Newbie feeding suggestions

Learn what to feed your birds.
Dave H
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Newbie feeding suggestions

Post by Dave H » Fri Jun 14, 2019 4:33 am

Morning guys

Ok, so yesterday I got my first 2 Finches. 2 Bengalese that my youngest children have named Fluffy & Basher.
I purchashed the large Vison 2 cage, & have started to get to grips with the interior set up. Ive probably put my hand in more than I'd have liked to already, but I'm now trying to iron out their food/water bowl positions & most importantly, their daily diet.

So in their cage, they currently have seed (Johnston & Jeff Finch seed) & some millett spray - which they're doing fine with. The seed I got was what they have been on in the store they came from. I also got some Quiko Classic Egg Food. When & how should I feed this to them? Mixed with grated carrot in a seperate bowl? Or on its own? What suggestions do you have for a daily feeding routine? Id appreciate any advice you can give me :D

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Re: Newbie feeding suggestions

Post by Dave H » Fri Jun 14, 2019 4:18 pm

Anyone?

CathyCraftz
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Re: Newbie feeding suggestions

Post by CathyCraftz » Fri Jun 14, 2019 10:12 pm

You can feed the egg food as it is, or mix it with enough water to turn it into a moist crumble. I'd suggest also giving them fruits (like apple and bananas) and vegetables (spinach etc.) several times a week, however they can't be fed avocado and some types of beans.
Have a nice day!
Sincerely, Cathy

~obsessed with zebra finches~

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Re: Newbie feeding suggestions

Post by Dave » Sat Jun 15, 2019 4:34 am

You should look through the Finch Information Center website (http://www.finchinfo.com/index.php). I find that to be good information, and I follow the recommendations they give on nutrition.

This is what I've been feeding Canaries for some years now:
*clean water every day. Some birds also like a bath every day.
*a seed mix, or seeds offered separately by variety
*sunflower chips
*greens, like kale, dandelion, or some other dark green vegetable
*egg food. I chop boiled egg, including shells, adding just enough
corn meal or oatmeal so it is light and crumbly
*mineral mix (not poultry grit). This is mostly mollusk shells or
egg shells with added minerals.

Lots of people add vitamins. I haven't seen a need for that with my birds.

Lots of nutrition problems seem to disappear if your birds have enough room to fly well, and they aren't crowded.

Keep feeding everything on your program even if it seems that they don't eat much of something. I've seen many times that a food that is ignored for weeks suddenly gets devoured.
Dave

Campbellsville, Kentucky, USA
Canaries

Dave H
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Re: Newbie feeding suggestions

Post by Dave H » Sat Jun 15, 2019 4:28 pm

I've had them nearly a full 2 days now. They wont go to the bottom of the cage (which was where the built in feeders were), so Ive removed them & now have stainless steel bowls in. One for water, one for seed, one for grit & one for the veg. Ive only got carrots in atm until I get the chance to go get some greens, so Ive started mixing the grated carrot with the pre-made egg food (which is like a fine crumble). One seems to love it, the other is yet to touch it. Theyre both fine with the seed, & Ive since moved the stick of millett (which they both love) down to the bottom of the cage in the hopes that they'll notice the bath & dive in. But that hasn't worked. Ive got a misting spray bottle that I'll use if they don't take to the bath. Would that suffice as a clean for them or would you suggest I buy a hang on the cage bath & see if that works?
Anyways, I'll go get some greens tomorrow. Should I peg some to the bars or would it be better to blend them & mix them in with the carrot & egg food mix I'm currently trying?
I really appreciate your help & advice. I just want to do this right & keep my birds happy & healthy

wildbird
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Re: Newbie feeding suggestions

Post by wildbird » Sat Jun 15, 2019 10:24 pm

What is on the floor of the cage? There is something that is scaring them. Post a picture, if you can. What did the pet store or where ever you purchased them have on the bottom of the cage? I wouldn't use those baths that hang on the cage. There was something posted in the forum quite awhile ago about birds getting trapped in them. I just have a small, clear. oblong bath that is made to set on the floor. It is 4 or 5 inches long and about an inch deep. Only put about a half inch of water in it. They love it. When they get used to things, they will take a bath on their own. A spray bottle is likely to scare them. They like greens fastened or clipped to the side of the cage bars. Mine love fresh organic dandelion greens. Be sure to rinse well several times any greens before giving to them.

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Re: Newbie feeding suggestions

Post by Dave H » Sun Jun 16, 2019 3:13 am

Nothing on the floor - however, the cage comes with a grill across the base, which Im going to remove this evening when Im home. It's supposed to filter debris but it makes the base heavier & just looks unsightly. I was using a deep(ish) bowl but I went out yesterday & got a shallow, wide, stainless steel dog bowl (smallest size) with a non-slip rubber base. I'll try that one.

Will post pics later too when I'm home. Thank you for the advice :D

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Re: Newbie feeding suggestions

Post by Dave H » Sun Jun 16, 2019 5:29 pm

Can't figure out how to post pics from my camera roll #-o

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Re: Newbie feeding suggestions

Post by Icearstorm » Mon Jun 17, 2019 6:52 pm

Dave H

If using open dishes, your birds are probably going to nest in them. This isn't an issue if you only have males, but if one or both of them are female, it could encourage laying and increase the risk of egg-binding. I transitioned my birds to a gravity/hopper feeder to start, as the opening was not large enough to nest in. It took them several days to use the new feeders, so I had to leave the old ones in for a bit. Gravity feeders also tend to get soiled less, although if you use a gravity feeder for water, they will need a dish for bathing a few times a week. The water container I have now is covered and allows bathing, but I had to modify a hummingbird feeder to make it.

