Selective And Colony Breeding Gouldian Finches

When breeding gouldian finches in captivity, breeding is triggered by providing them a diet that is protein rich.

But In nature, the reproductive season of the gouldian finch is triggered by a change in the length of daylight hours along with the availability of food.

This is indicative of the wet season.

The gouldian finch diet includes egg foods, seeding grasses and sprouted seed.

The birds lean period ends about six weeks before the birds are paired together by introducing them to the protein rich diet.

The ideal time for breeding is to pair them up at the start of summer.

It does depend on the climatic conditions of your location ie (northern and southern hemisphere).

Artificial lighting and heating can simulate the required conditions in cooler climates and when the daylight hours are shorter.

When gouldian health is at a very high level and they are in top condition.

selective breeding gouldian finchesThis is the best time to start breeding your gouldian finches.
They should be bright and active and look like they are raring to go.

They become very active and sometimes will go through a vigorous flapping of wings routine.

The hens beak should be turning black by now and the males beak changes to a pearly white.

Methods For Breeding Gouldian Finches

There are two main methods of breeding gouldian finches in an outdoor aviary. These are colony and selective breeding.

Colony Breeding

colony breeding boxes for gouldian finchesColony breeding  is a bit of a hit and miss method as there isn’t good control of the birds selecting their mates. Selective breeding in separate cages is totally controllable.The birds are selected by yourself. The offspring’s genetics can be predicted as to a possible outcome (head color and breast color in mutations).

The number of pairs in a colony breeding aviary should not be too high. Overcrowding of gouldians causes stress which in turn creates health issues. Stressed birds are more likely to contract bacterial infections due to their lowered resistance.

Overcrowding by having too many pairs in one area when breeding does not actually produce more young, in fact you are likely to end up with less young being produced.

In a bird room which is approximately 6 x 6 feet I would suggest only have a maximum of up to 5 pairs.

The breeding boxes I have had good success with have a round opening at the front and a perch just below it. Having a little platform at the box entrance is a good idea.

The birds can enter their nest box easier instead of doing a balancing act on a round piece of dowel when carrying nesting material when entering their nest box.

Selective Breeding

selective breeding gouldian finch cagesSelective breeding gouldian finches is a very productive method of breeding gouldians. I prefer this method myself as there is far more control and no interference from any other gouldians.

The cages I use are fully dividable with a plywood divider. I use 2 adjacent cages for the one pair of birds which provides the pair with plenty of room especially for when their young leave the nest.

Basically you choose a male and hen that you would like to pair for a desired head color for their offspring. Head color in the normal gouldian is the only variable where as gouldian mutations have allot more variable outcomes with head and body colors. Gouldian mutations is another topic in itself. I will explain this topic on another page in more detail or consider buying one of the many gouldian books available.

Different head colors should not really be mixed or you may get blotchy head color in the offspring. The offspring’s head color may look like a blackish red or a blackish yellow. This problem is more noticeable in the hens produced. If you are choosing a black headed hen to breed, ideally it should have a deep rich velvety black color with no signs of red or yellow feathers showing through.

A method of testing the chosen pair of gouldians for compatibility is observing them. If the pair of gouldians show signs of being aggressive to one another by beak fencing or chasing one another around the cage indicates this pair of gouldians are not compatible. Remove one of the pair and replace it with a new mate. Observe the pair again.

When a male is interested in a hen it will nearly immediately start its courtship with the hen when first paired. The male will then stare at the hen while standing tall, then it may start a whistling routine. The hen if interested will bow its head and move it side to side. When the pair have been observed carrying out this process indicates they are compatible.

The final method of testing the compatibility of the pair if you are still not sure is to observe the pair near dusk. They will roost side by side if they get along together. If not they roost or be separate on the perch.

When all is well, within about 2 weeks the hen will of stated laying eggs. This will depend on the current breeding condition the hen is in.



  2. Hi Henry. Personally I do not mix the head colours of my breeding pairs. I like to have control of the offspring colours by breeding them in a controlled environment by selective breeding in seperate cages. The offspring of the pair you describe would be as follows if each parent if a pure red head and a pure black head. Half red/black headed males and half red headed females. Red head is sex-linked dominant where as the black head is sex-linked recessive in regards to head colour. This means that the red is the visible color and the black is not seen but is present. A good reference that I recommend for breeding gouldians is this Gouldian Finch book.
    I hope this helps you out.

  3. Please tell me how the parents rejected them. I have two babies, they are out of the nest, one came out without feathers in his stomach. The parents keep hitting him and taking feathers out. I feel bad for the little one but I am afraid parents will kill him for being a little ugly. I don’t want to happen but if I take the bird out I do not how to feed him. Please answers thanks

  4. Hi Sezin. If the parents decide to reject the young ones it is very hard to stop them. It is also very difficult to hand rear young finches as they need to be fed so often.

  5. I have two Gouldians. The male was and contiues to actively perform the courtship dance for the female. Over the past 1.5 weeks, the two birds have been actively mating. On 31 October, the female laid a single egg. Since then, no more eggs have been laid, and there is no indication that the couple intends on incubating the single egg. It is my understanding that Gouldians typically lay cluthces of 4-8 eggs, where each egg is laid around 24-hours apart. Does the female’s laying of a single egg indicate anything, such as an inbalanced diet or older bird (etc.)? Thanks for any thoughts you might have.

  6. Hi Duane. If the hen only laid one egg does not directly indicate that the hen is suffering an imbalanced diet. I would think that it could be a couple of reasons. The hen is not experienced due to not being very old and experienced with the incubation of eggs maybe less than 2 years old. I would say that if the two birds are compatible and ready to start again that her second time round will be more successful. Be patient and keep observing the two gouldians to see how they progress. Good luck.

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