Artificial light for Gouldian Finch

Influence of light in the metabolism of birds

Sunlight is important for all living things, including exotic birds and influencing their biological cycles and benefits the synthesis of vitamin D.
Nor should we forget the benefits ultraviolet rays.

Biological cycles, vitamin D and UV rays

Stimulation by periods of sunlight activates the operation of various glands.
The hypothalamus acts in the development of skin and feathers and pineal gland controls the cyclical processes such as moulting and reproduction, thereby obtaining metabolic benefits.

Vitamin D is important for calcium metabolism, play an important role in egg laying, calcification of the bones of birds and survival of embryos.
The lack of sunlight causes a lack of vitamin D can cause retention of eggs, soft-shelled eggs, embryo mortality, skeletal malformations, beak and nail problems, bone weakness, picajes, tumors, etc.

UV rays from sunlight provide health benefits birds as it provides a more natural view their environment, promotes natural behavior and improves breeding results.

For these reasons, indoor facilities must be provided with broad-spectrum light:
1.- Simulate the most important biological cycles of birds, ie the moulting and breeding season.
2.- Meet the needs of UV rays birds.
3.- Help metabolize vitamin D.
In addition, the plumage of birds exposed to natural light is better quality than those birds acclimated indoors with inadequate light sources without UV rays.

In summary, access to direct sunlight or a suitable source of artificial light, improves the welfare of birds. Birds are more stressed and improves their quality of life.

The influence of light on the Gouldian Finch

As noted above, the influence of the periods of light with variations in hours throughout the year is important because it stimulates the breeding season.

This influence is more important for birds whose natural habitat is not within the tropical areas. But for birds of tropical areas such as the Gouldian, this influence is not so important because the differences in daylight hours are not as pronounced as in non-tropical areas.

For example, in Spain, a country located in non-tropical area, the difference in daylight hours between June (maximum hours of light) and December (minimum hours of light) is about 6 hours. Instead, for the area of natural habitat Gouldian Finch (Northern Australia), the time difference between December (maximum hours of light) and June (minimum hours of light) it is only 3 hours.

Daylight hours should be taken into consideration as an important element in breeding Gouldian Finch, although not as decisive as the influence has in breeding canaries and native birds in the area breeder.


Artificial light for birds

If our birds should be inside and / or do not have enough natural light, we must adapt our installations to compensate for changes involved in having birds with inadequate lighting conditions.

When we acquire a source of artificial light, it must have a color temperature near 5,500 ° K, 12% of UV-A and between 2 - 2.5% of the total UV-B rays emitted light.

 We can simulate natural lighting conditions by:
1.- Installing a programmer that simulates the sunrise, sunset and daylight hours appropriate for each life cycle of birds.
2.- A light source that simulates the most of the features and light spectrum of natural light.

An economical way to do this is with strips of LED and TC420 programmer lights.


LED strips

The LED strips with 3528 chip is best suited for artificial lighting of our birds.

These are its characteristics:

- Led type: 3528. Light white or warm white for day and light blue for simulation of light at night (moon).
- Voltage: 12V (volt).
- LEDs per meter: 60.
- Color temperature to warm white light: 2.500 - 4.000° Kelvin (adequate to breeding season).
- Color temperature for white light: 5.500-10.000° Kelvin (suitable for other periods).
- Viewing Angle: 120º.
- Power consumption per meter: 4,8 W (watts).
- Hours life of approx.: 50.000. (As of 50,000 hours, the luminous efficiency decreases below 85%).

Sold in rolls of 5 m., Must respect polarity when connecting the power supply.
For the simulation of the night light must be selected strips LEDs with blue light.


The TC420 controller programmable time

The TC420 is a programmable timming controller can alter the brightness of up to 5 channels, more than enough to control the light of a whole aviary, both day and night.

The controller can be programmed from a PC via a USB connection. It works by a power supply rated 12V to 24V and uses the pulse width modulation (PWM) to gradually accelerate the brightness of LED strips.

Each channel can manage up to 4 amps of intensity and can program a channel for daylight and a channel for nightlight. The other three channels are free for other uses.
You need to know what intensity will Leds strips connected to each channel not to exceed the maximum 4 amps.
Given that the strips of LEDs work with a voltage of 12V and usually know the power consumed (watts) per meter, it is easy to know the current (amps).

