Help with hand feeding baby cockatiel

Diene

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My cockatiels made a secret nest inside a bookshelf and by the time I noticed one of the eggs already had movement inside so I let that one hatch. Well they didn’t want to feed the baby after 12 hours and ignored it so I started to hand feed it. I’m new to this but I been researching a lot to help this baby. I made it a brooder and he was doing great until about day 5 I noticed he looks much skinnier than the babies I see on the guides. And he was supposed to be fed every 2 hours but his crop doesn’t empty that fast it takes him 4 hours to empty. In some articles I read it says 4 hours is fine but others say the crop must be empty before each feeding. I made sure the formula is hot enough and the brooder too and the formula is mixed as it says in the container. What am I doing wrong? Should I be worried? It’s day 7 and he still looks sorta skinny. I will post pictures soon when I feed him. Please help I’m worried he might be sick.

Edit: Here are some pics before and after feeding. The crop is about 1/3 full after 2 and a half hours it should be fully empty by now right?
p0YGfSv
http://ibb.co/p0YGfSv
1Gy7FfH
http://ibb.co/1Gy7FfH
Not sure if you can see or not let me know.
 
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LaManuka

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Hello there Diene, welcome to the Forums to you and your sneaky little breeders!

Hand-feeding chicks is no easy venture and even the most experienced folks can occasionally run into trouble. The link below was originally targeted at those who deliberately go and buy unweaned babies thinking hand-feeding will be simple, so it does start out a bit heavy going. It was written by a member who is a very experienced breeder and beyond the first few paragraphs is a wealth of information which may help you.........

http://www.parrotforums.com/breeding-raising-parrots/74363-so-you-bought-unweaned-baby.html

You may also need the intervention of a certified avian vet. The link below will help you find one if you don't already have one...

https://www.aav.org/default.aspx

Hopefully some other members with more hands-on experience than me will weigh in soon with some more info for you. I hope your precious little one makes it!
 

noodles123

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Sour crop will slow crop emptying. I would very strongly advise that you get an avian vet to look at your baby ASAP (if at all possible). If you are in the US, do not assume they are closed due to covid, even though their regular hours and capacity may be seriously limited.
 
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Diene

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From what I read online I was thinking it’s not sour because it does fully empty in about 4 hours and it said sour crop doesn’t? I don’t have the money to take the baby to the vet right now until next week I’m really stressed that he might be sick and won’t make it until then.
 

noodles123

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Umbrella Cockatoo- 15? years old..I think?
From what I read online I was thinking it’s not sour because it does fully empty in about 4 hours and it said sour crop doesn’t? I don’t have the money to take the baby to the vet right now until next week I’m really stressed that he might be sick and won’t make it until then.

https://hari.ca/hari/research-facil...cine-pediatrics-housing-feeding-baby-parrots/

you can try this. It talks about some possible issues toward the end.

Some vets will take payment plans and most will take credit (if that is an option). Then again, another bird is going to up your general expenses, so it's kind of a tough situation.

Sorry you are going through it. I hope some of this helps in some way.

Temperature and near-laboratory-level sterilization (without toxic chemicals or fumes)= very important...Temperature must be within a single degree (as a rule) and if you touch something (like a fridge handle) and then touch the formula, you will contaminate it, even if your hands were clean before.
 
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Laurasea

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I can’t imagine the stress of trying to get this right.
Yiu might need to give slightly more st each feeding... but I do not know at all if this is needed... I just “ think “ I have seen the crop look fuller after feeding.... but this one is so tiny and I do not have experience to advice you...
I’d say yiu are doing good with one do young and tiny. I know everything must be clean clean clean., temp and humidity are very important
Our Silver Sage who is breeder hadn’t been active on the forum lately...
I’m rooting for yiu!
 
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Diene

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I been cleaning everything well after each use. The brooder is a heat lamp and I put a water glass in there to keep it humid I don’t have anything to tell the exact temperature I just have been watching the baby is not shaking or too hot. It’s pretty warm in there from putting my hand inside it feels like 35 c or 36. And the formula I use 1 part formula 2 parts water and with the thermometer I have I keep it at round 40 c but it’s not the most accurate it’s one of those old fashioned glass ones. I know I must be doing so much wrong but this is all I have available here.

