Chick Advice

Lemon2020

New member
Jul 6, 2021
2
0
Hi all,
I rescured two unwanted lovebirds last year and knew nothing of their history other than they are not tame and do not appear to have been handled. This year they had chicks, 8 eggs in total, 6 hatch, 3 survived. Two are doing well and are just 12 & 14 days old. The third is only 9 days old.
The older two are growing strong and fast but the younger chick isnt growing and the parents appeared to give up feeding it and concentrated on the stronger two.
I watched no.3 getting weaker and couldnt just wait for the inevitable so pulled it from the nest and started hand feeding at 7 days. (first time ever!!)
Over the past two/three days it has started to get stronger but still doesnt appear to be growing and is a fraction of the size of its sibblings, it is weighing in at 6g today.
Luckily I had formula ready for an emergency but wasnt fully prepared to have to take over completely so am using a makeshift brooder in the airing cupboard and feeding, or at least checking it, every 1-2 hours including through the night.
Should I continue with hand feeding or try to reinstate it into the nest box and hope the parents accept it?
Any advice would be grately appreciated as the hundreds of different sites I have read about hand rearing all seam to have very different opinions and dont offer much help for a complete novice just trying to save a tiny soul.
My local vet said to just do my best and doing what I am doing.
For future reference, how can I stop them breeding again? should I remove eggs as soon as they are laid and do you need to replace them with 'fake' eggs?
 
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Lemon2020

New member
Jul 6, 2021
2
0
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Also, I am mixing up so much wasted formula as it is only having around 0.6ml per feed and I have read that you shouldn't keep made up feed.
Although I have also read some threads that say formula is okay to be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days then heating up only what you need per feed?
Any advice please?
 

noodles123

Well-known member
Jul 11, 2018
8,141
173
Parrots
Umbrella Cockatoo- 15? years old..I think?
Hey- temperature and cleanliness are super super important and you also may need a brooder and/or hand-feeding quiptment if the parents are not doing their jobs....It can be very very tricky and expensive so that is why they say not to allow parrots to hatch chicks unless you have extensive experience in hand-raising/breeding..There is just so much that can go wrong. Here is a link that has a lot of good info: https://hari.ca/hari/research-facil...cine-pediatrics-housing-feeding-baby-parrots/ <-- read for detail and be very wary of cross-contamination---if hand feeding, conditions must be sterile and you will need a digital thermometer for formula...and you must be very careful--- for instance, if you touch the fridge etc and that handle hasn't been sanitized by something avian safe (like the no-rinse f10 SC) then that is also risky.

**I would not re-use formula and make sure you are using purified water**


SilverSage knows her stuff and this link contains useful info:
http://www.parrotforums.com/breeding-raising-parrots/74363-so-you-bought-unweaned-baby.html


Here is another good thread for you-- you can read the whole thing, but the main thing I want you to see is the long reply on the 2nd page of the thread which was pasted by Laurasea from an older thread written by EllenD. http://www.parrotforums.com/cockatiels/87077-help-hand-feeding-baby-cockatiel-2.html


Note: if the babies survive- you need to get them their own cages or they will breed with their siblings and parents and that is very dangerous...so start planning now.

Also, make sure they have access to cuttle bone, as the female will likely need this after laying and may need it in the future if she lays again.



To reduce the odds of FUTURE laying, a box (or any shadowy spaces) will only encourage more laying (even if they can't fit inside, if they can get their head into a darker space that is all it takes---so those coconuts with holes in them= no good if they can look inside...same with huts, hammocks, tents, and access to places with blankets, under furniture, in cabinets, in low shelving etc etc,.. Remove access--- they do not need a special place to sleep and while they always like these shadowy places, it is a nesting instinct that you want to discourage....this applies to single birds or birds in pairs/a group.
You should not be allowing access to things like low-ledges, drawers, boxes, nooks etc..piles of paper, bedding, couches etc all can trigger nesting instincts as well.

Also, make sure you pet on the head and neck only. Contact outside of these areas is a hormonal trigger and can lead to behavior issues and encourage breeding in pairs, but also sexually frustrate single parrots.
Avoid feeding the adults warm/mushy foods, as this is another trigger (they mimic regurgitation)
Ensure that your birds get a minimum of 10 hours sleep nightly, in a dark/quiet space on a set schedule (just like a kid has a bedtime and wake-up). This is essential for regulating breeding cycles, hormones, behavior and immune health.


