What age should a Gouldian finch be before you breed it? This is a great question, and one that I get asked a lot. If you come from a background of zebra finches, you know that they’re wiling by age 3 months and can breed at 6 months! For Gouldian finches, this is not the best way.
Instead, most reputable breeders wait until they are more than one year old. At this point it varies wildly; some say 12 months, some say 16 months. I myself don’t pair them until they are 14 months old.
Many people are excited when they first get their Gouldians and want to breed them right away. You might see your males doing the courting dance and wonder why should you wait?
One reason is that young parent birds (under one year) are immature and impatient.
Early Breeding Results
Birds bred too early:
- might pitch babies out of nest
- Incubate too little or erratically, causing dead in shell
- Neglect babies
- Be aggressive to babies
By contrast, a pair that starts on a good path and are mature will generally present you with a strong, healthy clutch of 4-6 babies. They will be attentive and care for the babies. You won’t be stuck hand-feeding, or worse yet breaking open dead eggs to try to understand why the baby inside it died.
Another issue with breeding early is that the hen’s body is leached of calcium, and she may never really get back to full strength again. Hens bred early this way can suffer from egg binding, sometimes leading to death. They often have a much shorter life span that most Gouldians (10-12 years is the average). Did you purchase this hen in order to make her suffer that way? (continued below)
What if I don’t know the age?
I’ve been contacted by a couple of people that don’t know they age of their birds. This can happen when you buy birds at a pet store, but sometimes breeders forget to say how old they are. In this case, assuming you got them in adult feathers, wait until one molt is over. Then it is safe to say the bird is old enough to breed.
Breeding Lady Gouldian finches is a joy to watch. They are beautiful and interesting birds. Their lifespan can be enhanced by feeding them well, breeding correctly, and protecting them from predators and parasites.