I been reading so many guides on how often to feed and they all seem to have different times. For the first 2 days I was feeding once an hour 24 hours a day then every 2 hours and the crop was empty before feeding. But now there’s still food in there after 2 hours until like 4 hours after. Some guides said feed every 4 or 3 hours others said 2. He’s 7 days old 2 hours around the clock or 3 or 4? Should the crop be fully empty before feeding? Some guides said no others said yes. I been letting it fully empty at night.

Im afraid to feed more because I don’t want his crop to over stretch and he already is slow digesting what I’m feeding him.

Really need some tips on what to do to speed his crop a bit. I read online add a drop of apple cider vinagre to the formula but I really want the opinion of someone on here first before I do that. I really don’t want to mess up and harm the baby. I’ll keep checking this every few.
 

noodles123

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Umbrella Cockatoo- 15? years old..I think?
I been cleaning everything well after each use. The brooder is a heat lamp and I put a water glass in there to keep it humid I don’t have anything to tell the exact temperature I just have been watching the baby is not shaking or too hot. It’s pretty warm in there from putting my hand inside it feels like 35 c or 36. And the formula I use 1 part formula 2 parts water and with the thermometer I have I keep it at round 40 c but it’s not the most accurate it’s one of those old fashioned glass ones. I know I must be doing so much wrong but this is all I have available here.

I been reading so many guides on how often to feed and they all seem to have different times. For the first 2 days I was feeding once an hour 24 hours a day then every 2 hours and the crop was empty before feeding. But now there’s still food in there after 2 hours until like 4 hours after. Some guides said feed every 4 or 3 hours others said 2. He’s 7 days old 2 hours around the clock or 3 or 4? Should the crop be fully empty before feeding? Some guides said no others said yes. I been letting it fully empty at night.

Im afraid to feed more because I don’t want his crop to over stretch and he already is slow digesting what I’m feeding him.

Really need some tips on what to do to speed his crop a bit. I read online add a drop of apple cider vinagre to the formula but I really want the opinion of someone on here first before I do that. I really don’t want to mess up and harm the baby. I’ll keep checking this every few.


Did you verify that the heat lamp is free of PTFE/PFOA/PFCS? Sounds like you are doing the best you can, but without a vet, it can be really hard.
 
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Diene

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I been cleaning everything well after each use. The brooder is a heat lamp and I put a water glass in there to keep it humid I don’t have anything to tell the exact temperature I just have been watching the baby is not shaking or too hot. It’s pretty warm in there from putting my hand inside it feels like 35 c or 36. And the formula I use 1 part formula 2 parts water and with the thermometer I have I keep it at round 40 c but it’s not the most accurate it’s one of those old fashioned glass ones. I know I must be doing so much wrong but this is all I have available here.

I been reading so many guides on how often to feed and they all seem to have different times. For the first 2 days I was feeding once an hour 24 hours a day then every 2 hours and the crop was empty before feeding. But now there’s still food in there after 2 hours until like 4 hours after. Some guides said feed every 4 or 3 hours others said 2. He’s 7 days old 2 hours around the clock or 3 or 4? Should the crop be fully empty before feeding? Some guides said no others said yes. I been letting it fully empty at night.

Im afraid to feed more because I don’t want his crop to over stretch and he already is slow digesting what I’m feeding him.

Really need some tips on what to do to speed his crop a bit. I read online add a drop of apple cider vinagre to the formula but I really want the opinion of someone on here first before I do that. I really don’t want to mess up and harm the baby. I’ll keep checking this every few.


Did you verify that the heat lamp is free of PTFE/PFOA/PFCS? Sounds like you are doing the best you can, but without a vet, it can be really hard.
The lamp should be good this one is meant for animals. I will check to make sure right now.
It’s a zoomed lamp and seems like it is free of those things from what I saw online.
 
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Diene

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I went and borrowed a scale and the baby is at 12.4 grams. Is this bad? On cockatielcottge it says 12 grams for 1 week old but why does he look and feel so skinny compared to others his age?
 
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noodles123

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How old is she/he exactly?

I won't be able to tell you, but regular weighing is important with a baby...I am sorry I don't have more information!
 

