, leading to injury or even death.
Food and Water Bowls
Take a look at the Bowls the finches are used to eating and drinking from. You want them to have something similar, at least at first. For example I always use a tube drinker like this one. However, when I purchase new birds, they often have been using a bowl or a square feeder for their water. Usually, I just provide both until I have seen each bird drinking from my tube drinkers. At that point I remove the old ones, which are much more likely to collect poop and other detritus.
Feeders are usually a little bit easier for them to find, but you still want to be sure that they have easy access and are not afraid to approach the feeder.
It’s easy enough to provide something a Finch can get into to take a bath. I myself recycle plastic take-out containers from the Chinese restaurant. They are perfect for one or many finches to bathe in at once, as you can see.
Someone recently gave me one of these baths, and I’m liking it a lot. It is easy to put in and out of the cage with clean water and the birds seem to love it.
The right food will be the one that the breeder or previous owner has already been feeding. That is because birds are suspicious of new things and might not try brand new foods. In fact, I recently heard of a case where a man purchased an entire flock of birds. He changed their food and they didn’t know what it was, so they didn’t eat it. All the birds perished.
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After they’ve settled in, if you’re feeling like you need to give them better nutrition or a more proper Gouldian Finch diet, by all means change it. You can do so a little at a time, gradually so that they can get used to the new food. This page will tell you more.