unexpected death

Is your finch sick or not well? Find out why.
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Posts: 17
Joined: 16 Mar 2021, 01:14
Location: Cyprus


It's been five years since I have gouldians but this year I was so ready and I believe with more experience to have a good breeding year.
Indeed, I put 15 new pairs and the 13 of them had chicks. (2 pairs not so compatible, fertile eggs but that's it)
Actually I breed them in different time of year ( January to May, Southern hemisphere)
I have them in a store house with a good temperature with artificial light. In summer later on May until October during our summer I have them in outside aviary.
From first clutch I had around 30 chicks and over 40 with some couple 's second clutch.
Everything was perfect except from two losses.
I had two hens, one with a successful clutch with 5 chicks and the other one with 3 chicks. All chicks are flying now.
the one with the five, I let her for second clutch. Although she looked ready for second, after a while I didn't see any egg and I believed it was the cock. Eventually i took the pair out to a bigger cage with others for moult. after two days i saw the hen puffed in a corner and lethargic. The next she died.
the second hen I found her dead in the breeding cage. two days ago I put the nest for the second clutch. the male was dancing and building the nest. I didn't notice anything strange.
Logical the right answer here is the stress, but is this the actual answer or I missing something here??
seed mixtures
special blend with dry egg food, mealworm, egg shell, fruit, vegetables.
sprout seeds
multi vitamins
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Posts: 11064
Joined: 27 Jun 2009, 20:00
Location: Midwest of West. Aust. Coast
Location: Midwest of West.Aust.Coast

Nobody can say exactly why a bird dies in most cases like this. Most commonly happens with older birds who are just not up to the stress. But so many factors together can contribute. Then again sometimes it happens with 1st time hens who just were not ever going to be strong birds, and the stress was the final straw.
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Posts: 17
Joined: 16 Mar 2021, 01:14
Location: Cyprus

you are so right. this is what is make me crazy. Because If you know the reason you try to fix it but if you don't have any indication, then your blind and is nothing you can do to help the poor things.
Just for the record, the one hen it was her first try but the other had breed again the previous year.
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Posts: 18
Joined: 25 Aug 2021, 10:56
Location: Kuranda, Qld

Very bad luck and I share your frustration. Just this morning I pulled two dead hatchlings out of the nest of a 1st time breeding pair. No evidence of them ever being fed. I hope they learn the next time around.
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Posts: 430
Joined: 13 Jun 2012, 23:28
Location: Perth

Firstly Fitos, congratulations. 13 successful pairs out of 15 is an exceptional result.
This alone is a testament to the treatment of your birds.

On the cause of your hens deaths, it is a question many of us would like answers for, and more detailed answers than "stress"
Although random events do happen, yours is a familiar story.
Why is it usually the hens ? Why does it seem to happen when they are breeding ? Why is it more common in the colder months ?

Why is it that birdkeepers accept stress as a cause of death in birds, but not in any other animal ?
If a dog or cat died suddenly, you would not assume stress as the cause.

Like you Fitos, I like to question what else might be going on.

Obviously the main difference between the hens and the cocks is the laying of eggs. From my observations, the cocks do a similar amount of incubating and feeding as the hens. Making eggs is a huge burden for the hens, it requires a lot of extra energy, protein, calcium and other nutrients.
Could it be that this is depleting a vital nutrient that is making the hens more prone to sickness or disease ?
Several possibilities spring to mind. Calcium / Vit D is a strong candidate, particularly in birds that are housed indoors for much of the year and do not have access to sunlight. You need Vit D to absorb calcium, and calcium is crucial for muscle function as well as other bodily functions. Vit D is also necessary for a strong immune system. It is not a huge leap to assume that a hen with borderline Vit D/calcium levels at the start of breeding may develop severe deficiency by the end.
So my question , are you supplementing Vit D ?
Essential amino acids and essential fatty acids could also play a part. They again are only available through the diet and are needed is increased amounts during egg production.
"Egg binding" is another much overused term, but it can result in death. Birds kept in aviaries seem to be less likely to get it than those in cages. Is that the exercise or the sunlight, I am not really sure. Having room to exercise seems a good thing, so keep your birds outside as much as you can

On the surface your diet seems excellent, but we really know very little about the nutritional requirements of finches

I am lucky enough to have been to Cyprus. I was struck by how similar the climate is to the south west of Australia, with your dry hot summers and mild wetter winters. It is an excellent climate for finches and mine spend all year in the aviary, with access to a well protected covered area.

Best of luck with your finches and keep asking questions
It is how we improve the care of our birds.

Perth , Australia
"We don't see things as they are, we see things as we are ." Anais Nin
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Posts: 17
Joined: 16 Mar 2021, 01:14
Location: Cyprus

first of all thanks for your answers.
every year I try to ged organized more and more. I see my mistakes and try to improve.
Until today I found i believe a nice patern, to keep and breed my finches.
Yes indeed Cyprus has a nice weather all the year.
From 15 of May until 15 of October I have them in an outside aviary for moult and rest.
Late on October I start to bring them inside to start the breeding season.
I separate cocks from hens and for 4 weeks I give only seeds and fresh water. later again for 4 weeks I start the breeding diet so I get them ready. I only let my pairs to breed maximum 2 times per year because I don't want to push them on their limit. I never had egg binding issue in my life.
my regular seeds are from verselaga.
my combined seeds are a mix from premium (with seeds and pellets) and regular seed from verselaga and also some canary seed.
I mix my own egg food. I put as base, a dry egg food again from verselaga (i tried many but this one is top), egg shell, mealworm, dry pieces of fruits, dry pieces of vegetables.
I also feed milet and (sprout seeds with megabactol from comed company with wheatoil, garlic etc).
as in water.. I add every 3rd day after I clean their drinking water.
1st time Vitamins from necton fly,
2nd time Calcium from necton (just for the first month vitamin E for fertility to help them start)
3rd time vitamins from aviform
4th time with comin-cholin-B complex from comed which is detoxifies all these vitamins and proteins,
and again the cycle.
Necton and aviform are the only companies I found on the internet which they explain exactly what they include inside the bottles with numbers.
of course I provide them daily cuttlebone, charcoal, the small ceramics.
Oh at the beginning only, I give them a few days some vitamins A and C in more quantities.
Definitely they have better diet than I have.
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