Laurasea

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You really are doing a great job and your concern about stretching the crop is valse.
Humidity is important, are there cheap humidity thing yiu can get? I dint know if a damp wash cloth were the baby couldn’t get to , could help increase humidity with it greater surface area?? These are just thoughts not knowing...
yiu have done great, even breeders who pull at two weeks don’t have a 100% success rate. Yiu need to be proud st how hard you are working at this. And everyday that little baby will get bigger and hopefully easier to keep alive.
Yiu need a kitchen digital gram scale to help track weight and adjust food. And a food thermometer isn’t expensive.
The right humidity is important so they don’t loose to much water, ( tho what is right I don’t know) and the ideal temperatures are so important do they don’t burn extra calories to stay warm, ( dint know the ideal just know is very important) it also helps them digest food.
Keep up the good work
I know silver sage has given baby advice before, but I dint know how to search the site fir it.
Noodles? Yiu are great at that can you find anything to help?
 
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Diene

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You really are doing a great job and your concern about stretching the crop is valse.
Humidity is important, are there cheap humidity thing yiu can get? I dint know if a damp wash cloth were the baby couldn’t get to , could help increase humidity with it greater surface area?? These are just thoughts not knowing...
yiu have done great, even breeders who pull at two weeks don’t have a 100% success rate. Yiu need to be proud st how hard you are working at this. And everyday that little baby will get bigger and hopefully easier to keep alive.
Yiu need a kitchen digital gram scale to help track weight and adjust food. And a food thermometer isn’t expensive.
The right humidity is important so they don’t loose to much water, ( tho what is right I don’t know) and the ideal temperatures are so important do they don’t burn extra calories to stay warm, ( dint know the ideal just know is very important) it also helps them digest food.
Keep up the good work
I know silver sage has given baby advice before, but I dint know how to search the site fir it.
Noodles? Yiu are great at that can you find anything to help?
I have a small humidifier not sure if that would work or make it too humid. I’ll put some more damp cloths in there for now. Luckily it has been really hot and humid lately. Right now it’s 39 C in there. Haven’t been able to find a better thermometer and ordering it online takes weeks right now I’ll have to ask friends if they have one I can borrow. I been feeding the formula at around 34 35 C. Hopefully someone with a lot of experience can let me know if the baby is ok or not soon not sure if 12.4 grams at 8 days is ok and why he looks so small and thin or why his crop is taking 4 hours instead of 2 to empty. I’m sorry for asking so much just really need this baby to be ok.
 

noodles123

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I hear you! I really do...I wish I had more advice. I would say research as much as you can and consider a vet (although I know that may not be in the cards right now). I understand and you are doing a good job, but it's hard to know what to do without testing etc, you know? Someone may chime in with better advice, but time is of the essence, which is why I hope someone does...or that you can figure something out. Very scary and stressful, again, I am so sorry you are going through this.
 

Laurasea

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If he is within the average yiu are doing great. The reason I mention humidity is that he could dehydrate, could be why he looks thin. This is only a possibility , all tiny babies look weird to me so I can’t judge...
warmth sbd humidity are important and what ever range they are supposed to be at.
I haven’t raised babies but in my conservation work I know when the brooder temp or humidity were off it was a big deal, and they had fancy equipment. So you are really doing great with what you have. I sure wish I could help.
Keep track of the weight and follow the guidelines on formula % increase based on weight and age
 

Laurasea

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It’s so hard if yiu can’t test humidity. Too much can be bad too I’m sure...
what part of the world are in?
 

Laurasea

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This was written fir an older chick but I’ll share it ( copies from ElkenD)

#1.) The hand-feeding formula that you feed your baby Senegal must ALWAYS be between 104 degrees F and 110 degrees F, and must stay in that temperature range throughout the feeding. One degree colder and your baby can suffer fungal/yeast infections in their Crop and throughout their GI Tract, and this can cause Slow-Crop and Crop-Stasis. Even 1 degree hotter and it will cause burns on your bird's crop that usually cause severe infection and require surgery to remove the burnt portion of the Crop...So you must use a digital cooking/candy thermometer that has a metal probe you can place in the formula and keep in the formula throughout each hand-feeding. If the formula needs to be re-heated because it drops below 104 degrees F, do not microwave the already mixed formula because it will develop "hot pockets" that will burn your bird's Crop no matter how well you mix it; instead just microwave water or unflavored Pedialyte, whichever you're using to mix the formula, and then add it slowly to the already mixed formula...