My society finches used to eat the dry eggfood plain, but went off it after I started giving them plain cooked egg. If they'll eat it dry, I'd recommend leaving it dry since it'll stay good for months. I feed egg every day during breeding season, never during a 2-4 week winter austerity diet, and 2-4 times a week otherwise.

As for seed, mine like millet, buckwheat, canary grass, oats, amaranth, sunflower chips, sesame, and dry corn. When using a food dish I feed the first four separately and occasionally supplement it with the others. The seed system I use now might not work for you; the my cage substrate is sand with a layer of dry leaves, and I throw the 8-seed mix on the bottom for them to forage for, away from the area where they usually poop. They spend a few hours a day looking for the seed. However, my first birds were dumb as dirt and probably would have starved before they figured out how to eat on the floor. Plus, you'd have to make a foraging tray if your cage bottom isn't solid with a wide lip.

I feed veggies and egg in the morning and leave it in a flat dish all day. They usually eat it all or ignore it after a couple of hours. I'm trying to add sprouted seed to their diet, as well.

They also have ground oyster shell, charcoal, and salt free-choice in separate containers. Switching a mineral-deprived bird to free-choice minerals can be risky, as they may overeat. Otherwise, free-choice minerals in separate dishes should work well. I don't use vitamins, although I did mix a bit of spirulina in their eggfood once while they moulted. They liked it, but it wasn't necessary.

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Re: Newbie feeding suggestions

Post by wildbird » Mon Jun 17, 2019 10:59 pm

Icearstorm, I noticed that you provide salt in a separate container. Is that just regular table salt, iodized? Some people use salt and others say it is toxic, so I never used it, but maybe should. The mineral grit shows salt as an ingredient, so I never added any.

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Re: Newbie feeding suggestions

Post by Icearstorm » Tue Jun 18, 2019 7:48 am

wildbird

Yeah, I use iodized salt. I haven't seen them mess with it yet, but it's there if they need it. Then again, I rarely see the birds eating minerals, so they might be eating some when I'm not there; I first saw one eat some charcoal a few days ago, despite it being there for months.

Additional salt probably isn't necessary if they eat cuttlebone or a salted mineral mix, but I was reading the Finch Info page and it was saying that salt is a common deficiency in captive finches. Wild birds often flock to salt blocks and salted roads, so it seems they know what it is. I've also read that herbivores and omnivores tend to be more sensitive to salt than carnivores, which should (hopefully) mean they know how much to eat.

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Re: Newbie feeding suggestions

Post by wildbird » Tue Jun 18, 2019 11:22 pm

Thanks for the reply, Icearstorm. That's good to know. I often thought that a Java Finch I had a few years ago might have been looking for salt. He would look through the mineral mix, tossing most, not finding what he wanted. I wish I had offered salt. When they are in a cage, they can only get what we offer. I know with herbs, they pick out what they need when they need it. It's up to us to know what to offer.

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Re: Newbie feeding suggestions

Post by Dave H » Wed Jun 19, 2019 2:46 am

Icearstorm wrote: Dave H
They also have ground oyster shell, charcoal, and salt free-choice in separate containers. Switching a mineral-deprived bird to free-choice minerals can be risky, as they may overeat. Otherwise, free-choice minerals in separate dishes should work well. I don't use vitamins, although I did mix a bit of spirulina in their eggfood once while they moulted. They liked it, but it wasn't necessary.
See thats my concern with the grit. I know they were only fed on seed & greens before I got them, & after doing some reading, I was concerned they'd eat it too much so I removed it. But now they've only got cuttle bone in there, which I barely see them touch - other that using it as a perch. So Im wondering if to put the grit back in.

Im also considering trying to switch to gravity feeders. Problem is my cage bars are horizontal, so not sure if the gravity feeders would fit right. Im currently using stainless steel bowls (small) which they dont mind. But they take up a lot of room & dont exactly promote 'less mess' :?

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Re: Newbie feeding suggestions

Post by CathyCraftz » Wed Jun 19, 2019 6:44 am

I'd recommend using a special pet bird feeder, as it will only have a small slot or holes where there is access to seed, so the finches wouldn't lay any eggs in the food dish. Grit is only necessary for birds that swallow seeds whole without husking them, so the finches wouldn't need grit.
Have a nice day!
Sincerely, Cathy

~obsessed with zebra finches~

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Re: Newbie feeding suggestions

Post by wildbird » Wed Jun 19, 2019 7:56 pm

Birds still need the minerals found in mineral grit and they should have crushed oyster shell for the calcium they need They're not going to overeat on oyster shell, so just put a little bit of mineral grit, charcoal and salt in. I would put it all in one small saucer on the floor with the oyster shell on the bottom and sprinkle the rest on top. See what they do. Finely crushed egg shells are good too. They're not going to overeat on that either.

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