Page 1 of 2

Seeking advice for sick gouldian finch

Posted: 09 Nov 2020, 00:13
by Grautier
Hi all!
Yesterday I found my male gouldian (at least three years old) sitting trembling on the floor of my outdoor aviary (5x2x2m). First I thought he had a fight with the male plumhead finch, he's breeding and whatchful. But half an hour later he still was on the floor, had dificulties flying and problems with balancing. Some time later I just took him from a perch and into a quarantine cage indoors. 25°C.
He spent the night there. He doesn't eat much nor did I see him drink (though that is not as obvious). Excrements are ok, no dirt or wet vent, beak, nose and eyes clean and ok.
Just has problems with balancing and still is trembling.
Outside t have dropped, to 15°C in the nights and 20° - 25°C daytime.
The other birds are ok. Plumheaded breeding again, gould female too, and double barred happy, too.

Any idea what it can be and what I could try?

Re: Seeking advice for sick gouldian finch

Posted: 09 Nov 2020, 09:53
by finchbreeder
Could he have suffered a night fright? Cat? Owl? or something of the sort? And banged into the side of the avairy in panic? If so he could have damaged his head and that would explain the balance problem. What you are doing sounds like the best treatment for the symptoms given.

Re: Seeking advice for sick gouldian finch

Posted: 09 Nov 2020, 18:29
by Grautier
I don't think it was s night fright, as there are far too many cats and they know each other well and neither do bother. The street lamps (unfortunately) are very bright, too. But I can't rule it out. I found the bird in the early afternoon, but that doesn't mean much. There is no external lesion to see.
He is still alive. Perching again, that is good, still trembling. He doesn't scare at all, and that is not a good sign, is it.
I'll keep him indoors for the next week.

Which would be the coldest night temperatures gouldians can manage well?

Re: Seeking advice for sick gouldian finch

Posted: 10 Nov 2020, 09:26
by Brisbane_Finches_333
I'd say the coldest night temperature for gouldians in an outdoor aviary is around 11 or 12 degrees celsius.

Re: Seeking advice for sick gouldian finch

Posted: 10 Nov 2020, 09:34
by finchbreeder
Protection from cold wind and access to early morning sunshine for warmth are what is critical for Gouldians.
Why mother has much better results with Gouldians than I do. Avairy correctly positioned for best access to morning sun and wind protection at all times.

Re: Seeking advice for sick gouldian finch

Posted: 11 Nov 2020, 00:03
by Grautier
Thank you so much.

I hope it just was a 'cold'. Its the first winter for my birds at this place. We - 28°N latitude - get 12 - 14°C minimum t in winter, for a few weeks. In winter the house sheds a lot of shadow at the aviary, but they get sun, if there is.
The gouldian looks much better today, even chirping in answer to birds outside. (The wild canaries begin to sing all over the place.)
I'll wait until the next warmer day to release him back in the aviary.
Must be whatchful how all birds handle the temperatures and the usual windy place.

Re: Seeking advice for sick gouldian finch

Posted: 26 Nov 2020, 04:08
by Grautier
Same story again. He is back inside, as the next days will be rainy, windy and 'cold'.

Just hopping and feeding on the floor. He chirps and looks ok, a colourful little bird among the quails. No ability to fly any more.

Could it be he is just older than I thought? How do old gouldians look like and behave?

Re: Seeking advice for sick gouldian finch

Posted: 26 Nov 2020, 08:43
by Craig52
You can usually tell by how ruff the scales are on the legs and toes and also by the longer aged looking nails. Feathering becomes rough and not preened properly.

Re: Seeking advice for sick gouldian finch

Posted: 26 Nov 2020, 14:36
by Rod_L
Make sure the birds are getting a good diet and not being poisoned by something.

They should have clean water every day. If possible, use water that has been boiled and left to cool down so there is no chlorine in it.

They need a good seed mix. I used a 50/50 mix of finch mix and Blue Ribbon canary mix. The finch mix is mostly different types of millet. The canary mix had millet, oats and a few different types of brown & black oil seed. It gives the birds a good variety of seed.

Make sure they have cuttlebone and mineral grit at all times. They don't eat much but they do need it.

They should have a vitamin supplement every day to make sure they are not missing anything from their diet. A dry powder vitamin supplement for birds is better than liquid supplements, which tend to break down quickly. You can add the supplement to their water or sprinkle it over some seed that has been lightly coated in cod liver oil.

Make sure they get some plant matter every day. This can be spinach, silverbeet, broccoli, thin slices of apple, pear, peaches, etc. Some birds will eat fruit and others won't. And when you get green grass seeds, give them that. Make sure anything you give them is free of chemicals, pesticides and is safe. If possible, grow your own food so you know it is clean and safe.

Some plants are poisonous and if the birds are getting these, it will make them sick and could be the problem with your bird. Any plant that produces a clear or white sap should be voided or at least checked by a horticulturalist and vet to make sure it isn't toxic to birds.

As mentioned previously, make sure there are no cold draughts blowing on the birds at night. Gouldians sleep out in the open and are more likely to suffer from the cold compared to birds that sleep in nests.

Domestic/ captive bred birds should be able to tolerate night time temperatures of 10C or less, as long as they are kept dry and out of cold wind. Even a small draught coming through the corner of the aviary can kill a bird overnight.

If you have concerns about the aviary being draught free, spray some water on the outside during the day and see if any water comes in through gaps or corners. If water can get in, then cold air can get in.

You can also put a clear sheet of plastic over the front and sides of the aviary at night to help reduce cold air blowing over the birds. Make sure there is a gap at the bottom to let some fresh air in but you want to minimise cold draughts.

Re: Seeking advice for sick gouldian finch

Posted: 26 Nov 2020, 22:41
by Grautier
Thank you both, Craig and Rod.

Feathers are perfect, beak and scales, toes and nails are too.

I've thought of poison, too. But he is the only one affected. The other birds are even enjoying the 'bad' weather, chasing each other, the gouldian female even took a bath in the rain.

I just take it as it is. He is a bit frail, doesn't want to and seemingly is not able to fly. I ll whatch him until I know what happens. He is alone in a cage now, but seems to be ok, at least he is active, answers to birds outside, eats and drinks. Thanks again.

Hang on: just came to my mind, can green peas be harmful to some birds?