The European Goldfinch is well-known for its magnificent markings and sweet songs. Small in stature but big on pizazz, they are notable for the red, black and white head markings and dazzling yellow-banded wings. During mating season their beaks turn all white. This species has been captive-bred successfully for quite some time. However, you can’t just place a pair of goldfinches in a cage or aviary, feed and water them and expect a clutch to appear. There are many important factors in breeding goldfinches indoors. Bird Room Lighting, Temperature, Humidity and fresh air are a few of those important factors in breeding cage birds successfully.
Breeding goldfinches in captivity requires indoor flight cages or outdoor aviaries to be as big as possible. Also, it needs to be positioned in such a way that the light will shine in them. These are energetic birds and must be able to fly around their structure. Though they usually fare well cohabitating with other bird species. Pairs will become aggressive with other goldfinches during the breeding season.
Nests are very important to include for breeding. Canary nests work well as do nesting cups. Wicker nests with coconut fibre work very well for native birds. Place in the cage/aviary and add greenery to camouflage the nest like it was in a real tree. Be sure that there is plenty of commercial and natural nesting materials. Some examples: cotton wool, long grasses, coconut fiber, or dried moss.
Proper lighting is one of the most important ingredients for European Goldfinches to enter breeding conditions. In natural light, they will start breeding in late April.
When artificial light is used, it must provide around 13-14 hours of light at 1200 lumens. The goal is to imitate natural light as much as possible. The best indoor light for birds is “full-spectrum” fluorescent. Do not use the “broad spectrum” lighting, it is meant for plants. A timer is very helpful and should be set to turn on at sunrise and off at sunset. It should be periodically adjusted as the day length increases and decreases.
A dimmable lighting system can be also used successfully in the bird room. This can be set to turn on and off for a full year.
The bird room temperature should be a minimum of 20° C and should not exceed 32° C inside the cage/aviary. If outdoor temperatures are in this range, the temperature inside your bird room could be exponentially higher causing the birds to overheat. Overheated birds pant, keep their feathers tight and hold their wings away from their bodies. They need to cool down immediately so provide bathing water or open a window or door. Be sure to avoid drafts as blowing air can induce illness.
Humidity in the bird room should be kept around 50–70%. The humidity plays a very important role during incubation and is even more important during hatching. For incubation, it prevents the eggs from drying out and softens the eggshell helping to ease up hatching. The humidity can be altered by introducing baths or misting systems.
Baths can be provided in few different ways; baths as garden ornaments to be used in big aviaries and baths for cages and small aviaries.
The European Goldfinch’s natural habitat is outdoors where fresh air abounds. It is important to supply indoor birds with access to fresh air as their high metabolism and super-efficient respiratory system make them vulnerable to inhaled toxins. A ventilation system can help to provide circulated air while pulling out pollutants.
There are a lot of options when it comes to the European Goldfinch’s diet. A quality finch seed mix is a good fundamental food source, but from the start of the breeding season until the chicks are on their own nutritional needs change. It is vital to supply higher amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables and high-protein foods. These can include grapes, apples, spinach, cucumber, and dandelion greens. Crickets, silkworms, mealworms, and other small live insects make great sources of protein. Breeders also favor adding thistle seeds and sunflower hearts.
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