What can I do to improve my diet?

For all your questions about diet and food for your finches
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Brisbane_Finches_333
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Hi,

Just been thinking and wondering what I can do to improve my current finch diet and (hopefully) make these birdies breed. Currently, I just feed them the regular finch seed mix, along with occasional seeding grass (with all the subdivision and developments in my area, there is no seeding grass except for in my school, and carrying seed in my bag all day is kinda weird :problem: ) and corn, Lebanese cucumber and occasional greens for veggies. Live food wise, just mealworms because it’s the cheapest and most available thing and I don’t really know how to breed live food so I just do it the lazy way and buy it from the pet store. My birds are King a Quails, Stars, Ruddies and BFPFs.

Thanks
Aidan
Split Blue Gouldian, Plum-Headed Finch and African Silverbill Breeding Project 2020
Queensland Finch Society Member
2019 ABK Magazine Young Birdkeeper Winner
YouTube Channel: https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCfbqdzIB_SeSjt6cZfRYOPg
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Shane Gowland
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Sounds like you're covering all the bases.

You can plant some seed into pots and rotate them in and out of the aviary to provide some more seeding grasses. I've found small parrot mix works best, but your finch mix will do fine too.
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Rod_L
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Birds need green feed every day, and Australian grass finches do best with green grass seeds every day during the breeding season. If there is development in your area, then avoid collecting grass seeds from there due to the possibility of herbicide contamination. Also beware of any areas that councils maintain because they regularly spray these too.

You should also watch for dust coming off nearby vacant blocks. The dust can make you and the birds sick.

Your best bet is to grow your own grass seeds. The following link has information on how to do this.
viewtopic.php?f=84&t=21732&p=188305#p188305

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The birds need cuttlefish skeleton (cuttlebone), mineral grit and clean water at all times.

A vitamin supplement is also useful and should be given to the birds every day or at least a couple of times a week. Try to use a dry powder vitamin supplement because they last longer than the bottles of liquid vitamins. Check the expiry date on anything you buy.

Keep the vitamin supplement cool and dry and out of sunlight. Heat, moisture and sunlight will cause the vitamins to break down really quickly.

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You can try feeding them on fruits like apple, orange, mandarin, banana. Cut these into thin slices and remove uneaten food each day. Green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, broccoli are also good foods to try, just wash them well before use and make sure they are free of chemicals.

The old fruit can be put into a bucket with a wire lid made from bird wire. Fruit flies will lay their eggs in the rotting fruit in the bucket and the birds can catch the flies as they come and go, and any baby flies that crawl out will be taken too. If you have a few buckets/ containers with fruit in, you will get more fruit flies.

You can get wingless fruit flies from most universities and these don't have wings. You culture them in containers or bottles with bits of fruit in and the flies crawl up the sides and wander around until they get eaten. Keep wingless fruit flies away from normal fruit flies because they will breed together and you lose the ones without wings.

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Aphids can be found on roses in most gardens. Put a plastic container under the flower with the aphids and give it a gentle tap. The aphids drop into the bucket and you can feed them to the birds.

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You can culture mealworms in plastic storage containers. Have about 4 inches of sawdust in a plastic storage container and add a few hundred mealworms. Feed them on pieces/ slices of fruit. Keep the lid on the plastic storage container and over a few months the worms will change into adults and start breeding. The baby mealworms can be used for food. If you have several cultures going it will provide more food and there will be less chance of both cultures crashing. Start new cultures every few months and dump the old ones on the garden when they smell bad.

You can culture earwigs in the same way but you add lots of small boxes (match boxes are ideal) or scrunched up newspaper for them to hide in. Use a pair of tweezers to pick up earwigs by the pincers on the tail or they sting you with them. Quails love earwigs.

Cockroaches and Indian crickets can be cultured in the same way but have a flywire cover on them to stop them escaping. Leave the adults to breed and feed the baby bugs to the birds. There are numerous types of cockroach too and some are quite small (10-15mm long) and make better food than the typical American roach commonly found in houses.

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Get a couple more plastic storage containers and put about 4 inches of flour in them. Put a lid on them but don't have it on too tightly. Leave the flour for a few months and it should become infested with flour weevils. These produce small caterpillar like larvae about 10mm long. You use a flour sieve to go through the flour and separate the larvae, which are fed to the birds.

You can use rice or any other seed too and sometimes you might find a bag of old seed which has cobwebs in. These are from the weevil larvae and you can use this old seed to start cultures simply by adding them to containers of seed.
*NB* keep these cultures away from your normal bird seed so they don't contaminate the seed you feed your birds.

