Daytona - 3 weeks old Going through his juvenile molt Today!
Daytona is a red-headed normal male gouldian that I handfed in September 2002. (OK - we didn't know he was a boy when my nephew named him "Daytona".) I had called an end to breeding season in the aviary at the end of August and removed all of the nest boxes. But that didn't stop my champion egg-layer, Lucille, from laying "just one more egg" in a potted plant.

I gave the egg to a pair of caged society finches, and being societies, they sat on it. And being societies, they decided that one egg wasn't enough, so they produced 4 more to keep it company. Daytona hatched right on schedule and he grew quickly as his foster parents kept him well fed. A week later, his step-brothers and sisters hatched. Now there was a problem. Daytona was huge compared to the tiny society babies. I was afraid the tiny babies would be squashed by Daytona, so I removed him and became his new "mommy".

Daytona with his best friend, Juneau
Hand-feeding him was surprisingly easy. Daytona loved to eat and would gladly open his mouth for a syringe any time I was near. (Since then, I've found that it's not always that easy.)

A couple of weeks later, I started hand-feeding two more finches - Daytona's step-sister "Cricket", a fawn pied society, and another gouldian, "Donovan". Both of them were much smaller than their siblings and I was afraid they wouldn't survive if I left them with their parents.

Cricket was a challenge. Unlike Daytona and Donovan, it was difficult to get her to open her mouth for her feedings. I assumed it would get easier once she got used to me, but it never did. I came to understand why she was so much smaller than her siblings - she wouldn't beg for food! But there was a happy ending - she survived and grew to a normal size and became very tame and friendly.

She loved to snuggle against my neck underneath my hair and she always flew to my hand whenever I started playing the piano. I don't think this was a compliment to my piano skills. I think she learned quickly that the awful noise would stop as soon as she flew to my hands.


Cricket and Donovan now live with my friend, Ruth. They get lots of play time out of their cage.

Daytona still lives with us and he's a very happy and active little bird. His "home base" is a flight cage with my other tame birds - 3 parakeets and a cockatiel, but much of the time the cage doors are open. When he's out, he flies around at roughly 100 mph, then comes in for a landing on my head or shoulder. He "checks in" with me about every 5 minutes and we have a little conversation. Then he's off again to have some fun with his parakeet buddies.

He sings and dances for my male parakeet, Juneau, and he's currently building a nest behind my neice's photo on our fireplace mantel. He's using dead leaves (no shortage of those on my house plants) and loose hairs that he yanks out of my head.

Anybody looking? Here I go! You found me????

He loves bath time - almost every day he flies to the kitchen sink & waits for me to turn on the faucet.

Bath time!
I was so impressed by the friendliness of these hand-fed finches, that I decided I wouldn't shy away from hand-feeding if the need came up again. So, spring of 2003 I was at it again. I hand raised 3 societies and 2 gouldians.
About 3 weeks old Visiting their friend Ashlyn Young goulds
Two of the societies (Honey & Pie) and one of the goulds (Sweetie) are living with my friend Mary. They love their home where they get to fly free in Mary's screen room.

The other society and gouldian now live with my favorite young finch lovers - Vahid and Leyla. The gouldian has remained very tame and friendly, but Vahid tells me that the society finch prefers the company of his other 2 society finches, so he's not always cooperative about visiting with his "humans". (You can see him in the background - just to the left of Vahid'd head.)

Leyla Vahid
Here are Ben and Erin with their two new tame finches "Ben/2" and "Erin/2". Ben and Erin picked up their finches a few days before weaning and completed the hand-feeding themselves. Ben and Erin also have breeding pairs of society finches, zebra finches, and gouldian finches.
Ben Erin