#2.) At 3 weeks old your baby Senegal should have most of it's down feathers but very little to no outer feathers...I don't know if you have a real, proper Brooder that you are keeping your baby in, but if not then you need to at a minimum make a "homemade' Brooder that will keep the amibient temperature your baby is kept in within the correct temperature ranges...If the ambient temperature your baby bird is kept in is too cool they will develop the same fungal/yeast infections and problems as they do when the formula is too cold....If your baby bird does not yet have ALL of their down-feathers yet and still has bare skin exposed, then they MUST be kept in an ambient temperature between 90-95 degrees F at all times except for when you take them out for a hand-feeding or a short handling. Once all of their down feathers are in and there is no more bare skin exposed, but they still don't have all of their outer feathers grown in fully, their ambient temperature must always be between 75-80 degrees F. For a baby Senegal Parrot, who normally wean between the ages of 10 weeks old and 13 weeks old, they should be able to be transferred from their Brooder and into their first "Weaning" or "Starter" Cage around the age of 6-7 weeks old.

To Make a Handmade Brooder: All you need is a cardboard box that is large enough to have a front half and a back half with two different temperature zones, but not too large a box. You need an electric heating-pad that has an adjustible temperature, which will sit underneath the back-half of the box at all times. You'll also need an ambient thermometer that you can place/hang/stick in the back-half of the box, and this is what you will look at to make sure that the back-half of the box is always within the correct temperature range. Then you cover the back-half of the box with a towel or blanket to lock-in the heat in the back-half of the box, leaving the front half of the box uncovered and off of the heating-pad. Once you get this all set-up, turn on the heating-pad to low or medium and cover the back-half of the box, and wait for about 30 minutes for the temperature to reach it's max, and if it's not withint the correct temperature range then you turn it up a setting and wait another 30 minutes. Make sure you have a good, accurate ambient thermometer, the best and cheapest ones being the Accurite digital thermometers that you can just sit in the back of the box and that you can buy at any Walmart, Lowes, Home Depot, etc. for around $10-$15 (same for the digital cooking/candy thermometer with the metal probe, Walmart sells them for around $15 in the cooking gadget section)...Leave the front half of the box uncovered and off of the heating-pad so that your baby bird can go to the front of the box if they get too warm...Once your baby is around 6 weeks old or so, or when he/she has all of their outer feathers grow-in and no down-feathers are exposed, then you can move your bird into their Weaning/Starter Cage.

#3.) As far as the hand-feedings go, at only 3 weeks old your baby Senegal MUST be fed every 2-3 hours INCLUDING OVERNIGHT! They cannot go 6-8 hours overnight without being fed every 2-3 hours until they are between 4-5 weeks old. So you unfortuantely have to set an alarm for every 2 hours and get up every 2 hours, check his/her crop, and if it's just about empty at 2 hours then that's the interval that you'll feed them at for the next week. If his/her crop is not almost empty at 2 hours, then check it again at 3 hours and it should be almost empty, and that will be your feeding interval...

During the daytime and during the night until he/she is at least 4 weeks old (before they can go a full 6-8 hours overnight without being fed), their Crop should be almost empty when you give them their next hand=feeding, but won't be completely empty. The only time their Crop will be completely empty between feedings will be at their first morning feeding at 4 weeks, when they can go a full 6-8 hours without being fed...At only 3 weeks old they cannot go any longer than 3 hours maximum without being fed 24 hours a day, and that's why their Crop will never be completely empty at any time of a hand-feeding...Again, at 4 weeks old he/she will be able to go overnight for 6 hours or so without a hand-feeding, and their Crop will be completely empty first thing in the morning when you give them their first hand-feeding of the day; otherwise, during the rest of the day their Crop will be almost empty between hand-feedings, but not quite.

As far as how much formula you should give them during each hand-feeding, I never really go by a "set amount" based on their age as some breeders do...I always go by the size and feeling of their Crop, which you need to always be looking at and feeling lightily with the pad of your finger. At the end of all hand-feedings, their Crop should look very large and round, and when you feel it very gently with your finger (don't ever push on the Crop, just lightly run your finger over it), it should feel like a very full balloon that still has a little bit of 'give" to it. It should not feel tight, if it does then you are feeding them too much formula. And you cannot expect them to stop their feeding-response at the correct time; usually they do actually stop eating and stop their feeding-response and start rejecting the syringe close to the correct time, but not necessarily...YOU CAN NEVER, EVER TRY TO FORCE MORE FORMULA INTO THEM, WHEN THEY'RE DONE THEY'RE DONE, BUT YOU CAN STOP GIVING THEM ANY MORE FORMULA BEFORE THEIR FEEDING-RESPONSE STOPS AND BEFORE THEY THINK THEY ARE DONE, BASED ON THE SIZE AND FEEL OF THEIR CROP.