For example, a strip of LEDs with 3528 chip has a power of approximately 4.8 watts per meter. Applying the formula


we know our amps LED strip.

Example with a strip of 3 m. LEDs with chip of 3528: 4.8 (volts) is divided between 12 (volts) and is multiplied by 3 (length), giving amps for our 3m.:

A = 4,8 / 12 = 0,4A (for 1m.)
0,4 A x 3 m. = 1,2A (amps)
To facilitate the calculation, you have the following calculator for the 3 most popular types of LEDs:

Calculate the volts, amps and lumens in a strip of LEDs

- LED strips with 3528 chips are the lowest level. A strip of 1 m. It has 60 chips per meter, about 360 lumens and 4.8 watts.
- LED strips with 5050 chips are brighter. A strip of 1 m. It has 60 chips per meter, 900 lumens and 14.4 watts.
- LED strips with 5630 chips are even brighter. A strip of 1 m. It has 60 chips per meter, about 2,000 lumens and about 30 watts.

Type of Leds
LEDs per meter
Meters in total
Total watts = 0 W
Total amps = 0 A
Total Lumens approx. = 0 LM

The power supply is connected to the input terminals V + and V- and must provide the necessary power for the TC420 controller and the LEDs, so it should be a power supply with sufficient power for this.

Calculate the appropriate power source for TC420 controller

To calculate the size of the power supply is needed, they must be added the maximum amps for the 5 channels and add a 10% safety margin. This will give the minimum in amperes of the power supply. The following example these values are used in amps for each of the 5 channels: 4, 2, 1,5, 0,6 y 1,1.

Total amps power supply = (2 + 1,5 + 0,6 + 1,1) x 1,1
5,2 x 1,1 (Multiplying by 1.1, add amps 10%)
Total amps required of the power supply = 5,72 A (amps)

So we have a 12v power supply and minimum 5.72 amperes.
If the power supply is dimensioned in Watts, we must multiply amps by volts:


W (watt) = 5.72 A (amps) x 12 V (volt) = 68,64 W watt).
So we have a power supply of 70 watts or above.
Below, you can calculate the power supply you should use:

Volt system V
Power Leds     A (amps) (W) watt
The power supply must have a capacity of at least (*):
Total watt = 0 W
Total amp = 0 A

(*) Values calculated with + 10% safety margin.

Programming the TC420 controller for aviary

To program the controller TC420 time, we must define the different ways we need and in each define the start and duration of sunrise and sunset and daylight hours.


If we take the "070-150" Thus we see that we have scheduled as follows:

  Channel 1, 2 y 3 (day*) Channel 4 (night **) Channel 5 (Guide ***)
step 1 00:00 h. to 07:00 h. 0% light 100% light 0%
step 2 07:00 h. to 07:30 h. From 0% to 100% light From 100% to 0% light 100%
step 3 07:30 h. to 22:00 h. 100% light 0% light 0%
step 4 22:00 h. to 22:30 h. From 100% to 0% light From 0% to 100% light 100%
step 5 22:30 h. to 23:59 h. 0% light 100% light 0%
step 6 Returns to Step 1 0% light 100% light 100%

(*) For daylight were used white light LED strips (non-breeding periods) or warm white (breeding season), although you can choose white light for the whole year.
(**) For the night light were used LED blue light strips and % maximum (100%) will be adjusted according to the amplitude of space.
(**) This channel is used as a time guide for the jumps between steps are equal in amount of time, if there would be instant jumps because no changes in light % (for example from step 1 to step 2 and 5 to 6).
Now we just need to connect the USB cable to the controller TC420 and transfer the programming defined.
Connect the power supply to the terminals INPUT V+ and INPUT V- of the TC420.
Connect LED strips day to either channe 1, 2 o 3. Positive in OUTPUT V+ and negative in CH1, CH2 o CH3.
Connect LED strips night to channel 4. Positive in OUTPUT V+ and negative in CH4.
And finally we select the mode that suits us, in this case the "070-150" (daylight from 07:00 h. in the morning during 15 h and transitions sunrise and sunset 30 minutes).

Here you have files programming (1) of the previous example and alternative programming (2):

1.- ZIP compressed file

2.- ZIP compressed file

Artificial light for Gouldian Finch

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Psittacus - Pienso y papillas para Diamantes de Gould