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The Key to Quality Breeding


The key to quality breeding starts with preparing a pair of quality parents.


When acquiring exotic birds such as Gouldian finches, one must ask themselves what is it they wish to achieve. The same question is applicable to doing almost anything in fact, however, with Gouldians there is that extra effort that is required if one like myself wishes to achieve a better breed quality.


I ran an experiment using two different pairs. The first pair, let’s call it Pair 1, is a vibrant green pair, with the male having red head, and female having black head. This pair was imported from a far eastern country — Asia, (I won’t mention the name to avoid stereotyping as I am not in a position to do so); this pair was relatively small in size, where each bird weighed less than 16 grams at the time I acquired them! They must have been victims of mass production at the country of their origin, probably bred and raised using mechanical means such as incubators, and brooders, and were fed basic seeds! It took me weeks before I could get them to accept red millet sprays! Never saw a bird so scared of the looks of red millet sprays! They didn’t even know what egg shells were! Poor fellas! Both birds had air sac mites in their respiratory system, which I cured using SCATT with the help of Khalid Al Ameer.


Four weeks of conditioning passed by, and Pair 1 gained weight, they were healthier, and their plumage improved drastically. Friends couldn’t believe they were seeing the same birds!


When time came to laying eggs, it was obvious, that the pair were inexperienced, the female was laying eggs off the perch! Needless to mention, eggs broke due to the fall! Out of a five eggs clutch, only three were laid in the nest. The pair never incubated the eggs consistently for more than three days. I experienced three clutches with similar behavior! The problem with Pair 1 was mutli-factorial, I only mentioned few!


This explains why I mentioned above that one must know what is it they wish to achieve with such exotic birds. To me, my objective was and still is to enhance the quality of the Gouldians I acquire, through selecting the best parents, a balanced diet, providing a good environment, and exercise!


Back to my experiment; I used Society finches to incubate and raise the chicks of Pair 1. I had two fertile eggs out of five, and managed to successfully raise the two chicks with the help of the Society finches.


Exactly, 10 days after the green chicks hatched, I was fortunate to have a Lutino chick from another pair I have. Let’s call the parents of the Lutino chick Pair 2. This pair was locally bred by Khalid, however, their ancestors were originally handpicked and imported from a West European country. Pair 2 where relatively larger, around 22 grams and had a much better plumage than Pair 1.


The result is depicted on pic 1 (below). In this pic, the Lutino chick (off spring of Pair 2) is 10 days younger than the two green chicks (off springs of Pair 1), yet it is larger than either of the green chicks!


The difference between the breeds of two different parents... it's starts with the quality of each parent pair The difference between the breeds of two different parents… it starts with the quality of each parent pair.


It is of substance to state here that all of the three chicks were raised by foster parents and received same diet and environmental conditions. Still, we notice that the Lutino chick (which is 10 days younger than the green chicks) is in fact larger in size compared to either of the green chicks. This is the result expected out of good blood lines (Pair 2) over a poorer quality pair (Pair 1).


In other words, good quality parents will produce good (if not better) quality chicks. Thus, to satisfy my purpose, I shall only select the best birds I can get hold of to continuously achieve better breed quality. No matter how committed a breeder is, without good parents, one can’t expect to obtain outstanding results. Birds with poorer quality such as Pair 1 must be treated with love and care, but not be selected as parents for quality breeds.


Thanks to Khalid for being a mentor, and a friend. With his continuous support and encouragement, the road less traveled became more enjoyable.


Ahmed Al Alawi