Do your Gouldians look like vultures? Are they balding or have no feathers on their heads? There are 3 common problems which can cause this. The most likely is a lack of nutrition in the birds diet, seed alone is not enough. Gouldians need additional supplements (vitamins and minerals) in their daily diet to maintain healthy feathers year round.
Canker could also be a main contributor, it inflames the intestines and prevents them from working properly and it can cause your birds to lose their feathers along with a host of other problems that can occur with a weakened bird. Canker can eventually kill your birds, more so when breeding, molting or in stressful conditions such as transporting them to new living conditions. Canker will also dramatically reduce your baby bird mortality rate.
Next could be an iodine deficiency. Iodine is one of the elements that Gouldians finches are deprived of in captivity. They need a little more of it in their diet in order for their thyroid gland to function properly. The thyroid gland is directly related to their feather production. Gouldians do not get enough iodine in their diet from the seeds, water and other nutritional supplements they are fed on a daily basis in captivity. This deficiency is known as goiter. Without getting into the science of this problem if you increase the iodine in their diet, this will usually clear up this problem.
If you use Frisky Finches specialty products: (Grit, Oyster Shells, Feather Glow Liquid Vitamins, Daily Breeder Seed Blend & Breeding/Winter Seed Blend) which all include extra liquid & organic iodine(s), you should be able to eliminate this problem.
For unusually stubborn cases of feather loss, Frisky Finches now offers a Multivet made by Vetafarm in Australia and a Concentrated Liquid Iodine, which can be mixed with any of the other liquid products we offer to help cure this problem in the Gouldian finch.
Please “DO NOT THINK MORE IS BETTER”! when using a supplement iodine, it is actually poisonous and can kill your Gouldians if you administer too much of it into their diet. Follow the product directions very closely.
Once you get your birds the iodine needed in their system to cure this deficiency, the thyroid gland will heal quickly and it will take about 4 to 6 weeks for your birds to re-grow their feathers back. You will be amazed at the results.
The third problem that contributes to feather loss in Gouldians is stress from over crowding (to many birds in a living space) or over crowded breeding conditions. Gouldians are very territorial when breeding and become aggressive if they are over crowded, this causes high levels of stress to the birds. Stress can weaken the immune system and give canker the oppertunity to further inflame the intestines which eventually will be directly related to feather loss.
The last cause could be the canary feather mite which is very unusual but if infected they get into the pours or feather follicle and eat the feathers as they try to grow out. The Gouldian finch species is actually related to the canary (they are in the same avian family) although this is “not usually the problem” Gouldians can be susceptible to this mite, we recommend trying to supplement their diet with nutritional supplements and iodine or look into reducing the population in their living environment before trying insecticides on them for feather mites. Annual treatment with Scatt or Ivomec should eliminate this potential problem along with most of the other parasites that feed on Gouldians. If you think this may be the problem please email or call us for our recommended treatment.
To force your birds to grow their feathers back if bald follow these steps and use this formula:
FORCE FEATHER GROWTH ON BALDING BIRDS: To grow their feathers back I would use 2 tablespoons per gallon of the Frisky Finches Feather Glow and 2 tablespoons per gallon of a liq calcium “recommend using Vetafarm Calcivet” plus 2 tablespoons per gal the Vetafarm Multivet all mixed into one cocktail. Supply this to your birds as their only source of water for 3 to 4 weeks straight, then cut everything back to 1 tablespoon per gal as the only source of water for another 6 weeks as needed until they are done molting or feathering up. Then go back to using the daily cocktail 7 days weekly.
Also consider treating at the same time with Ronivet 12% for canker control and use my recommended dose, NOT the dose on the label which will be too weak and will not work correctly:
The purpose of treating with the Ronivet is to clear up any inflammation in the intestines so your birds can absorb the nutrients in their diet better. Canker inflames the intestines and prevents them from working properly and it can contribute to feather loss, poor breeding behavior, egg binding and a host of other problems that can occur with a weakened bird. The Ronivet should be mixed into a cocktail with all our Frisky Finches liquid supplements at a rate of 1 TEA-SPOON per gallon of fresh water. Under normal conditions treatment for 5 to 7 days is recommended. Do not exceed 14 days. TO MIX WITH FORCED FEATHER GROWTH COCKTAIL ADD RONIVET 12% FOR 14 DAYS, then continue using the forced feather growth cocktail (without the Ronivet) for an additional 1 to 2 weeks until pin feathers appear and start growing. Then return to the daily cocktail supplement formula. If your mixing Ronivet in your supplement cocktail you should always keep it refrigerated and mix a fresh cocktail after 7 days.
An article I wrote about Canker in Gouldians. I believe this contributes to the Gouldian finches inability to absorb enough calcium into their diets, and other necessary nutrients and supplements.
DAILY LIQUID SUPPLEMENT USE: You can use the Frisky Finches Feather Glow at a rate of 2 tablespoons per gallon 4 days a week or use 1 tablespoon per gallon along with the Vetafarm Calcivet at the same dose rate (1 tablespoon per gallon) as their only source of water every day. I recommend adding the Vetafarm Multivet to this cocktail at a dose rate of 1 teaspoon per gallon for daily year round feather health.