Are all termites ok to feed finches

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Finchfam
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Hi finch folks
For about 18 months I have been harvesting termites from small mounds from locations around Brisbane. They have proven a great food source for my breeding African finches. Recently I had to travel a little further afield and I took the opportunity to harvest termites from a larger mound around the Boonah region. The termites are clearly a different species to those that I had been collecting. They include individuals that are brown rather than off-white and have a head more designed for defending the colony than chewing logs. I just remembered that another breeder once told me that some termites that are brown in colour can be harmful especially to nestlings. I thought I should check to see if anyone has knowledge of this before I offer them to my birds.
Cheers
Michael
When all is said and done, more is said than done.
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noah.till
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Ones up far north are very harmful with big mandibles that can cause some severe damage, but those ones you are speaking about are completely fine to use
If you get concerned with any species, sift out the termites and package them up and chuck them in the freezer, that therefore kills the termites but the finches still go ballistic over them, and I do that exact same thing for all the termites I use
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finchbreeder
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Don't know. But by your description, you usually only harvest workers. But this time have harvested workers and soldiers. Hope someone more knowledge able re termites types can help you.
LML
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Brisbane_Finches_333
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Finchfam wrote:
19 Apr 2020, 17:13
Hi finch folks
For about 18 months I have been harvesting termites from small mounds from locations around Brisbane.
Hi,

I live in brisbane too and I'm just wondering if you could list any places I could harvest termites from?
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finchbreeder
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Maybe by PM
LML
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Finchfam
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A question and a reply...

Firstly, Noah thanks for the tip that's great info. I have read other posts where the advice on frozen termites is to take a graduated approach in shifting finches from live to frozen by starting with a low ratio mix and slowly increasing the percentage of frozen termites. I'm just wondering if you have tried this approach or if your birds have always been fine with frozen - maybe you didn't go through a live food phase at all??

Brisbane_Finches in this forum I can offer you general advice. As finchbreeder suggests I'd be happy to message you privately for more specific information (and I wouldn't mind taking that opportunity to ask you about your split blue project). If so let me know and I'll send a PM. My general advice is that termites mounds abound just about wherever there is bushland. However I don't advocate random collection - for a start in most public lands that would not be legal. But more importantly, as a trained National Park ranger I would like to say that termites play an important role in our ecosystems and if all lovers of fine cuisine for birds ventured off into the bush extracting termites we would degrade the environment, perhaps inadvertently impacting populations of wild birds. Some reading this might think "ah what's a few termites?" Well healthy ecosystems are finely balanced and the decline in native species is in part due to degradation of existing habitats, not just their total destruction to make way for houses etc. Sorry about the rave but I feel its important to play my part in maintaining natural diversity. I live in a suburban block only about 8 kms from the city centre and approximately 1 km from bushland. A few months ago I had an echidna walk through my backyard. I have wrens come and visit and I even had Double-barred finches fly though a couple of weeks ago (didn't behave like aviary escapees). I do what I can to ensure that my neighbours and I can keep enjoying our native wildlife. OK enough of that. If you know someone who owns property with bush you could give them a visit and find out the lay of the land so to speak. If you find termite mounds, harvesting should be undertaken sustainably. That way the termites keep going and you have a renewable food source for your birds - a little bit like beekeepers harvesting honey. If you're still reading this and you've stayed awake well done and if you'd like to chat more about anything specific let me know.

Michael
When all is said and done, more is said than done.
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Brisbane_Finches_333
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If you could PM me that would be great. I understand what you say about sustainability, I live about 10km from the city, and 2km from bushland but unfortunately I don't have much wildlife in my area. There are simply no suitable habitats near where small birds and other wildlife can survive, I live accross the road from a creek but the bushland surrounding it is about 7-8 metres wide, and is mostly either barren or taken over by weeds.

In fact, even though Mount Coot-tha is so close, which is teeming with wildife, and the creek accross the road from me originates in Mount-Cootha, the only small birds I've seen were during the drought when there was no water up in the mountains (and near where I live was the closest puddle) when I found a huge flock of Scarlet Honeyeaters in a tiny roadside trees and a pair of wrens nesting in a hedge.

I'm also a birdwatcher and I remember a few years back council used helicopters to spray mozzies in a popular birding spot out by the bayside, but the mozzie spray killed all the insects and the insect-eating birds disappeared from the area.
Last edited by Brisbane_Finches_333 on 20 Apr 2020, 23:11, edited 1 time in total.
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noah.till
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Finchfam wrote:
20 Apr 2020, 11:47
A question and a reply...

Firstly, Noah thanks for the tip that's great info. I have read other posts where the advice on frozen termites is to take a graduated approach in shifting finches from live to frozen by starting with a low ratio mix and slowly increasing the percentage of frozen termites. I'm just wondering if you have tried this approach or if your birds have always been fine with frozen - maybe you didn't go through a live food phase at all??
No worries. Mine have always had frozen termites, and mine transitioned almost instantly without any worries at all. Sometimes when I freeze them, 1 or 2 days later if they are kept in the fridge instead, some still come back to life but non do after 3-4 days. I've got Black rumped Double Bars, Aberdeens and Red Strawberry's smashing frozen termites at the moment, which is a very good sign as all those are quite insectivorous.

Cheers
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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finchbreeder
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Michael - that read like one of my daughters comments. But then her degree is in biology, and she would love your job as soon as there is a vacancy. She is currently reafforesting the areas that BF is talking about in Brissies north east. She also spends her time chucking pink fits when she notices the gardener at their block of flats has neatly trimmed the invasive weed that is growing through the native ground cover. Then sets to and removes said invasive weed. Oops off topic, but it's how "Professional Greenies" think.
LML
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Finchfam
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It's a bit depressing looking at the status of our native finches LML. I'm the wrong side of half a century and I lament the loss of finches once reasonably common in areas near where I grew up in south east Queensland. Looks like many are destined to go the way of the Paradise Parrot which was also an inhabitant of southern Queensland up to about 100 years ago. Topical as they nested in termite mounds. I hope your daughter finds her dream job in the not too distant future. I reckon plenty of people will be looking for positions like park rangers who won't be interacting with too many happy campers at the moment. Those days are long gone for me though - I've been sucked into the IT vortex. Birds are a beautiful escape.
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