- the resulting mix may not necessarily be the most healthy of seed mixes, particularly if they over-eat a particular seed variety (leading to excessive weight and other health problems).
- the recorded consumption values in grams include the weight of the uneaten husks. I am not sure how much of a seed's weight is husk, but if we assume 20% then the actual consumption figures listed below can be reduced by the same amount to arrive at an estimate of the amount of seed kernel consumed.

I am also repeating these trials for my numerous other finch species: Gouldian, Plum-head, Painted Firetail, Diamond Firetail, Owl, etc.

Here in Japan the range of available seed appears to be more limited than in overseas countries like Australia (my home) and the USA. Basically speaking we have the following seed varieties suitable for finches that are readily available. They obviously have Japanese names and I am thus unsure, in some cases, as to exactly what the Western equivalent is, so the Western names listed below are "to the best of my knowledge":

Japanese Name | Japanese name (in Western script) | Western name | Latin |

1. ニガシード | Niga shi-do | Niger Seed (Guizotia abyssinica) | |

2. 粟 | Awa | Foxtail millet | Setaria italica |

3. 赤粟 | Aka Awa | Red millet, Amaranth | Amaranthus hypochondriacus |

4. 稗, ヒエ | Hie | Japanese barnyard millet | Echinochloa utilis |

5. 赤ヒエ | Aka Hie | Red Japanese barnyard millet | |

6. エゴマ | Egoma | Perilla, wild sesame seed | Perilla frutescens |

7. 赤パニカムシード | Aka Panikamu Shi-do | Panicum | Panicum |

8. 黍, キビ | Kibi | Common millet, pearl millet, Proso millet | Panicum miliaceium |

9. 赤キビ | Aka kibi | Red millet, brown millet (type unknown) | |

10. カナリアシード | Kanaria Shi-do | Canary seed | Phalaris canariensis |

11. ナタネ | Natane | Rapeseed | Brassica napus |

A pair of Diamond Firetail finches (over 15 days) | ||||
---|---|---|---|---|

Seed type | Original weight of D-cup | Final weight of D-cup | Total eaten | % of total |

1. ニガシード Niger Seed (Guizotia abyssinica) | 15.70g | 15.70g | 0g | 0% |

2. 粟 Foxtail millet | 23.40g | 13.25g | 10.15g | 5.4% |

3. 赤粟 Red millet, Amaranth | 20.50g | 15.42g | 5.08g | 2.7% |

4. ヒエ Japanese barnyard millet | 23.03g | 11.54g | 11.49g | 6.1% |

5. 赤ヒエ Red Japanese barnyard millet | 18.18g | 12.49g | 5.69g | 3.0% |

6. エゴマ Perilla, wild sesame seed | 12.75g | 12.03g | 0.72g | 0.4% |

7. 赤パニカムシード Panicum | 20.04g | 10.11g | 9.93g | 5.3% |

8. キビ, Kibi | 89.41g | 34.34g | 55.07g | 29.3% |

9. 赤キビ, Red Kibi | 20.92g | 8.19g | 12.73g | 6.8% |

10. カナリアシード, Canary seed | 117.0g | 40.68g | 76.14g | 40.5% |

11. ナタネ, Rapeseed | 12.68g | 11.79g | 0.89g | 0.5% |

Totals: | 373.61g | 185.72g | 187.89g | |

Trial 1: Two Gold-breasts | ||||
---|---|---|---|---|

Seed type | Original weight of D-cup | Final weight of D-cup | Total eaten | % of total |

1. ニガシード Niger Seed (Guizotia abyssinica) | 16.95g | 15.60g | 1.35g | 2.7% |

2. 粟 Foxtail millet | 29.52g | 13.78g | 15.74g | 31.4% |

3. 赤粟 Red millet, Amaranth | 24.07g | 18.05g | 6.02g | 12.0% |

4. ヒエ Japanese barnyard millet | 16.94g | 14.50g | 2.44g | 4.9% |

5. 赤ヒエ Red Japanese barnyard millet | 21.42g | 13.58g | 7.84g | 15.7% |

6. エゴマ Perilla, wild sesame seed | 20.15g | 18.41g | 1.74g | 3.5% |

7. 赤パニカムシード Panicum | 27.12g | 12.20g | 14.92g | 29.8% |

Totals: | 156.17g | 106.12g | 50.05g |

Trial 2: Four Gold-breasts (2015-01-04 to 2015-01-13, 9 days) | ||||
---|---|---|---|---|

Seed type | Original weight of D-cup | Final weight of D-cup | Total eaten | % of total |

1. ニガシード Niger Seed (Guizotia abyssinica) | 15.60g | 15.41g | 0.19g | 0.18% |

2. 粟 Foxtail millet | 55.70g | 18.85g | 36.85g | 34.00% |

3. 赤粟 Red millet, Amaranth | 42.76g | 13.92g | 28.84g | 26.60% |

4. ヒエ Japanese barnyard millet | 18.53g | 13.94g | 4.59g | 4.23% |

5. 赤ヒエ Red Japanese barnyard millet | 26.17g | 16.30g | 9.87g | 9.11% |

6. エゴマ Perilla, wild sesame seed | 18.41g | 18.00g | 0.41g | 0.38% |

7. 赤パニカムシード Panicum | 46.87g | 19.63g | 27.24g | 25.13% |

10. カナリアシード Canary seed | 18.69g | 18.29g | 0.40g | 0.37% |

Total: | 108.39g |

We can see that each Gold-breast ate around 3 grams of seed each day (plus a small amount of egg food, which these wild-born Gold-breasts don't seem to prefer).

