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Old 10-09-2018, 09:00 AM
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Parakeet Preemies?

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I took in a parakeet couple several months ago and immediately put them in separate (yet still touching) cages. The female laid eggs and I had to put them back together. I'm having a hard time getting her to stop laying eggs but I'm having a worse time getting the babies to survive. She is a horrible mother. The first batch of eggs were pecked open (by the father maybe?) and the second time she kicked two out of the nest at 1 day old and and then murdered the others by pecking open their heads. It has been horrible. She just had more. She is still sitting on four eggs and two hatched babies but she kicked two out of the nest. I started handfeeding them and they are doing alright but I'm not sure what they should weigh at this point. According to a couple of growth pictures they look like they are a few days behind in development. Has anyone had this problem? How do I fix it? I realize that the few hours in between when she kicked them out and when I finally took them out of the cage had an impact but should it be this much of one? I am feeding them every two hours still to try to catch up. I've been adding probiotics to their food, giving them Harrisons Neonate formula, and even adding pedialyte. We switched to Harrisons Juvenile last night in hopes it would beef them up.
Note: before you say "take them to a vet" I've tried. There is no vet within 2 hrs drive of me that feels comfortable dealing with such small babies. I've contacted a teaching school several hours away but they didn't have much else to say that I haven't already read. I have to take the other two babies (and Daddy) away from her before she kills them too but I'm afraid I'm doing something wrong or missing something. Why are they so little? Her two are growing nicely...
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Old 10-09-2018, 09:48 AM
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Re: Parakeet Preemies?

often times baby birds who are hand-fed from day 1 doing have a slower start. This is mostly due to the parents giving what many call 'Crop-milk' for a while instead of usual regurgitated food. Crop milk essentially is super charged with nutrients and such which kicks off the growth for the babies. Make sure you're using a gram scale daily and also a digital thermometer for the formula and a temperature controlled brooder for the ones who were kicked out of momma's nest. Also make sure you have an Avian Vet lined up even if it is over 2 hours away and that they are informed you have babies who were rejected by the mother, if anything goes wrong with the babies (vomit, loss of weight, crops not clearing, Lethargy, nearly anything) you will have to get to that vet immediately for them to even have a chance of surviving. Where abouts in the world are you? People here may know Avian experienced vets that can help. If not an already experienced breeder is your next best bet.

Check out the "so you bought an unweaned bird" thread, it has HEAPS of advice on how to care for an unweaned baby.

Also just to add in future I would do everything you can to discourage egg-laying behavior and to keep the male and female separate (no cages touching they can still breed like that if they really try) it's not healthy for any involved to have a situation like that and can result in a lot of dead babies and the mother dying too, plus it's not dying anything for the parents psychological state to keep laying eggs and having babies die. After this group of babies are matured, remove any nesting spots in the cage, get her on a hard 12 hour cycle and avoid any warm soft foods in an attempt to kick her out of breeding mode, also get her exercising and moving to burn off her energy and like I say keep her separate from the male, in the same room yes but make sure the cages are enough away from each other that touching is impossible so that any eggs she does lay aren't fertile.

best of luck
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Old 10-09-2018, 12:49 PM
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Re: Parakeet Preemies?

It's ok to keep them that far apart? I have a female only cage and a male only cage that are in the same room. I had them in smaller quarantine cages when she started laying but they would scream at each other from only a few inches away. It's kinda heartbreaking but I know it's for the best. Should I keep them in cages alone or put another bird with them or is the aviary ok? I can put them closer together. These two are not remotely tame but most of my other drop offs aren't either and I'm ok with that. I do have a bearded dragon in the room and was wondering if his UVB light had been impacting her. My biggest concern is the babies seeming to be undersized but they are gaining daily. Do you think I should switch them from a neonate formula to a juvenile formula at 14 days or 21 days? I would think the neonate would be more calorie dense but I honestly don't know.
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Old 10-09-2018, 02:06 PM
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Re: Parakeet Preemies?

