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I have a pair of breeding Lady Gouldian finches. They have been good parents and have successfully raised 10 babies. She was sitting on yet another set of eggs when my story begins.

She had been sitting for almost 2 weeks when one Saturday morning as I went out to the kitchen to check on her, I saw that she had gotten stuck in her nest. It was one of those rattan/straw like nests and her claw was wrapped around one of the pieces at the bottom. She had been struggling to free herself for some time, I noticed, because she was exhausted and one of her wings was bloody and missing most of its flight feathers. I hurriedly took out the nest, took off the top and found that two of the four eggs had hatched within the last few hours. I freed her foot, but she was in no condition to do the work necessary to keep these little guys alive. Her foot was limp and she could not fly. I thought that perhaps her mate might try to carry on, but soon realized that they were both too traumatized to make a go of it.

I took the hatchlings out, put them in a box with a heating lamp and went to the store. I found an appropriate little nest, some hand feeding bird formula (I already had a syringe), and read a few articles about hand feeding finches on the internet. I had no idea if I could keep them alive.. they are so small when they first hatch.

To make a 3 week story short, it worked… they are doing fine. I followed the directions on the bag of formula, kept them warm, got up a few times in the middle of the night to feed them, kept their surroundings clean and then just watched them grow. I literally was surprised some mornings to see how much they had changed. They grow extremely fast.

Now that they are fully feathered, flying, and know who is responsible for their care, they make a fuss when they see me. At 3 to 4 weeks, they still are not weaned and they beg when I am near. If they are out of their cage, they want to be with me, either on my head or shoulder. I prefer my shoulder; I hope they can figure that out. They really enjoy sitting in the palm of my hand, nestled down, while I pet their backs.

The mother bird is doing very well. It took a couple of weeks for her foot to completely heal and her wing has also healed and is awaiting a molt to regain her lost feathers.

I don't know entirely what is in store with these two little cuties, but I am already enjoying the rewards of hand fed babies.

Lynette Mills

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