For trial 2 I used all eleven easily obtainable seed types, so this trial is more comprehensive that trial 1. The 19 Gouldians consumed 286 grams of seed over the three days of the trial. This is 5 grams per bird per day, a considerable increase on the 3.4g per day seen in trial 1 when the birds were younger. The young adolescents are really in their growth phase now. A look at the consumption table below would suggest that rapeseed was being consumed ever, s\ever so slightly. I would not place much confidence in the recorded 0.9% consumption, the reason being I found rapeseed discarded in other seed D-cups, suggesting the Gouldians were simply playing with it rather than consuming it.

Trial 1: Fourteen Gouldians (over 4 days) | ||||
---|---|---|---|---|

Seed type | Original weight of D-cup | Final weight of D-cup | Total eaten | % of total |

1. ニガシード Niger Seed (Guizotia abyssinica) | 38.80g | 32.63g | 6.17g | 3.3% |

2. 粟 Foxtail millet | 57.20g | 19.18g | 38.02g | 20.1% |

3. 赤粟 Red millet, Amaranth | 62.30g | 28.27g | 34.03g | 18.0% |

4. ヒエ Japanese barnyard millet | 45.85g | 32.37g | 13.48g | 7.1% |

5. 赤ヒエ Red Japanese barnyard millet | 34.00g | 22.09g | 11.91g | 6.3% |

6. エゴマ Perilla, wild sesame seed | 36.98g | 28.69g | 8.29g | 4.4% |

7. 赤パニカムシード Panicum | 52.67g | 16.05g | 36.62g | 19.4% |

10. カナリアシード, Canary seed | 61.78g | 21.42g | 40.36g | 21.4% |

Totals: | 389.58g | 200.7g | 188.88g |

Trial 2: 19 Gouldians (over 3 days) | ||||
---|---|---|---|---|

Seed type | Original weight of D-cup | Final weight of D-cup | Total eaten | % of total |

1. ニガシード Niger Seed (Guizotia abyssinica) | 20.10g | 13.90g | 6.2g | 2.2% |

2. 粟 Foxtail millet | 68.09g | 29.72g | 38.37g | 13.4% |

3. 赤粟 Red millet, Amaranth | 70.99g | 32.10g | 38.89g | 13.6% |

4. ヒエ Japanese barnyard millet | 51.88g | 24.51g | 27.37g | 9.6% |

5. 赤ヒエ Red Japanese barnyard millet | 36.78g | 21.00g | 15.78g | 5.5% |

6. エゴマ Perilla, wild sesame seed | 19.57g | 14.16g | 5.41g | 1.9% |

7. 赤パニカムシード Panicum | 72.30g | 28.03g | 44.27g | 15.5% |

8. キビ, Kibi | 70.97g | 34.55g | 36.42g | 12.7% |

9. 赤キビ, Red Kibi | 79.51g | 57.15g | 22.36g | 7.8% |

10. カナリアシード, Canary seed | 68.01g | 19.70g | 48.31g | 16.9% |

11. ナタネ, Rapeseed | 16.19g | 13.72g | 2.47g | 0.9% |

Totals: | 574.39g | 288.54g | 285.85g | |

A pair of Mask finches (over 7 days) | ||||
---|---|---|---|---|

Seed type | Original weight of D-cup | Final weight of D-cup | Total eaten | % of total |

1. ニガシード Niger Seed (Guizotia abyssinica) | 11.90g | 11.35g | 0.55g | 0.5% |

2. 粟 Foxtail millet | 32.73g | 18.07g | 14.66 | 13.9% |

3. 赤粟 Red millet, Amaranth | 17.77g | 14.23g | 3.54g | 3.4% |

4. ヒエ Japanese barnyard millet | 19.97g | 14.43g | 5.54g | 5.3% |

5. 赤ヒエ Red Japanese barnyard millet | 19.87g | 16.25g | 3.62g | 3.4% |

6. エゴマ Perilla, wild sesame seed | 17.67g | 17.60g | 0.07g | 0.1% |

7. 赤パニカムシード Panicum | 32.17g | 11.80g | 20.37g | 19.4% |

8. キビ, Kibi | 33.20g | 10.54g | 22.66g | 21.5% |

9. 赤キビ, Red Kibi | 26.74g | 15.31g | 11.43g | 10.9% |

10. カナリアシード, Canary seed | 32.79g | 10.06g | 22.73g | 21.6% |

11. ナタネ, Rapeseed | 0g | 0g | 0g | 0% |

Totals: | 244.81g | 139.64g | 105.17g | |

As is often the case for these small-bodied finches, the smaller seed varieties proved to be the most consumed by my Owl finches, with Foxtail millet and Panicum seed making up over 60% of their diet. What is surprising, to me at least, is that they are the first of my finches to consume sesame seed an even the slightest quantity, being 11% of their diet.

