Finch Notes From the 1800's

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default Finch Notes From the 1800's

Post  FinchG on Fri Oct 21, 2011 10:11 am

Bengalees are particularly fond of spray millet and grass-seed ; and, when breeding, they will consume a quantity of Abrahams' food, sponge-cake, or any sweet cake or biscuit ; they are also delighted with seedling lettuce and rape. 1886

This author says : " Through being
bred by the Japanese in miniature cages, the imported White and Pie- bald Mannikins seem to be almost unable to fly, and consequently they are nearly as helpless in a large aviary as a young bird just leaving the nest. They tumble into the water, or hide in corners, or get into all sorts of scrapes."

I never heard my African birds humming :
the song being a clear trill. A.G.B.
It died of cramp, while bathing, in December, 1895. A.G.B.


African Silverbills

The young at first are perfectly bare and very hateful ; blackish red, with yellow waxy skin swellings. In the first six to nine days they develop slowly, afterwards ever so much more rapidly. They remain a long time naked, gradually acquire a bluish colouring, and then one
might sooner take them for little loathsome Amphibia than for birds. Ants' cocoons are utterly despised as food, and also green meat. One may, therefore, regard this Ornamental Finch, as well as its relations,
as exclusive seed-eaters, who never once corrupt their young ones with flesh diet.

Unhappily, all prospect of breeding was completely ruined later on ; for, on May 26th, I discovered clear indications that the hen bird was afflicted with that
common affection of Australian Ornamental Finches, disease of the brain, she turned round and round on her perch, toppled over and recovered herself, sat with her head on one side, and when flying occasionally missed the mark at which she aimed. I know of no cure
for this disease ; but so far as my experience goes, it is one frequently met with in Australian Grass-finches. Mr. Abrahams, however, writes that he has known African Finches and Parrakeets to be afflicted in a similar manner.* Bicheno Finch 1894

The young brood is not at all difficult to rear. Millet
and maw seed soaked in hot water and strained, a little egg food, some soaked ants' eggs, and a few mealworms are ample." Bicheno Finch 1894

Zebra-1890

The Zebra. Finch is perfectly able to rear its young on seed alone, especially if plenty of grass in the ear is given ; and I firmly believe that in a heated room they do better on this than when they are supplied also with soft food. I found the latter tended to make the old birds too excitable, so that they would start a fresh nest, and pluck
their newly fledged young to line it, thus killing several healthy little fellows before they were strong enough to defend themselves. In a cool aviary, however, soft food is useful.

Zebra 1894
The eggs are hatched in about eleven days, and about three weeks later the young leave the nest, but are largely dependent upon their parents for food for about another week : during this time they give the old birds little rest, pursuing them continually, throwing themselves
sideways, turning their heads upside down and trumpeting noisily : the attitude of the young Zebra Finch when being fed is most grotesque. About eight weeks after leaving their nest, the young are like their parents, and are then ready to breed. Therefore, provided that all things go well, more especially with the hen birds (which sometimes die from soft eggs in cold weather) a good stock of this pretty little Finch can soon be acquired.

I believe it to be a mistake to speak of any Australian Finch as sensitive to cold : none that I have experimented with have proved to be so. Of all my Gouldian, Parson, Zebra and Cherry Finches, and Sydney Waxbills, which have been wintered in an unheated aviary
open to the air : not one died from cold, though many died from laying, (or failing to lay) soft eggs, from killing one another out of jealousy, from a miserable disease resembling " staggers " in horses, and lastly, from that common and almost invariably fatal disease,
inflammation of the bowels ; usually due to an incursion of mice into the aviary. In a word, the Parson Finch is utterly indifferent to cold, quite as much so as the Zebra Finch.

In 1891 they had to make paintings or drawings of their birds to show colors and illustrations and skins from living examples.

* When any bird is so far gone that, at the approach of darkness, it retires to a corner, and (turning its face to the wall) appears to be occupied with devotions, there is nothing like three or four drops of brandy and water (half aud half) for recovering it.

According to Wiener his Thrushes were fed the first thing in the morning on stale household bread soaked in water overnight, pressed out by hand, mixed with one third the quantity of Scotch oat- meal and a little boiled milk. An hour or two later a mixture of German paste, dry bread-crumbs, ants' eggs, currants and egg ; and about mid-day a few morsels of raw beef cut very fine. He then proceeds to tell us what German paste consists of. Sop, oatmeal,peameal, treacle, milk, egg, lard, raw beef, currants, ants' eggs, hetup and maw seed.

The above notes were taken from the 1800's and do not apply to today's birds. I just think it was interesting to see how they fed and took care of birds in that era and how far we have come in Avian care today. FinchG


FinchG
Lots Of Societies, 11 Gouldians, 4 Orange Cheek Waxbills, 2 Orange Weavers, 3 Spice Finches,1 Quaker, 1 Conure and 2 Lineolated Parakeets


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