It's extremely important that you fully "Abundance-Wean" your Senegal, which means that you allow HIM/HER to make the decision when a hand-feeding is removed, and when the amount of formula in each hand-feeding is reduced. If YOU make the decision to remove a hand-feeding each day, or to reduce the amount of formula in each hand-feeding, this is called "Force-Weaning" your baby bird, and it usually results in severe, life-long Neurological and Behavioral issues, as well as serious and sometimes life-threatening physical medical problems...So allow your bird to tell you when a feeding will be rejected or the amount of formula per feeding will be reduced.

Typically the amount of formula they eat per hand-feeding and the number of hand-feedings per day will stay the same until a Senegal Parrot is between 5-6 weeks old, at which time he'll start eating more and more solid food, thus eating less formula. I would typically start putting millet-sprays inside of the Brooder at the age of 4 weeks-old, so that they start learning what solid-food is and will start picking at it and eventually eating it. At 5 weeks old I place a bowl of either pellets of seeds, whichever you are planning on weaning him onto as his daily "staple" food, inside of the Brooder, and once they start eating a good amount of the pellets or seed-mix (or both if you like), then they'll start to Abundance-Wean themselves. At the point where you move them into their Weaning/Starter Cage (when their outer feathers grow-in and no down-feathers are exposed, around 6 weeks old or so), then you're going to also start giving them a bowl of fresh Veggies, dark leaafy Greens, and a very small portion of Fruit every day as well, so that they'll learn what they are and to eat them.

Eventually you'll get to the point that they'll be eating a hand-feeding first thing in the morning and just before bed, and they'll be eating their pellets/seed-mix and fresh Veggies and Greens throughout the day...Then around the time they fully-Fledge, they'll eliminate the morning hand-feeding, and will basically be fully Abundance-Weaned, for a Senegal this will happen between 11-13 weeks old. They will typically continue to beg for a hand-feeding at night just before bed even after they are fully Abundance-Weaned, and this is called a "Comfort-Feeding", and it can continue for a week or two after they actually fully-wean. This is normal, it's not that they're hungry, it's just a comfort thing...
 
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Diene

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If he is within the average yiu are doing great. The reason I mention humidity is that he could dehydrate, could be why he looks thin. This is only a possibility , all tiny babies look weird to me so I can’t judge...
warmth sbd humidity are important and what ever range they are supposed to be at.
I haven’t raised babies but in my conservation work I know when the brooder temp or humidity were off it was a big deal, and they had fancy equipment. So you are really doing great with what you have. I sure wish I could help.
Keep track of the weight and follow the guidelines on formula % increase based on weight and age
He seems to be within the average weight but what concerns me is that he feels thin and looks much skinnier than many of the 7 day olds I seen online. I made sure he’s isn’t dehydrated the first few days I gave him natural coconut water and I make sure there’s no dark intestines as it said on a web or the skin isn’t looking red and dry. I don’t have the best equipment but I’ll keep making sure he’s not dehydrated or cold he always feels warm when I feed him.

Some guides say to feed every 2 hours while others say 3 and that his crop must empty always before feeding so that’s why I’m concerned because his doesn’t empty at 2 hours but at 4 so I’m worried if I should be feeding him with food already in his crop or if I should wait every time. If I wait I don’t want him to get undernourished.
 
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Diene

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I hear you! I really do...I wish I had more advice. I would say research as much as you can and consider a vet (although I know that may not be in the cards right now). I understand and you are doing a good job, but it's hard to know what to do without testing etc, you know? Someone may chime in with better advice, but time is of the essence, which is why I hope someone does...or that you can figure something out. Very scary and stressful, again, I am so sorry you are going through this.
I don’t know if the vet we have here will be able to test him he’s not an avian vet but I’ll be able to take him in in 3 days which is a long time so until then I really need to do everything I can.
 

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