Trial 1: A pair of Painted Firetail finches (over 7 days) | ||||
---|---|---|---|---|

Seed type | Original weight of D-cup | Final weight of D-cup | Total eaten | % of total |

1. ニガシード Niger Seed (Guizotia abyssinica) | 12.24g | 12.24g | 0g | 0% |

2. 粟 Foxtail millet | 32.30g | 15.38g | 16.92g | 32.5% |

3. 赤粟 Red millet, Amaranth | 12.98g | 8.77g | 4.21g | 8.1% |

4. ヒエ Japanese barnyard millet | 16.12g | 13.29g | 2.83g | 5.4% |

5. 赤ヒエ Red Japanese barnyard millet | 15.62g | 15.10g | 0.52g | 1.0% |

6. エゴマ Perilla, wild sesame seed | 14.45g | 8.41g | 6.04g | 11.6% |

7. 赤パニカムシード Panicum | 32.68g | 16.36g | 16.32g | 31.3% |

8. キビ, Kibi | 17.77g | 16.07g | 1.70g | 3.3% |

9. 赤キビ, Red Kibi | 16.14g | 13.44g | 2.70g | 5.2% |

10. カナリアシード, Canary seed | 19.14g | 18.25g | 0.89g | 1.7% |

11. ナタネ, Rapeseed | 14.0g | 14.0g | 0.0g | 0% |

Totals: | 203.44g | 151.31g | 52.13g | |

Like their Plum-head counterparts, this pair of Painted Firetails appears to have an obsession, some might argue an unhealthy obsession, with two of the smaller seed types: Foxtail millet, and Panicum, being about 79% of total consumption. It may be particular to this pair and we should not yet consider these results to be indicative of Painted Firetails in general. I will repeat this trial using my second pair of Painted Firetails.

Trial 1: A pair of Painted Firetail finches (over 7 days) | ||||
---|---|---|---|---|

Seed type | Original weight of D-cup | Final weight of D-cup | Total eaten | % of total |

1. ニガシード Niger Seed (Guizotia abyssinica) | 11.92g | 10.30g | 1.62g | 1.1% |

2. 粟 Foxtail millet | 95.22g | 44.87g | 50.35g | 35.6% |

3. 赤粟 Red millet, Amaranth | 18.5g | 14.62g | 3.88g | 2.7% |

4. ヒエ Japanese barnyard millet | 20.93g | 17.60g | 3.33g | 2.4% |

5. 赤ヒエ Red Japanese barnyard millet | 18.03g | 14.93g | 3.10g | 2.2% |

6. エゴマ Perilla, wild sesame seed | 13.01g | 13.00g | 0.01g | 0.0% |

7. 赤パニカムシード Panicum | 88.92g | 27.84g | 61.08g | 43.2% |

8. キビ, Kibi | 29.02g | 17.47g | 11.55g | 8.2% |

9. 赤キビ, Red Kibi | 20.97g | 17.07g | 3.90g | 2.8% |

10. カナリアシード, Canary seed | 22.81g | 20.48g | 2.33g | 1.6% |

11. ナタネ, Rapeseed | 13.22g | 12.97g | 0.25g | 0.2% |

Totals: | 352.55g | 211.15g | 141.40g | |

As per their Painted Firetail counterparts, it is surprising that this pair of Plum-head finches appears to have an obsession, once again, arguably an unhealthy obsession, with the two varieties of Japanese barnyard millet, being about 50% of total consumption. It may be particular to this pair and we should not yet consider these results to be indicative of Plum-heads in general. I will repeat this trial using my second pair of Plum-heads.

Trial 1: A pair of Plum-head finches (over 14 days) | ||||
---|---|---|---|---|

Seed type | Original weight of D-cup | Final weight of D-cup | Total eaten | % of total |

1. ニガシード Niger Seed (Guizotia abyssinica) | 16.05g | 15.43g | 0.62g | 0.4% |

2. 粟 Foxtail millet | 56.95g | 47.17g | 9.78g | 6.9% |

3. 赤粟 Red millet, Amaranth | 70.25g | 35.40g | 34.85g | 24.5% |

4. ヒエ Japanese barnyard millet | 57.31g | 22.63g | 34.68g | 24.4% |

5. 赤ヒエ Red Japanese barnyard millet | 53.00g | 45.80g | 7.20g | 5.1% |

6. エゴマ Perilla, wild sesame seed | 21.08g | 16.21g | 4.87g | 3.4% |

7. 赤パニカムシード Panicum | 50.04g | 38.85g | 11.19g | 7.9% |

10. カナリアシード, Canary seed | 33.4g | 25.54g | 7.86g | 5.5% |

Totals: | 475.63g | 333.49g | 142.14g | |

In closing I would like to draw your attention to another article on seed mix trials, targeted at African finch species including the Gold-breasts, by Clifton Finch Aviaries entitled THE SEEDS OF AN IDEA!. It is well worth a read.