Here is a list of the current vendors I use or ones that have been recommended to me. I realize it is far from complete on what’s out there but it takes care of what I need. You will note that in some categories I stress quality, reliability and service level. Cost is a definite consideration, but the other three are the most important values I place on taking care of my finches.
I use the cheap Chinese cages, mostly the 24s and 30s. Cage World does an excellent job of shipping right away and their prices are some of the best I’ve found.
Until recently, most of mine were the small and large finch bamboo nests, along with a few of the canary bamboo for the Carduelan finches (Gray Singers, Green Singers, etc.). Pet Solutions has great service and when I had a problem once, they were more than happy to take care of it. First class! I also buy my cuttlebone from them and a few other things like extra cups. Skip the coco fiber from them.
I also found some Society wooden nests, which are wide and low and open in front. It gives enough room for everyone to pile in and watch the world go by. When I got the first batch, I realized they were too wide to get through the smaller doors on my Society cages, so I put a little timothy hay and coco fiber in them and set up three in a row on top of one of the higher cages for the free flight birds, hoping the Spice might like them. However, within minutes a committee from the Zebra Housing Authority arrived to inspect them. The next morning, there were two Zebra tenants. I plan to buy more and put them on shelves or even hang them on the walls. I like them. And I found them at Lady Gouldian Finch (see below).
Frisky Finches has wooden Gouldian nesting boxes and several other types of wooden boxes for hanging inside or outside cages. They also supply wood shipping containers. Lady Gouldian also carries the same line.
Another super operation is Lady Gouldian Finches. They sell bundles of coco fiber at reasonable prices. I also buy colored plastic bands from them to identify birds by parentage and sex. They were one of my early finds and some of my start-up needs were also bought there.
Roy Beckham has recommended the following resource for bulk coco fiber:
Whether closed bands, plastic open bands or the 2-color plastic open bands, L&M Bird Leg Bands has them.
All Bird Products is my favorite. They have the largest selection and the service is excellent. They have several other products you might be interested in, as they keep expanding their catalog. Thanks to Karl Lieberman for letting me know about ABP.
Egg Food Supplemental Ingredients
Sometimes I get the 12 oz. bottle of orange-flavored emulsion Cod Liver Oil from Walmart. I was getting the Wheat Germ Oil and Horsetail Shavegrass capsules from the Vitamin Shoppe, but I have found a new source I like. And while you’re visiting their website, you might also look for any vitamins and supplements you regularly use. They have a starting $3.99 shipping cost and there is a chart to let you calculate before ordering. It's reasonable. The prices are the lowest I’ve found. They are NutroVita and very good. I use Viobin Wheat Germ Oil and it is $13.15 for a 32 oz. bottle, which is cheaper than some brands' 8 oz bottle. While the 12 oz. bottle of orange-flavored emulsified Norwegian Cod Liver Oil at Walmart is only $8.00, the Twinlab brand at NutroVita is $10.31. The Solar Ray brand of Horsetail Shavegrass 100 ct. capsules is $5.11, quite a bit cheaper than the $7.50 I pay in a pinch at The Vitamin Shoppe here in town. They are a California-based operation and charge a 9.75% sales tax to residents of the Golden State. The rest of us go tax-free. For Californians, you might consider http://www.vitacost.com the one I used before finding NutroVita.
Most people find a seed they like and have been using same for a number of years. Plus, there are regional seed companies many use. Shipping costs have to be considered, as they often match the price of the seed itself. I have found Jones Seed Co.in Lawton, OK to be great on service and the 400-Finch Blends I buy is terrific. The millet size is smaller than the previous blend I used and there is less waste with it. I set up a couple of bowls with the previous blend I used and the Jones blend. My birds prefer Jones 2-to-1. The other seed I use comes from Walmart and has the smaller, oily seed. Some of my birds get both, but since the smaller seed costs me more, I’m pretty stingy with it.
The Green Day Diet
Since it is all fresh vegetables and egg food, it’s up to you to find a grocery store with good quality produce at reasonable prices. My local Walmart provides both. Sometimes I use another store and the regional chain, H-E-B, is where I shop for things Walmart doesn’t have. I also buy my Apple Cider Vinegar at the grocery store. I put a teaspoon of it in one gallon of water, 2 teaspoons during the hot, humid summers, and that's the sole addition I make to the finches' drinking and bathing water. It keeps yeast at bay and does a few other good things.
High Protein Mix
During breeding times some of the birds need a protein boost. This is when I use Meadowlark Farms' Gouldian Pro-Mix, not only for Gouldians, but any species of finch. The stuff is dynamite--promotes breeding, evens out the sexes and gives the chicks a great sendoff from the nest. Kristen Reeves is the proprietor of MF and turns out beautiful Gouldians. She's a science dweeb like me and I trust everything she does or recommends.
Well, my starting breeding stock has to come from somewhere! I have tried a handful of sellers with mixed results. That’s not to say I’ve dealt with a lot, and I’m sure there are many reputable people selling birds-—as well as the other kind. I’ve settled on one person to do my bidding for me. Karl Lieberman. Anyone who knows me, knows this to be true. And most of the people I know in the finch world have dealt with Karl. It’s difficult to find someone who is trustworthy, one of the most knowledgeable people in the business, has many resources for finches and several other species, is fair, agreeable and charming. He is in San Diego, CA and can be reached by telephone at 619-255-5683.
His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and his current list is usually published on the NFSS group and a couple of others.
There you go. It’s not a long list, but the essentials. I don’t do toys, don’t hand feed, don’t use mealworms and am pretty efficient, not to mention frugal.