Okay, first thing that you need to start doing is boiling the eggs for 20 minutes as soon as they each are laid, then put them right back into the cage with the mother...Do not put in any type of nest-box or nesting material the next time you see an egg laid, just let her lay them in the bottom of the cage/food dish etc., remove each one as it's laid, boil it for 20 minutes, and then put it right back in the bottom of the cage on the grate with NO nesting material at all...She'll lay an entire clutch again, so you need to boil each egg immediately as it is laid, put it back on the bottom of the cage, and let her lay on them for as long as she wants to...She'll eventually realize that they are not going to hatch, lose interest in them, and stop laying on them. At that point you can pitch them..Hopefully that will stop her from laying either fertile or infertile eggs, if it happens again then just do it again...But you don't want to keep allowing the babies to develop and hatch, as this is going to keep her hormones going, she'll keep laying eggs, and the process of doing this over and over again is going to kill her...Plus you don't want a ton of interbred Budgies, and she is not a good mother, nor is the father a good father, which happens, but you don't want to keep allowing babies to develop and hatch in thsi situation...So that is how you handle the issue of laying eggs...Make sure she always has access to both a Cuttlebone and a Mineral Block, and buying a commercial bag of Egg-Food or making your own which includes the crushed-up shells and always having a separate dish for her available is absolutely a must right now, and for quite a while after she lays her last clutch, as the calcium is being leeched from her bones...

She needs to be on a Natural-Light Schedule, and yes, the UVB light is probably a part of the problem, either way it's not helping, so try to relocate either the Dragon or the Bird...

As far as hand-feeding the babies....First off, how old are they? Are you keeping them in the nest-box with the mother/father keeping them warm, and you're just removing them to feed them, or did you move them to a Brooder or a makeshift-Brooder? If you moved them away from the parents, as you need to because they are being mutilated and killed, then how much of their feathers do they currently have? If these babies don't even have all of their "down feathers", then they must be kept at an Ambient Temperature that is right around 95 degrees at all times...If they have all of their down feathers but not all of their mature feathers, they must be kept at an Ambient Temperature around 85 degrees at all time...So I don't know what you're keeping them in, but they can't be kept with the violent, abusive parents, and you probably don't have a proper Brooder, so you need to make one...All you need is a large enough cardboard box, which you are going to make a hot-end and a cool-end to...You'll need an electric heating-pad, which you are going to place under the back-half of the cardboard box only, and then you're going to cover the back-half of the cardboard box only, the part that is sitting on the heating pad...DO NOT ATTEMPT TO USE ANY TYPE OF HEATING LAMP AS THE HEAT SOURCE!!! It must be adjustable and from underneath, and be dark...Then place some type of Ambient Thermometer, like a fish aquarium thermometer, in the back half of the box that is on top of the heating pad and is covered with a towel/blanket, and make certain that the Ambient Temp is correct based on their feather development...If their ambient temperature is not correct, their bodies cannot properly digest the formula you are feeding them, and this will cause slow-crop, crop-stasis, yeast/fungal infections, bacterial infections, and malnutrition.

Just as important, if not more important, is the temperature of the formula you are feeding them! It must ALWAYS be between 104 degrees F and 110 degrees F!!! Not one degree cooler than 104 degrees F, or they will develop yeast/fungal infections, slow-crop, crop-stasis, and malnutrition. One degree higher than 110 and it will cause crop-burns, which will result in a hole and bacterial infections. You must use a candy/cooking thermometer and always keep it inside of the formula you are feeding them, and if it falls below 104 degrees F while you're feeding them then you must raise the temperature back up...Never microwave the already mixed formula, you always microwave the water, then add the water to the formula, mix, and do the same if you need to heat the formula back up...But this is a huge issue with people hand-feeding babies and the issues that happen...

***As far as the formula you are using goes, I'm not familiar with anything but Roudybush hand-feeding formula and Kaytee hand-feeding formula...I'm assuming that what you are using is specifically a hand-feeding formula for baby birds, correct? You're not crushing up any other type of Harrison's food/pellets, correct? Assuming that you're using a specific baby bird hand-feeding formula, the general rule is the younger the baby bird, the thinner the formula, and the older the baby, the thicker the formula...As far as the nutritional contents of the different "ages" of formula Harrison's sells, I can't help with that, as I don't know how old your babies are, and I've not ever used anything but one single hand-feeding formula throughout the entire hand-feeding up to the point they abundance-wean...But if your temperatures are off even a degree, either the formula or the ambient, that is a part of your problem...