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Get an earthworm farm going. You can feed it food scraps and the worms can be fed to the birds. Quails eat any earthworms, finches prefer the smaller ones. The liquid from the worm farm can be used on the garden (including the green grass seeds you grow).

The most commonly available earthworms are reds, blues and tiger worms. These all grow to about 4-6 inches long. There are small varieties that are more suited to smaller birds but you have to look around for them.

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White worms are sometimes sold as fish food for aquarium fish and these worms are small (around 10-20mm long), and can be cultured in plastic containers with peat moss or potting mix in. You feed them with a dry baby cereal ("Farex" or something similar) and give them an occasional spray with dechlorinated water so the potting mix is a little moist but not wet.

You put some food on the potting mix and put a piece of Perspex on top of the food. The worms eat the food and crawl over the Perspex. You put the piece of Perspex in the aviary and let the birds eat the worms. When all the worms have been eaten, you wash the Perspex and put it back in the worm container.

Have multiple cultures going because they can crash any time and if you lose one, you can use the others to start more cultures.
death to all cats & ants
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Brisbane_Finches_333
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Thanks everyone! By the way I also feed them cuttlebone.
Split Blue Gouldian, Plum-Headed Finch and African Silverbill Breeding Project 2020
Queensland Finch Society Member
2019 ABK Magazine Young Birdkeeper Winner
YouTube Channel: https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCfbqdzIB_SeSjt6cZfRYOPg
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finchbreeder
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Location: Midwest of West.Aust.Coast

With the birds you have I would strongly encourage growing your own greens, and making your own (vinegar/fruit fly traps) as per Rods instructions above.
LML
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noah.till
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Go out during the weekend out into the paddock or on the side of the road, bring a pic axe, shovel and bucket and get yourself some termites, and that will last you for the rest of the week, or you can extract most of the termites and freeze them
Give egg and biscuit mix a go, stick it fresh in a small dish every second day ( unless it gets wet when mound occurs), my ruddies and other birds love it
Also use charcoal, baked egg shells and dried grass seed
Thanks
Noah Till
Downs Bird Breeders Association and Queensland Finch Society Member
2018 Australian Birdkeepers Magazine Young Birdkeeper
Javan Munia, Black Rumped Double bar and Aberdeen Breeding Project
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Brisbane_Finches_333
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Posts: 1875
Joined: 02 May 2019, 20:47
Location: Brisbane, QLD

Thanks everyone for the suggestions. Hopefully this will play a big part in my birds breeding successfully, especially since it's the first day of spring!
Split Blue Gouldian, Plum-Headed Finch and African Silverbill Breeding Project 2020
Queensland Finch Society Member
2019 ABK Magazine Young Birdkeeper Winner
YouTube Channel: https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCfbqdzIB_SeSjt6cZfRYOPg
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Brisbane_Finches_333
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Posts: 1875
Joined: 02 May 2019, 20:47
Location: Brisbane, QLD

Hi,

I am thinking of 'reviewing' my diet and coming up with a new regime. Would this be better for the birds than my current diet (with now includes coriander, egg shells and blended kale).

QFS Tonic Seed Mix
Australian Wildlife Supplies "Greens 'n' Grains Mix"
Sprouted Seed (using Australian Wildlife Supplies Sprouting Mix)
Lebanese Cucumber Mix
Baked Egg Shells
Dry Seed (finch mix)
Diced Kale
Mealworms (and Maggots if I can fix my fly box)
Cuttlebone

Is this too much or should I add more? Is there anything unnecessary in this?

Thanks
Aidan
Split Blue Gouldian, Plum-Headed Finch and African Silverbill Breeding Project 2020
Queensland Finch Society Member
2019 ABK Magazine Young Birdkeeper Winner
YouTube Channel: https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCfbqdzIB_SeSjt6cZfRYOPg
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finchbreeder
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Location: Midwest of West.Aust.Coast

Changes should be implemented slowly. Do not completely change everything in one go. Add whatever you think will be best e.g. sprouted seed, and remove whatever you think least effective e.g. white worms or earth worms.
LML
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noah.till
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Charcoal as well...
Downs Bird Breeders Association and Queensland Finch Society Member
2018 Australian Birdkeepers Magazine Young Birdkeeper
Javan Munia, Black Rumped Double bar and Aberdeen Breeding Project
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