Why You Need A Hospital Cage
The hospital cage is a very important piece of equipment for any finch breeder.
It is used to keep a sick finch warm in climates that are quite cold.
If the outdoor aviary the sick finch is normally housed in is cold at night or day then the bird is placed inside the hospital cage to recover.
With gouldian finches the hospital cageis mostly used during the breeding season.
Hens are inclined to occasionally become egg bound. This is where the hen can not pass its egg.
This especially happens if they are only one year old or if its their first breeding season.
There are a number of reasons why gouldian hens become egg bound.
Some of the causes are as follows, very cold climate or aviary conditions, or if the hens egg shell is too thin.
When this is the case it will have trouble passing the egg.
If a hen is suffering from its egg having a thin shell.
It should firstly be separated from its mate by placing it in another cage and be fed egg shells, cuttle fish bone, and or a supplement of calcivet which is a liquid calcium supplement.
This liquid calcium is added to the birds water.
Gouldian finch breeders who do not have a hospital cage yet should invest in the time to either purchase one or put in the effort to build one.
It is quite easy to build a simple one with a light globe inside a box. This would be a cheap and nasty version of a hospital cage though.
It is highly recommended it have some form of a thermostat installed to regulate the temperature inside the hospital cage to a desired level.
If it gets far too hot inside and the hospital cage the bird will be overheated.
How To Build A Hospital Cage
The hospital cage pictured on the right is the one I built myself and I have saved many of my sick gouldians with over the years.
It is made of melamine covered chip board ,a glass front ,3 globes, food and water dispensers and an adjustable thermostat with a thermometer indicator inside the cage.
There is a small low powered globe installed in the center of the hospital cage. The purpose of this globe is to prevent the bird inside being plunged into total darkness every time the thermostat turns the lights off.
There is a light dimmer switch installed to adjust the two main globes brightness.
The speed the heat is produced by the two main globes can then be adjusted manually to produce quick heat in the full brightness position or slow heat in dull position.
This is adjustable for different climates.
The dim setting is used for low heat production in warmer climates.
Full brightness is normally used when the bird is first placed inside to heat up fast as the wood and glass may be too cold.
Never place a bird into a preheated hot hospital cage.
The sick bird should always be placed in the hospital cage at room temperature first then the power turned on to start the hospital cage heating process.
This will give the sick bird a chance to adjust to the increasing heat inside the hospital cage from its cold cage outside instead of a sudden temperature change.
It is a good idea to add spark to the birds water.
This is a glucose and electrolyte additive which helps the bird in these times of stress.
If all goes well the bird will pass its egg in the morning if it is egg bound.
The bird should only be placed in the outdoor aviary if it has recovered fully.
Birds that has some other sickness should be observed very closely.
The hospital cage should always be cleaned thoroughly after use.
This will prevent the next bird getting sick also if the previous bird had an illness rather than being egg bound.