Also, how many feeding per day are you doing? What amount of formula are they eating per formula? This is going to be dependent on their age!!! This could also be the issue, if you're not doing enough total daily feedings, or feeding them enough per feeding....How is their feeding-response? Are you weighing each chick every single day at the same time of day and writing it down?

***Are each of their crops almost emptying between each daily feeding? Are they fully emptying overnight?

It's good you're adding an Avian probiotic and using unflavored Pedialyte...
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Old 10-09-2018, 04:47 PM
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Buckbeak the Caique Baby the Angry Quaker Jojo the Happy Cockatiel Tweedle Dum, Tweedle Dummer, Dende, Madam Floof, Sir Fluffybottoms, "Meg"aphone, Tina you Fat Cow, B****face, and George the Parakee
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Re: Parakeet Preemies?

I have removed 2 from the enclosure and will remove the other 2 today. They are 14 and 16 days old but just only have a bit feathery down on them. The two she has are very downy and 16 and 12 days old. They are hovering around 96 in there enclosure atm. They do not completely empty their crops every feeding but they do empty them over night. they are being fed at 7, 9, 11, 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10. I have read somewhere around every 2 to every 4 hours for this age and, due to their size, I started going with more frequent to be safe. She kicked them out when they were 2 and 4 days old. They eat about 2 mL each feeding, until their crop is full but not stretched. They seem to be constantly hungry and head bob all over things. They shake the thermometer that is in there like they are having a tantrum. Thank you for your help. I a little terrified of all of this
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Old 10-10-2018, 10:34 AM
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Re: Parakeet Preemies?

What is the temperature of the formula you are feeding them? And it is a baby bird handfeeding formula, correct?

So you are keeping them in a Brooder/homemade Brooder? It's best if they were being abused, she'll likely kill them if you leave them in with her, so they should all be pulled and put into a brooder...

Breeders don't typically pull baby birds from the nest-box to hand-raise/hand-feed until they are 2 weeks old...So the babies that you have are between 2-3 weeks old, they are extremely young and must be kept right around 95 degrees F ambient, and the formula cannot be outside of 104-110...When you make your feeding schedule, you need to go by their age in weeks...

I hate to tell you this, but they are not old enough to go overnight without eating yet...You need to be feeding them every 2-3 hours round the clock until they are 5 weeks old, at that point they can go overnight 6 hours without eating...But right now, you need to set a clock and wake up every 2 hours during the night until each one hits at the very least 4 weeks old, 5 is best, as that is what mom and dad would be doing...So this could very well be your problem, or at least a huge part of it (the formula temperature needs to be #1 priority)...

***So until they hit 3 weeks old you need to feed them once every 2 hours including overnight...At 3 weeks old it's once every 3 hours, including overnight...At 4 weeks old you need to feed them once every 3 hours as well, and should be overnight. At 5 weeks old you can feed them every 3-4 hours, based on the contents of their crops, and they can go 6-8 hours overnight...and at this point you should be giving them millet sprays inside the brooder...And so on...Sorry, but that's how it goes. If they aren't fed overnight up until at least 4 weeks old, they can become seriously malnourished and die, and this is most likely your issue...

Always check their crops before feeding them...I didn't realize they were this young when I wrote my first post or I would have asked you about feeding them overnight...Their crops should be almost empty each time you feed them, if they aren't almost empty then wait...Once they are at least 4 weeks old and they can go overnight 6 hours without a feeding, they should be emptying completely over that 6 hours...

Bottom line is that their crops cannot be empty at all until they hit 4 weeks old, 5 is better...All bird breeders that hand-raise gotta do it, just set an alarm clock to go off every 2 hours...Sorry, it's just a part of the gig...Another reason to not allow anymore eggs to hatch, lol...Also, if their crops ever slow down or if they hit the 4 week mark and you start letting them go 6 hours overnight without eating, and their crops are not completely empty in the morning, then this is usually a sign of a yeast infection, and there are lots of things you can do at that point...But right now I think your issue is that they haven't been being fed overnight at all, and possibly the formula temperature, depending on what you're doing with it...

