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Old 05-16-2018, 10:05 AM
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Re: Splayed legs in parakeet hatchlings...

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Hi all, I took babies to the vet today at 9. They're being kept there so the vet can attempt to splint them. Though she even said that she has yet to successfully splint a parakeet....So honestly I'm not sure they'll be splinted to begin with. BUT...

She recommended the Harrison's diet. I primarily feed my birds Kay-Tee brand parakeet/finch seed with millet and greens/fruits on occasion. I know it's high in fat though, so she recommended that for added calcium.

She also told me to grab some hand-feeding formula, recommending the 'exact' brand as her personal favorite. She also told me that hand-feeding is easy.....which i'm a little skeptical about but....I'm a fast and careful learner...

She agreed with me, that one baby is obviously more impaired than the other, he's also more feisty and has inflammation to his bad-leg joint...:/.

I tried to take mama bird (Maya) with the babies but she wouldn't come and I didn't want to force her....Maya and I have a less than favorable bond...She knows I won't hurt her, but she doesn't seem to like me and I know that anytime I force her to do anything, she likes me less...But I know the vet will take care of them in her place...

Scarleau seems to like me most, he'll perch on my finger and stay by me. The rest of my birdies are less than eager to hang with me.

I think Scarleau favors me bec when I first brought him home, I'm not sure if his wings were clipped too far or maybe he was a little derpy but he was picked on by Maya. So I would take him out of the cage away from her and spend time with him on my finger to calm him and make him comfortable. He actually just recently re-gained his ability to fly controllably (at a little over 1 and 1/2 year).

Oh, another thing, I don't clip my birdies wings...I feel it's bad enough that I keep them in a cage...they should at least be able to utilize what 'god' gave them. I know it can be a safety issue, but they get better exercise this way and I don't have any mirrors or open windows in my room that'd cause major issues. I do have a kitty, but she's declawed and about 10yrs old...she watches them fly but...I've had them together for 2 years and she's never lunged or jumped for em. I'd still never leave them out unattended..but I suppose I push the envelope.

Kiwi, my other boy, likes to get out of his cage at random points in the day...He really started doing it when Maya's eggs hatched...there's a part of me that say's hes curious about the babies, but the logical person in me know's he's curious because they're a threat to him right now....I hate finding him out of his cage, usually he's sitting on top of Maya/Scarleau and the babies cage...next to his and cloudy's...and I'm sure it makes Maya nervous with him being above her and babies like that.

Cloudy likes to crane her neck to get a view of them, but she doesn't follow kiwi through the space in the bars. (There is a bar that's broken off nd it leaves him just enough space to get through...I keep a towel over that side of the cage to block it but he's smarter than that sometimes...)

He also makes me nervous because of Baby, my kitty. He's a very good flyer though, probably the best of all of my birds so it's very unlikely that she can catch him but....she's a cat.....and I just hate when he gets out and I'm unaware or worse...not in my room at all...but again, I never knowingly let them out alone...and have a near heart attack when I find him out alone.

Anyway, hopefully the vet calls soon.
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Old 05-16-2018, 10:08 AM
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Re: Splayed legs in parakeet hatchlings...

Please keep us in the loop. Praying for a best case out come.
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Old 05-16-2018, 10:10 AM
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Re: Splayed legs in parakeet hatchlings...

I hope the vet calls soon with some good news!
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  #44 (permalink)  
Old 05-16-2018, 10:24 AM
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Re: Splayed legs in parakeet hatchlings...

Just for reference as well, for anyone looking to take their bird to the vet for this procedure. The overall bill was $100 so far. They charge a $50 walk in fee and treated my babies as a 'litter' rather than 2 individual animals. And the splints costed me 15$ each. Totaled $100. Granted, this is the small animal and avian vet around my local area. Prices may vary but....this has been my experience.

Which is about what I expected but I was worried it'd run me closer to $250 because they're a specialty type animal vet and...with splayed leg....there could've been other things up with them....we have yet to see but I hope all goes well...
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Old 05-16-2018, 10:24 AM
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Re: Splayed legs in parakeet hatchlings...

Hoping for a good report!
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Old 05-16-2018, 12:51 PM
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Re: Splayed legs in parakeet hatchlings...

So, the vet put 2 splints on each baby. A waddle splint and a surf board splint. One for their feet and one for their hips. The waddle splint is a pool noodle put around their butts and upper legs, the surf board splint is a tongue depressor taped to their feet. I'm to keep them in a 'towel nest' to keep them upright for the next week. I also need to keep them clean...which means picking them up...I'm worried about that because I don't want to ruin the splint...but I'm trying my best.

I've got syringes from the vet, exact feeding formula from pet supplies plus, and a candy thermometer just in case I need to start feeding them. the vet recommended I do regardless but...I'm nervous about doing it...