***NEVER partially cover the cage unless your bird is dealing with a medical issue (such as shock) or in the event of transport panic. Also, do not use cages with solid tops. For an indoor bird, you want full daylight on all sides of the cage until lights out, at which point you may cover the cage. If you choose not to cover the cage at night, you will need blackout curtains in the room, as you do not want them to see a visible difference between their cage darkness and the rest of the room.


^The advice above also applies to single birds and should be followed whether or not the bird has ever laid an egg.


For future egg laying: never not get rid of the eggs until she loses interest. You can boil them quickly and return them to their original location (to prevent hatching) or replace with dummy eggs if you don't want them to hatch and aren't sure if they are fertile<- mark them with a pen w/ a small dot and replace them as soon as they are cool in case more eggs appear and you need to know which ones have been boiled (I know it sounds harsh..but if you eat meat, consider the contradiction--chicken, beef, turkey, pork....all came from living things with far greater sensitivity to pain than a few-day-old egg embryo). Dummy eggs can be found on Amazon and I prefer them because it is easier to just switch out the original eggs when the birds are not looking. Here is the brand I like with a link to lovebird dummy eggs-- you can also buy them on the companies actual website : https://www.amazon.com/DummyEggs-St...ird+eggs&qid=1625587175&s=pet-supplies&sr=1-4
^ I would buy these and keep them on-hand in the event that this happens again. You can just throw the eggs out once you swap them, but again, I would put your birds on a perch in another room when you do the swap and don't let them see you holding or moving the eggs or dummy eggs. Do the swap as soon as possible so that they have less time to memorize the look/feel of the actual eggs.
 
Last edited:

noodles123

Well-known member
Jul 11, 2018
8,141
173
Parrots
Umbrella Cockatoo- 15? years old..I think?
How long did you notice the parents neglecting the chick? Were they attending to the others and specifically ignoring this guy? I am hoping some other members chime in on this, but my fear is that they may become aggressive towards the chick if they were rejecting it (I am not an expert in that department by any means though).

Also- what heat source are you using in the brooder? Some heat lamps contain PTFE/PFOA/PFC's (aka Teflon and teflon relatives) which emit deadly, odorless fumes. These can kill a bird very quickly, but don't assume that just because a bird has survived so far that a product is teflon/ptfe/pfoa/pfc free. Some birds manage to survive short-term exposure but the damage to the air sacks is permanent and cumulative. Humidity is also something that should be monitored.


In terms of long-term weaning etc--- NEVER force wean and make sure you look into "abundance weaning" as that is the safest and most ethical/humane/developmentally favorable method.
 
Last edited:

Scott

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Aug 21, 2010
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Parrots
Goffins: Gabby, Abby, Squeaky, Peanut, Popcorn / Citron: Alice / Eclectus: Angel /Timneh Grey: ET / Blue Fronted Amazon: Gonzo /

RIP Gandalf and Big Bird, you are missed.
Welcome and deep respect for rescuing a pair of lovebirds! Superb and comprehensive advice from "noodles" above. I suspect the parents are following "nature's way" and focusing on the two stronger chicks at expense of third. You very well may be the only force available to keep it alive and give best chance of thriving. Given the young age, this will require diligence on your part and a bit of luck.

Not every "rejection" implies fatally flawed bird. Quick story... My wild-caught pair of Goffins did not breed for years. Finally laid series of consecutive clutches of 1 or 2 eggs - only one was viable each season. Long story short, parents fed for 3 to 4 days and gave up, leaving them for dead. Thankfully my mom noticed the very first chick cold and bluish with parents happily outside nest box. She rescued and fed round the clock until weaned. Same for subsequent clutches, only she was prepared and pulled them at first hint of neglect. All three happy and healthy hand fed adults. Hopefully you can do the same and make reasoned decision with future breeding. In our case, nest box was removed after third offspring - hen never laid again. Today she remains happy and healthy, bonded to one of her sons! (no sign of breeding and we would not permit in any case!)

Good luck, please keep us updated!!
 

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