And try to keep the formula on the thinner side, and then gradually thicken it as they get older. And as they get older, they'll usually start to refuse formula that is on the 104 degree F end and want it closer to the 110 degree F end...But i think if you get them all on the correct feeding schedule and amount, you'll be find...Oh, never stop feeding them based on a certain amount of formula!!! 2ml may be enough, it may not, the only way to tell if they've eaten enough is by feeling their crops! You cannot go by a chart or a certain amount that someone wrote online somewhere based on their age, that isn't how it works...They should be giving you a feeding response that will allow for their crops to become very large and round, like a balloon, but still have some give...you don't want the balloon to be hard, you want it to feel like a big, inflated balloon that still has a little bit of give, and then you stop feeding them, regardless of the amount (NEVER FORCE ANY FORMULA INTO THEM WITHOUT A FEEDING RESPONSE, NOT EVER!!! YOU'LL ASPIRATE THEM!!!). So it could also be that not only have they not been getting enough formula feedings, but the amount hasn't been enough if you're always stopping each one at 2ml. Each one will eat a totally different amount based on their age, size, crop size, body size, weight, etc. Oh, you need a digital kitchen scale if you don't already have one as they all need to be weighed once each day, first thing in the morning at the same time, and you need to write it down, as this is the only way to know if one is losing...

So I think they are probably a little malnourished and also undernourished, and depending on whether you've been using a cooking/candy thermometer in the formula at all times and making sure the formula is ALWAYS between 104-110, this isn't optional, then they may also have a bit of a yeast infection in their crops, but I don't know because you didn't mention the formula temperature...

Also, if you're using Harrison's formula and they have different types, and it's not giving good results, which it isn't, you're much better off, believe it or not, to run to your local Petco or Petsmart and buy a canister of plain old Kaytee Hand-Feeding Formula. It's great stuff, they love it, it contains Probiotics already added (I usually added my own anyway), and I never once had any nutritional or weigh issues when using it. Sometimes the more expensive, "fancier", for lack of a better word, hand-feeding formulas aren't the best for the babies...I used Roudybush for about 10 years and then the Kaytee for another 10 years, and both were great. You said something about a "neonate formula", which made me think you weren't even using a hand-feeding formula for baby birds...If that is the case, then that's a huge problem, and they'll die if you are using anything made for humans, puppies, kittens, etc. It must be a commercially prepared/sold hand-feeding formula for baby birds ONLY! People who live in other countries, usually in the middle-east where they can't find a commercial hand-feeding formula available, will use a human baby formula or cereal, usually Cerelac, which is loaded with iron (birds cannot process much iron, it kills them), and it also does not provide near the nutrition they need as baby birds...When in doubt, use Kaytee, it's easy to find, cheap, and it works perfectly...It's not uncommon for breeders, even experienced breeders, to have to switch formula brands because the one they are using is causing issues.

***Breeding/hand-raising/hand-feeding birds is not for the faint of heart, it's not easy, and if you don't know what you're doing you shouldn't do it...Most breeders actually do a mentorship/internship with an experienced breeder before ever even attempting...And I know you didn't want to hand-feed/hand-raise baby birds, but any time you allow eggs to hatch, even if you're expecting the parents to feed/raise the babies, look what can happen!!! Sorry about the feeding overnight thing, but it's not optional...
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  #7 (permalink)  
Old 10-12-2018, 08:50 AM
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Buckbeak the Caique Baby the Angry Quaker Jojo the Happy Cockatiel Tweedle Dum, Tweedle Dummer, Dende, Madam Floof, Sir Fluffybottoms, "Meg"aphone, Tina you Fat Cow, B****face, and George the Parakee
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Re: Parakeet Preemies?

Thank you. I will definitely feed them at night. Everything I read told me they had to let their crops empty for 8 hours every night to prevent a yeast infection. It is a handfeeding formula for baby parrots but I ordered some high fat kinds as well. I have been mixing it like the package directions say but it does seem thick. I was afraid to water it down because they wont get the concentrated nutrients they need but Their crops are not empty between feeds. I do not want this to happen again, I have a "no babies/no breeding" policy.Any tips I can get on preventing yeast infections are very VERY welcome. I have been putting the formula in a very hot water bath whjile I feed, to keep the temp up. at 110f I start feeding and it's usually 105f by the time I stop. If it cools down, I go make more. I'm not worried about the time or money, I just want them to be ok. They are 3 weeks old now, is it ok to start dropping the temp down?
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