I think I'm going to switch up the parents diet, try to acclimate them to the healthier diet the vet recommended and hopefully that'll translate to the babies. They were really hungry when I brought them home (though they were fed at the vet) They tried to feed each-other on the way home...I forgot my towel to cover them. Anyway, Maya fed each one immediately, and then Scarleau came down from his perch and helped. So I think we're good on that front for now.

But the challenge is keeping the darker one...(thinking rocco, maybe trooper if its a he...)...the more splayed chick, in his splint. He's real fiesty, and wants no part of it. The whiter and less disabled chick is taking it like a champ...

Edit: no excess problems reported. She said they seem to both be healthy. The whiter, less disabled/always fed first chick was weighed at 33g. The darker, more disabled one weighed in at 31g. She didn't tell me exactly how healthy, So if they're underweight for 18 and 20 days...that would be another reason I should try to hand-feed.

Is there a way to practice hand feeding???

like mixing a mock batch of formula, mocking through the process, and feed into a kind of.....candy/frosting bag to monitor how much a pump is, bobbing rhythm, how long it should take, ect?

Last edited by Budgiegirl38; 05-16-2018 at 01:02 PM.
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  #47 (permalink)  
Old 05-16-2018, 01:09 PM
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Re: Splayed legs in parakeet hatchlings...

Way to go!
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Old 05-16-2018, 01:35 PM
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Re: Splayed legs in parakeet hatchlings...

I'm happy I took them. Worried that it may not work out, but I couldn't have made a splint like how the Vet did or do so w/o possibly causing more damage.

I'll get pictures on here soon...I don't have many, as I've really tried to leave them alone. But I have some of their first few days, and can take progress/day 1-7 on the splint...though they'll be posted later-on in the day...

Now I'm off to work...I've left my mom in charge of monitoring them...I've asked for every hour but...the vet said to clean them about 3 or 4 times per day.

I plan to watch when Maya feeds and check on them at least 45 min afterward. It prob wont take that long but, I don't want to disturb them 3 times after each feeding..

Maya has just fed them when they babies returned less than an hour ago, I've checked and didn't notice anything, hopefully my mom will catch it. Gotta blast.
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  #49 (permalink)  
Old 05-16-2018, 01:44 PM
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Re: Splayed legs in parakeet hatchlings...

Glad to hear you went to a vet and got them checked out!! I hope the splints stay on and they heal.

About the hand-feeding...it can be tricky. I'm not sure why the vet said it is easy, but to someone with no experience it can be a complicated process.

You can definitely make a 'practice' batch of the formula to get a feel for how it should be prepared, just in case you need to step in and feed. The most important things...

The temperature of the formula should be 104-106 degrees F. This can vary some, just don't be under 100 (too cold) and don't make it too hot (over 110).

The way to get it to the proper temperature is to use very hot water (either by microwave, or a hot tap), mixing it with formula and then waiting for it to cool to the proper temp, while stirring and making sure the formula is correct consistency. It should be mixed well and ends up looking like a gravy or runny pudding. Keep the formula warm as you feed by placing your container of mixed formula (glass is good) in another bigger container filled with very hot water.

Next you should rinse and clean out your syringe. Always clean (soap and water) after feeding chicks and let sit to air dry. Never keep formula to feed later, always make a fresh batch every time.

When you feed the baby, with the baby facing you, the syringe goes into the right side of their mouth and plunger goes down slowly. They should 'pump' down the formula eagerly.

How much to feed? 10-11% of the body weight at each feeding. So if you do not know their weights, it would be wise to get a gram scale. They are cheap and I got mine on Amazon for like $15-$20.

That's all I can think of now for tips on hand-feeding, please let us know if you have any more specific hand-feeding questions.
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  #50 (permalink)  
Old 05-16-2018, 02:19 PM
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Re: Splayed legs in parakeet hatchlings...

Great information on handfeeding above...I too am perplexed about an Avian Vet saying that hand-feeding a baby bird is "easy", as that's exactly what can get you into trouble, thinking that it's easy and not focusing on what you're doing...It's not impossible to learn on your own without a mentor, but there are few things that are vital to pay attention to in order to keep the baby from aspirating the formula into it's lungs, and to keep the baby from developing slow-crop, crop-stasis, sour crop, etc.

#1) Always keep the candy thermometer in the formula, and as stated, keep the bowl you have the formula in inside a hot water bath to keep it between 104-110 degrees F. Anything above 110 degrees F can cause crop-burn, and anything below 104 degrees F can cause slow-crop and crop-stasis, influence yeast to grow in the crop, prevent the crop from emptying completely once every 24 hours, which it must, and the babies tend to not want to eat formula that is cooler than 100 degrees anyway, so their feeding response will stop if it's too cool. So keep a constant watch on the temperature of the thermometer in the formula and if it is too hot wait, if it is too cool then you can always add a bit of hot water to it, but mix it very, very, very well because it tends to develop hot-pockets inside that can burn the baby's crop.

