Looking for suggestions

Need some general finch keeping help? Ask your questions here.
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Talven
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Location: Melton VIC

12 Jul 2019, 19:36

So I have worked out how to free up my little aviary (1.5m wide x 1.4m deep x 2.2 high) a bit. It will still have the four king quails but the parrots are being moved into alternative accommodation. I want to put in some Gouldians as I like the vibrant colours but after the very cold weather we've had here I'm not sure that they would survive in my aviary. The coldest it dropped overnight was -1 C.

Is that too cold for Gouldians to deal with? I'm pretty sure it is but I figure I'd ask you experts.

So assuming that it's too cold to keep Gouldians what would you suggest in their place? The things that appeal to me about the Gouldians are the whistle and the colours. I'm not sure that there is much in the way of finches that can compare to the Gouldian for colour though.

Any suggestions are welcome although I would ask that the suggestions are for birds that are "intermediate" level. I'm not a beginner but by no means am I an expert.
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finchbreeder
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Location: Midwest of West.Aust.Coast

12 Jul 2019, 20:39

Is the avairy facing northeast to get morning sun? Morning sun is most critical to Gouldians.
LML
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Talven
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13 Jul 2019, 09:03

The aviary faces East. My yard is a narrow strip with large garages on either side. Due to that the aviary gets sun mid morning for an hour or two. Our neighbour to the west is always burning something so I thought it best to have the covered portion facing west to try protect the aviary from the smoke as much as possible.
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Tiaris
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13 Jul 2019, 14:54

Just as important as sun is wind (particularly cold wind). Need protection from the side which your most common cold winds come from. Gouldians can generally cope with cold temperatures for limited time but cold temperatures accompanied by cold wind or breezes will bring them unstuck very quickly.
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Talven
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13 Jul 2019, 19:25

Generally winds are from the south. The southern facing side is only half mesh the other is solid. Seems like it would be a coin toss as to whether Gouldians would do well or not.

Still open to suggestions for alternative finches. Attractive with a nice whistle is about my only prerequisite oh and not being too difficult to care for.
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finchbreeder
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15 Jul 2019, 10:38

Whatever you get it is still a good idea to protect them from the cold winds. So a clear plastic blind you can roll down when the winds are blowing is always a good idea. Cubans are attractive and have a lovely little song. You need to be very careful with them but, because many (not all) Cuban males are very untrustworthy round yellow/orange coloured birds. The chap in my avatar was a real gentleman and bugged nobody. But have had Cuban cocks that kill orange breasteds and harrass Canaries. Javas are also attractive and have a lovely song, they are one of the bigger finches I have kept and enjoyed.
LML
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Finchfam
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15 Jul 2019, 13:00

Gouldians will survive -1 temperatures as long as you ensure the aviary is free of drafts. Finchbreeder's post describes an approach many use. Fixing transparent or translucent plastic blinds provides you with the ability to block winds in winter but then roll them up to let air flow through in summer. Others I know fix plastic sheeting around their entire aviaries for colder months and remove it once the weather is warmer. An alternative approach is to construct a smaller area within the aviary which is all but enclosed. This can be achieved by building a shelf that is flush with the back and one side of the aviary. If you use a clear polycarbonate material you can then close in from the shelf to the ceiling as much as necessary - just leaving a gap that the birds are comfortable entering. Most of your birds will gravitate there on cold nights if there is enough space. I find Gouldians can be further coaxed to specific areas but putting in branches. Their natural instinct is to find foliage when roosting. If that still isn't enough I know of one other person who has the shelf arrangement and also puts on a heat lamp on really cold nights. I know Gouldians can survive temperatures in the low minus Celsius range when they are breeze free. I've seen them go through -4 nights in an aviary with plastic blinds with no losses incurred. I can't remember the source but I know one breeder way down south advised when breeze-free most of his still survive even -6 but cautioned that -8 can be catastrophic. So it can be done it just depends what lengths you want to go to. Personally I'm amazed how these tiny little creatures survive those temperatures. Gouldians do not have a downy under layer for cold conditions (why would they given their natural range) and unlike other finches adapted to cold climates do not roost in nest boxes. FF
When all is said and done, more is said than done.
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Talven
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15 Jul 2019, 17:46

It doesn't usually get to the minus temperatures here and certainly nowhere near -6. I will probably add a shelf as I have all the bits and pieces laying around and go from there. Was planning on adding some sort of blind to cover the aviary at night so the birds don't get a fright when I'm out with the dogs and a torch anyway. Guess there's no real reason to not get Gouldians once I've got all of this stuff in place.

Thanks everyone for the advice. Much appreciated.
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