Best Food for Gouldian Finches – the Gouldian Diet
This is page 2. If you somehow missed page 1, it’s here.
After the pellet food, the next thing we probably serve the most of is egg food or insect foods, which I consider interchangeable. I do make my own egg food 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.
Insects can be dried or live mealworms, termites, or fly larvae. I have to chop the dry ones in the food processor, and a coffee grinder would be even better. They eat the insects just fine if they are mixed well into the chop. I covered DIY worm farming in my book, Feeding Finches (Amazon link) which is available in both paperback and eBook. Here’s how to make your own egg food.
They also can get lots of protein from ground nuts. My favorites are almonds, hazelnuts, and walnuts. People think nuts are fatty, and they are, but they can be used sparingly especially since you grind them and sprinkle them into the chop.
SPROUTS, LEGUMES, GRAINS
These foods should all have separate categories but — in my mind they all fit together. Sprouts are seeds that you sprout yourself. Don’t buy the grocery store kind (bacteria), and do experiment as much as possible. Your birds will love it!
There are a zillion sprouting articles on the Internet – I’ll give you my DIY system but…. do what works for you. I do not ever have any mold (so no wasting food) since I started my system, and I live in a hot, humid sub-tropical zone; the temperature in my house is near 80 most of the time.
LEGUMES are seeds or fruits from a plant. Peas are a good example. I don’t serve all types of beans, because some are not good for birds. The beans/legumes that are recommended for finches are:
- Chickpeas (Garbanzo beans)
- Adzuki beans
- Lentils, all colors
- Mung beans (mine hate these)
You’ll find that even after cooking, legumes are best chopped up.
I find that grains get pushed aside or ignored — by the humans, I mean –and they’re really necessary (especially if you aren’t feeding pellet food) because they provide carbohydrates – which is flying energy. I guess posting about feeding broccoli is more exciting than saying my bird ate oatmeal. Some grains I use are:
- Wheat berries
That’s not a complete list of grains, I’m sure there are others to try. Pasta would fall in the carbohydrates category, but I don’t feed my birds pasta because it’s just another processed food, and I prefer whole foods whenever possible.
Seed mix should come after all those foods. They definitely need some seeds, but 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.
Bird bread is a great addition to the diet. You can make it sooo nutritious by adding ground nuts, seeds, chopped vegetables. Here’s a little more information and some easy recipes DIY Bird Bread.
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.
If you have canaries, they will show your finches how to eat fruit. It’s especially useful if you ship finches because fruit can serve as a source of water during travel.
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 figured my birds got about 1/3 what the manufacturer recommended when feeding pellets, so I gave them 1/3 the recommended vitamins.
I like to use the kind that you mix in water. I’m now using a powder that you sprinkle on the food — both my calcium and multi-vitamins are powders.
Now that we don’t use pellets, we use tons of fresh foods including nuts, legumes, sprouts, and grains (quinoa, teff, oats). I keep bird vitamins on hand but only give them if there appears to be a vitamin related issue.
That’s about it! Please let me know if you have any diet questions. I’ll try to answer them the best I can.