#2) Be sure that if you are keeping the babies outside of a nest box before they are fully feathered that they themselves are warm enough, because if they themselves are too cold, then their crops will not empty and can develop the same issues that happen when the formula is too cool. When you first pull newly hatched chicks they must be kept between 96-98 degrees F, but at around 3 weeks old as your two are, they must still be kept at around 85 degrees until they are fully feathered. You don't need to run out and buy an expensive brooder, you can make one using either a plastic animal cage like you can buy at a pet shop, or if need be, even a cardboard box, it's not ideal, but it works. A heating pad placed underneath the back half of whatever you are keeping them in and then covering the back half with a towel or blanket will create a temperature gradient inside, with the back being the warm area and the front being a bit cooler if they get too hot.

#3). The younger the baby bird, the thinner you want to make the hand-feeding formula, and as they get older, the thicker you want to make it. This will keep their crops emptying and help with digestion. Kaytee Exact is a great hand-feeding formula, I used to use Roudybush but when it became harder to find and Kaytee Exact was all I had local access to I started using it, and I've never had an issue using it at all..

#4) When you go to actually feed the babies, as already stated, put the baby in front of you on a towel or paper towels, and make sure you have already wet paper towels with you so that you can wipe the excess formula off of the babies, as it will get all over them, and if you don't wipe it off right away it will become caked in their newly growing feathers and have to basically "grow out", so every time you're done feeding them be sure to wipe them down.

With the baby facing you, you want to insert the tip of the syringe into the bird's left side of the mouth, or if you're looking at the bird it's your right side. You always want to make sure that the syringe is going OVERTOP of the bird's tongue, never underneath, and you aim the tip of the syringe OVER AND ACROSS the tongue, towards the opposite side of the bird's mouth, it's right side or looking at the bird towards your left. The opening to a bird's crop is on the bird's right side of the back of it's throat, so that's where you want the tip of the syringe pointed, across and over the tongue towards the bird's right side of the back of it's throat (or with you facing the bird's face, you are aiming for the back of the throat on your left side). This procedure helps to avoid aspiration of the formula into the bird's lungs.

When you first push in a tiny amount of formula into the bird's mouth (and sometimes just from inserting the syringe into the mouth), the baby will start it's "feeding response", which is a head-bobbing motion that you will immediately recognize. The speed/rhythm of the baby's feeding response is what you follow when you are pushing formula in from the syringe. You go at the baby's pace, not your pace. If the baby stops the feeding response, you stop pushing the formula. They will take breaks, stop to swallow, etc. If this happens you stop and then start again when the baby is ready. You want a nice, full, round crop when you're done, and you'll need to very gently touch the crop, as it should be very round and full, like a balloon, but it should still have a little bit of give to it. Don't rely on the baby to stop eating when it should, you have to check it's crop. At first it's normal to think that you're feeding the baby too much, as their crops get enormous right after they finish a feeding, compared to the baby's overall size, but this is what you want, a nice, large, round, balloon-like crop that still has some give to it.

#4) I don't know if the vet went over a feeding schedule for you, but at 3 weeks you need to feed them once every 3-4 hours, at 4-5 weeks once every 4-5 hours (at this point they can go overnight for 6-7 hours without eating), and at 6 weeks and older every 5-6 hours. Their crops should be close to empty but don't have to be completely empty when you go to feed them, except first thing in the morning, when the crop should pretty much be empty. If you ever go to feed a baby at it's normal time and it doesn't appear that the crop has emptied much at all, then this is an indication that something is wrong. Usually this is a result of the formula being too cold, the baby being kept at too cold an ambient temperature, too thick a formula, or possibly a yeast/fungal infection developing in the crop, among other things..Usually checking the temps, specifically of the formula, can usually help, along with adding either a PROBIOTIC W/DIGESTIVE ENZYMES TO THE FORMULA, OR IF THAT ISN'T AVAILABLE, THEN ADD A TEASPOON OF APPLE CIDER VINEGAR TO THE FORMULA...If you ever have this issue and the crop appears to not have emptied at all between feedings, DO NOT FEED ANY MORE FORMULA AT THAT POINT, but instead give the baby 1ml of unflavored Pedialyte or Distilled Water mixed with a teaspoon of Apple Cider Vinegar, and then wait an hour and check to see if the crop is emptying. Usually this will fix the problem. From that point on you need to wait until the crop is close to empty and start feeding formula again that has the added probiotics w/digestive enzymes or the apple cider vinegar.

There are numerous issues that can and will arise, but when in doubt just come back onto this forum and post the question before doing anything. When in doubt, don't feed more formula until checking first, as overfilling the crop will result in more issues than you started with...

Best advice is to come and ask ANY questions you have.
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